The simple guide to conveyancing
How to choose the best conveyancer for your property transaction.
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.
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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. A conveyancer will check for clauses within the contract that may not be in the best interest of their client.
- Carry 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.
- Check with your local council to make sure the structure complies with council building regulations.
- Liaise between you and the lender's solicitor.
- Making sure the process is transparent. A conveyancer will explain every step in the home buying or selling process and outline what your and their responsibilities are during this process.
What will it cost me?
Different conveyancing firms will charge different fees, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $700 and $2,500. Most conveyancers will 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 and stationery. These costs are called disbursements. A conveyancer's bill will include both their fee and disbursements. You can expect to pay somewhere around the following, though costs may vary depending upon your local council and the conveyancer you choose:
- 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
Spotting a good conveyancer
A good conveyancer will:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. It can also give you a sense of control, as you'll have firsthand knowledge of the progress of your transaction. 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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