Selling a home can incur a decent amount of costs and it can be tempting for sellers to find ways to reduce such costs as much as possible. One of these costs involves the legal aspects, and while some sellers contemplate taking on the legal aspects themselves, it’s generally recommended that both buyers and sellers seek legal advice from a specialist like a conveyancer.
What does a conveyancer do?
The legal process of buying and selling a house is complicated and an experienced conveyancer is well vested in navigating the legalities involved. A conveyancer is a person who will assist in the process of transferring the ownership of the house from the seller to the buyer. Without thorough knowledge of what’s involved, problems can arise which can potentially be damaging to the deal. Therefore, it’s best to think of a conveyancer as an investment.
Before the sale of your home is finalised, there’s a wide array of documents that must be in order. While not legally required, employing a conveyancer ensures that things like the home’s approvals, certificates and building permits are legally approved and acquired to hand over to your new buyer during the transfer of ownership process.
A conveyancer will also undertake an in-depth background search of your property, and ensure that there is no illegal construction, as well as whether there are any regulatory issues.
It’s worth noting that there are a lot of options when it comes to selecting a conveyancer. It’s advisable to ensure that your conveyancer is part of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC). As with any profession, experience is valuable so look for conveyancers with at least 2 years of experience, along with the proper certificates.
Why Hire a Conveyancer?
If a conveyancer isn’t a legal requirement of selling a home, then what’s the point of spending money on one?
As we have mentioned, conveyancers are experienced in dealing with the legalities that surround selling a home. Conveyancers can streamline this process, organising all the documentation and ensuring that your house meets a range of regulations and building codes. If these things aren’t completed professionally, costs and problems can occur down the line.
A conveyancer’s services make it easier for the buyer to be sure that they are buying a safe, problem-free house. This also makes it easier for the bank to make assumptions on the state of the property, which in turn makes the property more attractive to potential buyers.
Conveyancers are well practiced in communicating the entire process to their clients. A good conveyancer will appreciate that you may not understand the legal terms or reasons for such regulations and will be able to explain such things to you. This will give you, as a seller or buyer, some piece of mind as you can query them on any concerns you may have with the process.
The cost breakdown
For first time house sellers or buyers, the entire experience can be overwhelming and it can be hard to understand the costs of someone such as a conveyancer.
A conveyancer can work in a number of fields and can either work for themselves, in a small business or a major corporation or solicitors’ office. How they operate will impact on what they charge and potentially the quality and experience of their services. For this reason, it’s important to do research and find out which level of professionalism, cost and experience will work best for you, and your needs.
There are a number of tasks conveyancers will do within their normal responsibilities. This will generally be a comprehensive list of all the obligations fulfilled by the owner that are legally required prior to sale.
There are DIY conveyancing kits, which are most likely always going to be the cheapest option ($80 – $150), but again, conveyancing is a complicated process and mistakes will dramatically impact on the settlement.
Conveyancing fees, like all professional services, will vary depending on the amount and type of services required. Typically, conveyancing fees can range from $500 to around $2,500.
Pricing for conveyancing services is normally charged in one of two ways, either as a fixed fee, or a sliding rate based on the property’s sale price.
There are disbursements costs, which are essentially costs for extra things that the conveyancer needed to pay for on your behalf.
A few of these disbursement costs include:
- Title searches – $20 up to $100
- Council building certificates – typically $250
- EPA Certificates – $20 to $25
- Drainage layouts – $25
- Postage and other admin costs – $20 to $60
- Land tax clearances – $25
- Roads and traffic authority – $20 to $30
- Land council compliance – from $150 to more than $450
The outcome and how to find a conveyancer
Similar to almost any job or service, not everyone’s skill and experiences are equal. A conveyancer is a significant part of one of the most significant transactions in your life, so it’s important that you make the right choice.
When you look to hire a conveyancer, make sure to ask a few questions and make sure that they are skilled enough for your task, and are within your price range.
When you get a quote, it’s important that there’s a clear breakdown of costs and you can be confident in how much you will be paying. The AIC suggests asking a few different conveyancers the following questions:
- Are you a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers?
- What’s the maximum I can expect to pay in fees and charges?
- What are your fees and what services are included in those fees?
- What will any additional services cost?
- What government fees and charges will I need to pay?
- How long will settlement take?
- How will you keep me up to date with what’s happening?
This will help you be sure in their abilities. It’s also important that you divulge your specific situation in terms of time frames, financial limits or any other specific information you feel may affect the transaction.
Employing a professional conveyancer will ensure that, as either a buyer or seller, all the legal requirements will be properly handled during the sale of a home. This will not only help avoid issues, but a conveyancer’s experience will help streamline the process and give you peace of mind during one of the most significant transactions in your life.