Should I Use A Solicitor/Conveyancer When Selling My Home?
Congratulations, you have sold your house. What is the next step?
Selling is a stressful process and most people use a solicitor or conveyancer to help them through to a successful sale.
It is wise for both parties – the buyer and the seller – to engage a conveyancer to navigate this process, as it needs a bit of a legal eagle to decipher the jargon. You don’t legally have to engage a conveyancer, but knowing the ins and outs of property agreements can be quite hard for most people.
Both buyers and sellers will be asked by the real estate agent to provide contact details of your conveyancer for the sales and purchase agreement, so it is best to do your homework upfront and have one already chosen.
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of a legal title of land (property) from one person or entity to another. A typical conveyancing transaction consists of three stages (1) before contract, (2) before completion and (3) after completion.
What is a conveyancer?
A conveyancer is a licensed and qualified professional whose job it is to provide advice and information about the sale of a property, prepare the documentation and conduct the settlement process. Conveyancers don’t necessarily have to be lawyers but solicitors often undertake this work.
The most common reasons you would engage a conveyancer is when you are:
buying or selling a property
updating a title (i.e. registering a death)
registering, changing or removing an easement
What a conveyancer does
For the buyer – a conveyancer will:
Prepare, clarify and lodge legal documents – e.g. contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
Research the property and its certificate of title – check for easements, type of title and any other information that needs addressing
Calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes
Settle the property – act on your behalf, advise you when the property is settled, contact your bank or financial institution on when final payments are being made
Represent your interest with a vendor or their agent
For the seller – a conveyancer will:
Complete and ensure the legal documents are all sorted
Represent you and respond to requests from the buyer – for example, request to extend dates, title questions, etc.
How to find a conveyancer
As with most professions, not all conveyancers are equal. Just as you would interview prospective real estate agents to sell your house, you should also go through the same process with conveyancers.
As we all know, the best referral is through people you know, so ask around and see if any of your friends and family have used a good conveyancer. If you have no joy here, look online, ask your real estate agent or other professionals you trust, like an accountant or lawyer.
Costs of Conveyancing
Although it costs money to pay for professional conveyancing, the vendor usually pays less than the purchaser for these services. The transaction is riskier for the purchaser than it is for the vendor, which requires their conveyancer to do a bit more leg work. If you don’t have a mortgage on your property and your real estate agent has prepared your Contract of Sale, then your costs will also be correspondingly lower. The more tasks that a conveyancer or solicitor must take care of as part of the conveyancing process, the higher the fees will be. However, every conveyancer or solicitor may charge different rates so it’s best to check on this in advance.