Choosing your conveyancer
Before signing up with a conveyancer, do your due diligence. Image – Shutterstock.
  • Conveyancers coordinate the legal documents to transfer property ownership
  • Trust, transparency and synergy are key to finding the right conveyancer
  • The right conveyancer can save you unnecessary stress and money

When you buy or sell real estate, you’ll sign a Contract of Sale, but following this, there will also be a number of legal documents to sign as well. The professional who prepares these legal documents is called a conveyancer.

Depending on where in Australia your property is located, you may have the option to engage either a conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor. Either way, it’s important to choose the right one, as choosing poorly could cost you money and unwanted stress.

How to choose the right one

First and foremost, it’s important to recognise that your property transaction is likely to be one of the largest financial transactions you will make in your lifetime. Trust, transparency and synergy are key to any relationship.

Just as you wouldn’t use an accountant that you didn’t trust to do your taxes, it’s important that you have a level of trust with your conveyancer that they are knowledgeable and have your best interests at heart.

Conveyancers specialise

Some conveyancers practice predominantly in the existing residential space. Others are specialists in subdivisions and property development. Others may work in the niche commercial property sector.

Ensuring that the conveyancer’s specialisation is a good fit for your particular needs is a key step to establishing and growing a prosperous relationship.

Do your due diligence

When you buy or sell your property, it is likely that the real estate agent will recommend at least one conveyancer with whom they have a pre-existing relationship. This is a helpful starting point, however, it is still important that you, as the client, have confidence in the conveyancer’s ability, and that they are a good fit for your particular needs.

Do your own due diligence.

Sound out potential conveyancers

It is important to reach out to your potential conveyancer by telephone. This initial conversation should give you a good idea of what you can expect from them for the duration of your transaction.

It’s not a good sign when you call for a preliminary chat and the conveyancing firm leaves you on hold for an excessive time, takes a message and doesn’t call back or simply doesn’t answer your call in the first place.

On the contrary, being put straight through to a specialised conveyancer, who can answer all of your questions in clear, easy-to-understand language, bodes well for a harmonious relationship.

Important questions

Aside from getting a general sense about the firm and how they fit with your values and personal requirements, some of the key questions you should ask are:

  • Are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
  • What types of property do you specialise in?
  • Who will be managing my transaction, and what are their qualifications?
  • How much are your fees and the associated government charges?
  • How will you communicate with me and how often?

Whilst professional fees between conveyancing firms differ, price should not be your only consideration. Instead, it is important to also consider each firm’s unique selling proposition.

A cheaper firm may be able to offer lower fees by having one licensed conveyancer overseeing a team of junior staff, who each manage a large portfolio of files day-to-day. They may have a preference to converse via email rather than over the phone, and you may need to make an appointment to sign paperwork or discuss a problem with your transaction. For simple, straightforward settlements, this can often work quite well. The problem is though, you never know if your transaction will be simple and straightforward until it’s not.

Conversely, in choosing a more boutique firm you will likely deal directly with a licensed conveyancer, who manages a smaller portfolio of files. This means that you may have more readily available access to your conveyancer, and at your preference, choose to liaise in person, via telephone or by email. Of course, this will likely come at a premium cost but can offer you greater confidence, especially when something goes awry in the process.

Ultimately, the choice is yours

You are the only one who can nominate your conveyancer, and you are the one who will be liaising with them over the coming weeks and months.

Being confident in their ability, comfortable in their communication methods and trusting that they’ve got your best interests at heart are vital in knowing that you’ve chosen the right conveyancer for your circumstances.

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