Most people require help with conveyancing when purchasing a property. But should you use a lawyer or conveyancer to help you purchase a property?
Every time a property changes hands the process is called conveyancing, and conveyancing can be done by either a solicitor or a conveyancer. However, this process can be offered by both lawyers and conveyancers. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a conveyancer? There are many differences in both services, including costs.
Conveyancing By Conveyancers or Lawyers?
Conveyancers focus on one area of law: conveyancing. However, lawyers have a broader education and knowledge across property law in all it’s complexities. Conveyancers usually don’t have a law degree and the work is done by a law clerk or paralegal. Therefore, a solicitor is able to provide advice not just on conveyancing, but on any area of property law that may be related.
Consider What You’re Paying For
In most cases, lawyers are more expensive than conveyancers. It’s common for many people to want to cut the cost of conveyancing, even though it’s a fraction of the overall expense of buying and selling property. When buying a property, you’ll want to ensure that the transaction proceeds smoothly and that there are no hidden surprises in the contract. When buying or selling a property, your real estate agent will most likely recommend a conveyancer who will complete your paperwork at what you believe is a reasonable price. However, these conveyancers may work for both parties and will work with the agents in mind, rather than your best interests. A lawyer will work only for you and will represent your best interests in the transaction.
Consider Conflict of Interest
Cheap conveyancing services can seem tempting, however, you may not receive timely and pertinent information about your transaction. Details about your rights as a purchaser may not be stated and then create difficulties in the purchase; possibly ending in the contract being terminated or breached. In some cases, you may live in Queensland but receive a conveyancer in New South Wales. While this may seem like a minor detail, it is against the law due to the differing real estate laws in both states. They could potentially make a costly mistake which could leave you out of pocket many thousands of dollars, and what’s worse, their professional indemnity insurance many not cover them. This means receiving compensation for the mistake becomes difficult.
The truth is that competition is high due to both lawyers and conveyancers being able to do the same job. This means that conveyancers will team up with real estate agents in order to receive referral customers. If this occurs, the conveyancers may act with the best interesst of the real estate in mind, rather than you as the purchaser or seller. Your conveyancer may have a lot of outstanding files and you won’t receive a high level of service, meaning you may find yourself chasing up your conveyancer and wondering what exactly you’re paying for.
A lawyer is required to act for one party and avoid a conflict of interest. There are many penalties for a lawyer if it’s discovered that they’re acting on behalf of both parties, with the penalty being as high as $15,000. This fee is imposed by indemnity insurers of Queensland lawyers and demonstrates how acting for both parties is considered unethical for legal practitioners.
For most people, buying a property is a huge milestone and the most expensive transaction they’ll ever undertake. Using a lawyer can mean the difference between a smooth transaction and a costly mistake. If a legal problem with the contract arises, a lawyer can easily advise you on what to do. take whatever proceedings are necessary to protect your interests whether it be terminating a contract or alternatively, keeping a party to its obligations under the contract by way of specific performance. If you do use a conveyancer, they are not qualified to handle legal disputes and must refer you off to a lawyer in any event, if there is a problem. Quite often even if there is a problem, a conveyancer will not tell you about this because they do not wish to lose the transaction or have their fees compromised by the matter not settling.
Consider the amount of money you’re willing to spend on agent’s commissions, stamp duty and insurance. For a fraction of those costs, consider protecting your conveyancing transaction by using a lawyer. As with most things in life, you often get what you pay for. Is this a risk you’re willing to take with the biggest purchase you’ll ever make?
A lawyer will ensure the correct process is followed and that the correct professional services are provided. Going the cheaper option may actually result in more expenses in legal costs, the loss of the property and a breached or terminated contact.