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Conveyancing – the simple guide

Here's how conveyancing works in a property transaction.

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Whether you're buying or selling a property, a good conveyancer can ensure the process is smooth and stress-free. Conveyancers are either solicitors or companies accredited by the government to supervise the transfer of a property between a seller and a buyer. Not all conveyancers are created equal, though, and it can be difficult to separate the good from the bad.

What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancing lawyer advises and acts on your behalf in matters of property law. The costs vary, depending on the amount of time spent on each brief but you can reasonably expect to pay somewhere between $700 and $2,500 for such a service.

A conveyancer has a number of tasks to complete during the home buying or selling process. At a glance, a conveyancers responsibilities include:

  • Organising everything you need during settlement to ensure the sale is legitimate.
  • Checking and organising mortgage documents and the contract of sale.
  • Carrying out a title search on your behalf to make sure there are no encumbrances or other mortgages on the property.
  • Organising a land survey for to ensure the boundaries of the property are accurately represented.
  • Checking with your local council to make sure the structure complies with council building regulations.

What will it cost me?

Different conveyancing firms charge different fees, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $700 and $2,500. Most conveyancers charge a flat fee. To ensure you're getting value for money, make sure the conveyancer you choose offers a clear breakdown of their fee structure.

The overall cost of conveyancing includes fees for both the conveyancer's expert help, and costs the conveyancer incurs for title searches, rates certificates, land tax certificates and expenses such as postage. These costs are called disbursements. A conveyancer's bill will include both their fee and disbursements.

Here's an example cost breakdown:

  • Conveyancer's fixed fee: $500 - $1,200
  • Council certificates (building, rates): $50 - $400
  • Title search: $10 - $100
  • Drainage diagram (if selling a property): $25
  • Stamping and settlement agent's fee: $75 - $100
  • Registration fee (if buying a property): $50 - $100

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How to find a good conveyancer

A good conveyancer will:

  1. Perform meticulous research on titles and records. If you are the buyer, this is extremely important. A good conveyancer will see to it that all areas are covered by looking out for dubious contracts or title deeds. As a seller, your conveyancer should be able to advise you if there are any government prohibitions, limitations or taxes concerning your property. A good conveyancer should be able to identify these things. Moreover, he should be able to clearly define the rights and obligations of both parties.
  2. Do the job in a timely and efficient manner. Property sales are often time sensitive, so a good conveyancer should finish the transaction efficiently and in a short period of time.
  3. Lessen the stress by giving expert advice. A good conveyancer is someone who is proactive, giving you expert and practical advice on what to do in every step of the process.
  4. Be technologically equipped to keep up with the challenges. Conveyancing involves tracking down the progress of the transaction. A reputable conveyance firm should be equipped with systems to allow their clients to easily monitor and follow up the progress of the buy or sell transaction.
  5. Charge a fixed rate. When a conveyancer gives you an hourly charge for their services, be very careful, because you might be paying more than necessary. A trustworthy conveyancer will charge you a fixed rate, which should include basic and disbursement fees. Agreeing on a fixed rate will prevent any additional charges that could blow out your budget.

What about DIY conveyancing?

The conveyancing process will be much smoother if handled by a person who has legal know-how. There are, however, DIY conveyancing kits available online. Deciding to handle conveyancing yourself can potentially save you money and time. The downside of handling conveyancing yourself, though, is that the process can be overwhelming and complicated, resulting in mistakes that could cost you more time and money than DIY conveyancing will save you.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    VishakhaMarch 23, 2019

    Hi there,

    I would like to ask if someone on student visa can buy a house in Australia. What are the terms and conditions?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 24, 2019Staff

      Hi Vishakha,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Non-residents could purchase property in Australia by seeking approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Under the new laws, non-resident buyers can only purchase new properties, not established ones. Kindly enter your details on this page you’re looking at and a legal expert will get in touch to discuss further on this matter.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  2. Default Gravatar
    CraigMarch 30, 2017

    Thinking of approaching owners of a long vacant 1 acre property with dwelling in SA. In middle of nowhere and local farmers say worth about $5000-$7000. Looked up owners in WA but haven’t approached yet. Any idea of conveyance fee and can I pay for them as well to make easy sale for them.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMarch 31, 2017Staff

      Hi Craig,

      Thank you for your inquiry and for contacting finder.com.au – we are a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers make better decisions. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer a general advice.

      The bill will generally comprise of the conveyancer’s fee and disbursements, as to how much, that will vary depending on your local council and the conveyancer you go with. The estimates of the cost could be around the amounts listed above. So if you want to get the exact fees, please contact your conveyancer.

      Cheers,
      May

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