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Hiring a Conveyancer or a Settlement Agent in Australia

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Before buying or selling any type of property, including a house, we thoroughly recommend that you hire a conveyancer, also known as a settlement agent.Buying or selling a house is a complicated process that involves money, paperwork, and different legal aspects. Hiring a conveyancer is not legally required, but working alongside someone who understands all the legal implications of a transaction can be extremely helpful.

If you are considering selling or buying an investment property, find a conveyancer that you are comfortable with. It is important to work with someone who is patient, who will answer all your questions, and who can handle stressful situations. Make sure you choose a conveyancer before making the actual purchase or sale because once you do, you might need their services immediately.

A conveyancer is a lawyer or a qualified professional who is licensed in handling all the legal aspects of selling and buying real estate property. According to the Australian Institute of Conveyancers, in order to become accredited, conveyancers must complete a course and must have at least two years of practical experience. Additionally, they also have to undertake yearly ongoing professional development in order to keep their licence. In Western Australia, conveyancers are also known as settlement agents. 

What Are the Stages of Conveyancing?

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The process of conveyancing consists mainly in transferring a property from a seller to a buyer.

Generally, the conveyancing process includes these three stages:

Step 1 - Before signing the contract, the conveyancing specialist will analyse the contract and negotiate. He will also handle any required reports and discuss with the other parties involved. On the day of the transaction, the conveyancer will make sure that the contract is ready for you to sign, after which he will send it to the other party’s conveyancer.

Step 2 - Between the exchange and the settlement, the conveyancer organises the remaining paperwork, prepares the settlement figures, and discusses with the lenders to ensure that all the financial aspects are in order. Your conveyancer will organize all the remaining reports, prepare the settlement figures, and liaise with your lender to ensure your finances are in order. He will also formulate and prepare the necessary forms to make the actual transfer of ownership.

Step 3 - On the day of the settlement, the conveyancer will represent you and attend the settlement for you, making sure that all the paperwork is in order. He will also handle any additional fees and inform you when the property becomes yours officially.

Licensing Requirements for Australian Conveyancers

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In Australia, the licensing requirements for conveyancing specialists are different in each state.

New South Wales

In New South Wales, a conveyancer has to be licensed by the New South Wales Fair Trading. The majority of conveyancers will get an unrestricted licence that gives them the right to work with any type of properties including commercial, residential, and rural properties. Additionally, in NSW, a conveyancer needs to have an insurance of professional indemnity, that will protect the clients in case of negligence or mistakes.

Australian Capital Territory and Queensland

In both Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, the conveyancing licences are not recognised, as this job can only be performed by registered solicitors. However, you can set up a company of conveyancing as a law firm, but it will have to comply with the rules and regulations that are stipulated in the Legal Profession Act. Both the law firm and the solicitor must hold practicing certificates and must have an insurance of professional indemnity.

It is worth mentioning that the state of Queensland does not recognize any conveyancing licences that are issued in other states. Additionally, no conveyancer that is licenced in another state can practice this job in Queensland. Generally, in this state, a solicitor will have a number of employees who will work on conveyancing under his supervision.

Are you are thinking of buying a property in Queensland? Find out which areas in Queensland are popular among property investors.

South Australia

In South Australia, a conveyancer needs to be registered under the Conveyancers Act of 1994. If a business is registered accordingly, and the business happens to operates as a partnership, every partner involved needs to be a registered member registered as well. In this state, there are also certain guidelines related to the payment of conveyancers and to other aspects that must be taken into consideration.

Victoria

In the state of Victoria, the law requires that every conveyancer needs to be licenced by the Business Licensing Authority, which is part of the Department of Justice. Both companies and individual conveyancers must be licenced. For conveyancing companies, only one director needs to be a licenced conveyancer. The standard requirements for obtaining a conveyancing licence include having certain qualifications, having at least one year of experience, and a having an insurance policy larger than $1.5 million.

If you are looking to invest in real estate, find out which regions in Victoria are best for investing in property.

Western Australia

In WA, a conveyancer is generally referred to as a settlement agent, and he must operate under the Settlement Act of 1981 and be licenced by the Department of Commerce.

Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, a conveyancer needs to be registered under the Agents Licencing Act, and will usually be qualified to perform all types of conveyancing work including commercial, residential, and rural properties. In certain circumstances, a conveyancer might also be able to provide other real estate services.

Tasmania

In Tasmania, conveyancers need a valid licence to be able to operate. In order to obtain this licence, the conveyancers need to have a certain amount of experience, relevant qualifications, and a professional indemnity insurance. When applying for the conveyancing licence, a person must have documents that certify that they are licenced under the 2005 Property Agents and Land Transactions Act.

Finding and hiring a conveyancer or a settlement agent is less complicated than handling a real estate transaction on your own. One of the best ways to start looking for a qualified specialist is to ask someone who worked with one in the past whether they can make any recommendations. Additionally, you can ask other people that work in the real estate industry, such as your real estate agent. Keep in mind that it is extremely important to check whether the conveyancer that you want to work with is allowed to practice his job in your state. Hiring a quality local conveyancer can help you get through the process of selling or buying property much more efficiently.

Are you selling a property and are interested in finding new ways to add value to it? Take Bricks+Agent’s renovation quiz and our expert team can give you further advice on where to focus your budget!

 

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Topics: Property Advice, Better Selling

Jon Stul

Written by Jon Stul

Having spent over 12 years in the real estate industry covering all facets from residential through to commercial, established and off plan properties and sub-divisions, he has an in depth knowledge of the industry. Stepping out of the industry four years ago and moving interstate to expand a frozen yoghurt chain that has gone from 1 to 4 stores in the time he has been involved. This was recently sold to Made Group. Real estate has always been in his blood and it was a natural fit to start Bricks + Agent given the amount of insight he has into the industry as a whole. Having seen how all different forms of traditional marketing was used to the direction that it is now heading today, we think we have come up with a truly unique proposition that fits into the current state of the property maintenance market.