• LoanCaddie

Do I need a solicitor or a conveyancer to buy a house?

You’ve found the property you love. The price is right. There’s a corner store that smells like salt and vinegar chips.

You put in an offer and – hallelujah – it’s accepted. Next up: transferring everything from the seller to you. Do you know if you need a solicitor or conveyancer?

Leave it to the experts

Conveyancing covers all the legal aspects of buying your home and transferring the property out of the vendor’s name and into your own. In theory, you could tackle this job yourself. But this is no DIY vertical herb garden. Unless you have some rock-solid legal credentials, you should call in the experts – a solicitor or dedicated conveyancer.

Conveyancing can be both complex and time-consuming. It involves examining the sale contract for any hidden nasties, checking for unpaid rates or land tax owing on the property, and researching local government records for any planned developments, illegal building work or unresolved disputes that could affect the place – and you.

Still asking yourself, “Should I use a conveyancer?” Stop. Conveyancing also includes calculating the council and water rates owing on the date of settlement. It means overseeing the change of title with the relevant government body in your state or territory. It’s a big task.

Don’t be fooled by those cheap-as-chips online conveyancing kits. This is a job for the pros. Press on to find expert help from either a registered conveyancer or a solicitor.

Conveyancers can be better for your budget

Conveyancing was traditionally a nice little earner for solicitors but using a specialist conveyancer can save you big money. Fees vary widely but you should allow about $1,000 for a conveyancer and closer to $1,800 for a solicitor.

Both conveyancers and solicitors are able to prepare the legal paperwork and offer advice relating to your property purchase. The extra you pay for a solicitor can be money well spent if things get complicated and you need broader legal advice.

Don’t be too quick to take the first referral

The selling agent will probably recommend a solicitor or conveyancer when you buy. It’s not a done deal – you can choose your own. A personal recommendation from an unbiased friend or work mate is a better way to find a reliable, competitively priced service. Alternatively, a quick Google search will uncover a range of firms in your location.

Always check that any conveyancer you’re thinking of using is licensed with the appropriate body – usually the Department of Fair Trading in your state/territory. Shop around if you want to and get your quotes in writing. This isn’t the time to pick the low-ball offer, either. Make sure you find a solicitor or conveyancer who knows a sales contract inside-out.

Don’t risk finding that perfect patch of outdoor entertaining with no legal team to back you. Give yourself time to shop around for the best and you can settle in worry-free. Plus, you’ll know what a “conveyancer” is, which is great for sounding like a proper grown-up at work.