For anyone buying or selling property, conveyancing is a necessary legal part of the process, whereby the ownership of the property is passed from one party to another. Conveyancing must take place before the buyer can assume ownership over the property. Conveyancing can be carried out by individuals, though the process is usually handled by professional conveyancers, especially if there are mitigating or special circumstances.
What Do Conveyancers Do?
The main job of a conveyancer, or conveyancing lawyer (though conveyancers are not required to be lawyers) is to prepare the appropriate legal documentation and to carry out the settlement process. Conveyancers also give advice and help at any stage of the process, as well as offering any information on the sales cycle of the property if required.
The buyer depends on the legal duties of the conveyancer, since they need legal proof that the property ownership has been transferred. Generally, the conveyancer will undertake more work for the buyer than for the seller, since the buyer is more at risk when property rights are transferred. The conveyancer will prepare the necessary legal documents, including the contract of sale and the memorandum of transfer. They will also validate the legitimacy of the property's current title, as well as searching for any easements or other concerns that could affect the transfer. It is also the job of the conveyancer to calculate any adjustments in rates or taxes, to manage the buyer's deposit in the trust account, and to correspond with banks and other parties. In essence, the conveyancer works in the interests of the buyer and the estate agents at all times.
For the seller, the conveyancer will ensure that all of the legal documents are prepared and signed. While it is not essential that the same conveyancer is used by both the buyer and the seller, it will make the transfer much easier and will probably take less time.
When Else Might Conveyancing Apply?
Aside from the buying and selling of property, conveyancing might also apply when land is being subdivided among owners, when an easement is registered, changed, or removed, and when the titles of owners are updated (in the case of a death or the addition of a spouse for example).
Professional Legal Advice
If you are thinking about carrying out your own conveyancing, it's worth seeking some professional legal advice first. You'll also want to check with the seller/buyer to make sure that they agree to this.