We often hear buyers and sellers wondering why they need to engage a conveyancing lawyer to handle their conveyancing. They think surely it isn’t that complicated and why can’t they do it themselves? Read this blog to find out why getting a good conveyancing lawyer is so important and will be worth it.
What exactly is conveyancing?
When you buy or sell property, there are some very technical but important legal and financial formalities to go through before settlement and transfer of ownership to the buyer. Some of the steps during the process include:
- Forming a contract
- Satisfying conditions such as finance or building inspections conditions
- Dealing with the banks
- Preparing documents such as the transfer of title document
- Calculating settlement adjustments (e.g. for rates and water outgoings)
- Arranging settlement (the act of transfer of ownership in exchange for the purchase price)
- Registering documents with the land titles office to record the change of ownership from the seller to the buyer
This process is called conveyancing, and a conveyancer or a lawyer are legal professionals who can navigate this process for you and act on your behalf to protect your interests.
What is the difference between a conveyancer and a lawyer?
Conveyancing can be done by lawyers or conveyancers but only lawyers can give you proper legal advice and help you when things don’t go according to plan. Whilst conveyancers must complete a conveyancing course, lawyers must complete a university law degree and formal training requirements. Lawyers also have comprehensive insurance. Lawlab is a law firm with lawyers who specialise in conveyancing. Who would you want to handle the sale of your biggest asset?
Why do I need a conveyancer at all? Can I do conveyancing myself?
It is theoretically possible to do your own conveyancing, but unless you have experience it is not something we recommend. Conveyancing laws can be complex and confusing and have evolved over hundreds of years.
For example, contract negotiations: would you feel confident drafting a special condition so that you actually get what you want and that the other party will agree to? Do you know what to look out for when reading a contract? Then, once the contract has all been signed, do you know how to request an extension or a change so that you are not accidentally bound to something you didn’t want? There is also more documentation needed after you contract is signed. You will need to create and complete the different documents in a way that is acceptable to the various authorities.
And once you get through all that, then you’ll need to prepare for settlement. Do you know what the bank’s requirements are to be ready to settle? How do you prepare a settlement statement and how are adjustments treated in that state or local area? Usually, only lawyers and conveyancers can settle electronically and in some states that is now mandatory with others to follow soon. If you’re buying, you’ll have to pay stamp duty but how is that done? There are a myriad of compliance and government requirements that need to be followed and it is a minefield for those who are inexperienced.
The internet is certainly a fabulous tool which could help explain how to go about many of these tasks, but there is a lot of misleading information out there too. Each state and territory also have different laws, documents and systems as well so what you find on a website that is the correct information for Victoria, may not necessarily be the same for Western Australia. And a helpful document you found that was written in 2018 may not be relevant any longer if the laws have changed.
The solicitor/conveyancer acting for the other party cannot really help you because they must act in the best interests of their own client. Plus, you are not paying them!
Finally, remember that your time is worth money too. You may think that saving a couple of hundred dollars by doing conveyancing yourself is completely worth it, but in the long run it often saves a lot of time, emotion and even expense by instructing someone to act for you. Think of conveyancers and solicitors as an insurance policy – they are there to protect you from risk and give you peace of mind.
Won’t I have to go into a lawyer’s office a lot though? That seems very inconvenient
Not with lawlab. Contracts can even be signed electronically so you don’t have to print a contract out to sign it.
We use the digital platform called Rundl, through which we give you straightforward, practical advice and documentation. We will guide you through the process every step of the way using digital tools. Contracts can even be signed electronically saving you time and costs! You also don’t need to worry about keeping all the copies of your documents. Because we use Rundl, lawlab easily stores copies of all the documents, so that you can always find your records in years to come at the click of a button.
Whilst we save you time using this industry leading platform, you can of course still call us anytime you need to and speak to your nominated legal advisor who will be happy to help.
How do I know where to find a lawyer that specialises in conveyancing and whether they are good or not?
As Australia’s most popular national conveyancing service, lawlab can help you wherever you are! We will make your conveyancing journey as easy as possible, but don’t just take our word for it, check out our Facebook reviews at facebook.com/lawlab/reviews.
Be careful of fake online reviews that some conveyancing service providers promote. Check out their Facebook reviews because you can usually tell whether these reviews are real from the profile of who has posted the review.
We also have a great blog article about the essential characteristics of good conveyancers.