Lawyer vs Conveyancer. Know the Difference!

Buying or selling a property can be one of the biggest decisions in life. It is important to hire someone you trust to work with you to make the process as smooth as possible. If you’re confused about whether to hire a property lawyer or a conveyancer, you’re not alone.

Both conveyancers and property lawyers are familiar with the basics of Property Law. They must also comply with a Professional Code of Conduct. Both can help you with conveyancing, which is the process of exchanging title of property between the seller and the buyer.

What is Conveyancing?

Simply put, Conveyancing is the process of exchanging ownership in property. The Conveyancing process usually consists of three stages: pre-contract, pre-settlement and post-settlement.

If you’re a buyer, your solicitor/conveyancer will prepare all the relevant legal documents before the exchange of contracts. He or she will also perform researches on the property to see if there are any issues such as easements that you should be aware of.

In the pre-settlement stage, your solicitor/conveyancer will work with you to make sure that you get finance approval and the property is inspected thoroughly. Your solicitor/conveyancer will also calculate all the taxes and rates that you have to pay when you settle the purchase.

On the settlement day, your solicitor/conveyancer will settle the purchase on your behalf and contact your bank to make sure that the payments are made. After settlement, he or she will register the property in your name with the Land Titles Office.

If you’re a seller, your solicitor/conveyancer will compile all the required legal documents to ensure the sale of your property is ready. They will then represent you when dealing with the buyer.

Should you hire a Solicitor or Conveyancer?

Deciding whether or not to go with a solicitor or conveyancer can seem like a difficult decision, but it doesn’t have to be. What you need to understand are the slight differences and similarities between a property lawyer and conveyancer, such as:

  • Legal Issues: In the event you encounter some complex legal issues during the conveyancing process, only a lawyer can help you solve these issues. In the event of a legal problem, solicitors are able to provide legal advice and guidance in situations that require a high level of expertise. When the going gets tough, you will generally need a property lawyer there to guide you.
  • Cost: Most solicitors and conveyancers these days will provide fixed fee conveyancing. In our experience, we generally find that conveyancers provide a cheaper fixed fee package then most solicitors. Before proceeding with a solicitor or conveyancer, make sure you understand all the fees and charges and what they include.
  • Protection and Insurance: It is a requirement that solicitors have insurance if they are negligent and make a mistake. This is a major benefit to have a solicitor acting for you as their insurance may cover you in the event they make a mistake during the conveyancing process.
  • Legislation and Case Law: Properly laws are always changing and so you want to ensure that you go with a solicitor who will generally have a better understanding of the up-to-date property legislation along with up to date case law.

DISCLAIMER:  The content of this publication does not constitute legal advice and is intended only to provide a summary and general overview  We do not guarantee that it is current.  You should seek specialist legal advice or other professional advice about your specific circumstances.  Your access to this publication is not intended to create nor does it create a solicitor-client relationship between you and Unified Lawyers