property issues

What Can Go Wrong When Transferring a Property

Finding a property that fits your dream or investment needs is just one piece of the puzzle in the ownership process. A professional Conveyancing lawyer in Brisbane must do their part, and a legal property transfer (initiated through the signing of a contract) is necessary before you assume complete ownership.

property transfer

In a perfect world, this should be a straightforward process. But this is no utopia, and issues you didn’t anticipate could potentially slow down or even prevent the property transfer altogether.

Knowing what could go wrong beforehand is the key to avoiding frustrations and efficiently resolving the problem before it gets out of hand. So, what could go wrong during a property transfer? Read on to find out.

Common Property Transfer Problems to Anticipate

property transfer problems

From new buyers coming in with new offers to unresolved contract errors, here are 13 things that could go wrong during a property transfer:

A New Buyer Might Come into the Picture

A property may be sold subject to conditions. So, if a seller accepts your offer, the property is considered a pending sale, and they’re legally allowed to negotiate with other buyers for a backup offer.

While this often happens during the initial stages of the deal, it’s not uncommon for new buyers to come in with better offers once you’ve already begun the conveyancing process. What the seller may do next will depend on the terms of the contract. It is therefore important that a suitable contract be entered into upfront to remove any uncertainty should the Seller later receives a higher offer.

Human Errors

There’s always a chance for clerical and filing errors.

Unfortunately, these errors are expensive to remedy and could significantly slow property transfer. Some could even affect how much financing a lender allows you. For instance, if your name is not properly noted in a contract and this is not corrected, this may delay your finance approval.

Besides incorrect square footage, other common human errors you might find on a contract include:

  • Incorrect dates
  • Inaccurate property descriptions

Depending on the error in question, you may be able to easily correct any error. Your conveyancing lawyers in Brisbane can help determine which documents you should use to address the error. Also, note that these documents won’t replace the original contract, but they will ensure the registered transfer will be correct.

human errors

Unknown Encumbrances

Encumbrances in real estate are claims or limitations made against a property by a non-owner entity. These claims hinder a property’s transfer and may restrict its use until the issue is resolved. Undiscovered encumbrances that could potentially impede property transfer include:


Easements are a prevalent form of encumbrance. They may occur when a non-owning party is allowed the right to use or improve part of a property. For instance, a utility company may be allowed to run gas or electrical lines through the property you intend to buy, or neighbours might have the right of way through it. In other instances, easements limit the property owner from improving their property in specific ways. For example, if pedestrians have the right of way through the property, the land-owner cannot construct anything on that footpath.

Property liens

If the property owner had said an unpaid land tax debt, the government may be able to legally retain or register an interest in the property until their debt is repaid.

land tax debt


Encroachments occur when a non-owning party, for instance, a neighbour, builds something on the land of the property you intend to purchase.

It could be a minor encroachment, for instance, a fence or garden built on the property’s line, or a major encroachment, for example, the construction of a part of their house on the land or a balcony that overhangs the property.

Encroachments create encumbrances on the property you intend to purchase and the neighbour’s property. As a result, it may be the case that neither your seller nor the neighbour can transfer ownership until the issue is resolved.

Restrictive Covenants

A restrictive covenant, also known as a deed restriction, is an agreement written into the deed of a property dictating how the buyer can use it. For instance, if you’re buying property in an area where there is protected vegetation, you may be restricted in how you deal with the vegetation.

Deed restrictions are a disadvantage for the seller because they discourage buyers from purchasing the property. Thus, you should avoid properties with this form of encumbrance, especially if you intend to resale in future.

deed restriction

Invalid or improperly signed Transfers

Sometimes, the transfer of a property you were excited about purchasing can be prevented by an invalid or illegal transfer or a transfer that has not been properly executed. Transfers may be considered invalid or illegal if signed by, for example, a minor or may be considered not to be signed properly by an individual if not witnessed by a qualified witness.

These issues are not always apparent to an average Joe, so it’s paramount you hire expert conveyancing in Queensland to guide you through the property buying process.

Deed Forgery

Deed forgeries are common and occur when an individual impersonating the owner sells you a property or when the deed and documents used in the sale have been forged.

Have a conveyancing lawyer in Brisbane perform research before you commit to buying any property to avoid spending your hard-earned money on a property that may cause problems for you after settlement.

Deed Forgery

Property Owner dies before Settlement

If the property owner dies before settlement, this may cause complications for you. Seek the services of a conveyancing lawyer who can guide a buyer if difficult issues such as these arise.

Bankruptcy Issues

Suppose you are interested in a property whose owner, or spouse has filed for bankruptcy; again this may cause problems during the conveyancing process.  A conveyancing lawyer is best equipped to handle these types of issues.

Property Surveys May Uncover Unknown Issues

When you’re out to purchase a home, you may need to survey the property you intend to buy. The conveyancing lawyer might discover issues with the property that might challenge your ownership in future, for example, shared boundaries. They may also uncover problems that will impact your comfort in the long run.. If an issue is discovered, an experienced conveyancer will often offer an appropriate solution.

Property Ownership Transfers

Do Due Diligence on Property Ownership Transfers

Property transfers appear simple on the surface, but numerous problems could arise. Thankfully, all these problems are preventable if you do your due diligence on a property. It’s wiser to have a company offering conveyancing in QLD services perform research even before you contact the seller. This way, you’ll know whether to proceed with the process or search the market for other properties without issues.

If you are unsure about something regarding a property you intend to buy, don’t hesitate to call us at 1300 185 636 or drop a text through our contact form. Check out our Instant Quote page to learn more about our conveyancing Services in QLD and pricing.

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