What are conveyancing searches?


Most lawyers and conveyancers will charge a professional fee for work being completed during the conveyancing process. In addition to the professional fee, you are responsible for paying for the conveyancing property searches.

The most common question asked is ‘why do I need conveyancing searches?

Conveyancing searches provide you with up to date information of the property you are selling or buying. This information contained in the searches are not always included in the contract, and you may not be aware of the facts. For example, you can find out which building and development codes apply to the land, if there are any fencing or noise disputes with neighbours, or what council and water rates are outstanding. Some searches are essential for the settlement and you will be unable to settle the property unless they are made. This is because the contract you signed will require that water and council rates be adjusted on settlement. You can only adjust them if you know what is outstanding, by performing an up to date conveyancing searches.

If you are a Vendor (or seller) you will be providing a Contract to the Purchaser. The contract is made up of the front page, the standard and special conditions and then the relevant searches.

In NSW these Searches include a:

  • Section 149 (5), that discloses information about the land for example if it is flood prone, bush fire prone or a heritage listed property. It also discloses the zoning that the land is in.
  • Title Search, to provide evidence that your name is on the title and to show any other registered interest such as a registered mortgage.
  • Registered instruments on the Title – you will include these instruments as they show what easements and covenants run with the land.
  • Sewer diagram – to show the sewer connections to the land, if any.

If you are a purchaser you will be provided with the Contract and the conveyancing searches above.

You will also need to make some of your own searches and some of these include a:

  • Section 149 (2) & (5) This is a more detailed disclosure of the dealings concerning the land compared to the Section 149 (5) that the vendor provides. The search the Vendor provided may also be a few months old and not up to date.
  • Section 47 water rates and charges certificate so that you can establish what has been paid by the vendor and what remains outstanding and should be adjusted on settlement.
  • Section 603 land council rates and charges certificate that will establish what has been paid by the vendor and what remains outstanding and should be adjusted on settlement.
  • OSR land tax clearance certificate to establish if land tax is owing by the Vendor. This is important to establish as land tax runs with the land and you can be found liable for it in the future.

As a purchaser there are numerous other conveyancing searches available for example a mine subsidence search to see if the building work on the property complies with the conditions set out by the Mine Subsidence board. Properties in the Newcastle and Hunter area are often classified as being in a mine subsidence area.

Contact Gillard Family Lawyers in Newcastle today to find out the cost of the conveyancing searches above. The costs of the searches vary depending on if the property is in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie or Maitland area. The costs for these conveyancing searches are set by third parties. Our professional conveyancing costs is $990 and your matter will be conducted by a lawyer.