About 200,000 properties change hands in Victoria each year. Most often they are bought or sold at auctions and private sales, but can also be gifted or acquired through a company or trust.
Whichever way you obtain your property, you must pay land transfer duty (otherwise known as stamp duty) on exactly that; the transfer of the land from one individual to another. The amount of duty depends on the value of your property, what you will use it for, if you are a foreign purchaser, and if you are entitled to any exemptions or concessions.
What a roller coaster it has been – you have gone to loads of open for inspections and finally have found ‘the one’, the dream home. And now comes the formal part of the sale process – the legal portion, where you actually buy or sell the property.
It is wise for both parties – the buyer and the seller – to engage a conveyancer or solicitor to navigate this process, as it needs a bit of a legal eagle to decipher the jargon. You don’t legally have to engage a conveyance, but knowing the ins and outs of property agreements can be quite hard for the layperson.
Both buyers and sellers will be asked by the real estate agent to provide contact details of your conveyancer or solicitor for the sales and purchase agreement, so it is best to do your homework upfront and have one already chosen. The real estate agent will also require both buyers and sellers full names (including first and middle names) and full current residential address.
Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of a legal title of land (property) from one person or entity to another.
A typical conveyancing transaction consists of three stages:
- before contract
- before completion
- after completion
What is a conveyancer?
A conveyancer is a licensed and qualified professional whose job it is to provide advice and information about the sale of a property, prepare the documentation and conduct the settlement process.
Conveyancers don’t necessarily have to be lawyers but solicitors often undertake this work.
Generally conveyancers have detailed knowledge in one area of law, being property law.
Solicitors on the other hand have specific knowledge about property law but also broader knowledge of the law in general.
This means that a solicitor can advise their client not only on all aspects of a conveyance, but also on issues that might relate to the conveyance, such as the tax implications of a property transaction, or how the sale of a house might impact their client’s divorce proceedings.
This difference in knowledge and experience is what commonly creates a price difference between conveyancers and solicitors.
COMPLEXITY OF THE TRANSACTION
It is important to bare in mind how complex the property transaction is likely to be.
The more complex the transaction, the more important it will be to ensure any technical issues, uncertainties or problems that arise can be dealt with swiftly.
If you’ve hired a conveyancer and something goes wrong, they’ll often need to send you off to see a lawyer, in which case you’ll probably end up paying more than you would have had you hired a lawyer to begin with.
The advantage of hiring a solicitor to do your conveyancing is they have extensive legal knowledge in most areas of law, so they’ll be on hand to quickly solve any legal issues that arise during the course of the transaction.
Examples where a transaction is at risk of becoming complicated include off the plan purchases or when a plan of subdivision is required.