Conveyancer cost Australia
A conveyancer is a legal professional who specialises in the transfer of property. IMAGE Canva.
  • A conveyancer is a legal professional that handles transfer of ownership of a property.
  • You may be legally obligated to appoint a conveyancer depending on your location.
  • Fees range from $500 to $1500, dependent on property type and sale complexity.

Buying or selling a property can be stressful, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the process or the types of professionals that are there to help you along the way.

Settlement may be the last step in your buying journey, but it is also one of the most crucial. It’s a complex but necessary step and settlement must go smoothly to avoid any fees associated with delays.

A conveyancer, sometimes known as a settlement agent, is a licensed professional who manages the legal process of transferring a property from vendor to buyer.

In this guide, we take a look at the role and responsibilities of a conveyancer and help you to calculate the cost of engaging one.

What is a conveyancer?

A conveyancer’s main role is to ensure that you meet all of the legal obligations involved in transferring property between owners.

Put simply, a conveyancer can provide you with legal advice on the process of buying or selling a property and takes care of the paperwork involved in the transfer of ownership.

A conveyancer can be engaged on behalf of either transacting party, namely the vendor or purchaser.

What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancer handles a wide scope of tasks that ensure the transfer of ownership goes smoothly.

Here are some of the services a conveyancer can provide:

  • Preparing legal documents, ensuring these meet the legal requirements in your state or territory and are lodged promptly,
  • Conducting relevant searches (such as title search, rating authorities, and building and structural report) to prepare the statement of adjustments,
  • Preparing the contract of sale (for the seller) or reviewing the contract of sale (for the buyer),
  • Liaising with your bank or lender to ensure all aspects of finance are in order ahead of settlement,
  • Liaising with the lawyers or conveyancers representing the other transacting party, and
  • Scheduling and attending settlement.
Conveyancer Australia
IMAGE Canva.

When should I hire a conveyancer?

Each state and territory in Australia has its own set of rules and regulations surrounding the appointment of a conveyancer. Here’s a quick rundown of each:

  • Victoria: Conveyancers must be registered by Consumer Affairs Victoria. Transacting parties may hire a conveyancer, or a solicitor, or use a DIY conveyancing kit. Conveyancing is required to put your property on the market.
  • New South Wales: Conveyancers must be licensed by NSW Fair Trading. Transacting parties may hire a conveyancer, or a solicitor, or use a DIY conveyancing kit. Conveyancing is required to put your property on the market.
  • South Australia: Conveyancers must be registered under the Conveyancers Act 1994, but solicitors do not require this registration to provide conveyancing services. Transacting parties may engage a conveyancer or solicitor but are not legally obliged to do so.
  • Western Australia: Conveyancers are known as settlement agents in Western Australia, and must complete a Diploma of Conveyancing and be licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection. Western Australians are legally required to have appointed a settlement agent by the time an offer has been accepted.
  • Queensland: Licensed conveyancers are not permitted to operate in Queensland. Instead, solicitors can handle the conveyancing process or transacting parties can opt for ‘DIY conveyancing’ though this is not recommended.
  • Tasmania: Conveyancers in Tasmania are issued licenses by the Department of Justice. A solicitor or licensed conveyancer can be appointed, but a conveyancer is required to put a property on the market.
  • Northern Territory: A solicitor or licensed conveyancer can be used in the Northern Territory, and licenses are issued by the Agents Licensing Board. There is no legal requirement to engage a conveyancer.
  • Australian Capital Territory: Conveyancers in the ACT must either be solicitors or work in a solicitor’s office. There is no legal requirement to engage a conveyancer.

While the legal requirements of hiring a conveyancer depend on your location, it is generally recommended that you engage a professional when selling or buying property.

It is best to do this as soon as possible, either when you decide to sell or have placed an offer on a property.

How do I find a conveyancer?

A great place to start when looking for a conveyancer is through referrals.

Your mortgage broker, real estate agent, lawyer, or accountant will typically be able to give you some contacts they work with. Otherwise, you can ask your friends or family members that have experience with buying or selling if they have any recommendations.

If you’re still unsure of the referrals you have received, you can conduct an online search for conveyancers that operate in your local area. Be sure to always read their reviews and check their accreditations before you engage a conveyancer.

Conveyancing Australia
IMAGE Canva.

What questions should I ask my conveyancer?

Once you’ve compiled a shortlist of conveyancers, it’s important to think about questions you’d like to ask them before officially engaging their services. This will help you determine whether they’re a good fit and understand what you can expect from their services.

Here’s a list of questions that may be useful to ask:

  • Are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
  • Do you specialise in conveyancing? (if asking a solicitor)
  • What area of property do you specialise in?
  • What are your fees and what services can I expect to receive at this cost?
  • Will I need to pay any additional fees such as government charges?
  • How long will settlement take?
  • How often will you update me on your progress and how will we communicate?

What factors influence a conveyancer’s cost?

Like any other professional, a conveyancer sets their own fees based on several factors. Here are a few things that may influence the cost of your conveyancer:

  • The complexity of the sale, which determines how much work will be involved,
  • The type and scale of the property being transferred,
  • The location of the property,
  • The local conveyancing market, and
  • The experience level of the conveyancer and scale of the conveyancing firm.

So, how much will a conveyancer cost?

Now that we understand the work of a conveyancer, let’s take a look at the cost of appointing one to your sale or purchase.

Engaging a conveyancer generally costs between $500 and $1500. For more complex jobs however, fees can increase up to about $2200.

While most conveyancers have a fixed fee, some may decide to charge sliding fees which change with the property’s sale price. Remember to discuss any hidden or extra fees with your conveyancer in the initial consultation.

The amount you end up spending on your conveyancer will of course be specific to your circumstances and budget, but remember that cutting costs can result in cut corners.

Though these fees seem substantial, working with a conveyancer that can offer you the knowledge and experience to ensure the transfer of your property goes smoothly is invaluable.

You May Also Like

Beachside bargains: Top 10 NSW suburbs for downsizing under $1m

Discover NSW’s hidden gems where coastal lifestyles and housing affordability meet.

Rentvesting in Australia: A deep dive

Rentvesting offers an alternative path into the property market for priced-out first-time buyers.

Bond disposals: The one thing you probably didn’t know

Reclaiming one’s bond can be a challenging process in today’s rental market; here is one little known method to protect yourself.

Strata properties as investments: All you need to know about investing in a Perth unit

As the cost of renting approaches the cost of a mortgage, more people are investing in units to escape the rental trap.

Top Articles

PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Australia) returns for its 7th edition, including several brand new award ...

This year's awards include several brand new categories, with entries closing 2 August 2024.

Thinking of borrowing for a new home? We decode the home loan lingo and explore ...

We take a look at everything from principal and interest to rates and more.

A window of opportunity could be open for savvy Australian property investors, but time is ...

One expert has noticed investors are on the move while there's less competition and fewer buyers in the marketplace.