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What is a Conveyancer’s Job & Other Common FAQs From Homebuyers and Sellers

June, 16th
Settled Team
Conveyancing Tips

Ever wondered what exactly a professional conveyancer does? You’re not the only one! For first home buyers looking to get into the property market and who’ve never engaged a licensed conveyancer before, conveyancing work can seem like a minefield to navigate.

In this article, we’re going to break it all down for you and answer some frequently asked questions about the services of a conveyancer and other common questions we get asked at Settled on almost a daily basis.

Whether you’re the owner of a new home or a current homeowner looking to sell, we hope you find these FAQs and answers useful.

What Does a Conveyancer Do?

In the simplest terms, a conveyancer handles all the legal stuff when you’re buying or selling a property. They carry out the due diligence process (helping minimise risks and ensuring you have a clear understanding of what you’re getting into), prepare important documents, check for any problems via inspection reports, and basically handle all the legal processes.

How Long Does the Conveyancing Process Take?

The million-dollar question! The time it takes for the conveyancing process can vary. It depends on factors like the complexity of the transaction and any hiccups along the way. However, your conveyancer should do their best to give you an estimate based on your specific situation.

When Should I Engage a Conveyancer?

It’s smart to bring a conveyancer on board as early as possible – as soon as you know you’re in the market to buy or sell. They’ll be your trusted property partner, reviewing contracts, investigating the property, and addressing any concerns. The sooner you enlist their help, the smoother the entire process will be.

How Much Does a Conveyancer Cost? What Do Conveyancing Fees Include?

Conveyancer fees can vary depending on a range of factors. Their fees usually cover essential services like preparing documents, doing research, and guiding you through the process. Sometimes there might be additional charges for things like government fees or extra expenses. If you’re concerned, simply request a quote from a range of conveyancers to find the right fit for you.

Do You Handle All the Legal Work? What Do I Need to Do?

You might be wondering, “Do I get to sit back and relax?” Well, mostly! Your conveyancer will handle the lion’s share of the legal work. But there might be a few tasks for you to tackle, like signing documents or arranging financing. Don’t worry, your conveyancer will give you a clear list of what you need to do, and they’ll be there to support you every step of the way.

Do I Need a Real Estate Agent and a Conveyancer?

While it’s not mandatory, many people choose to bring both a real estate agent and a conveyancer on board. A real estate agent brings their market expertise, helping with negotiations and marketing your property. The conveyancer, on the other hand, is the legal guru, making sure everything is above board. It can definitely help to have both on your side.

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Can a Conveyancer Provide Advice on Legal Issues?

Conveyancers can provide advice on legal issues pertaining to property transactions and property law and can offer guidance on the legal aspects of the process. However, it’s important to note that they’re not qualified to provide broader legal advice unrelated to property matters.

What Happens on Settlement Day?

The settlement date is like the finale of the property buying process – it’s when all the necessary funds and documents are exchanged. For buyers, it’s the day you can pop the champagne and move into your new home as the new owner. For sellers, it’s the day you say goodbye to your property and start the next chapter. Your conveyancer will make sure the settlement process runs as smoothly as possible.

What Happens After the Exchange of Contracts?

Once the contracts are exchanged, your conveyancer jumps into action. They’ll handle the money transfers between parties and prepare the required documents for completion. They’ll also take care of registering the change of ownership with the authorities and ensure all the legal obligations are met.

What is a Contract of Sale?

The contract of sale outlines all the important details like the property information, purchase price, and any special conditions agreed upon by both parties. In fact, drawing up a contract of sale is one of the most important parts of the conveyancing journey.

How Does Stamp Duty Work?

Stamp duty is a tax imposed by the government on certain transactions, including property ownership and purchases. The amount you pay depends on the purchase price of the property and the location within Australia.

What is the Cooling-Off Period and How Does it Work?

This is a specific time frame after signing the contract where the buyer can back out of the deal without facing major penalties. It’s like hitting the pause button to conduct further inspections or seek legal advice. The length of this period varies, typically lasting a few business days, giving you peace of mind during the early stages of the property journey.

How Does Land Tax Work?

If the value of your land exceeds a certain threshold, you might need to pay land tax annually. The rates and thresholds can differ depending on which state or territory your property is located in.

What Are Transfer Documents?

Transfer documents are legal papers that facilitate the transfer of property from the seller to the buyer. These documents include the contract of sale, transfer of land form, and any other necessary declarations. They’re the vital instruments in ensuring a smooth and official change of ownership.

What is a Certificate of Title? Is it the Same as a Property Title?

A certificate of title is tangible proof of your ownership over a property. It’s an official legal document issued by the relevant land authority or registry that provides detailed information about the property and its legal status. It contains crucial details such as the property’s boundaries, any encumbrances or restrictions, and the registered owner’s name.

On the other hand, a property title is a broader concept that refers to the legal right of ownership or interest in a specific property. It represents your legal claim or entitlement to the property. The property title encompasses various legal rights, including the right to use, transfer, or sell the property.

In simpler terms, the certificate of title is a specific document that proves your ownership, while the property title is the broader concept of ownership itself.

What is a Title Search?

A title search is when a conveyancer investigates the legal status (and any past issues) of a property’s title. It helps uncover any potential restrictions, encumbrances, or other matters that might impact the property.

Do You Have Anything to Do With My Lender/Financial Institution?

Your conveyancer may work closely with your lender or financial institution. They help facilitate the legal aspects of your property financing, ensuring all the necessary documentation and processes (like a home loan, for example) are taken care of. They’re like the middleman between you and your financial team, making sure everything aligns smoothly.

Do You Help Me Set a Purchase Price?

While your conveyancer won’t set the purchase price for you, they can provide guidance and advice when it comes to property valuations and market trends.

What Are Easements?

Easements give someone else the right to use a part of your property for a particular reason. It could be something like granting access to a neighbouring property or allowing utility companies to install and maintain services.

What Are Disbursement Costs?

They refer to the additional costs or expenses incurred during the conveyancing process that are paid by your conveyancer on your behalf. These costs can vary depending on your specific situation and may include things like property searches, title registrations, council fees, and other necessary checks and certificates. Your conveyancer will typically outline these disbursements to ensure transparency and clarity regarding the total costs involved in your property journey.

What is a Transfer of Ownership?

A transfer of ownership is the official process of changing the property’s legal ownership. When you buy or sell a property, the transfer of ownership ensures that all the necessary legal steps are taken to transfer the property rights from the seller to the buyer.

Do Conveyancers Do the Same Work Across Each State/Australia?

While the conveyancing process shares similarities across different states in Australia, the conveyancing laws and processes do differ from state to state. For example, conveyancers are not licensed to operate in Queensland or the ACT. Meanwhile, NSW and Victoria also have different laws in relation to conveyancing services. When searching for a conveyancer, you should find one that practises in the state you’re buying/selling in.

Trust the Experts at Settled for Your Conveyancing Needs

These are just some of the questions we field on a daily basis from clients, but if there’s something we’ve missed, please get in touch with our expert conveyancing team at Settled.

We are your trusted conveyancing partners, helping you through every step of the property buying and selling journey – no question or task is too big or small – we endeavour to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

If you’re ready to dive into the world of conveyancing, get in touch for a free quote today – no obligations required.

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