7 Conveyancer Responsibilities (With Examples and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When a person or entity purchases a property or land, they can hire a conveyancer to help with a legal ownership transfer. As trained and accredited professionals, conveyancers can help clients negotiate the selling or purchase process. If you're considering switching careers to become a conveyancer, knowing what responsibilities come with the role can help you address any skills shortages you may have. In this article, we outline seven conveyancer responsibilities with examples, outline how they differ from solicitors and list skills that can help you meet them.

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7 conveyancer responsibilities

Here are seven conveyancer responsibilities you may have when working as a conveyancing professional:

1. Drafting, clarifying and lodging forms

When someone is buying or selling a property, the transfer can require completed forms and contracts from both parties. These forms can include contracts of sale, memorandums of transfer, easement searches, bank release forms and loan agreements. Conveyancers help prepare and lodge these documents, ensuring they leave nothing out and comply with state or territory requirements. For example, for a residential property sale, a conveyancer can help declare and submit easement information impacting the property's title. This can inform the buyer of any power lines or service conduits on the purchased property.

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2. Conducting due diligence

A property may have adverse legal and financial clauses that the buyer may not be aware of. Conveyancers prevent this situation by conducting enquiries into the property sale. This can include conducting a title search to ensure the property belongs to the seller and undertaking local authority searches to find out if there are any plans involving the purchased land. An example of this is a conveyancer conducting a property search and discovering it still has debt attached. The conveyancer can draft documents requesting the seller to pay this debt.

3. Providing representation

When buying a property, people can hire a conveyancer to represent them in meetings with the seller or their agent. This allows the conveyancer to apply specialised knowledge to the situation and ask appropriate questions. By doing so, the conveyancer can protect their clients' rights and keep them informed of the transaction's progress. Conveyancers can also offer advice regarding the property that could impact the sale. For example, if the bank financing a property requires more time to draft the contract, the conveyancer can request an extended date on the property's sale contract.

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4. Applying concessions or exemptions

Conveyancers arrange certain payments associated with property sales or purchases. This can include stamp and mortgage duties based on state or territory laws. The government calculates this fee using a property's financial value. It can be lower or higher if the buyer qualifies for an exemption or concession or doesn't submit the correct payment on time. Conveyancers can manage these payments on the buyer's behalf and ensure they get the most value from the process. For example, they can help a first-time homeowner apply for and obtain a first homeowner grant.

5. Obtaining certificates

When selling a property, the seller can hasten the speed of the sale and reassure buyers by obtaining a number of documents concerning the property's status. Some certificates require annual updating or renewal. Conveyancers can help apply for, obtain and update any certificates relevant to the property by liaising with the local council.

This can include an S149 certificate outlining what the buyer can and can't use the property for, a rates certificate indicating that no rates or charges are outstanding on the property and a pool compliance certificate to prove that the seller installed the pool according to local barrier and safety requirements.

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6. Arranging settlements

Conveyancers help with the settlement, which is the final stage of a property sale. This takes place after both parties sign the contract and the buyer pays the purchase price to the seller. Conveyancers can organise the settlement on the buyer or seller's behalf and work directly with the financial institution involved. They create a settlement statement listing all fees, adjustments, deposits made and future payments and notify both parties once they complete the settlement. For example, conveyancers can calculate what council and water rates the buyer owes if purchasing the property mid-year.

7. Maintaining registration and insurance

Practising conveyancers annually renew their registration to show they're in good standing with the law and meet the role's requirements. This registration proves they have the necessary qualifications and aren't bankrupt or under financial receivership. Conveyancers maintain professional indemnity insurance, which the government requires them to have, to provide coverage if someone lodges a legal claim against them. For example, indemnity insurance covers the legal costs associated with errors or omissions on a customer's forms during a property transfer.

Conveyancer vs. solicitor responsibilities

Conveyancers and solicitors have similar responsibilities. In some states and territories, the law requires people to use one or the other. Conveyancers hold a licence to help clients prepare the documents for a property transfer and assist them throughout the transfer process. Solicitors are legal professionals with more extensive knowledge of the law and can assist clients if a property sale or purchase involves the court system. They're well suited to helping clients negotiate complex or high-value property sales and purchases. They can also advise on other aspects of the transaction, such as taxation-related issues.

Related: How to Become a Solicitor (With Duties, Salary and FAQs)

Conveyancer skills

You can improve your ability to meet responsibilities as a conveyancer by cultivating the following skills:

Attention to detail

Attention to detail ensures you can undertake your conveyancing responsibilities effectively, preventing errors or omissions. This can make property transfers proceed quickly, ensuring they meet both parties' expectations. An example of this is a conveyancer noticing that a leasehold for a property doesn't include the basement or attic. By noting this and including it in the relevant property transfer documents, the conveyancer can ensure that the person using the property doesn't pay fees for unauthorised use of the rooms or make modifications to these rooms before selling the property.

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Time management

Conveyancing processes can take time, and buyers and sellers may have expectations regarding the property's sale and transfer dates. Conveyancers can meet these expectations by ensuring they manage their time effectively and meet their responsibilities quickly. Honouring dates and deadlines can provide a more transparent time frame for buyers and sellers to make necessary arrangements. It can also provide extra time in case something unexpected happens. For example, if you anticipate a delay in a property's settlement, you can request an extension to prevent the buyer from losing their deposit or incurring legal fees.

Communication

Clients can hire conveyancers to benefit from having someone on their side who understands the legal aspects of buying or selling a property. Understanding the legalities of a transfer and communicating this to clients is a valuable skill. It can ensure the clients know the exact status of their purchase or sale and what information or details can help facilitate the sale from their side. For example, you can tell a buyer that they're entitled to a cooling-off period, allowing them to terminate the transfer after signing a contract of sale.

Negotiation

Conveyancing can involve facilitating property transfers for clients with a diverse range of needs and priorities. Having strong negotiation skills can help ensure both parties come to a suitable agreement for everyone involved. For example, after a seller has made an offer, the conveyancer can negotiate a quick settlement and unconditional contract without a cooling-off period in exchange for a more competitive purchase price. This solution can meet both parties' needs.

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