Conveyancing is the process of transferring the ownership of property from one person to another. A conveyancer is a licensed and qualified professional who can:
- provide information and advice about the sale or purchase of property
- prepare legal documentation for property transactions
- represent either the vendor or the buyer during the settlement process.
Conveyancers are not legal practitioners but conveyancing work can be undertaken by solicitors. You are not legally obliged to engage the services of either a conveyancer or solicitor but due to the complex legal nature of the work involved, it is strongly recommended that you do so if you are planning to:
- buy property
- sell property
- subdivide land
- register, change or remove an easement
- update details on a certificate of title - eg registering a death.
If you intend to sell or subdivide a property yourself, you must:
- prepare all legal documentation
- make sure you fully understand all relevant legislation and regulations that apply
- be aware of the requirements of all other agencies that may need to be involved - eg your local council.
What a conveyancer does
A conveyancer will:
- prepare and clarify legal documents - eg contract of sale, memorandum of transfer
- conduct research about the property and its certificate of title - eg checking for easements, type of title
- represent you in preparing for and during settlement
- place and hold deposit money in a trust account
- calculate the adjustment of rates and taxes when buying or selling a property
- liaise with the vendor or buyer's conveyancer over settlement arrangements
- contact you to advise when settlement or subdivision is complete
- contact your financial institution, if applicable, regarding how and when the final payments are to be made and received
- submit applications to Revenue SA for any grants you may be eligible for - eg first home owners grant
- negotiate offers on your behalf with a vendor or their agent
- lodge all necessary documents with the relevant agencies.
Finding a conveyancer
- ask friends or family for recommendations
- look for advertisements
- ask for a recommendation from your real estate agent
- check the list of conveyancers on the Australian Institute of Conveyancers South Australian Division website.
You should organise a conveyancer as soon as possible rather than wait until legal documents are ready to be signed. Advice on selecting a conveyancer is available on the Australian Institute of Conveyancers South Australian Division website.
When looking for a conveyancer you should:
- be aware of your rights and responsibilities
- talk to at least three conveyancers to find one that is right for you
- check the public licensing register to ensure they are legally allowed to carry out the work
- check the assurances register to make sure an assurance hasn't been received from that person or business for an alleged breach.
Never sign a contract without carefully reading it first. Do not sign it if there is something that you don't understand or are unsure of. Ask the conveyancer to clarify any areas or contact Consumer and Business Services for advice and information.
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For an alternative version of these documents contact Consumer and Business Services.