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Finding the right conveyancer: the 7 questions you must ask

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Conveyancing is arguably the most important step in the process of buying or selling a home. It’s a complicated and often misunderstood process, hence the need to enlist the services of an expert conveyancing lawyer.

First home buyers may find that property purchases involve the use of lots of Latin-based legal jargon. It is important to have an understanding of these common conveyancing terms or engage the service of a conveyancer who can clarify these terms for you.

A good conveyancer will guide you through the conveyancing process, involving you each and every step along the way. Therefore it is vital to find the right fit for you, ask the right questions, and make sure your conveyancer is fully capable before choosing one.

Valuation of property will give you an idea where to start.

Here are the 7 most valuable questions you should ask when choosing the right Conveyancing Professional:

1

What are your qualifications?

This can vary from state to state but remains a very important question to ask. Whilst some states require conveyancers or those who plan to offer a conveyancing service to complete an accredited course, others have continuing education obligations.

On top of qualifications, experience is invaluable when it comes to conveyancing so remember to keep that in mind. More often than not, an experienced conveyancer will have a deeper wealth of knowledge than a newly qualified one.

2

What properties do you specialise in?

It’s important to note that some conveyancers specialise in handling certain types of clients, properties or locations. For example, you may find conveyancers that only specialise in rural areas rather than metropolitan areas, hence the need to ask this question. Sometimes conveyancers might specialise in acquisitions of properties for first home buyers, apartments or even sub-divisions.

Asking this question filters out any conveyancer that lacks knowledge about your specific situation which will help find a conveyancer that is well equipped to deal with your matter.

3

What is your breakdown of costs?

This is a great starting point as it can filter out all of the specialists that aren’t within your budget, thus narrowing the list of options to make your decision easier. However, keep in mind that it is often not desirable to select your conveyancer purely based on conveyancing costs as this may sacrifice the level of attention they give you as a client.

Often, a conveyancer will be able to provide a detailed quote so don’t be afraid to ask for one. This will generally include professional fees, search fees, administrative fees and other disbursements.

4

How long will the conveyancing process take?

Whilst it depends on the terms and conditions of your settlement, the vast majority of settlements for an existing property take between one to two months after contract execution.

You should never assume this date will fall within this timeframe. It’s important to ask your conveyancer during the conveyancing process about the settlement timeframe. This allows you to determine how much time you will have to prepare the documents required and financial transactions prior to settlement day.

5

How will you communicate with me and how often?

Poor communication often results in missing opportunities in any profession, and that is especially true in the realm of conveyancing.

The skill of efficient and insightful communication is incredibly important and it’s just as important to make it known that you value this from the outset by asking this question. Therefore it’s advised that you discuss this topic with your conveyancer to determine how often they will communicate with you and what method of communication they will use, whether it’s email, text messages or phone calls.

Don’t be afraid to let them know what your preferred method is either!

6

Do you have insurance coverage?

It is crucial to make sure that your licensed conveyancer has professional indemnity insurance.

Regardless of their experience or expertise, an accredited professional conveyancer should always carry indemnity insurance. However, you should never assume they do and never forget to ask.

Professional indemnity insurance provides protection against claims arising from the provision of professional services or duties.

7

What Government or additional fees will I need to pay?

There’s an array of costs that you need to factor into buying or selling a home, including (but not limited to):

  • Stamp duty

  • Transfer fees

  • Mortgage registration fees

  • Inspection fees

Depending on your situation, you may have more or fewer obligations regarding additional conveyancing fees. It’s important to ask your conveyancer which of these additional fees and cost associated you must pay.

Finally, whether you are a buyer or selling property, choosing from good licensed conveyancers is extremely important. Next time you are searching for one, keep the above questions handy to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible whilst ensuring you don’t miss any vital information.

Remember, it also doesn’t hurt to conduct your own due diligence on your conveyancer. This could be as simple as doing a quick google search and reading their reviews.

Additional questions to consider

Apart from the 7 key questions listed above, here are some additional questions you can ask your Conveyancer to clear up any questions they may leave you with:

Do you offer online services?

Similar to most industries, a growing amount of Conveyancing professionals are offering the full spectrum of their services online. This allows a more timely and convenient process through the use of e-conveyancing methods.

Are you a member of the Australian institute Institute of Conveyancers?

This is not applicable to conveyancing lawyers such as Jameson Law. However if you decide to approach a conveyancer, then this is worth asking! The Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC) is the professional body that represents registered, licenced and certified practicing conveyancers Australia-wide.

It is vital to ensure your conveyancer is registered with the AIC. Not only does this ensure your conveyancer upholds certain ethical and professional standards as prescribed by the AIC, but also means they are receiving ongoing education and training.

Not all conveyancers are members of the AIC. Being a member of the AIC means your conveyancer has access to extra support, training and education and also means they will have professional indemnity insurance.

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