When It Comes to Conveyancing, Best Use a Professional

conveyancingWhen buying a property, a conveyancer is, without doubt, the most important professional you are going to hire. Even when selling, your conveyancer is the second most important professional in the process after your real estate agent. Conveyancing literally means the process of transferring property from one owner to another, be it a home, land or investment property. It involves gathering and completing a number of legal documents that relate to the title, zoning, easement and the sales contract.

But Can’t You Do it Yourself?

Sure, there are kits available that take you through the conveyancing process — just as there are DIY will and testament kits. However, the conveyancing process is complicated due to a number of state and local laws and regulations that govern conveyancing in Australia. If you make a mistake or something is missing from sales contract, it has the potential to seriously hamper or even delay the sale, costing you time and money as you seek to rectify the issue as quickly as possible. Often any potential savings simply aren’t worth the risk.

Conveyancer or Solicitor?

Both a conveyancer and a conveyancing solicitor are qualified, licensed professionals capable of providing the same conveyancing services. However, unlike a conveyancer, conveyancing solicitors have a law degree so usually also practice other areas of the law. Therefore in complex real estate cases, it may be better to hire a conveyancing solicitor. However, for the majority of real estate sales, vendors choose to hire a conveyancer.

What Does a Conveyancer Do?

Your conveyancer will look after most of the legal aspects of the sale, which includes preparing the contract of sale and transferring the title, as well as many other things too, such as:

When buying:

  • Prepare, clarify and lodge legal documents — e.g. contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
  • Research the property and its certificate of title — check for easements, type of title and any other information that needs addressing
  • Put the deposit money in a trust account
  • Calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes
  • Settle the property — act on your behalf, advise you when the property is settled, contact your bank or financial institution on when final payments are being made
  • Represent your interest with a vendor or their agent

When selling:

  • Prepare, clarify and lodge legal documents — e.g. contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
  • Prepare documents relating to the title, easements, zoning, etc
  • Settle the property — act on your behalf, advice when the property is settled, etc
  • Represent your you and respond to requests from the buyer or their conveyancer — requests to change settlement, questions about the title, etc.

Many people think you only need to hire a conveyancer when you’re buying, however it’s a good idea to also use a conveyancer when you’re selling — and the sooner, the better. Ideally you should look to appoint a conveyancer soon after you have appointed a sales agent, as you’ll need them to draw up the contract of sale.

Finding a Conveyancer

The process for finding a conveyancer is not dissimilar to the one for finding the right real estate agent. Do your research, ask around with friends, family and neighbours to see who they used and who they recommend. You can also ask your sales agent, who may know of some well-regarded conveyancers in your local area.  

It’s a good idea to speak with a couple of conveyancers rather than hiring the first one you call. Some conveyancers specialise in different areas of real estate — for instance, apartments, cross leases, subdivisions, and so on — so it’s a good idea to ask them a few questions before hiring them. Make sure you also find out the following:

  • Are they a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
  • What types of property do they specialise in?
  • What will it cost — what fees will be paid at settlement, are there any hidden costs?
  • How will they communicate with you and how often – email, telephone, etc?
  • What time frame will you be looking at on settlement day (this is important for organising movers)?

You conveyancer plays a key role in what happens on settlement day and, especially, how smoothly it runs. Settlement is the very final — yet crucial — stage in the sales process, in which a sales agent has very little involvement. I can’t stress enough just how important it is that you hire a conveyancer you feel comfortable with, and with whom you can place your trust.

Find out more about what a conveyancer does and the costs involved, or for more information generally about selling property in Australia, subscribe to receive access to our free guide called, Selling Your Property: What You Really Need to Know. Alternatively, for more property news, insights and analysis, continue reading our blog.

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Our educational blogs are designed to help you understand each of the steps involved in selling your property so whether you choose to work with a real estate agent or do it yourself you'll understand the work involved and be more efficient and aware of what you need to do. Our articles have been seen in these major online news and information portals..

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