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‘Strip of grass’ property buy-up serves as a warning

‘Strip of grass’ property buy-up serves as a warning

US buyer caught out and paid a hefty sum for a 30-centimetre side strip of land

While this story might not be on Australian shores, it serves as a cautionary tale to Australian property buyers to know exactly what you are buying and have a good conveyancing lawyer to represent your interests.

A Florida man who thought he was buying a villa, inadvertently bought a small strip of land. This might sound incredulous but it has happened and hence stresses the importance of hiring a good property lawyer to ensure all relevant pieces of land are included in sales transactions.

US buyer Kerville Holness was caught out when he paid a hefty sum for a 30-centimetre side strip of land that runs between two driveways and under a villa building. Holness forked out $US9,100 ($A13,226) for the property thinking it was a residence. This price in itself would make you question indeed what property you could actually buy for this meagre amount, but the American housing market has been on its knees so $US9,100 goes a lot further in the US than it does in Australia. What Holness actually bought was a piece of land nestled between two villas and valued at just $US50.

Online conveyancing firm Conveyancing.com says while property title searches in Australian jurisdictions such as Victoria can take place electronically, buyers and sellers should be cautious of carrying forward historical oversights where pieces of land such as car parks have been left off transactions.

Conveyancing.com delivers conveyancing services by a team of property law experts and highly recommends buyers protect themselves against the risks a piece of land or land right will be left off a deal by hiring conveyancing lawyers and instructing them to undertake title searches of historical records and instrument searches of past transfers.

Conveyancing.com Managing Director Jim Parke says conveyancing lawyers are committed to serving the best interests of a party and those at Conveyancing.com are backed by degree-based property law expertise which protects against risks such as orphaned land or land inclusion oversights.

“If a buyer seeks the help of a good conveyancing lawyer before settlement and then discovers key parcels of land have been left out of a property deal, the buyer has a chance to try and resolve the issue before settlement,” Mr Parke says.

“An example might be where only one of two car parks are included in a land buy or old lanes bought from councils are left off transactions.”

Conveyancing.com’s Mr Parke acknowledges oversights will become less common as more and more property is transferred electronically.

However, Mr Parke says a good conveyancing lawyer still has an important role to play in turning up historical oversights from older records.

“Whether acting for the buyer or seller, a good conveyancing lawyer should look at more than just the title plans a search provider can serve up,” Mr Parke says.

“A professional conveyancer can examine the map base for a land area and work out what land parcels abut it and examine whether other plans are referenced in the area, then find those too.

“The conveyancing lawyer’s goal should be to ensure no land parcels are forgotten, whether they are pieces of land, car parks or lanes.

“While it’s highly unlikely blocks with whole villas are left out of transactions, it’s still good to ensure everything that should be included can be part of the transaction so no client gets stung.”

About Conveyancing.com

Conveyancing.com understands the risks associated with land transfers and strives to make the risk management process simple and clear-cut for its clients.

The conveyancing lawyers understand property law which helps buyers avoid the risks of property transactions.

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