Conveyancing & Solicitors

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loan do's and don'ts

Which Conveyancing or Solicitor Do I Use or Do I DIY?

Using a conveyancing firm or a solicitor in the buying or selling process is a very important part of a property transaction. The Buying or Selling of a property is where title deeds are transferred from one party to another or seller to buyer. This is usually transacted via one of three ways:

  • + Conveyancer or Settling Agent, or
  • + A Solicitor, or Lawyer or by
  • + The Buyer or Seller via a do-it-yourself (DIY) conveyancing kit.


Conveyancers are usually cheaper than solicitors, with their charges ranging from $450 to $1,000, although their costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your particular property transaction, you need to remember the added costs of the searches.

Solicitors or Lawyers are usually the more expensive option, but can provide you with a wide range of legal advice in relation to Property structures, Trusts, Wills, independent financial legal advice, etc. Expect to pay anything from $650 to upwards of $1,500, depending on the circumstances of your particular property transaction or your own financial structure. Note that in Western Australia you can only use a solicitor for the purchase of a property if that solicitor is also licensed as a conveyancer.

Contact your State Law Society for further details about how to contact a qualified solicitor or alternatively Neomoney can recommend a few firms that can assist in the Buying or Selling transaction process.

Conveyancers or settling agents are licensed to provide the same conveyancing services as solicitors, but can only give legal advice relating to property. If you also need advice on other areas, such as taxation advice or your preparation of a Will, or trust structures, you will need to see an appropriate adviser such as a solicitor, lawyer and/or accountant.

Below is a list of searches that you may wish to obtain for a House and Land purchase:

  • + Approved Building Plan
  • + Contaminated Land Search
  • + Council Rates Search
  • + Council ~ Building Department
  • + Council ~ Inspection of records
  • + Council ~ Zoning
  • + Energex Search or Utilities Search (Power line)
  • + Flood Search
  • + Land Tax Clearance Search
  • + Main Roads Search (Transport Department road acquisitions)
  • + Railway Search
  • + Registered plan of Land (confirm the correct property)
  • + Title Search of property
  • + Title Search on the day of settlement (To confirm ownership)

+ A Body Corporate Certificate (indicates the body corporate levies)

DIY Conveyancing Kits

For those Buyers or Sellers who like to be “hands on” there are DIY conveyancing kits for sale online from a number of websites that are suitable for both the buying and selling process, and for auction and private treaty sales. These kits provide a step-by-step guide to conveyancing, and some offer a telephone support service to assist you if you require any assistance. The major advantage of going down the DIY path is the money you can save, but there are potential responsibilities into which a solicitor or conveyancer is less likely to miss to insure you are the rightful owner of the property at settlement. The professional’s indemnity and fidelity cover is also a factor that a buyer may wish to consider. DIY conveyancing kits range from about $90 to $150.

How Long Does It Take To Obtain Finance?

The time to obtain Finance can vary between lenders. A finance approval can be obtained in 1 week or 8 weeks all depending on the complexity of each client or applicants personal financial situation. Buying a property in your own name or names is straight forward, however purchasing property in a company or trust structure will require more time depending on the lenders legal vetting and assessing of the company or trust deeds.

If finance is requires on a purchase always allow more time for the finance clause, at least 21 days. 21 days finance means 15 business days, 14 days means 10 business days and 7 days finance (1 week) means 5 business days to a lender, since they only work Monday to Friday whereas real estate agents work a 7 day week.

How Long Does Settlement Take?

The length of time between exchange of contracts and settlement varies from state to state. It normally ranges from four to twelve weeks. Settlement time is normally dictated by the Seller and the incoming lender providing the mortgage, however it can be negotiated with the buyer and seller at the time of the initial purchase of the property.

Final Property Inspection Before Settlement

Normally a day or two prior to settlement, the Buyer should visit the property for a final property inspection to insure that it is in the same condition as the first viewing which enticed you to purchase and to make sure the property is clean and that all fixtures and fittings that were sold as part of the property sale settlement are still there e.g. dishwasher, TV antenna, built-in cinema sound systems, air conditioning units, curtains, pot plants, above ground swimming pool, etc.

If these items are not in the contract of sale, don’t assume that they will be there when you move in. If there are any issues with the state or condition of the property on final inspection, your solicitor or conveyancer may be able to help you resolve your issues.

We recommend, on the final inspection day you make note of the type of door entry locks on the property, to purchase new entry locks to install or have a professional locksmith remove the old locks and replace them the same day you move in.

Your Lender Will Require Insurance Cover

Most lenders won’t settle a purchase unless the building is covered by insurance. In the misfortune of an accident to the property, i.e. burning down the lender requires insurance to insure the house is replaced since they have the mortgage over your property. Depending on the arrangements with your lender, you may not have the loan monies advanced to you until the building is insured. You are not obliged to effect insurance until the date of settlement, however, your lender may require evidence of insurance prior to settlement, referred to as a Title of Insurance or insurance Certificate of Currency.

Finally, settlement day will come, when you or your conveyancer will discuss adjustments to rates and other payments involved in switching property ownership and will hand over a cheque (or series of cheques based on the required disbursements) in return for the title of ownership. Relevant authorities will be notified about the change in ownership by either your solicitor, conveyancer or you (if DIY).

What If There Are Problems?

If at any stage you experience problems with the buying process, you may want to contact your solicitor or conveyancer who might be able to answer your questions or guide you in the right direction.