The Meaning Of ‘Time of the Essence’ in Conveyancing

One of the main things that you are bound to notice when going through the conveyancing process is the huge number of strange legal terms that abound. The conveyancing firm in Brisbane that you hire should be able to explain them to you, but it helps to have a bit of an idea before jumping on in. One term that you’re probably going to puzzle over is “time of the essence.”. What does in essence mean?

What Does It Mean?

Most real estate contracts in Australia include a term like this: “time shall be considered to be of the essence of contract.” Basically, this means that the time limits and deadlines that are outlined and specified in a contract must be adhered to very strictly. Failure to meet a deadline can result in the cancellation of a contract. There is no “wiggle room,” in other words, when it comes to these contracts.

Why Is It Used?

As any conveyancing solicitor in Gold Coast can tell you, time of the essence is used in real estate contracts in order to streamline the process and to make sure that is proceeds in an orderly manner. It is designed to protect buyers and sellers alike, since if one party fails to meet a deadline the whole contract can be rendered void. Although it may seem a bit harsh, it is really a tried and true bit of verbiage that ensures that the entire conveyancing process is conducted smoothly and seamlessly – and within a reasonable period of time.

Can It Be Extended?

Certain contract deadlines can be extended by the mutual agreement of the buyer and the seller during the conveyancing process. If and when this occurs, it is imperative to make sure that ample time is given for whatever situation that needs to be addressed. In order to get an extension, a request must be made in writing from one party to another. Simply asking them on the phone or just letting the deadline expire is not the right way to handle things at all, and can result in the termination of the contract.

Know Your Conveyancing Terms

While there’s no need to educate yourself about every last intricate detail of the conveyancing process, having a decent grasp of the basic terms and concepts is never a bad idea. By doing that, you can increase the odds of having a smooth, seamless experience. Also, it will make it much easier to discuss matters with your conveyancing solicitor, since you won’t have to ask him to explain every single term to you. As confusing as it may seem, a concept like time of the essence is actually a simple, cut and dry idea.

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Andrew Francey


Chief Operating Officer

Andrew has over two decades experience in high growth fast moving consumer goods, agribusiness and professional services. Supporting the Ownit team to deliver on client expectations, and implementing processes to scale the organisation, is a key focus for Andrew.

Andrew is a C-Suite leader with Chairman and Board experience.  He has formal qualifications in Business, Applied Finance and AICD Company Directors Course.

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