When purchasing or selling a property, you may wonder whether you should engage a conveyancer or a solicitor. While the roles of these professionals do overlap, they each play their own part in the conveyancing process. In this blog post, we will explain the difference between conveyancers and solicitors.
A conveyance clerk at a law firm is supervised by a solicitor. At David Davis, our senior conveyance clerks have over 20 years’ experience in property conveyancing in Victoria.
Conveyancers are trained professionals in property transactions. To become a conveyancer in Victoria, a person needs at least twelve months of full-time, supervised experience in conveyancing, or a law degree and practical legal training course.
Additionally, from 2018, conveyancers must have completed further education, such as an Advanced Diploma of Conveyancing. Conveyancers must then be licenced by Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Conveyancers are responsible for property transfers. They assist clients through the transaction process all the way to settlement. Some roles of a conveyancer in the process include:
- Conducting searches on the property;
- Preparing documents, including contracts and disclosure statements;
- Liaising with local councils and utility providers;
- Negotiating early release of deposit, if relevant; and
- Communicating with all parties.
At David Davis, our solicitors and senior conveyance clerks are also trained in PEXA, the electronic conveyancing system made compulsory in Victoria from August 2019. This system is used to complete settlement in coordination with all other parties, such as the vendor and the mortgagee.
Ultimately, conveyancers and clerks are responsible for running a property transaction from start to finish.
Solicitors may focus on several areas of law or specialise in just a few. To become a solicitor in Victoria, a person needs to complete a law degree, a practical legal training course or period of supervised workplace training, then be admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
At David Davis, our solicitors are experienced in property transactions. When engaging our firm for a property transaction, your matter will be handled by a senior conveyance clerk in the first instance.
Some transactions will not require any solicitor intervention, while others may run into more complexities that require a solicitor’s eye. A solicitor may work on an off-the-plan purchase contract, for example, where a complex clause is needed to ensure that the developer completes certain work.
Senior conveyance clerks and solicitors will also often work together on estate matters, where the solicitor is managing the overall estate administration and the clerk is responsible for selling the estate properties. Solicitors can also assist with any disputes that arise in the process of a property transaction or afterwards, including VCAT or court action.
Our conveyance clerks and solicitors are incredibly thorough in their work on your sale or purchase. Some other law firms or conveyancers offer a low price that is tempting to prospective clients but can come at the expense of high-quality work.
For example, some firms and conveyancers will conduct basic, free online searches to obtain the documents necessary to complete a Section 32 disclosure statement. This means that their disbursements (administration expenses) charged to the client are lower. These free documents are often inaccurate or incomplete and should not be relied upon to complete the Section 32 statement.
A warning on skimping on your conveyancing costs
The Legal Practitioner’s Liability Committee warns against cost-cutting measures as they can lead to serious strife for the parties involved. In the worst-case scenario, a purchaser can back out of a purchase at any time before settlement if the Section 32 statement is incorrect or incomplete. With most of our conveyancing files involving transactions of at least half a million dollars, why risk cutting corners?
The advantage of engaging a law firm for your property transaction is that you get the benefit of both conveyance clerks and solicitors and their respective expertise. At David Davis, we offer reasonably priced conveyancing services from our friendly and experienced team. Get in touch today to discuss your property sale or purchase.