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Should I use a conveyancer or a solicitor for my property transaction?

Property buyers and sellers can sometimes get confused when trying to figure out what type of professional is best to help them complete their property transaction.

If you’ve never had to use either a conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor before, you might be unsure which one you need to use.

Both choices have different benefits, so it’s worthwhile considering both options carefully. Read on to help you find out which is the best choice for your situation.


What does a conveyancer do?

A licensed conveyancer is a specialist in property law who will ensure that your property purchase or sale is completed correctly.

Conveyancing is a complex process, and a conveyancer will ensure that their clients meet all the exacting requirements of buying or selling a property. Their sole focus is on real estate law and transactions, which gives them an extensive understanding of the field.

They know property law inside out, and will take care of all the legal, financial, contractual and communication details to ensure your property transaction runs smoothly and effectively.


What does a solicitor do?

While a solicitor’s role is wide and varied, when it comes to property transactions, they will provide the same service as a conveyancer.

As well as performing all the functions of a conveyancer, a solicitor will also be able to handle certain types of issues and transactions that a conveyancer is not licensed to handle.


Where do they differ?

The main difference between licenced conveyancers and solicitors is the level of qualification attained by each.

A solicitor will have successfully completed a Law degree, and will be registered as a member of the Queensland Law Society to practice in Queensland.

They have greater knowledge of legal issues in general, and thus will be able to assist their clients if any legal problems arise that are outside the usual straightforward conveyancing process.

A conveyancer will usually have studied under the Council of Licensed Conveyancers, making them answerable to the Authorised Conveyancing Practitioners Board.

They have undertaken extensive training, allowing them to develop highly specialist skills and knowledge relating to the legal issues arising from real estate transactions.

A conveyancer is a paralegal who will work under the supervision of a registered solicitor.

Both will provide their clients with professional indemnity insurance to cover them in the event of an error, and both must abide by their rules of professional conduct.


Advantages of conveyancers:

  • Their fee is usually cheaper than that of a solicitor
  • They are able to offer highly specialised advice, as their sole field of expertise is conveyancing
  • ·They are able to complete most types of property transactions effectively


Advantages of solicitors:

  • They are qualified in all areas of law (unlike conveyancers) and thus can provide additional services if the real estate transaction is difficult, complex or unusual
  • While their knowledge may not be quite as in-depth as a Licensed Conveyancer, they have studied conveyancing at tertiary level and will have a perfectly acceptable level of knowledge


Which one should I employ?

The answer to this question depends up on the likely complexity of your property transaction. If it looks like it will be a relatively straightforward and simple transaction, you’ll be better off using the services of a conveyancer.

A licensed conveyancer is capable of providing a thorough and complete service in this type of situation, plus you have the bonus of cheaper fees. Most property transactions will be straightforward, meaning that you won’t require the services of a solicitor, as a conveyancer will be perfectly capable of handing it.

However, if it seems as though your property transaction might be more complicated, involved or unusual, it may be safer to use the services of a conveyancing solicitor. They will have the appropriate training, legal expertise and knowledge to properly assist you in a more complex property transaction.

The best way to find out which type of professional you might need is to ask your real estate agent for advice. They generally know which type of properties require which type of services, and will be able to advise you accordingly.

If you’d like advice on any aspect of the conveyancing process, GM Law can help. GM Law are legally trained solicitors, not just conveyancers, meaning that your property transaction is in safe hands. Contact GM Law here

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