If you’ve been house hunting for some time, you’ve probably heard of conveyancing. But it’s not until you’ve found a place to call home and have had an offer accepted, that you’ll learn how essential it is in becoming a homeowner.
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring a property title from one person or entity to another. It is possible to do this yourself, but the process can be time consuming and involves a lot of paperwork. This is why many buyers opt to use a conveyancer to do this for them.
Benefits of having a conveyancer.
Conveyancing a property yourself can reduce your costs, but it can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first time buying a property. If mistakes are made, you could risk losing the property and your deposit. Having a professional act on your behalf means you can rely on their expertise to make sure things go smoothly. They should also have professional indemnity insurance to cover costs if anything does go wrong.
When you’re buying a property, a conveyancer may assist with:
- Arranging inspections – pest and building (if you haven’t already done these)
- Preparing, clarifying, examining and lodging legal documents e.g. the contract of sale, strata reports (if you are purchasing an apartment)
- Researching the property and its certificate of title - checking the title type, easements and any outstanding issues such as compliance with laws in your area
- Searching for any planning and development proposals that affect the property
- Calculating adjustments in rates and taxes
- Arranging to pay costs on your behalf - deposit/stamp duty
- Working with banks or financial institutions on your behalf during your final payments
- Exchanging the final contract, attending settlement and registering the transfer of property ownership
- Representing your interests with a vendor and/or their agent.
It’s also common for vendors to have a conveyancer working on their behalf. Suppose you’re selling as well as buying a property. In that case, a conveyancer can also help with completing legal documents and representing you in dealings with a buyer about critical dates, property and title questions.
How to find a conveyancer.
Asking friends and family for a recommendation, asking real estate agents, doing online research or speaking to your accountant or solicitor (many conveyancers are solicitors) are all good ways to find a conveyancer. If you get multiple recommendations, you can interview each conveyancer to ask about their experience, licence, what their service includes and their fees and charges.
Going it alone – DIY conveyancing.
Using a professional conveyancer can cost anywhere from $500-$2000+, depending on the complexity of the property and work involved. Taking control of this process yourself can save you money, and there are resources available to help you. For example, there are DIY conveyancing kits that include step-by-step instructions and some of the forms you will need to complete.
While it isn’t a legal requirement to use a professional conveyancer, you should consider the risks of doing it yourself. Give some thought to your experience, how standard the contract of sale is, and what could happen if you make a mistake. You don’t want to miss out on your dream property for the sake of saving a few hundred dollars.
Conveyancing can be a very specialised area of expertise in buying a property, with lots of steps and paperwork involved. Going it alone is possible, but you need to be very careful to make sure every detail is covered.
Seeking the services of a professional can ease the stress of this important process and give you more time to focus on other tasks involved in buying a property.
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