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What Is A Conveyancer And Do You Need One?


If you need help navigating your new property’s paperwork, or were maybe just wondering what is a conveyancer – let’s break it down and to see if their services are really worth it or not. 

Whether you’re in the process of buying your first home or your fifth investment property, the process remains relatively the same – getting your finances sorted, conducting a building and pest inspection, and ensuring that your contract of sale is ready to rumble. However, it’s important to remember that a contract of sale is a big deal, and contains very important information that may affect all parties involved in the purchase or sale of a property. 

A contract of sale is a legal contract for the purchase of assets by a buyer from a seller, for an agreed upon value in money. An obvious ancient practice of exchange in many common law jurisdictions, it is now governed by statutory law. In Australia, the terms and clauses can vary significantly between states – so paying attention to the fine print is crucial. 

When you have found your winning property and have your finance or pre-approval sorted, it’s then the time to enter the negotiation stage to hash out any special terms and conditions linked to the property purchase. However, this all needs to be finalised before anyone signs the contract of sale, as once the document is finalised, it’s much harder to make any amendments. 

As a result, it is important that you are either very up to speed on the legalities involved with a contract of sale, or are otherwise well represented in order to work out the finer points with the owner, the real estate agent and any other parties involved in the transaction. It’s at this point when the guidance of a qualified conveyancer can be extremely helpful when it comes to spotting any potential issues, but what is a conveyancer? 

So What Does A Conveyancer Do? 

Technically speaking, conveyancing is the term we use to describe the process of transferring ownership of a legal title of land to a new owner, whether it be from a person or entity. The settlement process, otherwise known as the exchange of ownership, is a complex task that usually includes various financial and administrative duties. 

Conveyancers can either possess the qualifications necessary to practice conveyancing, or they can be a lawyer. In simple terms, many lawyers are often practicing conveyancers, but not all conveyancers are lawyers. If you decide to use a conveyancer who is not a lawyer, the rule of thumb is that they need to be fully licensed – otherwise they aren’t legally permitted to practice conveyancing at all. 

While not a legal requirement, enlisting the services of a licenced conveyancer can significantly help when it comes to taking the pressure off both buyers and sellers, as the conveyancer can identify any terms or potential pitfalls in the settlement process that may negatively affect the party that they represent. 

For the average buyer or seller, most generally don’t know how to navigate the process. As such, it could take them weeks to find and lodge legal documents – let alone understand them – which is usually when the services available through a licenced conveyancer can be a game changer when it comes to a streamlined and stress free transaction. 

Depending on the nature of the purchase or sale, a conveyancer will typically – 

  • Source the certificate of title, or the land ownership history. This includes identifying the type of title and any easements, otherwise known as the ability to use land for a particular purpose, on the property in question.
  • Overseeing the contract of sale. They will review the contract of sale on your behalf, and make suggestions for any inclusions or exclusions that they recommend be made.
  • When buying, they will review the vendor’s statement of the property you are purchasing and ensure all of the relevant details listed are included and correct.
  • Liaise with government and local councils. This can be inquiring about any potential future planning or land development on the property that you intend to purchase, allowing buyers to make informed decisions with all of the relevant information. 
  • Following up any outstanding council rates or water bills, to ensure that the buyer has no nasty surprises waiting for them thanks to the previous owner or tenant. 
  • Organising the property inspection. This can include a property, pest and/or pool compliance inspection, to ensure that the buyer is fully aware of any potential structural issues that they may be taking on. 
  • Organising your finances. They will tell you where your deposit needs to be – and when – for settlement and handle the stamp duty payment, all on your behalf. Conveyancers are also great additions to your team when it comes to meeting deadlines. 
  • Ensuring a smooth settlement day. They will be present on the day of settlement, and will represent your interests on the day to complete settlement with the other party to ensure a streamlined and stress free transaction occurs. 

In Melbourne and surrounding areas in Victoria, standard conveyancing fees typically range from $800 to $2,200, depending on the value of the property, type of property and if you opt for a conveyancer or a solicitor or lawyer. 

While conveyancing kits are available for buyers and sellers to complete the process themselves, due to the complexity of varying state and council laws and processes, this is usually not recommended. Navigating the legally binding conditions for the first time can be especially daunting and difficult if you are a first home buyer, which is why investing in the services of a licenced conveyancer helps to add a layer of protection to their first property purchase. 

Taking The Stress Out Of Your First Property Purchase  

The big attraction of buying your own home is just that – it’s yours, once you’ve paid back the banks of course. Apart from having somewhere to live, the quest for home ownership is also about having a long term investment strategy. If we’re looking at it from the viewpoint of decades instead of months, generally house prices do rise, and so does the value of your investment.

Buying your first property is also one of the first steps of building wealth, as the equity in the home will usually allow you the opportunity to access further loans if that’s what’s on your radar, such as shares, a managed fund, or even a second investment property. However, entering the market as a first home buyer isn’t always easy, which is why we’ve compiled our very own in depth First Home Buyers Guide. This resource is completely free to download, and can be a game changer when it comes to ensuring that you’re up to speed on how to get into your first home faster. 

With a background in banking, finance, business development and project management, there’s no better advocate to have on your team than Nikki Berzin. As a fully qualified mortgage broker and director of Cherry Lending & Finance, Nikki is passionate about all things finance, and empowering her clients with the tools to hit their property goals is what she does best, and another example of this is the free to use Savings Goal Calculator found on the Cherry Lending & Finance website. 

If you’re looking to get into your first home, purchase an investment property or even want to look at your options for refinancing, the first step is starting the conversation. Get in touch with Nikki today, or call her directly on 0427 374 155 to bring your mortgage dreams to life.

Disclaimer: Your full financial needs and requirements need to be assessed prior to any offer or acceptance of a loan product.  Subject to lenders terms and conditions, fees and charges and eligibility apply.

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