Conveyancers vs solicitors: what's the difference?

May 27, 2023

Previously, we looked at the basics of conveyancers and exactly why and how property buyers and sellers need their help.

Today, we plan to go a little further and talk about solicitors as well - who you'll hear a lot about in the real estate world - and a third possible legal option for you.

Read on to find out more.

Conveyancers vs solicitors: what's the difference?

Whether you're buying or selling property, you'll often hear conveyancers and solicitors bandied around together, including on letter of offer sales forms.

So, what's the difference between the two groups? 

For starters, conveyancers and solicitors are both lawyers, so, you can use either one to assist with a property sale or purchase.

The main difference between the two groups is that conveyancers deal only with property laws and details and as such, are specialists in this field.

Solicitors may also specialise in property law; however, they're more your first port of call for general advice and assistance across the entire legal field.

As such, some people actually prefer to engage a solicitor, as their jack-of-all-trades legal advice is more helpful than that of a more limited conveyancer.

Solicitors can also be better for property purchases or sales that you know will be more complex.

Conversely, others will prefer a conveyancer because of their more specialised advice.

Conveyancers can also be cheaper than solicitors.

It's up to you which type of lawyer will suit you best so if you're not sure, chat with the two groups.

Then again, depending on where you live, you sometimes won't get a choice!

In Queensland and the ACT, all conveyancers must also be solicitors.

NB: a property lawyer or commercial lawyer may also be able to assist with real estate but a general lawyer may not; it simply depends on exactly what they specialise in.

Conveyancers vs solicitors: what's the different
The main difference between the two groups is that conveyancers deal only with property laws and details and as such, are specialists in this field.

Can I do my own conveyancing?

A third possible option for you is to undertake your own conveyancing or legal work.

It's certainly not a legal requirement in Australia for you to engage a conveyancer or solicitor to buy or sell property.

There are even do-it-yourself conveyancing kits available, which cost around $100, thereby enabling you to save money on conveyancing costs.

But as we noted on Fair Trading NSW's website, these kits "generally provide guidance material only."

"You will still be personally liable if there is a problem with the sale even if you followed the instructions," says Fair Trading NSW.

"It may also be difficult for you to purchase the same level of insurance available to a licensed conveyancer or solicitor."

Yes, the professional indemnity insurance that licensed conveyancers carry will protect buyers and sellers if there are any errors amidst your property sale or purchase.

But as a do-it-yourself conveyancer without such insurance, you'll be at risk of heavy fines or worse - think, losing your home - if anything goes wrong.

Keep in mind that conveyancing laws and regulations are also different in each state and territory so if you decide to run your own conveyancing road, double-check these details first.

Basically, unless you know every sentence in and around property legal issues and are 100% confident about co-ordinating paperwork and payments, we'd recommend engaging a conveyancer.

NB: conveyancers, solicitors, and other lawyers are allowed to act as their own conveyancer if they purchase or sell property.

We're here to help

Whether you choose to head to a conveyancer or solicitor for buying and selling assistance, we're always happy to help with all the dramas and stressors of house buying and selling.

And if you're particularly tired of house-hunting, we've even partnered with buyer advocates who can check out homes for you and organise sales assessments and negotiations.

Our off-market and pre-market marketplace gives you VIP access to properties so you can get in first.

Just sign up at Listing Loop or download our app.


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