Lawyer vs Conveyancer


Property prowess: what is the difference between a lawyer and a conveyance?

Scenario: you’re getting ready to buy or sell a property. There is so much to do and your stress levels are climbing. A friend mentions something about a DIY conveyancing kit that piques your interest. It’ll help save money? How do I sign up?

But the allure is not as shiny as it may seem. The risk of managing your own property transaction is not worth the potential savings. This article will help you understand your options, and the professional advice you need along the way.

What is conveyancing?

The legal process of buying or selling land is called ‘conveyancing’. In NSW, conveyancing is required before you put a house on the market.

While DIY kits may seem attractive, it’s beneficial to enlist the help of a professional who can represent you while preparing all the necessary documentation. You want someone who can provide a broad range of services to make you feel confident and fully protected.

This is where many people get confused between a conveyancer and a lawyer.

What is the difference between a conveyancer and a lawyer?

A conveyancer only specialises in the process of conveyancing (the transfer of ownership between parties). While, a lawyer has a much broader range of legal services they can offer.

Conveyancers have specific qualifications, but they can also be a lawyer. This would be ideal, but it’s not always the case. It’s important to bear in mind, conveyancers who are not lawyers, are limited in scope of the services they can provide you.

They can prepare documentation through to settlement, conduct searches on the property, put your deposit into a trust account and represent your interests with a real estate agent.

However, if your transaction involves other complex matters like family law, deceased estates or changing a Will, you will need a lawyer. If you require a power of attorney to sign a Contract of Sale, it also must be certified by a lawyer.

A conveyancer who is not a lawyer, legally cannot perform these services and will then rely on the help of a solicitor. The result? Extra fees.

Is there much difference in cost?

Most lawyers and conveyancers charge a fixed fee. Conveyancers are generally cheaper. But it’s important to know, they are limited to conveyancing work only and cannot provide advice on complex legal matters.

Buying or selling a property is a big deal and you want to have piece of mind, if something goes wrong, you are adequately protected. You are far better off hiring a qualified legal professional who can give you advice and guidance on anything that comes up during the settlement process.

Pros and cons of DIY conveyancing

Conveyancing can be complicated. While DIY kits are available, you are still responsible for any mistakes you make.

You will save money on the fees charged by a lawyer or conveyancer and have full visibility over the entire process. But you will have no protection if something goes wrong. If anything is missed, you have no way to recoup the money. Plus, without industry knowledge, it makes it very difficult to navigate changing laws and information.