It’s not uncommon for agents and conveyancing lawyers to come head-to-head as they navigate their way towards a successful sale. But while the relationship can be strained at times, both parties play an important role in any property transaction. This month we take a look at what exactly that role is and why not all lawyers are created equally.
Unlike the ability to sell your home privately, you will be required to engage a professional when it comes to conveyancing and the role is conducted by a lawyer or their legal executive. While lawyers would prefer their clients to engage prior to accepting an Agreement for Sale and Purchase, many now act as a processor. This is particularly true in a busy market when the vast majority are submitted unconditionally.
Benefits of engaging early
The majority of contracts used for residential transactions are from the Auckland District Law Society which has been approved by the REINZ. The agreement has been drafted in a way that protects both the purchasers and sellers with no fish hooks. This contrasts with many of the consumer contracts which are designed to hide the detail. Despite this, when providing an agreement for sale and purchase or assisting with an offer, the agent is required under the REA to advise that the purchaser seeks legal advice in advance of signing.
Reasons to engage a lawyer early would be to review a detailed LIM report, complex titles like cross-lease/fee simple and unit tiles, and body corporate information. Agents are now required to know more about the legal process which covers many of these aspects, but never underestimate the benefit of an experienced professional providing advice on these matters. Small, missed details can be the difference between celebration and commiseration.
On non-legal matters, Lawyers aren’t the experts
Before the days of detailed due diligence, a lawyer would often also play the role of building report reviewer and valuer as well. Now, I’m fairly certain construction and residential valuation do not form part of a law degree; in which case your lawyer isn’t the best professional to give advice on such matters. Engaging specialist professionals for each aspect of your purchase will give you peace of mind and the best protection when buying a home.
An advocate with no duty of care
The lawyer has always been an advocate for their client with little care required for the opposing side. While their role is to negotiate an agreeable outcome, it still needs to be the best outcome for their client. A licensed salesperson on the other hand has a fiduciary relationship with their client ‘the seller’, and a duty of care to the customer ‘the buyer’. This dual role requires the agent to ensure both parties are treated fairly, negotiating the best outcome for their client whilst working to ensure all parties remain engaged and happy in what can be a very emotional transaction. Where the love hate relationship is tested, is that to keep the parties moving forward lawyers can end up taking a position which causes friction.
How to select the right lawyer
A lawyer is ultimately a service provider. The old school approach to law may have seen egos get in the way of providing a good service. These days there are wonderful lawyers working to provide great advice and a great service. If you are double guessing who to use, ask your agent for some of the good lawyers available to help.
The Wellington market
It has been a particularly sluggish start to the market post the Lockdown 2.0. A backlog of stock hit the market all at one time which has seen buyer pools split across escalating stock. Our experience with similar situations is that buyers take a more leisurely approach to their search in anticipation of what might come on next.
On finance, the banks have adopted a more rigorous approach to pre approval, trawling line by line through months’ worth of statements looking at outgoings in depth. A heads up to buyers who may be nearing the end of their pre- approval period, do not let that lapse! There would appear to be no guarantee that you will secure that same level of lending again.
Wellington market quick stats
What’s on this October in Wellington?
Hotel California – The Eagles Experience, Opera House, 111/113 Manners st, 12th October
For one night in Wellington, the cover group will step into the shoes of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, performing many well known hits. You’ll hear many all time favourites, including Hotel California, Desperado, Take It Easy, One of These Nights, Tequila Sunrise, Heartache Tonight, Life in the Fast Lane, Take it to the Limit and many more.
Diwali Festival 2021, TSB Arena, 4 Queens Wharf, 25 October
One of the most celebrated and diverse festivals in New Zealand, the Wellington Diwali Festival, is set to return to Wellington this October and applications to get involved are now open! The Festival of Lights is full of craft, retail stalls, exhibitions, presentations, workshops, stage performances, and diverse authentic Indian cuisine.
School Holiday Programme for Kids/Teens – Mindfulness, Hataitai Centre, 157 Hataitai Rd, Hataitai, 11th Oct – 14th Oct
This school holidays learn tools to handle emotions and improve focus & concentration, through games, group-activities, yoga & mindfulness. The Art of Living Children & Teen Programmes are dedicated to providing students with a healthy body, a healthy mind and a healthy lifestyle. We do this by offering practical tools, life skills and study tools to manage stress and emotions.