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Selling NZ property from abroad (overseas)

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  • Selling NZ property from abroad (overseas)

    Is it possible to complete a residential property sale from overseas, and if so what are the steps?
    I may be wrong, but I heard that the only signature required is the one for the Sale and Purchase agreement, after which the solicitor can conduct the rest of the business through to mortgage discharge and receiving funds into my bank account.
    I understand that the signature can be acquired by way of scan->email-to-me, sign->scan->email-to-solicitor.
    Is that right?
    My concerns are that it sounds suspiciously open to abuse or fraud. At which point is proof (or [vendor] identity) required? Theoretically, what is the recourse of the buyer if this turns out to be a fraud (owner identity usurped and money transferred to scam account)?

    (if you are a lawyer, the other questions are just musings, my real concern is only about whether I have the process right - "one signature to complete sale")

  • #2
    in the past i have had to travel to the nearest nz embassy/consulate to have my signature and passport verified by a nz gov approved JP? for both sales and purchases and then courier the docs to the nz lawyer

    the lawyer handling the electronic title transfer needs to be 100% sure that the seller and buyer are who they say they are, if they are found to have messed up i think they can be dis-barred
    have you defeated them?
    your demons


    • #3
      I think if you already had a NZ lawyer who knew you, it would be reasonably simple, and like you say could be done with scanning docs via email.

      We sold our properties in the UK from here. We would have had to get on a plane each time to sign the docs in front of a solicitor if we hadn't still had one in the UK who knew us. We still had to sign original docs (solicitor emailed them, we printed & signed & posted them back) but I think that's a UK thing & wouldn't apply here. Eri's thing about signing at the embassy would have stopped us having to actually go to the UK if we hadn't known a solicitor though. I'm guessing from your question that you don't have one here?


      • #4
        Thanks eri and ream for the experience; I am still not sure though how this would work in NZ.

        eri - If I read correctly, the main concern you raise is that the solicitor needs to cover his back, and therefore reading between the lines, I take it he will bear a significant portion of any remedy against fraud? Need to check up on "nz approved JP".. not sure how high the standards are. There is no NZ embassy in the country in question.

        ream - I was afraid of actually having to courier documents to and fro. Hopefully, someone [of legal standing] will bear good news that it isn't so.


        • #5
          I think it still comes back to having somebody (solicitor) able to vouch for you being who you say you are, and knowing that you therefore have authority to make the sale. Then AFAIK with the NZ system it can be done with scans & email.

          Yes, it was a bit scary having to post/courier the docs back, especially given the timescales involved sometimes.


          • #6
            how it's done

            This is a good site - http<colon-slash-slash>www.propertytransfer.co.nz<slash>buying.php
            Basically, you need to sign twice - once on the sale and purchase agreement, and for the authority for the solicitor or conveyancing agent to conduct e-transfer of the property. The e-dealing replaces what would in the old days have been the Memorandum of Transfer.


            • #7
              And don't forget this bit, which is how they get round what we've been talking about...

              If you are not known to us we are required to obtain proof of your identity prior to settlement. We will arrange for a Justice of the Peace in your area to meet with you and record evidence (your photo drivers licence or similar) of your identity.


              • #8
                I spoke to my lawyer about this when I was in there organising power of attorneys for when I'm away. He said he verifies my identity 2 ways, say email + a phone call. They obviously get a bit of it.