Conveyancers or property lawyers? Who do you trust with your contract

Conveyancers or property lawyers? Who do you trust with your contract
Conveyancers or property lawyers? Who do you trust with your contract

Getting legal advice when buying or selling is absolutely crucial.

There are often tweaks that are required to be made to contracts, and even your most standard property transaction comes with its own unique quirks and requirements.

Professional advice should be able to tell you exactly what you’re signing up for, anything specific that the vendor or buyer is requesting and what you can insert to add your own wants into the contract.

When it comes to choosing the expert to do this, you usually end up with either a conveyancing agent (conveyancer) or a lawyer. Which one of these is best is highly contended, and there are pros and cons to each.

Just Think Real Estate’s Edwin Almeida took this comparison on, noting that the majority of property lawyers and conveyancers he has met have been “great”, however “like every other industry, there are the bad apples that create the misbalance in opinions, of what otherwise is a great and critical service provided by both solicitors and conveyancers. “

The first point of discussion: Pricing. Everything comes down to the numbers, but it pays to know what it will cost you and what you’re paying for.

Firstly, notes Almeida, note that this isn’t the only difference between the two – although many do believe that it’s the biggest difference.

Yes, most lawyers but not all, do charge more for the conveyancing process. However, I have in my time as a selling agent, noted that when things become difficult for conveyancers to handle, conveyancers inevitably refer the matter to a solicitor,” he said.

“With the trend of SMSF purchasing property, people feel more comfortable in paying the higher service fees; knowing and having the peace of mind that their conveyance matter is handled properly. off the plan purchases, in a market where property values are particularly hot, people generally believe lawyers are more apt to act on their behalf.”

So, while lawyers on the whole are more expensive – you may be paying for their expertise.

Which brings us to the second point: Readiness to act.

“I have noticed that conveyancers act quicker with regard to the conveyance of the sale. This is notable particularly when exchanges are required to happen quickly and with few, if any, glitches. I often ask myself, is this because conveyancers only work on conveyancing and nothing else? I believe it is,” he explains.

He warns that solicitors he has dealt with in the past put the matters on the “back burner”.

“This is more noticeable in practices where it is typical of only having one lawyer and a paralegal,” he said.

Lastly, he notes that lawyers often seem to be less cooperative with real estate agents, often lacking communication. His suspicion is that this may be the case of the lawyer “that begrudges the commissions earned by the real estate agent when compared to the fees they charge, to do the conveyance”.

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What's the difference between a conveyancer and a lawyer, and do I really need one? by Stephen Jensen

The ins and outs of conveyancing by Pamela Bennett

A good conveyancer can hold a property transaction together by Penny Erskine

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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