How to choose a conveyancer you can trust

21 November 2018

Who will you trust to do your conveyancing when you buy or sell your home, one of the biggest transactions in your life?

Hiring a dodgy conveyancer who promises cheap conveyancing could be the most expensive mistake you make.

Some home buyers and sellers have even been victims of theft by their own conveyancer.

It has recently been reported that Ms Marannu, who operated in Preston, Victoria, has been jailed and fined for running an unlicensed conveyancing business and stealing more than $100,000 from her clients.

Unfortunately, horror stories like this are not unique. And unlike lawyers who are required to have comprehensive professional indemnity insurance, the insurance that covers conveyancers only relates to conveyancing work and would not usually cover fraud by the conveyancer.

Buyers and sellers really need to do their due diligence when choosing a conveyancing provider.

There are a lot of conveyancing providers in the market and it can be difficult for a buyer or seller to tell the differences between the value of the services offered and the quotes they receive.

Here are some tips on how to find the right conveyancing provider for you.

1. What did others think of their service?

Word of mouth and online reviews on social media platforms like Facebook can be a great way to see how people in the same position as you have experienced a conveyancing service.

2. Are they members of a professional organisation and is there any disciplinary action against them?

You can check whether a lawyer is a member of a professional organisation like a law society by an easy online search of that law society’s website. Non-lawyer conveyancers need to be licenced and you can check on them using industry websites. You can often also check on whether the lawyer or conveyancer has had any disciplinary action taken against them.

3. Are they transparent with their costs?

When given a quote, make sure you understand what is included and what isn’t.
Your trusted legal advisor should understand how important your purchase or sale is and take steps to protect your legal rights and reduce the risk of your purchase or sale not proceeding.

We know that some conveyancing providers don’t do this.

For example, in Victoria, it is not uncommon for conveyancers to prepare section 32 vendor statements without undertaking appropriate property searches to check that the information that needs to be disclosed by law to buyers is accurate.

How do they get away with this? They use disclaimers that put all the risk on the seller. We know that most sellers aren’t aware of things like unregistered water easements, changes to planning laws, and whether there are any proposals to widen the adjacent road. These things can be searched to check so that the seller is not at risk of losing a sale and being fined for a defective vendor statement.

Why do they do this? So they don’t need to order the property searches and therefore advertise that their fees and expenses are lower than their competitors.

The old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ applies to conveyancing. Choose a professional legal service like lawlab to protect your greatest asset.

Disclaimer This information is general in nature only and does not constitute legal advice. Lawlab accepts no liability for the content of this information. You should obtain legal advice specific to your individual circumstances. Lawlab’s liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
Richie Muir
Richie Muir
Legal Director

Richie is an experienced and commercially astute lawyer specialising in property law. He leads lawlab’s team of legal advisors and is the go-to problem solver for complex or unusual matters.  Having spent many years living and studying in Europe he now calls Brisbane home. Outside of work he juggles his time helping bring up his 2 young daughters, playing football and developing property.

Lawlab works with thousands of property buyers and sellers every year

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