Conveyancing is the legal process of preparing and organising the required documents involved in the transfer of property from one person to another. The conveyance of a property is undertaken by both those who are selling and those who are buying property, and is conducted by a conveyancer, solicitor, or the individual buying or selling their property, although as we’ll come to discuss, the latter option is one that you’ll likely choose to avoid.
What Tasks Will a Conveyancer Complete?
A conveyancer will act on behalf of both the buyer an seller. Their primary functions are as follows.
For the Buyer:
- Ensures that the bank receives and correctly processes all property details, and they’ll arrange for funds to make their way to the seller.
- Sourcing the Certificate of Title (the land ownership history). This includes identifying the type of title and any easements (the ability to use land for a particular purpose) on the property. They will review the Contract of Sale and make suggestions for any inclusions or exclusions that they recommend be made.
- Researches the property and ensures all necessary information is included in the documents.
- In many cases they will organise a property, pest and/or pool compliance inspection.
- Liaising with government and local councils. This can be inquiring about any future planned land develop on the property you intend to purchase.
- They will search for outstanding Council Rates or water bills.
- Makes the appropriate appointment to settle the loan, and attends the meeting on your behalf.
For the Seller:
- Prepares legal documents like Contract of Sale and Vendor’s Statement.
- Ensures the seller has met all disclosure obligations.
- Co-ordinate the day of settlement with the buyer’s conveyancer, and attend the settlement.
- Direct the real-estate agent to hand over the keys to the buyer after the settlement.
There may be other duties performed by the conveyancer you select, and we can direct you to a partner that provides an excellent service.
The Cost of a Conveyancer
The NSW Government reports that the cost of a conveyancer, excluding third-party fees, can range between $700-2,500, although you’ll more typically pay between $700 and $1000. Solicitors tend to attract a higher fee.
On top of this fee, you will be required to pay for disbursements. These are fees that have been paid on your behalf by the conveyancer that you will need to reimburse. Common disbursements include:
- Certificate of Title search
- Mortgage registration
- Registering the property transfer
- Inspection fees (these can include general building or pest inspections).
Conveyancers may charge a fee for every procedure they conduct. According to the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (NSW Division) , the approximate fees charged for some actions include:
- Title search ($20-$100).
- Local Council S 149D Certificate ($53-$133).
- Sydney Water ($25).
- Land Tax ($20-25).
- Local Council Rates enquiry ($65).
- Drainage diagram ($25).
- Transgrid (electricity and power stations) ($20-30).
Additional fees tend to increase the total cost of conveyancing to around $1500.
Difference Between Conveyancer and a Solicitor
Licensed conveyancers study for two years and are registered with the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC), and they specialise in conveyancing work. However, this doesn’t apply to conveyancing in Queensland (QLD) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) since AIC isn’t approved by the government in these states.
Solicitors have undergone a Law degree in which they will study conveyancing, so they’re licenced and appropriately qualified to provide legal advice, while a Conveyancer is not. This may provide useful for complex transactions or where legal advice may be required.
The choice to use a conveyancer or solicitor is yours and should be made on the basis of the complexity of the loan – not cost. A good conveyancer will minimise disruptions during your application process and further stress-free operation. Again, we have conveyancers we can recommend.
You can do your own conveyancing. However, the paperwork is rather complex and if you’ve never undertaken the process before you’ll likely make errors. Even a small error can hold up the settlement of your property for a significant period of time.
Questions to Ask a Conveyancer
Mortgage brokers are not created equal, and neither are conveyancers. You will want to ask your conveyancer the following minimum set of questions:
- Are you a solicitor or conveyancer, and are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
- What are your fees and what services are included in those fees? Will you arrange pest and building inspections? Are there any other costs or ‘hidden’ fees? What will be the total cost of disbursements? What government fees and charges will apply? What is the final figure to be paid for all services and fees?
- How long will settlement take?