- What is conveyancing?
- What does a conveyancer do?
- Conveyancing process
- Do I need a conveyancer?
- How much does a conveyancer cost?
With over 70 years of experience in conveyancing, the team of property lawyers and conveyancers at Owen Hodge can guide you in your property transaction. From purchases and sales, to property settlements and other transfers, we’ll advise you of your rights and obligations and be with you every step of the way.
What is conveyancing?
In a nutshell, it’s all of the steps involved in transferring the title of real property from a seller to a buyer. This begins with negotiating the contract of sale and continues until the transfer has been appropriately registered.
What does a conveyancer do?
A conveyancer can assist with the following property matters:
- Buying a house
- Selling a house
- Subdividing land
- Transfer of property
- Property settlement process
- Change of title details
Depending on your settlement date, you should expect the process to take from one to three months. Six weeks is average.
It may be helpful to think of conveyancing as a six-step process, although some of these may actually occur simultaneously.
1. The contract of sale
The vendor’s side will generally prepare the contract of sale, setting forth the description of the property, price, warranties and other terms and conditions. The buyer’s solicitor should carefully review the contract and negotiate any changes before the parties sign and the buyer pays the deposit. This is known as the “exchange of contracts.” During a “cooling off” period (generally 5 business days), the buyer may withdraw from the agreement, forfeiting the deposit but incurring no legal penalty.
2. Searches and inspections
Most contracts are based on the satisfaction of certain conditions concerning pest inspections, financing, and a variety of property searches. The purchaser typically orders and reviews the pest and building inspection. The buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer would typically order and review the property searches. This includes searches such as pre-purchase property inspection report, building inspection report and pest inspection report.
Learn more: caveats on property
Financing is a condition that deserves particular consideration. Many prospective home buyers seek a home loan pre-approval before they begin to search for a house, so this may actually be the very first step. If you are a first home buyer, you should explore whether you are eligible for a First Home Owner Grant scheme (“FHOG scheme”).
4. Pre-settlement preparation
Final figures may not be available until the day of settlement, but your conveyancer should keep you in the loop about costs throughout the period of representation.
In addition to fees for legal services, a buyer may anticipate fees for:
- Building insurance
- Mortgage insurance
- Establishment and registration of the mortgage
- Mortgage duty
- Certificate fees charged by water, utility, roads and school authorities
- Adjustment for council and water rates
- Stamp duty
- Goods and Services Tax.
This is the big event. Buyer, seller and lender exchange important legal documents and the remaining purchase price is paid. Your solicitor or conveyancer should accompany you at the settlement and be prepared to answer questions and review documents.
Find out more: What happens on settlement day?
6. Post-settlement matters
After settlement, relevant authorities must be notified of the change in ownership and transfer documents must be lodged with the Land Titles Office. This final step is often done by the buyer’s lending institution.
Do I need a conveyancer?
While you can manage the process yourself in NSW, most people engage a licensed professional to minimise risks and stress. The process is complicated, even for the sophisticated. Mistakes can have disastrous consequences.
Using a conveyancing solicitor
Solicitors are professionally licensed and generally charge more than a conveyancer.
Keep several things in mind when choosing a solicitor.
- Choose a firm that can tell you the name of the solicitor who will be handling your case.
- Make sure that you can reach that individual by telephone.
- Ask for a quote up front, and insist on being kept in the loop about any changes or recalculations.
- Make sure that the firm is accredited with a wide range of lenders.
- Above all, make sure that your solicitor patiently and completely answers all your questions, even if you need to ask them several times and in several different ways.
Using a conveyancer
Conveyancers must be licensed with NSW Fair Trading. As a condition of licensing, conveyancers, like solicitors, must carry professional liability insurance. If you decide to work with a conveyancer rather than a solicitor, always confirm that the conveyancer is licensed.
What is the difference between a conveyancer and a lawyer? Find out here: Conveyancer vs solicitor
How much does a conveyancer cost NSW?
Each transaction is unique and costs can vary widely, but keep in mind that, as with any professional service, you get what you pay for. Many firms offer free quotes. It would be wise to collect several estimates and to compare their relative inclusiveness. If you use a conveyancing solicitor, who can also evaluate other legal aspects of the transaction, you should expect your overall expenses to run between $1,500 and $3,000.
- Costs of buying a house
- Costs of selling a house
Trust Owen Hodge Lawyers
At Owen Hodge Lawyers we have a number of qualified solicitors and property conveyancers that can assist you with your personal property matter.
Contact us today on 1800 770 780 to begin a conversation with one of our solicitors or licensed conveyancers. You can depend on us for any and all of your property issues.
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Frequently asked questions
Briefly, the term “conveyancing” includes all of the steps involved in transferring the title of real property from a seller to a buyer. This begins with negotiating the contract of sale and continues until the transfer has been appropriately registered. Depending on your settlement date, you should expect the process to take from one to three months. Six weeks is average.
It may be helpful to think of the conveyancing process as going through six phases, although some of these may actually occur simultaneously.
- The execution of the contract of sale
- Review of searches and removal of conditions
- Obtaining financing
- Preparation of settlement figures
- Post settlement matters
In theory, you have three options.
- Use a solicitor
- Use a conveyancer
- Represent yourself