If you’re a new home buyer, you may have heard you need a conveyancer to finalise the purchase of your off-the-plan property.

But why do you need a conveyancer and what exactly does a conveyancer do?

4 things a property conveyancer does

Conveyancing refers to the legal process involved when an off-the-plan property or any other type of property is sold and transferred from seller to buyer.

Each state and territory in Australia has a set of laws around the sale of property and your conveyancer will help you meet the regulations for your state.

1.  Prepare legal documents

There’s a lot of paperwork involved in off-the-plan property transfers. Conveyancers prepare and submit all legal documents relating to the property, including the vendor’s statement and contract of sale. They will also research the property’s title to check if there are any caveats or limitations on the property, such as easements.

2. Assist with financial matters

If numbers are not your strong point, don’t worry – they are for your conveyancer. They will assist with holding your deposit in a trust and calculating rates, stamp duty and adjustments. When settlement day approaches, your conveyancer will liaise with your lender, the real estate agent and the vendor on transfer of payment.

3. Arrange building inspections

Another task a conveyancer can take off your hands is property inspections. They know what to check for and will arrange an inspection with the relevant authorities and complete the necessary paperwork.

4.  SMSF conveyancing

If you’re buying an off-the-plan property through your self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), the process differs from standard conveyancing. The fund needs to be established as a trust and different rules apply depending on how your structure the SMSF. There are lawyers that specialise in SMSF conveyancing and they will guide you through the process.

2 things a conveyancer doesn’t do

Now that you know what to expect from your conveyancer, let’s look at what they can’t help you with.

1. Negotiating the sale price

Conveyancers don’t get involved in negotiations between sellers and buyers. That’s something you have to manage yourself. (If you find it intimidating to negotiate with a real estate agent, you can hire a buyer’s agent to do it for you.) The conveyancer’s job is to ensure all the paperwork and legal obligations are handled correctly.

2.  Securing a home loan

Conveyancers don’t assist clients with finding a mortgage. What they will do is review your mortgage contract and make you aware of any problematic clauses. Considering this is a long-term arrangement and legal jargon can be confusing, having a conveyancer cast an eye over your mortgage contract is a smart move.

Can I handle the conveyancing process myself?

Conveyancers are schooled in property law and can help you cut through the red tape much faster. While it is not compulsory to hire a conveyancer to do the sale transfer, it is advisable. Mistakes in property conveyancing can delay the settlement and result in additional costs.

Rhiannon Leonard is a lawyer with experience in self managed super fund conveyancing.

If you’re buying an investment property, choose a conveyancer that specialises in SMSF property law, like SMSF Conveyancer. Based in Melbourne, we are experts at SMSF and off-the-plan conveyancing. Contact us on 03 9070 9810.

SMSF Conveyancer articles are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this article. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.