Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring ownership of a property. Whether you’re buying or selling a property this is completed by either a Conveyancer or a Solicitor.
These experts handle all the legal aspects of buying or selling a property for you. Good ones will keep you updated regularly and support you in what can sometimes be a stressful process.
The first question you might be asked when you put in an offer on a property is the name and contact details of your preferred Solicitor or licensed Conveyancer.
A typical conveyancing transaction generally consists of three stages:
In this article we will answer:
- What do Solicitors and licensed Conveyancers do?
- Is this why there is a difference in their fees?
- When should I hire a Conveyancer or Solicitor?
- How do I make sure I choose someone suitable?
- Questions to help you choose a prospective Conveyancer or Solicitor
What do Solicitors and licensed Conveyancers do?
Conveyancers have detailed knowledge in one area of law; property law. Solicitors have detailed knowledge about property law, but they also have a broader knowledge of the law in general.
This means that a Solicitor can advise their client not only on all aspects of a conveyance, but also on issues that might relate to the conveyance such as the tax implications of a property transaction, or how the sale of a house might impact their client’s divorce proceedings.
This difference in knowledge and experience is what commonly creates a price difference between Conveyancers and Solicitors.
Is this why there is a difference in their fees?
The main reason people hire a Conveyancer over a Solicitor is because they are often the cheaper option. Conveyancers can usually be hired for around $500-$600 plus disbursements, whereas a Solicitor may charge $1,000-$1,100 plus disbursements.
Disbursements are generally outgoings and incidentals to cover certain processes that the Conveyancer/Solicitor will have paid for on your behalf and may include various searches related to title, land tax, planning, council and water rates.
Hiring a Conveyancer may be more suitable when the property value is low, the budget is tight or the transaction simple and straightforward. Don’t forget that Conveyancers often have to take on a lot of clients in order to offer a lower price and make a profit. So, you may not get the same level of service that you would from a Solicitor.
When should I hire a Conveyancer or Solicitor?
Whether you choose to hire a Conveyancer or a Solicitor, it’s important to hire them at the outset of your transaction.
If you’re selling your property, you need to hire someone when you’ve decided to sell as it can take some time to draft the Contract of Sale and prepare the Vendor’s Statement.
If you’re buying a property, hiring someone before you sign any paperwork is always preferable.
Before bidding or making an offer to buy a house it’s advisable that your Conveyancer or Solicitor reviews the Contract of Sale so they can point out any intricacies about the property and negotiate on your behalf for contract terms that would be favourable to you.
How do I make sure I choose someone suitable?
Just as you would interview prospective Real Estate Agents, you should sit down and talk to multiple Conveyancers and Solicitors before selecting one to oversee your settlement process.
A good place to start is by asking your friends and family if they can recommend a good Conveyancer or Solicitor. If nothing comes from this, do some online research and ask for recommendations from your Real Estate Agent, Accountant and Lawyer.
Give them a call and ask a few questions to find one that meets your needs. Some Conveyancers and Solicitors specialise in different types of real estate, which should help narrow your search.
Questions to help you choose a prospective Conveyancer or Solicitor:
- Are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
- What types of property do you specialise in?
- How much will their fees and charges cost?
- What will I have to pay at settlement?
- What government fees and charges will I need to pay?
- How will you communicate with me and how often?
- How long will everything take on settlement day? (This is important if you are arranging movers and other parties)
Remember, your Conveyancer or Solicitor plays an important role in the purchase of your property, so be sure to choose someone you feel comfortable with and remember, cheapest isn’t necessarily best.
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