What is Conveyancing and Do I Need a Lawyer?

7th April 2022

Whether you've found your dream home and had your offer accepted or are have found a qualified buyer for your home, you're probably feeling a huge sense of relief.

However, the process is far from over. In fact, things are about to get even more complicated.

A conveyancer or conveyancing lawyer can be an advantageous asset to both buyers and sellers at this point in the process. Selling or buying a property can be complicated and time-consuming.

Entrusting the nitty-gritty details to an experienced professional can be a lifesaver. If you're not exactly sure what a conveyancing lawyer does, keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

What Is Conveyancing?

Property conveyancing is the process that is used to transfer the ownership of a title from a seller to a new owner. The new owner can be either a person or an entity such as a corporation.

The process of conveyancing involves significant amounts of paperwork and contracts. It also involves a series of mandatory and recommended searches.

A conveyancing assistant assists with the transaction in three stages: pre-contract, pre-completion, and post-completion.

Mandatory and Recommended Conveyancing Searches

When it comes to conveyancing, there are a series of various searches that are mandatory. Then there are searches that a conveyancer recommends specifically for your situation.

The mandatory searches include a local authority search, environmental search, and water and drainage search.

Local authority searches provide the information you need in regards to things that may impact the way you use and enjoy your property. These may be related to planning issues, railway, and road works.

Water and drainage searches reveal where your water and sewer sources come from. It is crucial to find out whether you are connected to public sewers, a private well, or neither.

Environmental searches can confirm a variety of useful information. You may learn whether or not your land is contaminated. You can learn whether your land is prone to flooding or other issues as well.

The better conveyancing assistants will recommend other searches that are beneficial to your unique situation. These may include but are not limited to, coal mining searches and chancel repair liability searches.

Coal mining searches confirm whether or not your property is impacted by former, current, or future coal mining activities.

Certain parcels of land require the owner to engage in community maintenance. Chancel repair liability searches determine whether you are liable for contributing to the maintenance of your local church.

Overall, the entire conveyancing process typically lasts between two and three months on average. In actuality, the length of the process is determined by the individual circumstances of those involved in the sale.

What Does a Conveyancing Lawyer Do?

When you decide to buy or sell a property, a conveyancing lawyer assists in the process. They represent your interests during the process of preparing and signing contracts.

A conveyancing lawyer can also review the contract of sale for you to make sure everything is in order. It is important that you feel that you are protected. A conveyancing lawyer is an expert in legal matters.

This is why it is important to make the distinction between a conveyancer and a conveyancing lawyer.

Are Conveyancers Lawyers?

A conveyancer is a licensed professional, but they are not necessarily lawyers. They specialise in providing information and advice regarding buying and selling a property.

conveyancing lawyer has legal expertise in addition to experience with conveyancing.

You should consider using a conveyancer or conveyancing lawyer when buying or selling property, subdividing land, updating a title, or adding an easement.

Benefits of Hiring a Conveyancing Lawyer

You might be thinking to yourself, "Why don't I just fill out the forms myself?"

You certainly can. Of course, this is a huge undertaking as far as time, energy, and attention to detail. Finding and lodging the legal documents alone can take weeks and weeks. 

Doing this yourself comes with its fair share of risks as well. If you aren't experienced with the conveyancing process, you will need time and help to understand the legal documents you are signing.

Making sure you've done everything correctly while protecting your legal interests is no small feat. If something were to go wrong, you would risk losing the property and forfeiting your deposit.

On the other hand, if you entrust the process to a professional, their indemnity insurance will protect you in the event of a mistake.

All of this is only a small part of what a conveyancer does for its client. Let's dig into the full spectrum of what a conveyancer does for buyers and sellers of property.

For Buyers

For the buyer, a conveyancer will prepare, interpret, and lodge all of the legal documents for the sale. This includes the contract of sale, the memorandum of transfer, and everything else.

A conveyancer will research the details of the property, its history, and its certificate of title. They will find out whether the property has easements or other things that need to be addressed.

