Things To Consider When Hiring A Conveyancer

Are you looking to buy or sell a property and in need of a conveyancer but not quite sure what it entails?

Many people are easily confused by all of the jargon and technical terms that are tossed around, making the process seem more daunting than it needs to be.

The selection of which conveyancer or a law firm will handle your transfer of property is something you should carefully consider. With so much on the line, you want to know that everything is addressed carefully and efficiently.

There are many things to consider when hiring a conveyancer. A basic understanding of what a conveyancer role includes is an important place to start. Without truly knowing the process, it can be hard to determine you are working with a person who has your best interests in mind. 

The Basics of Conveyancing 

Conveyancing is a necessary step in purchasing and/or selling a property. The transfer of any property Victoria goes through a number of steps in order for the transaction to be completed and ownership transferred. While many people use conveyancers, conveyancing lawyers are commonly used. 

What Is The Role Of The Conveyancer? 

A conveyancer is hired to complete the legal transfer of ownership of properties between different parties. A person seeking to sell their home can use a licensed conveyancer or go through a solicitor. They help to ensure a seamless sale without running the risk of paying for unnecessary additions or damages to the property. 

You should use a conveyancing solicitor when you plan to buy/sell property. They are also used when you subdivide land, register dealings on land, update titles or for adding or removing easements. Further, they will you with contracts of sale and the other documents prepared as part of the land transfer process. 

Can You Do Your Own Conveyancing? 

Individuals are no longer able to conduct most of their own conveyancing as it requires registration with an online property exchange network (PEXA) as well as with government departments such as the State Revenue Office. Companies offering DIY conveyancing kits online do exist, however these are not suitable for most property sales and purchases in Victoria. In addition to the training undertaken by licenced conveyancers, the insurance that licenced conveyancers and property lawyers hold adds protection for you in the event that something is missed or incorrectly completed. People representing themselves will have sole liability if something goes wrong. 

How Long Does The Process Take? 

The time that conveyancing takes will vary depending on the sale, as some sales are more complex than others. For a simple sale of a property, you can normally expect it to take 30-days between the date of the contract of sale. If your purchase is subject to finance, 60 day settlements are common for the bank to complete mortgage documents. 

The conveyancing process takes time, as it involves sourcing all documents required for settlement, third party certificates and arranging funding for settlement. Because it is heavily dependant on third-party input, the process can be delayed if third parties such as banks take longer than expected.  

The Technical Considerations Of Hiring A Conveyancer 

While conveyancing may sound like a simple process, it can be pretty lengthy and complicated. Conveyancing work can generally be split into three stages: pre-contract, the pre-settlement and the post-settlement stages. Each stage requires official documents to be prepared to ensure the property can be sold and all legal requirements met. These are some of the expected tasks that will be worked on during that time.

Section 32 Statement

Section 32 Statements, sometimes known as a vendor statement, is a mandatory document that discloses information about the property being sold. Required under section 32 of the Sale of Land Act, a vendor is required to have one prepared for interested purchasers. Before contracts can be signed, this information needs to be compiled into a section 32 statement. 

A vendor’s statement includes information on easements or restrictions on the land, as well as building envelopes, covenants and zoning certificates. They may include certificates from local council and other authorities – giving information about rates and charges payable on the land.

Consider working with a conveyancer who is experienced in preparing section 32 statements as it can be a costly mistake if anything is missed. Generally, lawyers will have worked on more complex transactions and have more legal knowledge in this area.

Contract Of Sale

The contract of sale is the legally binding agreement between parties for the sale of a property. Each party normally has their own conveyancer to create and negotiate the contract prior to a binding agreement for the sale of the property being executed. Property details, settlement schedule, inclusions and exclusions are all included in the contract, in addition to payment requirements such as deposit amounts. 

You should discuss the contract with your property lawyer or conveyancer before signing to ensure it is well drafted and any special conditions properly documented. Your real estate agent may offer to complete the contract or explain any provisions or details in the section 32 statement. Consider seeking trained advice early though from your lawyer or conveyancer to avoid costly mistakes.

Lender Arrangements

In preparation for settlement, your conveyancer will ascertain what funds are being provided by your incoming bank at settlement and what funds your outgoing bank is needing repaid. 

Your conveyancer will work with the banks to ensure that everything is ready for the settlement date.

Transfer Of Titles

On the settlement day, the title transfer will take place electronically through property exchange networks such as PEXA. However you will still need to comply with the process under the Transfer of Land Act. A trained conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor will be able to guide you through this process – ensuring all stamp duty and other fees are paid so that the names on the title of the property are officially changed. 

Should You Go With a Conveyancer or Conveyancing Law Firm? 

Both a conveyancer and a lawyer will complete many of the same tasks when it comes to the paperwork side of the transaction. The main difference between the two is the level of education and experience to guide you through the process. A solicitor must undertake a university degree and have extensive knowledge of property law, whereas conveyancers only need 12 months study or practical experience and often are better suited to helping with simple transfers. 

What Does A Conveyancing Solicitor Cover That A Standard Conveyancer Doesn’t? 

There are a few distinct differences. The main additions a lawyer offers include: 

  • Extensive knowledge of conveyancing law
  • Ease of managing difficult transactions
  • Handling disputes 

Furthermore, a lawyer will be able to assist with other legal matters that should be considered that follow buying or selling a home. Arrangements around your wills (estate planning or succession planning) may need to be revisited. A conveyancer does not have the ability to advise on these documents but a lawyer can. A lawyer can also hold all legal documents and store them as long as needed, making it easier to sell your property if you decide to sell again in future.

Consider Cost

One of the final things to consider is the cost. Lawyers will typically be more expensive than a stand-alone conveyancer. This is because lawyers have more experience in legal matters. If you just engage in a simple sale, you can save money by going with a conveyancer. 

For more complex transactions, you are better off to go with a lawyer. If something is missed or overlooked, it can be very costly or impossible to go back and correct mistakes at a later point, especially when it comes to the Vendor’s Statement and renegotiating the contract of sale. 

Finding The Right Conveyancing Lawyers To Work With

If you decide to move forward with a conveyancer or lawyer, start by looking for one within your state. Each state has their own different set of laws so, if you’re buying from out of state, it’s important to go with someone local where the property is being sold or purchased. Knowledge of the area is extremely helpful – as a lawyer who knows the land conditions can make you aware of issues you may not have considered.

Finally, go with someone who is trusted, registered, qualified and has referrals. Work with someone who has been in the industry for years, as they will have worked with many unusual and complex transactions, meaning they’ll be able to pick up any issues or concerns early on. 

As a firm that has helped clients across Gippsland – from Warragul to Wonthaggi, Drouin to Morwell, Traralgon or Sale, we are well positioned to help clients in buying or selling their land.  

Learn more about our conveyancing services for Gippsland and surrounding areas, or contact us if you’d like help with conveyancing for buying or selling your home

More Posts

Thinking Of Subdividing Your Land? 

Many people once considered subdivision a term only used by land developers but today, many local families are considering subdividing their land parcels. Are you

Connect with the Pathfinder Law Team