Solicitor or Conveyancer – What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference and Who to Use?

When you’re buying or selling a property, you will need to jump through the hoops of changing the title over from the existing owner to the new owner. In order to do this, there is a broad range of legal requirements that need to be fulfilled. If you have ever journeyed through the terrain of home ownership, or are about to embark on your first property purchase, you will most likely have heard the term conveyancer. A conveyancer is specially trained in property conveyancing, but not necessarily a solicitor, while a solicitor is obviously a trained legal professional. So, who do you choose? Should you go for a conveyancer or a solicitor? You wouldn’t be the first person to ask that question. To clarify any questions that people have, we are going to look at the pros and cons of each when selling or buying your property so that you can make the most informed decision.

First Up: What’s Conveyancing?

As we mentioned above, conveyancing is the process of changing ownership of property over from one person or entity to another. When a property changes hands, there is a range of searches, contract exchanges and property title searches that must be done. The process of conveyancing has three critical stages:
  • Pre-contract
  • Pre-completion
  • Post-completion

Buyer Steps

When acting on behalf of a buyer, the conveyancer/solicitor is going to perform a range of tasks that facilitate the purchase process:
  • Clarify, draft and lodge all of the relevant documentation for the sale, including the memorandum of transfer and the contract of sale
  • Research the title of the property and see if there are any issues such as easements which the buyer needs to know about
  • Manage transfer of funds to a trust account
  • Calculate the tax and rates from the date of purchase and apportion the amounts between buyers
  • Attend settlement and act on your behalf when settling the property
  • Liaise with your bank to make sure payments are being made
  • Represent your interests when working with the seller/agent

Seller Steps

When acting on behalf of the seller, the conveyancer/solicitor will:
  • Complete all of the necessary documents for sale
  • Act as a representative of the buyer
They will work with you to ensure that you are across all of the charges and encumbrances, whether all of the appliances and housing fixtures are in working order, what is included in the sale, what is a fixture and what is a fitting, whether it’s possible to do final inspections and whether GST is included in the purchase price. So with that in mind, it begs the question – which do you use? A conveyancer or a solicitor?

Solicitor or Conveyancer – Who Should You Use?

You might know what each task list is when you are looking to buy or sell a property, but how do you know who to choose when looking to close the deal? There is a range of benefits and detractors to each, so take a look below. Protection Solicitors are required to have insurance in case they make an error in their work. Conveyancers also must maintain professional indemnity insurance of at least $2 million. So in regard to protection, you’re on equal footing here. Supervision In some cases, the work isn’t done by a solicitor but a paralegal or a clerk. In this case, you want to make sure that the work is supervised properly. Ask these questions prior to agreeing to engagement of service. Costs Many solicitors and conveyancers offer fixed-fee services to be competitive. But in some cases, this will be a flat fee for basic services, with more required to be paid if something goes wrong or needs extra time or attention. Best to confirm the fees and find out if there are any hidden extras that you need to know about. Legislative changes Property laws do change frequently. It’s important to choose a professional who has a current understanding of the relevant laws, so it doesn’t really matter if you go with a conveyancer or a legal eagle – just make sure they’re across current laws. In some cases, it may be better to go with a solicitor if you are working with a particularly complicated sale or have concerns. Qualifications Confirm that the person doing your conveyancing has worked with the type of property that you are selling/buying. Specialist information Make sure that the person or company you are engaging to do your conveyancing can answer all of your questions and integrate the sale or purchase of your property into the greater legal sphere of your life. Does this property impact on your financial future? Do you need to update wills? Think about the greater impact of buying this property and how you will need to adjust things to fit in your life. If you’re buying or selling a property, be sure to be thorough when choosing your conveyancer. At Conveyancing Home QLD, we are available to manage all of the tough questions about your property purchase or sale. Get in touch with us on (07) 3157 2237 to find out more about how we can help. We offer low fees and can quote on any property matter.