Conveyancers will handle the financial aspects of the transaction as well. They can put the money for your deposit into a trust account. They will also calculate the cost of your taxes and adjustments.

Finally, the conveyancer or conveyancing lawyer will settle your property. That means they will represent your interests and act on your behalf, saving you time and effort.

A good conveyancing lawyer will keep you informed throughout the process and advise you when the property is settled. 

For Sellers

Conveyancers also provide important services for sellers. They represent the seller throughout the process and interact with the buyer on their behalf. 

Conveyancing lawyers also complete the legal documents for the seller and can request extensions if the seller needs them. If the seller has any questions throughout the process, the conveyancer finds the answers.

Differences Between Hiring a Conveyancer And a Conveyancing Lawyer

If you are debating whether to enlist the services of a conveyancer or a conveyancing lawyer, it is important to understand the differences.

Conveyancers do not necessarily have the same expertise as conveyancing lawyers. If a conveyancer is not a lawyer, they must be fully licensed to practice conveyancing.

Avoid hiring a conveyancer that is not licensed. Without a license, a conveyancer is not legally allowed to practice conveyancing. It is important that you protect your interests by hiring someone licensed and reliable.

There are certain aspects of the conveyancing process that a conveyancing lawyer is in a better position to handle.

For example, a contract of sale may require a review of acceptable and unacceptable risks associated with the purchase of the property. Only a lawyer is qualified to provide this service.

In the event you need power of attorney to sign your contract, only a lawyer can certify it.

Another example of when you would need a conveyancing lawyer is if you are the seller of the property. Only a lawyer can prepare a contract of sale and a vendor's statement.

A conveyancer who is not a lawyer cannot legally provide these services. This means you would need to hire a lawyer anyways.

It's best to save yourself the added costs and efforts by hiring a conveyancing lawyer initially. However, if you don't need a conveyancing lawyer specifically, you can save money by hiring a conveyancer.

How To Find a Qualified Conveyancing Lawyer

When you begin searching for a conveyancer or conveyancing lawyer, it is a good idea to start by getting recommendations from trusted sources. These sources might be friends or family.

If you aren't able to get personal recommendations, read reviews of conveyancing lawyers on the internet.

Once you've narrowed down your search to a handful of qualified, potential conveyancers, it is a good idea to interview them. You can do this over the phone or in person, depending on your comfort level.

The personal relationship you have with your conveyancing lawyer is pivotal. It needs to be a good fit.

If you don't get along with a conveyancer or lack confidence in them, you probably shouldn't be entrusting them with the purchase or sale of your property.

Take your time and find a conveyancer or conveyancing lawyer who makes you feel heard and cared for.

Once you've found a conveyancing lawyer or conveyancer you trust and who suits you, make sure to run a background check. This will ensure you know they are legally allowed to perform the services of a conveyancer.

What Are Conveyancing Fees?

The fees for conveyancing services vary depending on the price of the property and the services rendered. There are a few different types of fees you may end up paying.

Conveyancers and conveyancing lawyers charge legal fees in different ways. You might pay an hourly rate or a fixed fee for conveyancing services.

On top of that, you will likely need to pay disbursement fees to third parties for various services. These can include conveyancing searches and land registration fees.

To understand what your fees will be so you can create a budget, it's a good idea to get a few different quotes from conveyancers beforehand. Make sure you are comparing costs for similar services.

Conveyancing Takeaways

Property conveyancing is the process that is used to transfer the ownership of a title from a seller to a new owner. Conveyancers specialise in providing information and advice regarding buying and selling a property.

A conveyancer is a licensed professional, but they are not necessarily lawyers. A conveyancing lawyer has legal expertise in addition to experience with conveyancing.

Whether you need a conveyancer or conveyancing lawyer, contact Koolik & Associates Lawyers. We have an in-house conveyancer as well as lawyers, and we're ready to help. 

Please note the contents of this post is information only and not legal advice. 
If you require legal advice it is best to contact one of our lawyers who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.

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