Conveyancing is the legal work involved in preparing a sales contract, mortgage and all other related documents. This process is essential for the legal transfer of a property into your name.
Most people use either a registered conveyancer or a solicitor for this transaction. Legally, you can do it yourself and save money. However, this is not advisable, as many transfers involve complex technical and legal issues, and you leave yourself open to litigation if anything goes wrong.
All licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors must carry professional indemnity insurance. This will protect you if they make a mistake, are negligent in their work or misappropriate funds held in trust.
Conveyancers are cheaper than solicitors for straightforward conveyancing transactions. Where extraordinary legal issues are involved, it is more cost-effective to hire a solicitor. A conveyancer is not licensed to deal with complex legal issues and would have to refer them to a solicitor, incurring you extra cost.
Typically, the conveyancing process involves:
Sales contract examination
Checking the title deed
Managing the contractual financial transactions
Arranging building and pest inspections
Payment of stamp duties, levies, rates and taxes
There are no set costs for conveyancing in Australia. Fees for conveyancing and associated costs can be negotiated with your conveyancer and cover:
Conveyancing fee. This is the charge for legal work conducted in the process of transferring the property into your name. Some conveyancers charge a flat fee, while others charge a sliding fee based on the selling price of the property.
Disbursements. These are costs incurred by the conveyancer during the transfer process. They include the cost for things like a title search, local council, water rates and land tax clearance certificates. Disbursements will also include sundry costs incurred for postage and stationery.
Inspection fees. Fees must be paid for building, pest and strata inspections.
Stamp duty. Stamp duty is payable on the sales contract and on the mortgage.
Other costs. These may include the payment of council tax and water rates, unit levies, as well as building valuation fees and insurance.
According to legislation, your conveyancer must disclose all costs in a detailed written estimate before commencement.