Buying or selling a property is, for many of us, the biggest transaction we will undertake. Here, we answer some of the most common questions relating to buying and selling a property:

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

A common conveyance, by a specialist property solicitor or licensed conveyancer, usually takes between four and six weeks.

What is the Difference Between a Conveyancing Lawyer and a Licensed Conveyancer?

There are two types of conveyancers  licensed conveyancers and conveyancing lawyers. But what's the difference?

Licensed conveyancers are not lawyers - they have simply been licensed to carry out a small portion of the work associated with a property transfer. In other words, they can assist with a property transfer provided it does not require services that go beyond what the Conveyancers Act 2003 considers to be 'conveyancing work'.

Conveyancing lawyers are specialist property lawyers who can provide assistance for all property-related matters (including conveyancing). For example, a conveyancing lawyer is able to advise you on property law matters beyond the conveyance itself, such as family court matters, estate planning, wills, probate and disputes regarding property law.

So in essence, a conveyancing lawyer is a one-stop-shop for your conveyancing and property law, whilst a licensed conveyancer would have to refer their clients to a qualified property lawyer for all matters other than the conveyance itself.

Does a Conveyancing Lawyer Offer More Protection?

It is acknowledged by the real estate industry (including licensed conveyancers) that specialist property solicitors provide the most comprehensive service for real estate conveyancing transactions and property law. Beyond offering a holistic approach to property law and conveyancing, a conveyancing lawyer offers appropriate professional indemnity insurance required by the Legal Profession Act 2004.

This offers a greater level of protection in the event that something goes wrong with the conveyance, as a conveyancing lawyer's professional indemnity insurance covers everything the property lawyer provides on the client's behalf.

Is a Conveyancing Lawyer / Property Lawyer's Fees Higher for Conveyancing?

Put simply, not always. As a licensed conveyancer offers only a small portion of the service offered by an expert property lawyer, their fees may be lower; however, it comes down to the amount of risk you are willing to expose yourself (and your family) to. For example, a licensed conveyancer can become an expensive "middle-man" if the conveyance is a complex matter. They are required to refer clients to experts in property law for any matter that goes beyond 'conveyancing work', increasing the total cost of the transaction.

Advantages of Using a Conveyancing Lawyer Over a Licensed Conveyancer

If it appears the conveyance process may be more complex, with odd title-related questions and issues that fall outside of a straight conveyance, a specialist property solicitor is the best qualified to handle these problems as experts in property law. In the event that a legal dispute arises, a conveyancing lawyer has the support of senior lawyers and barristers for representation in Court  a service that cannot be offered by licensed conveyancers.

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