Buying a home
Conveyancing: What is it and how does it work?
3 June 2020
Navigating the sea of paperwork that follows finding your dream home can be overwhelming. That’s why many Aussies enlist the help of a conveyancer or solicitor.
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring legal ownership of a property. Conveyancers and property law solicitors can assist you with certain aspects of buying or selling a property.
Why employ a conveyancer or solicitor?
There’s a lot of work that goes into transferring the legal ownership of a property. And while a conveyancer or solicitor is not required, having one on your team can save you time and stress, especially if it’s your first time purchasing property.
A conveyancer or solicitor can help you to ensure necessary conveyancing steps are completed on-time so the settlement process runs as smoothly as possible. On top of this, a solicitor can help to make sure both you and the seller are complying with your legal obligations, and that your rights are adequately protected. Things can go wrong during the settlement process, so knowing someone has your back can provide great peace of mind.
How does conveyancing work?
There are broadly three phases in the conveyancing process: pre-contract, pre-completion and post-completion.
The pre-contract phase
Before you put an offer on a property, it can help to be in contact with a conveyancer or solicitor so they know your personal requirements or special conditions you may want to include in the contract. Finding a conveyancer or solicitor early on will also give you more time to choose one who’s right for you.
The pre-completion phase
This is the period between contract and settlement, and where most of the heavy lifting happens. Your conveyancer or solicitor can:
- assist with the preparation of documentation;
- conduct due diligence on the property;
- ensure the deposit money is held in a trust account;
- calculate adjustments (including adjustments for rates and taxes); and
- arrange a time and place for settlement.
The length of this period varies by State or Territory and specific settlement periods can be agreed between the buyer and the seller.
The post-completion phase
After settlement, your conveyancer or solicitor can assist you with post-settlement processes, which may include the registration of transfer documentation. If you’re purchasing the property using money from a loan, your bank is likely to do this for you, though you’ll need to provide funds to cover registration fees.
How to find a good conveyancer
A good place to start is asking friends, family or your real estate agent for recommendations. If nothing comes from this, turn to the internet. Read reviews, and once you’ve narrowed your search down to around three conveyancers or solicitors, give them a call and ask questions about:
- what type of property they specialise in,
- their fees and charges,
- how and when they’ll communicate with you, and
- if they’re a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers.
Your conveyancer can be a great source of information. It’s easy to get lost in property law lingo, so it’s important you find one who takes the time to explain things to you, and you’re comfortable asking questions of. For further home buying tips and ideas, check out our Home Buying Guide.
- Insurance before settlement: Do you need it?
- Checklist for moving into a new home
- Can I get a home loan as a single parent?
Home Loans are provided by Suncorp-Metway Ltd ABN 66 010 831 722 AFSL No. 229882 Australian Credit Licence 229882 (“Suncorp Bank”) to approved applicants only. Fees, charges, terms and conditions apply and are available on request. Please read the relevant Product Information Document before making any decision about a product. Contact us for a copy.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying any insurance. Contact us for a copy.
Any advice does not take into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.The information is intended to be of general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.
Products and services including banking, superannuation and insurance (including home and car insurance) are provided by separate companies in the Suncorp Group. Each entity is not responsible for, or liable in respect of, products and services provided by other entities of the Suncorp Group. Suncorp Bank (Suncorp-Metway Ltd ABN 66 010 831 722) is only liable for the banking products or services it provides and not the products and services of other companies in the Suncorp Group.