How to Choose the Right Conveyancer When Buying a House

Not all conveyancers are made equal, so it’s important to do your research and ask the right questions to find a conveyancer that’s going to help you when it comes to buying a house.

Choosing a good conveyancer can mean the difference between a smooth settlement and a nightmare home-buying experience. Not all conveyancers are made equal, so it’s important to do your research and ask the right questions to find a conveyancer that’s going to help you when it comes to buying a house. 

Here are a few tips for choosing a conveyancer.

What is a conveyancer?

A conveyancer, also known as a settlement agent in WA, is a licensed professional who specialises in the transfer of property ownership. Conveyancers are well-versed in all things to do with property law. They can help on either the buyer's or the seller’s side.  

A conveyancer will take care of a number of different tasks during the home-buying or selling process, including:

  • Preparing, verifying and submitting legal documents
  • Reviewing the contract of sale
  • Managing contract milestones
  • Conducting property searches
  • Calculating the adjustment of rates and taxes
  • Liaising on your behalf with the other parties involved
  • Representing you during settlement

When it comes to the specifics of conveyancing, the rules differ depending on which state or territory you live in and whether you’re the buyer or seller.

When to engage a conveyancer

As a buyer, it can be a good idea to find a conveyancer early on in the home-buying process, or at least before you put in an offer on a property, so you know you’ve got a conveyancer on call who can handle your purchase.

When it comes to selling your property, things work a little differently depending on where you live. For example, if you’re located in New South Wales, Victoria or Tasmania, it’s recommended that you engage a conveyancer before you even list your property for sale. In Queensland and Western Australia, things are a little more laid back and you don’t need to lock in a conveyancer until you accept a buyer’s offer.

How to choose a conveyancer

A good conveyancer doesn’t come cheap, but choosing the wrong one could end up costing you in the long run. Here are a few tips to help you find the right conveyancer to help you navigate the home-buying process.

Check their qualifications, licensing and experience

It’s essential to make sure that your conveyancer is qualified and licensed by the relevant state or territory authority. Check their credentials with these authorities to ensure they are legitimate.

Look for a conveyancer with experience in handling property transactions, especially in the specific area where you're buying the property. A seasoned conveyancer is likely to be more familiar with local regulations and potential issues.

Seek recommendations and reviews

There’s nothing quite like positive word of mouth to help you find the right conveyancer for the job, so it’s always worth asking around with family, friends or colleagues to see if they have any recommendations.

Don’t forget to check out online reviews and testimonials for more insights into the conveyancer's reputation and performance.

Ask plenty of questions

If this is your first time buying a property, chances are you’ve got a whole bunch of questions on your mind. A good conveyancer should be able to answer any questions you have and relay relevant information to you so you understand the process.

Not sure what kind of questions you should be asking a potential conveyancer? Here are a few to get you started:

  • How many years of experience do you have in conveyancing?Are you a member of theAustralian Institute of Conveyancers?
  • What are your fees, and how are they structured?
  • Can you provide a detailed estimate of the total cost of your services?
  • Can you outline the key steps involved in the process?
  • How often can I expect updates on the progress of my transaction?
  • Do you have experience with property transactions in this specific area?
  • What searches will you conduct as part of the due diligence process?
  • Do you have professional indemnity insurance, and what does it cover?

Asking these kinds of questions can give you a better understanding of the conveyancer's expertise, approach and the level of service they’re likely to provide. Buying a home is a huge milestone ,so it's important to feel confident in your choice of conveyancer.

Check their fee structure

Different conveyancers often charge different fees for their services. When you’re hunting around for a conveyancer, be sure to get quotes from multiple conveyancers and compare their fees. Often conveyancers will offer additional services, so it’s worth getting a breakdown of how much these extra services will cost.

You can read more about how much conveyancing costs here.

Observe how they communicate

Effective communication is essential for a smooth property transaction. Choose a conveyancer who is responsive, clear and communicative. They should be able to explain complex legal terms and processes in a way that you can understand.

It’s also worth considering how accessible they are. Can you easily reach them when needed? A conveyancer who is readily available and responsive to your inquiries is essential for a smooth process.Things can change quickly when buying a property so it’s important to know that your conveyancer is there when you need them.

Do they possess local knowledge?

Different states and territories operate under different property laws and regulations, so it’s essential that your conveyancer has a thorough understanding of local laws. Often, local conveyancers may be more familiar with the specific laws, regulations and potential issues related to property transactions in the area.

Sign a contract

Once you've picked your conveyancer, make sure to get a written agreement that details the services they’ll provide, the fees involved and any other relevant terms. This document is essential for clarifying expectations and protecting both parties.

When it comes to finding the right conveyancer to support you through the home-buying process, it’s important todo your research. The more time you spend getting to know potential conveyancers, the more likely you are to choose a competent and reliable conveyancer for the job.

Want to learn more about the home-buying process? Check out our collection of resources and articles to learn everything you need to know about buying a home.

This article is intended to provide general information only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Please consider seeking financial advice before making any decision based on this information.

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