What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the term for the legal and statutory processes required to effect the transfer of ownership of real estate from one person or entity to another.
The preparation, execution, verification and lodgement of numerous legal documents are important elements of conveyancing. Your conveyancer will clearly explain the meaning and importance of each document used in the conveyancing process. We encourage our members to use plain English, not complicated legal terms, to help you understand exactly what you are signing.
Drawing upon your instructions, your conveyancer will assist you to meet your legal obligations and protect your rights and interests.
Why do I need a conveyancer?
Expertise: Conveyancers are qualified professionals and have the expertise to handle the legal aspects of property transactions. They can review contracts, advise on your requirements and obligations, and ensure that all necessary documents are in order.
Smooth transactions: A conveyancer can help ensure that the transaction runs smoothly and that any potential issues or disputes are resolved quickly. They can also help to facilitate communication between parties, including the buyer, seller, real estate agent, and mortgage lender.
Peace of mind: Engaging a conveyancer can provide peace of mind that your property transaction is being handled correctly and in accordance with the law. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety associated with buying or selling property.
Cost-effective: While conveyancing fees may seem like an additional expense, engaging a conveyancer can actually save you money in the long run by identifying potential issues early on and avoiding costly mistakes.
What does a conveyancer do for you?
Whether buying or selling, you should be aware of anything affecting the property such as proposals by government departments, illegal building work, or outstanding rates and taxes. In order to obtain this information, your conveyancer will conduct the appropriate searches and inquiries on your behalf.
This is a list of some of the tasks a conveyancer will complete on your behalf. A conveyancer will:
- Verify your Identity
- Ask you to sign a client authorisation
- Search the Certificate of Title
- Search government departments and local authorities such as a local council
- Provide advice on the effect of the contract for the sale of land
- Prepare and certify legal documents
- Stamp required documents
- Calculate the adjustments of rates and taxes
- Prepare settlement statements
- Liaising with mortgagees and financiers
- Attend at settlement whether in person or electronically
- Store relevant documents
Some conveyancers also provide a range of services in relation to:
- Buying and selling commercial and industrial property
- Commercial and retail leases
- Contracts for the sale or purchase of a business
- Subdivisions and new titles
When should I consult a conveyancer?
You don’t need to wait until you are ready to sign a contract – it makes sense to select your conveyancer as soon as you decide to buy or sell a property. This is because there are many legal aspects to a property transaction that need to be considered, and a conveyancer can help ensure that everything is in order before you proceed. Purchasing or selling a property is probably the biggest financial transaction you will make during your life so it is important to get it right.
You should never sign anything before you’ve asked for your conveyancer’s advice. Your conveyancer will ensure you understand your rights and obligations and are fully aware of all likely fees and charges.
Here are some specific situations when you should talk to a conveyancer:
- Before making an offer: If you are buying a property, you should consider speaking with a conveyancer before making an offer. They can review the contract of sale and advise you on any legal obligations or requirements you need to be aware of.
- Before signing a contract: Once you have made an offer and the seller has accepted, you will need to sign a contract of sale. It’s important to have this contract reviewed by a conveyancer before you sign, as they can identify any potential issues or areas of concern.
- During the cooling-off period: In some states and territories, there is a cooling-off period after you sign the contract of sale. During this time, you can have the contract reviewed by a conveyancer and withdraw from the sale if necessary.
- During settlement: Settlement is the final stage of the property transaction, where ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer. A conveyancer can help ensure that all necessary legal documents are in order and that the transfer of ownership is completed smoothly.
Do I have to use the conveyancer the land agent suggests?
No, you don’t. Many real estate agents have local conveyancers to whom they refer work from properties they are selling. This is perfectly appropriate if based on the professionalism and expertise of the conveyancer and can be helpful if you don’t know of a conveyancer yourself.
The choice of a conveyancer is yours, not the agents.
Other things to consider when choosing a conveyancer
Qualifications: Check that the conveyancer is licensed and qualified to practice.
Experience: Look for a conveyancer with experience in the type of property transaction you are undertaking.
Fees: Ask for a quote for the conveyancing services and make sure you understand exactly what is included and if there are any potential additional costs.
Communication: Look for a conveyancer who communicates clearly and promptly.
Finally, ask if they are a member with AICSA and if they are an AICSA Certified Practising Conveyancer.
To assist in choosing a conveyancer to use our Find a Conveyancer Tool.
Can I use the same conveyancer as the other party?
The AICSA does not generally recommend this practice. However, it is legal for both parties to use the same conveyancer, under certain conditions stated in the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994 and it can often appear convenient to do so.