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What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person or entity to another. This happens in a property sale, a transfer between related parties and family law property settlements. Where there is a contract in place the conveyancing process includes administering a contract to make sure the legal requirements are satisfied and the transfer of ownership is successful.  

What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancer acts for their client to arrange, manage and advise their client throughout the conveyancing process when they buy, sell or transfer a property. They manage all transactional aspects and ensure a smooth and final settlement of the property.  

A conveyancer will also ensure that their client is complying with the contract for their sale or purchase and make sure their rights under the contract are protected. There are many tasks and requirements in property transactions and your conveyancer acts in your interests to get all the requirements satisfied so ownership can change hands. 

How much is conveyancing?

Conveyancing usually costs from $999.00 plus disbursements (ie., out of pocket expenses) and above depending on the specific requirements of the client. The service quality and legal expertise of the conveyancer will also determine price.  

You will usually pay a flat fee for the conveyancers work plus additional out of pocket costs such as disbursements. Disbursements are certificates for rates and property searches so that the adjustments can be done at settlement.  

Commonly any work that is needed outside the standard conveyancing process may be an additional charge as well. Some higher skilled conveyancing lawyers will charge more for their service as they offer different services than just a licenced conveyancer. 

Beware and understand that conveyancers can only advise you on conveyancing and not any other legal matters or disputes that may arise. The lines can become blurry in some conveyancing transactions in complicated issues. Conveyancers are not qualified to offer legal advice and if you do take their advice there is no professional liability insurance to cover you. 

Do I need a conveyancer before making an offer?

If you are considering making an offer you should get legal advice on the Contract of Sale from a qualified conveyancing solicitor before you sign it. It is the wisest option, as the old saying “buyer beware” applies here! Also, the Contract of Sale and (Section 32) can contain vital information that impacts the value of the property. If you do miss important information that is disclosed, you can be at a disadvantage.  

We always recommend clients to get advice. We see many issues that become expensive and stressful for clients simply because they didn’t get contract advice. 

Do I need a conveyancer for a remortgage?

Mostly banks will handle the remortgage process. However, some people may need a conveyancer to assist with a remortgage or refinance. If there is a private lender or other considerations we can assist.

Why do I need a conveyancer?

Conveyancers act for you as the client and ensure you are protected and understand your obligations under the Contract. Most people don’t know what a conveyancer does and what the steps are for conveyancing. There are some transactional elements, but also legal aspects as you have entered into a Contract. If you don’t comply with all the contractual obligations you can lose out financially. With electronic conveyancing you are required to be registered with the various platforms. Access to these platforms is not available to the general public.

Do I need a conveyancer to sell a house?

You will need a conveyancer to help you sell your house. A conveyancer will prepare a contract of sale (and section 32). They will communicate with the other side and your bank and make settlement arrangements and check the settlement figures. Settlement is typically online and your conveyancer will make sure that the appropriate documents are lodged and the transfer of ownership to the buyer is registered and the right funds are paid to you and the rating authorities (council & water rates, land tax etc).

How much does conveyancing cost in Victoria?

The cost of Conveyancing in Victoria can range from $999.00 to thousands of dollars depending on the property and what is required. If there is an issue or if there are changes required to the transaction or any legal documents, you can be charged more. Most conveyancers have a similar pricing structure. 

Additional items can be for finance extensions, settlement date changes, nomination of other parties, preparing licence agreements etc. Although some of these examples are not typical, they can arise. It is important to allow for additional funds if you are buying or selling a house. Not all settlements go through on the day scheduled for settlement and there can be additional monies required for payment of penalty interest and legal costs for failing to settle on time.  

How to choose a good conveyancing solicitor?

Choosing a good conveyancing solicitor can be difficult. Asking how long they have been around or what is their experience will help you gauge their expertise. They also need to be able to negotiate on your behalf and be well organised. It is important to check that they have a good team that they are a part of so that there is support for you if they are not available. Check their reviews and talk to them – do you like them? Are they helpful?  

