The best way to buy

TOP TIPS: Dynamic duo Kristy Bell from Bell Conveyancing and office assistant, Kate Gullifer offer their expert advice when it comes to conveyancing. Photo: Supplied
TOP TIPS: Dynamic duo Kristy Bell from Bell Conveyancing and office assistant, Kate Gullifer offer their expert advice when it comes to conveyancing. Photo: Supplied

WHEN it comes to buying and selling property, there are a lot of legal checks and searches, forms to complete, and financial duties involved. Kristy Bell from Bell Conveyancing, said that contracts especially can be full of jargon, unfamiliar terms, and just too much information to get your head around, which is why it is always a good idea to hire a conveyancer to handle those duties for you.

"A conveyancer specialises in property law and can determine contractual issues such as Easements, Restrictions as to Use, Rights of Carriageway and other contractual jargon that an individual may not understand," she said. "A conveyancer also undertakes statutory searches on the property which is determined by the type of property you purchase whether it be rural, strata, commercial or Torrens."

In NSW, a licensed conveyancer is just as qualified as a solicitor to undertake the legal work involved in a conveyancing transaction, and are both required to hold Professional Indemnity Insurances.

When considering hiring a conveyancer or a solicitor, Kristy said there were some important factors to consider.

Conveyancer

  • Must have completed a minimum two years of study at tertiary level on property law, and have at least two years supervised practical experience in conveyancing before they can apply for a conveyancing licence.
  • The majority of licensed conveyancers are self-employed and run their own business, which means you are likely to be dealing with the principal of the conveyancing business.
  • Most licensed conveyancers can offer flexible appointment times or a mobile service.
  • The cost of services offered by a licensed conveyancer are generally 'fixed fee' and often cheaper than a solicitor.

Solicitor

  • A solicitor usually undertakes six months study in relation property law during their law degree and 'conveyancing' is an optional elective. This means no practical experience or training in conveyancing is required for a solicitor.
  • Solicitors are often busy practicing other areas of law, and usually have the assistance of a law clerk, secretary, or conveyancer, meaning you aren't always speaking to the same person.
  • A solicitor may charge you by the hour rather than a fixed professional fee, which can increase the overall costs.

An increasing amount of people are starting to choose conveyancers over solicitors to help with their real estate transactions. Conveyancing firms are usually more affordable in price due to lower overheads such as less staff, office expenses and insurance requirements, however Kristy said an added benefit is that they specialise in property transactions only, leaving more time to focus on your property purchase or sale.

"I think cost is somewhat of a deciding factor however, feedback that previous clients have provided show that they chose a conveyancing firm due to the relaxed environment, ease of contacting the conveyancer in charge of your matter, and just having that one on one attention.

"Make sure you check that all costs are disclosed upfront, preferably fixed, and that your conveyancer can provide both remote, face to face and mobile options.

It's also a good idea to ensure the conveyancer is licensed, is a member of Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW, and check their experience in the local area as well."

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