The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live in many ways from working to socializing, traveling to raising children. Major life events have been postponed, cancelled or drastically altered to accommodate government-imposed restrictions or self-imposed precautions. So, what are the effects of the pandemic on the property conveyancing process in Australia during a lockdown? How has the pandemic affected the process of buying or selling real estate from a legal perspective? Can property conveyancing be conducted during lockdown in Melbourne and Brisbane?

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent series of Australian lockdowns have disrupted our lives in almost every way. We now increasingly work from home, shop online, catch up with our friends online and have unfortunately become accustomed to plans being postponed or cancelled. With the way we live changing so dramatically, so too has the importance of our homes as a place to feel comfortable and secure. The pandemic has pushed many people to consider their living arrangements and make the decision to consider selling their home or buying a new property. 


Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the global economy into chaos, but the Australian property market is booming in 2021 with no signs of it slowing down. In response to the intermittent lockdowns and restrictions that have been introduced, the real estate sales process now looks a little different to now it did a few years ago. We are now required to check-in at properties and formally arrange inspections in some cases. It is also possible to conduct remote viewings in situations where this might be necessary, and auctions are also conducted remotely if restrictions are in place that require strict distance rules to be adhered to. An experienced conveyancing company such as  Property Conveyancing Melbourne or Jim’s Property Conveyancing in Brisbane will be able to assist you with your sale or purchase.


How does the conveyancing process work during a lockdown? (H2)

Many aspects of buying and selling property are unfortunately thrown in disarray a lockdown is called or when restrictions are imposed by the government. Less potential buyers are able to be shown through properties when restrictions are in place and during a lockdown it isn’t possible at all to view a house in person. Fortunately, the conveyancing process is able to continue fairly easily in locked down circumstances. So, if you’ve bought or sold property prior to a lockdown, this shouldn’t affect the conveyancing process in any major way.


Conveyancing can be conducted fairly easily remotely, using online platforms such as the settlement platform PEXA and arranging zoom meetings or teleconferences between clients, agents and conveyancers. In situations that require proof of identity, it is possible to use Australia Post as a verification method, and digital signatures are acceptable for any documentation.


Can you back out of a property sale due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic? (H3)

Unfortunately, if you have entered into a contract before or during the advent of COVID-19 it is legally binding, and events caused by the pandemic will not allow you to terminate the contract without penalty. This can be particularly difficult in circumstance where people have had their employment terminated or have found their income has been drastically impacted by the pandemic. If you find yourself in a situation where you are struggling to comply with the terms of the agreement, it is important to discuss this with your conveyancer as they may be able to negotiate a delay or an extension with the vendor. Reaching a compromise is often in everyone’s best interests to ensure that the sale can proceed with minimal fuss.


Are there any special considerations that should be included in a post-pandemic Contract of Sale? (H4)

If you’re entering into a Contract of Sale since the advent of COVID-19, it is worth discussing whether to include any special conditions in the Contract of Sale with your conveyancer. You may want to include a clause for both parties to agree to a period of time delaying settlement if someone has been forced to quarantine or has tested positive for COVID-19 and has had to self-isolate.


If you’re still uncertain about how the conveyancing process will work in an online scenario, get in touch with local conveyancing experts such as Conveyancing Brisbane. I personally recommend do research before you take any decision.