What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of a legal title of land (property) from one person or entity to another.
A typical conveyancing transaction consists of three stages:
- before contract
- before completion
- after completion
What is a conveyancer?
A conveyancer is a licensed and qualified professional whose job it is to provide advice and information about the sale of a property, prepare the documentation and conduct the settlement process.
Conveyancers don’t necessarily have to be lawyers but solicitors often undertake this work.
The most common reasons you would engage a conveyancer is when you are:
- buying or selling a property
- subdividing land
- updating a title (i.e. registering a death)
- registering, changing or removing an easement
What a conveyancer does
For the buyer – a conveyancer will:
- Prepare, clarify and lodge legal documents – e.g. contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
- Research the property and its certificate of title – check for easements, type of title and any other information that needs addressing
- Put the deposit money in a trust account
- Calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes
- Settle the property – act on your behalf, advise you when the property is settled, contact your bank or financial institution on when final payments are being made
- Represent your interest with a vendor or their agent
For the seller – a conveyance will:
- Complete and ensure the legal documents are all sorted
- Represent you and respond to requests from the buyer – for example, request to extend dates, title questions, etc
How to find a conveyancer
As with most professions, not all conveyancers are equal. Just as you would interview prospective real estate agents to sell your house, you should also go through the same process with conveyancers.
As we all know, the best referral is through people you know, so ask around and see if any of your friends and family have used a good conveyancer. If you have no joy here, look online, ask your real estate agent or other professionals you trust, like an accountant or lawyer.
Once you have your list of prospective conveyancers, give them a call and ask a few questions (see below) to find one you’re comfortable with, and one that meets your purchasing or selling needs. Some conveyancers specialise in different types of real estate, for example, apartments, cross leases, subdivisions and so on.
When you have found a conveyancer, do a background check to ensure they are legally allowed to carry out the work and have no complaints against them.