How to choose a conveyancer and whether you need a lawyer?
There are a number of things to consider when choosing a conveyancer. You might be wondering what they might be and why that would make any difference to becoming a big deal? Why can’t I just look up anyone online and go to the first, cheapest one you might ask. Surely, they all do the same thing!
Choosing a conveyancer is important because it will impact your entire property transfer experience. Your choice will make the difference between a smooth experience or a stressful one. The conveyancer needs to successfully handle any obstacles like disputes and noticing any problems from the outset of a Contract review. A correct choice will ensure you are guided through the process clearly and swiftly being answered with any queries you might ask. A conveyancer who will look out for your best interests, from reviewing contracts before you sign to check if there are any issues, to completing settlements and dealing with any problem which may arise.
A lawyer or a conveyancer?
Solicitors have a broad range of knowledge outside of the conveyancing scope, whereas conveyancers are very specific to the conveyancing transaction. If your matter is not complex, appointing a conveyancer would be suitable. Should anything occur outside of their scope, they will refer you onto a lawyer if the situation necessitates. If your matter is more complex, or you have other legal matters such as a transmission application to be completed for example, a solicitor who can complete both transactions for you, could be a better fit.
Another difference impacting your decision is costs. Conveyancers often cost less than solicitors who are more broadly qualified and therefore need to be compensated for knowledge not necessarily needed for a typical conveyancing transaction. You should find a firm within your budget, but you should also consider that differing costs reflect the service being provided. This is not an area you want to skimp on and could potentially cost you more money in the long run.
Online or In-person
These days, the Conveyancing process can be completed entirely online and via telephone and email correspondence. This means that you do not have to choose your conveyancer based on location. They are required to be qualified to practice in your State. If you have a busy schedule, a firm that operates primarily online is a great option. If you prefer a personal touch; perhaps you would like to attend an office to complete documents and go through Contract reviews, then finding someone in a close enough location who can take in-person appointments regularly is a more fitting choice. Either way, the conveyancer you appoint should be accessible for any questions and not difficult to get a hold of.
Licensed or unlicensed
In Victoria conveyancers are not required to hold a licence if they are an approved Australian legal practitioner or incorporated legal practice. A company must have at least one director who is a licenced conveyancer. In order to obtain such a licence, conveyancers must qualify by obtaining academic qualifications and professional experience. By choosing a licenced conveyancer, you can be assured they have ascertained the necessary experience and knowledge. An unlicensed conveyancer is still working under a licensed individual, and their expertise is not to be discredited based on the lack of license.
Areas of experience
Ensure your conveyancer is experienced in what you are purchasing. Some conveyancing firms deal with primarily residential and off the plan properties. Some will not complete commercial or retail at all. Some may complete them however, not often. The more complex the matter, the more you should consider appointing an experienced person who specialises in the area. Off the plan contracts are quite different to ordinary residential properties, for example they usually contain a long list of Special Conditions which your conveyancer should be well acquainted with to provide sound advice and guidance. Commercial properties are often quite more complexed than residential and requires further diligence and considerations.
Reviews and word of mouth
Looking up google and website reviews is a great way to gain feedback from prior clients. With a few simple clicks you can view years of reviews and get a feel for the person behind the screen. Another option is for you to ask your friends and family who have purchased property if they have any recommendations. Although it is important to consider the above as your own situation and property interests may differ from their own. You will find Real Estate Agents will always have someone they can refer you to. It is important to note often they will be receiving monetary benefits for each successful referral. Whilst they may be receiving this, it’s usually not a reason to be discouraged from looking into their referral, as they will most likely have a successful working relationship and be happy with the conveyancers’ services provided.
Ultimately, you want to feel assured that the conveyancer you appoint has your best interests at heart, is extremely knowledgeable in their field and will guide you through the process smoothly.