What Does Your Lawyer Do?

There are a lot of hidden requirements when you first start your journey to homeownership.

Having a trusted team on your side is a big help.

A good lawyer is an important part of that team and will help you coordinate the legal aspects of new property purchase (or sale).

There’s a lot going on – legal work that needs to be completed, contracts to be reviewed, legal documents to understand, papers to sign, insurance to think about, money to find – and a “move-in” plan.

The legal side of things 

Finding a good lawyer and involving them right from the start can help prevent problems and heartache later on.

Your Mortgage Broker will be able to suggest a referral of an experienced lawyer.

Making your offer (or attending an Auction)

Before you make your offer (or attend an auction) ask your lawyer to check the Sale and Purchase agreement to make sure all the right conditions are in it -and that the contract is in your best interests.

If you’re buying at an auction or wanting to make an unconditional tender, your Mortgage Broker can help with things like arranging the finance, tips on negotiating the price, arranging a valuation or building inspector’s report while your solicitor will offer advice on legal or ownership issues and ensure there are no surprises at settlement for either yourself or the bank.

When the deal’s done (or prior to Auction)

Once your offer is accepted (or before you bid at auction) your lawyer does a number of checks to make sure there’s no catches that could affect your decision to buy – such as something unusual about the title or in the LIM report.

Preparation for Settlement

When the checks are completed, your lawyer prepares the various legal papers needed. The work they do to transfer the property to your name is called conveyancing.

One of the things they do for you is get a ‘guaranteed search’ of the title. This protects you from anyone else having a claim over the property for two weeks before and six weeks after settlement day (the day you become the owner).

At the end of the process, you’ll get a copy of the title showing you registered as the new owner. If you don’t see this within a week or so of becoming the owner get in touch with your lawyer.

Do a last check of your new home

It’s a good idea to do a pre-settlement check in the last week.


  • The place is still in good order.
  • Everything you think you’ve brought is still there.
  • Any repairs agreed have been done.

If there are any problems talk to your Mortgage Broker or lawyer before everything goes through.

Your lawyer’s job includes…

Before settlement day (or before attending an auction)

  • Getting a guaranteed title search and checking for any ownership restrictions.
  • Checking the LIM for things like consents, rates owing and problems with flooding.
  • Checking local authority plans to see if any major changes are likely.
  • Checking all the conditions in your agreement are met.
  • Preparing your mortgage documents and explaining them to you.
  • Checking land rates and other costs are paid up to date.
  • Checking the property is insured.
  • Making arrangements with you, the Mortgage Broker and the bank for payment of your loan and your share of the purchase price.

The money paid on settlement day takes into account the deposit you’ve already paid on home to the real estate agent.

On settlement day

  • Getting the title from the seller’s lawyer.
  • Dealing with any legal papers related to the sale.
  • Paying the money to the seller’s lawyer.
  • Arranging for you to get the keys.

After settlement

  • Providing you with a settlement statement with all the purchase details.
  • Registering the new mortgage and the transfer of the title with the Land Information Office.
  • Giving you a copy of the title showing you registered as the new owner.
  • Sending the title, mortgage and certificate of insurance to your lender.