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Conveyancing 101 for buyers and vendors.

Buying or selling a property is a significant life event, and after the initial excitement of sealing the deal wears off, there is a fair bit of paperwork to be completed before a property is legally transferred to its new owner. As this can often be a complex process for both vendor and buyer, it pays to engage a professional conveyancer to manage this on your behalf.  

This blog looks at how a conveyancer can help you navigate the complexity of the sale to settlement process, ensuring a smooth transition of ownership and in turn, peace of mind for both parties.  

What do conveyancers do?

A conveyancer is a licensed professional who may also (but not necessarily) be a solicitor, while a conveyancing solicitor is a fully qualified lawyer specialised in conveyancing.  

In essence, conveyancers act as an intermediary between buyers and vendors, ensuring legal requirements are met, documentation is properly prepared, and the transfer of ownership is carried out within the required time frame. Their expertise helps minimize complications and avoids the risk of something going wrong during a property transaction. 

Where a property has not been sold but its ownership needs to be transferred -such as in the case of a bereavement or divorce-a conveyancer can also be enlisted to assist with the transfer of title.  

Conveyancing for buyers 

When you are buying a property the key elements your conveyancer will take care of include: 

Due diligence

Conveyancers conduct detailed research to verify the property's title and ensure there are no issues that might impact the purchase such as an outstanding mortgage. They will also check if the property has any easements, planning restrictions, is on contaminated land or if it is at risk of flood or bushfire. 

Contract review 

Conveyancers thoroughly review the contract of sale provided by the vendor’s conveyancers to ensure everything is in order, and where required, negotiating any required contract amendments on your behalf.  

Contract exchange Conveyancers can facilitate the exchange of contracts between buyer and vendor, whereupon the contract is signed and deposit paid. They can also advise as to any cooling off periods depending on whether the property is purchased under auction conditions or via private treaty.  

On settlement day, they will ensure the buyer's funds are received and ownership is transferred smoothly. 

Property settlement 

Your conveyancer will calculate the final amount you need to pay, taking into account:  

  • Your deposit paid 
  • Stamp duty liabilities and any applicable concessions 
  • First homeowner grants, if applicable 
  • Anything owing to the vendor relating to pre-paid bills/rates  
  • Any other applicable costs 

Your conveyancer will coordinate transfer of your payment and advise once the property is settled and ownership is officially transferred to you. 

Conveyancing for sellers 

Key elements your conveyancer will take care of when you are selling a property include: 

Drawing up the contract of sale

Conveyancers draw up the contract of sale specifying the terms and conditions of the property transaction including details about the property, fixtures, fittings, and any other relevant information. 

Completing a vendor statement Your conveyancer will ensure a vendor statement – which is a legally required document outlining key property information for buyers - is completed accurately to help avoid potential legal disputes further down the track. 

Responding to buyer enquiries 

Throughout your sale campaign there are likely to be queries from buyers’ conveyancers relating to the property and the contract, which your conveyancer should be able to respond to in a timely manner. 

Providing title documentation

Your conveyancer will ensure the property’s title deeds and ensure any other documentation required to transfer ownership is provided.

Facilitating exchange and settlement Conveyancers can facilitate the signing and exchange of contracts between both parties and set a settlement date. On settlement day, they will ensure the buyer's funds are received and ownership is transferred smoothly.  

Paying outstanding debts As one of the last steps in the sale process, your conveyancer will organise payment of the property’s outstanding mortgages or debts from the final sale proceeds. 

What does conveyancing cost? 

As a rough guide, conveyancing can cost anywhere between $500-$3000 per property. Bear in mind this may vary depending on the complexities involved and whether you engage a conveyancing solicitor or regular conveyancer 

How do I find a conveyancer? 

Just like when deciding which agent to list your property with, it’s worth doing plenty of research to find the best conveyancer for your situation. Some things to check before engaging someone include: 

  • If they are a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers  
  • How experienced they are 
  • Their areas of specialty 
  • Total cost of their services 
  • How they will keep you informed throughout the sale 

As well as doing online research ask for recommendations from friends and family, your real estate agent, mortgage broker, accountant or lawyer. Once you have a shortlist and have checked their online reviews, chat to them to determine who will best meet your needs and budget. 

The process of buying and selling, along with all the associated paperwork and legal requirements, can sometimes feel daunting but you don’t have to go it alone - speak to your local Belle Property office today for professional advice and assistance with your next purchase or sale. 

DISCLAIMER: Please note the conveyancing process can vary depending on state legislation and legal requirements so always seek advice specific to your state.