Conveyancing, conveyancer, solicitor. What?

A while back we posted an article about the differences between a lawyer and a solicitor. Today we are talking about the differences between a solicitor and a conveyancer in a property transaction.

Firstly, what do we mean by a property transaction? Some people say a land purchase or sale, some say buying or selling a house or building, some refer to a real estate purchase or sale. It all means the same thing: a sale of land (whether or not it is vacant or has some buildings on it) by one person to another. It can also mean a lease or sometimes refer to a building contract too. For the most part, it’s the purchase and sale of land.

This part of the law that deals with property transactions is called conveyancing. Conveyancing can be done by either a solicitor or a conveyancer. So what’s the difference? Until 1992 all conveyancing was done by solicitors. The market was then deregulated to allow conveyancers to do conveyancing. A conveyancer is a person who is trained to undertake the conveyancing work on property transactions. Conveyancers are licenced and insured.

Solicitors are trained in all aspects of the law. Often a property transaction will involve issues that go beyond just buying or selling land. For example, tax, dispute resolution, succession or estate planning or estate administration and business / commercial law. A solicitor can provide comprehensive advice on all the issues relating to a transaction. Solicitors are licenced with the NSW Law Society and have compulsory professional indemnity insurance.

When you’re buying or selling a house, building or farm, it’s important that you choose the right person to take care of your interests. Most decent solicitors and conveyancers will be able to deal with the nuts and bolts of the transaction. However, you want someone that will listen to you and understand what the transaction means to you. Someone that gives you confidence that you are being taken care of. Before you engage someone, have a chat with them on the phone and see if you click. Property transactions are really significant and important – you don’t want to get stuck with someone who just doesn’t listen.

The NSW Department of Fair Trading has some good information about conveyancing, conveyancers and solicitors on its page here.

[photo courtesy of the Simpsons, of course. See our article about copyright infringement, here.