Conveyancing part 2: What is the difference between a solicitor and conveyancer?

Conveyancing part 2: What is the difference between a solicitor and conveyancer?

In our last guest blog, Chief Executive at My Place Conveyancing, David King gave us a rundown on the main steps of conveyancing. This time round David is answering the long poised question in the property world – What is the difference between a solicitor and conveyancer? Here’s what he had to say:

For many people in the community, the purchase or sale of property, a house or land, will be the most significant financial transaction that they will undertake.

The decision of who to engage to provide assistance with this property transfer is often driven by price, however it’s important to know what you’re getting when choosing between a solicitor and conveyancer. Generally both professionals will provide the following:

  • Prepare and review legal documents, such as the contract of sale
  • Research inclusions and exclusions relating to the title
  • Check if there are any defects on the title
  • Work out the state or territory taxes
  • Liaise with your bank to ensure final payment is made
  • Coordinate time of settlement

While the services provided by a conveyancer and solicitor are similar when it comes to straightforward property transactions, there is a distinct difference between the two.

So how do they compare?

Conveyancer

What is a conveyancer? To put it simply, conveyancers are professionals that specialise in property. You can hire a conveyancer to help organise your paperwork and guide you through the process of transferring a property title from one party to another.

What training do conveyancers have? Typically conveyancers have completed a one year diploma course and an additional one year supervised training. Conveyancers are also required to hold professional indemnity insurance.

Conveyancers who are not solicitors are limited in the scope/advisory services they can provide you with and their pricing is reflective of this. This is where the distinction becomes most important;

  • Certain property law complexities can only be advised and resolved by a solicitor
  • Further where a conveyancer is aware that an aspect of the transaction is beyond their scope they should refer you to a solicitor

Below is a quick snapshot of what a conveyancer can provide you with:

Deal with property conveyancing

Give you more complex property advice or related legal advice outside of property such as will & estate planning when your asset circumstances have changed
Take legal action on your behalf

Solicitor

What is a solicitor? They are a qualified member of the legal profession who can provide you with conveyancing services, give you legal advice and can also take legal action on your behalf, if something goes awry in relation to your property.

What training do solicitors have? To become a solicitor an individual is required to have a University degree in law, as a minimum, which takes around four years to complete. This course of study will include approximately eighteen months to two years of property related law, including contract law, tax, equity and trust law, family law and wills and estates together with training to appear in court, where necessary, to represent client interests.

See below for what a solicitor can provide:

Actions Solicitor
Deal with property conveyancing across a broader range of transaction complexities

Give you legal advice outside of property including will & estate planning when your asset circumstance has changed or family law if the property transaction is related to a relationship breakdown.

Take legal action on your behalf

Once qualified there is a significant commitment to ongoing legal training to maintain current professional knowledge of the law, in this context property law. Solicitors are also required to hold professional indemnity insurance.

Engaging a solicitor generally ensures that your transaction is conducted with a high level of comprehensive personalised skills and experience through the duration of your property transaction.

How much does it usually cost?

Costs do vary considerably dependent upon the type of property, location and state or territory and the way you may choose to engage with your solicitor/conveyancer. For example internet based conveyancing services are generally cheaper compared with a traditional series of meetings with the solicitor/conveyancer.

In Victoria for example costs can range from $700 to $1,500 as a very general guide.

The bottom line

If you’re looking to conduct a simple property transaction both a conveyancer and solicitor should have the necessary skills to help guide you through the process. However, it’s important to remember unlike a solicitor, conveyancers are not licenced to take legal action on your behalf or deal with complicated property matters.

Fundamentally when choosing between a solicitor and conveyancer, it should come down to training, knowledge and the breadth of legal advice available.

If property is on your agenda for 2016, on top of finding a topnotch solicitor or conveyancer make sure you score yourself a competitive home loan deal. Our mortgage comparison section currently has over 100 packages to compare or speak with our Home Loan expert Steve Jovcevski who can haggle a great rate with the banks on your behalf. So what are you waiting for? Kick off your search here.

Conveyancing part 2: What is the difference between a solicitor and conveyancer? was last modified: January 27, 2016 by David King

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