A conveyancer and a solicitor can both play a key role in the purchase or sale of a property. However, what they actually do may not always be readily apparent.
WHAT DOES A CONVEYANCER DO?
A conveyancer is a licensed professional who is in charge of making sure all legal requirements are met throughout the transaction which transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. Before the transaction is finalised - which is known as the settlement - conveyancers will handle all the documentation and paperwork associated with the transfer of ownership (including stamp duty), so that everything for the property is properly transferred from the seller to the buyer. This process includes completing searches for various documents related to the property, including a title and local authority search. In addition, the conveyancer can also help gather information required to assess the property's
risk of being negatively affected by natural disasters, structural issues and pests. This kind of research may be important for all parties involved.
WHAT DOES A SOLICITOR DO?
A solicitor plays a similar role to a conveyancer, helping you navigate the legal requirements of a property transaction. A solicitor, however, is someone who is licensed to practise law and will be well versed in the conveyancing process and property law specifically. Many solicitors can provide this service but it may be more expensive than if you use a licensed conveyancer. A solicitor may be necessary if you believe that the transaction could be more complicated. This is something you can think about when researching conveyancers initially and as you ask questions about the process if you believe your sale may be complicated.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A CONVEYANCER OR A SOLICITOR?
As with any other professional you hire to help you with something you may not be able to do on your own, a bit of due diligence will go a long way toward ensuring that you get the best possible service.
WHEN RESEARCHING WHO TO HIRE, YOU MAY WANT TO LOOK AT A FEW THINGS.
How long they have worked as a conveyancer or solicitor
Whether they specialise in conveyancing for the kind of property you're looking to purchase (for instance, some may focus on commercial property sales, while others mostly take on residential transactions)
What services they provide
What they will charge you for those services and what you can expect to pay as part of the sales process
Whether they tend to represent buyers, sellers or either
How they will be in touch with you as the transaction progresses
Whether they are members of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers, which requires members to adhere to various rules of conduct
Whether they are highly rated by others who have employed them in the past.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND A CONVEYANCER OR SOLICITOR?
There are many ways you may be able to connect with a great conveyancer or solicitor who will look out for your unique needs. The simplest can be to conduct a web search for one operating in your area. The Australian Institute of Conveyancers is a good resource, as it will have a list of members in your region. You can also ask for recommendations from anyone you know who has gone through a property sale in recent years or ask your real estate agent to make a recommendation.
While a conveyancer’s expertise is in conveyancing, a solicitor has broader knowledge of the law, and can advise on issues that fall outside of a regular conveyancing transaction
Conveyancers are generally cheaper than solicitors, and are equipped to guide you through straightforward purchases
A solicitor is able to handle more complicated sales that contain more risk
Do your research when looking to hire a conveyancer or solicitor to ensure you get the best possible service to suit your situation.