As with most professions, not all conveyancers are equal. Just as you would interview prospective real estate agents to sell your house, you should also go through the same process with conveyancers.
Before we go any further, you need to understand that conveyancing can be done by a professional real estate conveyancer or a solicitor who specialises in conveyancing. In most cases, Australians tend to hire licensed conveyancers more than solicitors. If the house sale looks like it will be a relatively simple and straightforward transaction, conveyancers may be cheaper and fully capable of providing a thorough service. For large real estate deals or more complicated transactions, a conveyancing solicitor may be preferable. They will have the extensive legal knowledge necessary to handle any unusual situation, for example, if the seller has problems with a fraudulent or deceptive real estate agent.
It’s also worth noting that some conveyancers will also be qualified solicitors. This might give you the best of both worlds and some law firms employ registered conveyancers to handle all real estate-related cases. So the bottom line is to always look at the details of your own needs if you are unsure which professional to employ.
As we all know, the best referral is sometimes through people you know, so ask around and see if any of your friends and family have used a good conveyancer. Ask your real estate agent or other professionals you trust, like an accountant or lawyer. If you have no joy here, look online – a good place to start is the Australian Institute of Conveyancers in your state.
Once you have your list of prospective conveyancers, give them a call and ask a few questions to find one you’re comfortable with, and one that meets your purchasing or selling needs. Some conveyancers specialise in different types of real estate, for example, apartments, cross leases, subdivisions and so on.
Questions to ask a conveyancer
- Are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
- What types of property do you mainly specialise in?
- What will it cost – what are your fees and charges? What fees, etc, will I have to pay at settlement? Are there any hidden costs?
- How will you communicate with me and how often?
- On settlement day, what timeframes are we looking at? This is important if you are arranging furniture removalists and other parties.
When you have found a conveyancer, do a background check to ensure they are legally allowed to carry out the work and have no complaints against them. The Australian Institute of Conveyancers can help with this but as the profession is bound by strict rules of conduct, bad experiences are rare. And that’s good news for you, the client.
If you want to get an idea of how much stamp duty you’ll have to pay on your property, try out our Stamp Duty Calculator.