Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership (title) of property (real estate) from one party to another.
For most people, buying or selling property is one of the largest financial transactions they will ever make, and the conveyancing process is usually undertaken with the assistance of a licensed conveyancer or lawyer.
In the past, some people have chosen to do their own conveyancing, instead of hiring a professional. However, there are a few factors you should consider before you decide to undertake your own conveyancing, which has now become even more complex with the advent of electronic conveyancing, effectively a closed system where only the accredited can participate.
What you should consider before choosing DIY conveyancing
Conveyancing is often considered one of the more ‘routine’ legal services offered by a conveyancing or law firm. However, the complexity of a property transaction and the formalities required are often under-estimated. The process moves quickly and once a binding contract is entered, the legal ramifications for breaching the contract, whether you are buying or selling, can be significant.
DIY conveyancing kits may seem tempting as they claim that these kits make the conveyancing process easy because they can save you time and money. They may cost anywhere from $150 to $200 and provide step by step instructions on how to carry out your conveyance. The DIY kits are available for purchase for buyers and sellers.
If you are considering using a DIY kit, you should ensure:
- You can confidently use legal documents and understand legal terminology, including researching the property, ensuring both parties follow the law, and that all money goes where it is supposed to.
- You have the time and skill to undertake the process, especially if this is the first time you are doing this.
- You weigh up the cost of carrying out your own conveyancing as opposed to paying a professional to do so and whether it’s worth saving that bit extra when compared to the large financial transaction you are about to make.
- You understand that settlement will take place electronically on a system called PEXA. This means that you will need to employ a settlement agent after contracts exchange to finalise the settlement for you.
Why should I hire the services of a conveyancer or lawyer?
If you are not confident with legal terminology, are short on time, or have a complex property transaction, you could end up spending more money and time by attempting to undertake your own conveyancing work.
Where e-conveyancing is mandatory, you will be unable to complete the transaction on the electronic workspace without appointing an accredited PEXA user to handle this part of the matter for you. (This is usually a conveyancer or lawyer.)
Using a professional to see your conveyancing matter through from start to finish will help to ensure that the transaction is completed accurately and without delay.
A conveyancer or lawyer can ensure that a compliant contract is prepared to begin with, that all title details are correct, and that special conditions tailored to each parties’ particular needs are included. They will also ensure the correct stamp duty and other transfer associated fees are paid, and encumbrances on the title removed prior to settlement so that the property can be properly transferred.
Whether you choose a conveyancer or property lawyer, both professions require significant study and training, and most have conducted numerous conveyancing transactions. Accordingly, you benefit from years of knowledge and expertise, which is vital when it comes to avoiding common pitfalls, carrying out due diligence on a property you are purchasing, ensuring pertinent disclosure issues are covered if you are selling, and advising on ownership interests.
Another advantage of hiring a conveyancer or lawyer is that they will have full indemnity and fidelity cover, whereas if you do your own conveyancing, you will be liable for any mistakes that are detrimental to the other party of the conveyance.
There is a lot more to conveyancing than filling out a few forms. Now, more than ever, it is probably in your best interests to hire the services of a lawyer or conveyancer to process your property sale or purchase from start to finish rather than trying to save a few dollars by handling some of the process yourself.