What Is Conveyancing and How Much Are Conveyancing Fees?

Everything you need to know about conveyancing, what it involves and how much it costs.

From reviewing legal documents to calculating adjustments, a conveyancer can help you to navigate the home buying journey. Here’s everything you need to know about what conveyancers do and how much their fees are.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of a property from one person or entity to another.

The conveyancing process usually involves three key stages:

  1. Pre-contract: During this stage, the conveyancer prepares all relevant documents for the transfer of ownership, including a contract of sale
  2. Pre-completion: Before the sale goes through, the conveyancer will check the property’s title and make sure there are no red flags, and
  3. Post-completion: The conveyancer will make sure that the sale goes through smoothly before they wrap things up.

Buying and selling property involves preparing, verifying, and lodging all sorts of legal documents, as well as getting everything for settlement. As you can imagine, this process involves a lot of legalities, so it’s essential you have a thorough understanding of the relevant laws and regulations. That’s where a conveyancer comes in.

A conveyancer is a licensed professional that specialises in property law that covers the buying and selling of property. Some conveyancers may even have a law degree or practice as a solicitor. Regardless, your conveyancer should be qualified and have a thorough understanding of property law as well as the relevant laws and regulations in your state or territory.

What do conveyancers do?

Conveyancers can help on the buyer’s or seller’s side. Essentially, they’re there to make sure everything goes to plan come settlement. That includes providing legal advice, preparing documents, and calculating the adjustments for settlement.

Here are some of the different tasks your conveyancer will take care of during the buying or selling process.

Preparing, verifying, and submitting legal documents

Conveyancers prepare legal documents, including the contract of sale, disclosure statements and property certificates, to comply with the relevant legal requirements.

Review contract of sale

Your conveyancer can review your contract before you sign on the dotted line. They’ll explain any important terms and conditions listed and they can also draft any special conditions at your request.

Manage contract milestones

Most contracts for the sale of property will include several different key dates or milestones. This often includes due dates for deposits, building and pest inspections and finance approval.

If the buyer or seller doesn’t meet their obligations by the milestone dates, a conveyancer can liaise with the other party’s legal representatives to negotiate the best possible outcome on their client's behalf.

A conveyancer will offer legal counsel and assistance at each contract milestone so that you’re fully aware of your rights and responsibilities throughout the entire conveyancing process.

Conduct property searches

Buying a property is a huge investment, so the last thing you want is to find out about any nasty surprises after the sale is all done and dusted. A conveyancer can complete a number of different searches on a property to make sure everything’s in order. If they come across anything unusual, they can provide you with guidance and advice on what to do next.

Calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes

Before settlement takes place, your conveyancer will prepare a settlement statement that details all the costs, including the balance purchase price, conveyancing fees, real estate agent’s commission, registration fees and stamp duty.

Your conveyancer will also calculate adjustments to rates, water, and electricity so they’re fairly divided between the buyer and the seller. They’ll work with the other party’s conveyancer to make sure everyone’s happy with the final figures so the sale can proceed.

Represent you for settlement

Your conveyancer will act on your behalf on settlement day along with the other party’s conveyancer and any other banks or lenders involved.

These days, most settlements take place electronically rather than in person. Either way, your conveyancer will oversee the settlement process and do what they can to ensure the transfer of ownership goes smoothly.

How much does conveyancing cost?

So, how much are conveyancing fees? Conveyancing fees tend to differ by state and territory and based on the individual conveyancer or practice. With that said, they can set you back anywhere from $500 to $2,500. The fees reflect the complexity of the sale and depend on what other services and searches the conveyancer completes. It’s usually a good idea to set aside a bit of cash for conveyancing fees in your home-buying budget.

How to choose a conveyancer

When it comes to finding a good conveyancer, it’s worth doing a bit of research to make sure they’re up to scratch.

One of the best ways to find a quality conveyancer is by asking friends, family and even your mortgage broker if you’re using one. If you don’t have any luck there, the internet will be your best friend. Search for conveyancers in your local area and check out the reviews to narrow down your options.

Once you’ve got your top picks shortlisted, give them a buzz to see if you click and whether they have time to take you on. You can ask some of the following questions to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered:

  • Are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (if using a conveyancer)?
  • What types of property do you specialise in?
  • What do you charge and what’s included in that charge? Are there any hidden costs I should be aware of?
  • What will I have to pay at settlement?
  • How will you communicate with me and how often will I hear from you?
  • How long will settlement take on the day?

Having a good conveyancer on your side during the home buying or selling process is priceless, especially if you’re not confident navigating the journey yourself. They’re on hand to offer advice and they’ll do everything in their power to ensure you get the best possible outcome at the end of the day.

Looking for more info on the home buying process? Check out our 6-step guide or jump online to explore our other great resources.

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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