How to Find the Right Conveyancer or Solicitor
Are you confused about whether to hire a conveyancer or solicitor to facilitate your property purchase?
You are not alone!
Many home buyers feel confused between hiring the two professionals who seem to offer very similar services. In this article, we help you make an educated choice by discussing the role of both in a property transaction.
Let’s Start by Understanding What Conveyancing Is.
In simple terms, conveyancing refers to the process of transferring ownership of a property. It involves two major steps – first, the exchange of contracts, and second, the completion or settlement.
A conveyancer acts on your behalf to organise the transfer of title from the seller to you. Their duties include conducting title searches to ensure there are no encumbrances on the property; arranging and checking the contract of sale and other mortgage documents; completing all legal documents and calculating the applicable taxes and council rates; and liaising with the lender’s legal team to ensure smooth disbursement of funds on the settlement date.
Essentially, both, a conveyancer or a solicitor could complete the conveyancing duties for your purchase. However, a solicitor can offer a broader range of services as compared to a conveyancer.
The reason is that conveyancers are generally experts in a single area of law, which is property law. Solicitors, however, not only know about property law but also other aspects of law in general. Therefore, a solicitor can help you not only with conveyancing but also other issues such as taxation or any other implications related to family law or some other ongoing legal matter.
So How Do You Decide Which Professional To Hire?
Well, your choice would primarily depend upon your budget and the nature of your transaction.
The services of a conveyancer are often cheaper than that of a solicitor. In most states, you can hire a conveyancer for approximately $1,200 plus disbursements. A solicitor would often charge double this.
In case the value of your property is low, and you have a strict budget, hiring a conveyancer could be the right choice for you. However, if your transaction is complex, a solicitor is the right person to hire to deal with any eventualities that may arise in the course of the sale.
For example, if you are buying off the plan or buying a property under a trust structure by setting up a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund, availing the services of a solicitor could help you structure your loan correctly, preventing any hassles in the future. You could also choose a conveyancer if you like but it is likely that your conveyancer would send you off to a solicitor if any complications arise – and you’d end up shelling much more from your pocket than you bargained for!
For clarity, a solicitor can perform the discrete tasks of a conveyancer in the property transaction however a conveyancer is not legal trained to perform all the task of a solicitor.
As you may be aware, there is no legal requirement to engage the services of a conveyancer or solicitor for the settlement of your property purchase. As a homebuyer, you may choose to forego the cost of hiring a professional and use a DIY conveyancing kit instead. This option is fine if your transaction is straightforward – however, if things go south, remember you won’t have the experience or knowledge to deal with the issue on your own.
Besides, the procedure of conveyancing may be time-consuming and tedious for first home buyers who are not familiar with property law. Therefore, it is always wise to hire the services of a specialist, to save time and hassle, especially if you are not well-versed with the process of conveyancing.
When selecting a conveyancer or solicitor to assist you, do ask them to produce their license and confirm their industry associations as proof of their experience and qualifications. You can even ask your mortgage broker for suggestions to hire a team of experts to help you.
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By Vidhu Bajaj,
HashChing Content Writer