Picking the cheapest conveyancing quote won’t always be the best service. Conveyancing can become complex quickly and requires some legal knowledge and tact to quickly resolve an issue. Things can escalate quickly so it helps to get the right advice and engage a value for money conveyancing service. 

Is a solicitor and conveyancer the same thing?

A solicitor and conveyancer are NOT the same thing. A solicitor can do conveyancing and a conveyancer is restricted to ONLY doing conveyancing. A conveyancer cannot provide you with additional legal advice or assistance. If a problem arises you will need to obtain advice from a solicitor. So, for many people hiring a solicitor that does conveyancing instead of a conveyancer is the best approach and provides the best value for money. They are often similar in pricing and can quickly advise you if something comes up. 

Are conveyancers lawyers?

No, conveyancers can only do conveyancing. They do not have the skills or training or experience in other areas of property law etc. Their professional indemnity insurance will not cover any advice they give you beyond what they are covered for, so be careful to get an opinion from a property lawyer and not a conveyancer. They are also not allowed to prepare legal documents outside their scope of cover, such as contracts of sale and section 32s. 

How to find a good conveyancer?

If you are looking to find a good conveyancer you should be speaking to them and asking them about their skills. After talking to someone you will generally have a better idea about their skills set and whether you will like dealing with them. You should also check the firm and team and who supports that person. This is important if they are not available or you may end up dealing with someone else. 

What conveyancing solicitors do?

Conveyancing solicitors help you through buying and selling. They act according to the Contract of Sale and ensure that you are protected and understand your rights and obligations under the contract. The contract states settlement dates and times and a whole host of other general and often special conditions.  

Conveyancing solicitors make all the arrangements so that the buyer can take possession of the property and be registered as the new owner on title. This sounds simple but there are many steps in the process and negotiation and coordination between parties that takes place. A good conveyancer will also ensure that you understand the process and will be transparent with you about what is happening along the way. They will give you helpful options and explain the risks etc. 

When to engage a conveyancer?

It is best to talk to a conveyancer asap. Once you have decided on who you are using a conveyancer can be helpful to ask questions throughout the offer and sale process prior to signing a contract. It is important to get advice on the Contract of Sale and understand any should be done before signing a contract.

Does my conveyancer need to be local?

Your conveyancer does not need to be local. Many conveyancing clients are interstate and even overseas so most never meet their conveyancer in person. It is more important to get a reputable and experienced conveyancer than a local conveyancer. Most conveyancing is online and most conveyancers don’t meet their clients. Read more here.

Can I change my conveyancer?

Yes, you can change your conveyancer. You will have to pay for their services and disbursements that you owe them and you can request your file be handed over to another conveyancer or lawyer. This can be done if your conveyancer is not servicing you properly or you are concerned about the advice. If a conflict arises or you require further legal advice beyond the capability of your conveyancer seek advice from a conveyancing lawyer quickly.

Time is of the essence and you need to respond quickly in most cases to protect your position. 

How fast can conveyancing be done?

Conveyancing can be done relatively quickly and typically the one issue that delays the process of conveyancing is finance. If both parties are paying cash and don’t need a lender then it can be done in a very short time frame. The fastest settlements are typically 30 days, however we would NOT recommend this if you are financing the purchase through a lender.  

Lenders will typically require more time than less. 30 days generally leaves no room for error or unexpected delays. If you have a broker or a banker speak to them about how quickly the lender can process your loan application.  

The broker or lender will know if the mortgage department is busy or it is a quieter time. Christmas, Easter and Public Holidays are very busy times to settle – so make sure you allow for additional time if you are buying or selling around these times of the year. 

Can a buyer and seller use the same conveyancer?

Yes, they can for many transactions, however it is not recommended. Additional forms are required so that both parties are aware and consent to the conveyancer acting for both parties. The risk generally to the buyer or seller is if a dispute arises the conveyancer must cease to act for both parties. Also, any advice to you may be contrary to the interests of the other party, resulting in a direct conflict of interest. This means both the buyer and seller must get a new conveyancer and this could cause delays and other issues.