What is a Conveyancer and what do Conveyancers do? Our very own Marissa Schulze and esteemed Karrina Merritt from Merritt Conveyancing, are here to dive deep into the things you must know about engaging a Conveyancer when it comes to the purchase or sale of your new home or property.
Ready to discover when to engage one, how long the process can take, whether there can be tax benefits and so much more? Let’s get started!
What is a Conveyancer and what does a conveyancer do?
The top responsibility and #1 priority of a conveyancer is to protect the legal interests of buyers and sellers when seeking to transfer ownership over a specific property.
Conveyancers are involved in the settlement process making sure the title you are receiving is clear. They organise the legal transfer of ownership from one person to another person or entity, playing a vital role throughout the purchase of your new home.
When buying a new property or home there may be many different parties involved and moving pieces to consider.
Getting the right finance, arranging pre-purchase inspections, insuring your new assets, and many more priorities are likely to be on your mind. Engaging a conveyancer should definitely be one of them, as it will ensure the entire transaction is legal and give you confidence that what you’ve paid for is what you’ve got!
Do you need a conveyancer to buy a house?
So you’ve understood the role of a conveyancer, but are now wondering if it is necessary to engage one. The short answer to this is YES.
The last few years have brought forward important changes in South Australia which make it hard for people to undertake their own conveyancing.
Besides making the process a lot smoother and lifting a massive weight off your shoulders, engaging a conveyancer is an absolute non-negotiable to ensure the process has been done correctly.
Having a conveyancer acting for you throughout settlement and ownership transfer protects your best interests legally, giving you confidence and peace of mind about your sale or purchase.
How can a Conveyancer help?
Besides ensuring legal transfer of ownership, engaging a conveyancer early on throughout your home purchase journey can be extremely helpful to make the process flow smoothly.
Conveyancers can help buyers by providing guidance related to building and pest inspections, keeping the finance aspect on track (engaging a dedicated Rise High broker would be ideal for this purpose!), or reviewing contract terms.
They can also assist by answering questions you may have about offer forms, the settlement process, deposits payable, and other minor details that can make a big difference.
During cooling-off periods, a conveyancer becomes essential to discuss the terms and conditions of your contract and review all legal documents for signing.
They act as your legal translator, making sure you can understand the industry jargon and complex lingo involved in simple English terms.
Negotiating terms and conditions
Although the expectation for contract terms like settlement periods and deposit amounts are usually set (30-day settlement and 10% deposit on average), these terms can be negotiated.
A big plus of engaging a conveyancer is being able to discuss your need or desire to negotiate, ensuring the terms suit your specific circumstances. Doing so can help you arrive at friendlier terms that serve vendor and buyer alike.
When should a Conveyancer be engaged?
As a buyer, engaging the services of a Conveyancer early on sets a strong foundation for a seamless process. But, how early is “early on”?
Karrina recommends engaging a conveyancer ideally as soon as you have been successful in securing a property and are presented with legal documents or contract terms.
As a seller, it is usually the real estate agents managing your property who will engage the conveyancer. They’ll become involved when preparing the Form 1 document, and later on once the property is sold to assist with settlement.
How long does the conveyancing process take?
Although most agents prefer a 30-day settlement period, there are factors that can delay the process and affect how long it can take.
Scenarios in which the parties involved may be:
- selling and buying different properties simultaneously, or
- have complex financial situations involving guarantors or refinancing
can change the duration of the process, making it take longer than usual.
Purchasing at Auction
If you are looking to purchase at auction, the role of a conveyancer and how they can help you is slightly different since there are no cooling-off periods to review contract terms. The property will be yours unconditionally from the moment you become the successful bidder!
Engaging a conveyancer prior to going into auction is essential and will help you with:
- reviewing form 1, which acts as the disclosure to a specific purchase
- making sure your finance is in order and meets preferred requirements like pre-approvals
- arranging important checks like building and pest inspections
- specifying and stating specific needs of the registration form you’ll pre-fill before going to auction
Things like stating specific needs may affect your capacity to participate of an auction, but it will ultimately protect you from entering an unconditional agreement you cannot afford to keep.
What are the costs of engaging a conveyancer in South Australia?
In South Australia, there is no standard cost for engaging the services of a conveyancer. Due to this, you can expect the estimated cost to vary depending on the complexity of your process and situation.
On average you can expect to pay somewhere around $600 and $2000 to cover these costs and can request a quote upfront for conveyancing fees before committing to a specific professional.
Are conveyancing fees tax-deductible?
In instances where conveyancing fees are linked to the purchase of investment properties, they can be tax-deductible.
However, our best advice is to discuss these with your accountant at the moment of lodging your tax, confirming that they are and the most efficient way to lodge them based on your unique circumstances.
Conveyancing across different states
A detail you may not be aware of is that conveyancing rules can and often do vary from state to state.
Due to this, you will have to engage a conveyancer who specializes and works in the state where you are planning to purchase your property.
Title offices, fees and charges are run differently across different states and the conveyancer you choose will most likely specialize in working with the requirements of their local title office to ensure your documents are prepared correctly.
Our advice to find a qualified one is that you have a look at the Australian Institute of Conveyancers to find a qualified professional who can assist throughout your purchase.
Types of conveyancing
Besides being specialists in preparing your documents as per the rules of specific states, conveyancers can also specialize in different types of conveyancing.
If you are looking at specific scenarios and have circumstances that may feel unusual, you may want to look for a conveyancer that specialises in working with:
Ultimately, you will want to find a professional you feel comfortable with who can guide you through the process, so making sure they are familiar with what you are intending to achieve will make a massive difference throughout your journey.
How do you find the right conveyancer for you?
Purchasing a new home or a property is no simple choice. It is one of the most important decisions you will make, and as such, finding the right professionals to support you is essential.
Finding the right conveyancer to support you involves engaging someone you feel comfortable with, who can provide insightful answers to your questions, at a reasonable cost.
At Rise High, we would love to support you on your journey and are always here to guide and connect you with wonderful specialists as we guide you through this process.
Our award-winning team is always looking forward to supporting and empowering you on this journey and we can’t wait to hear from you!