Conveyancing: A guide for home buyers

family signing conveyancing paperwork with a conveyancer


Posted February 29, 2024

What is conveyancing and when do you need a conveyancer? Here's why conveyancing is important to understand for buyers purchasing a new home. 

When purchasing a property, the settlement process is a complex task that involves various financial and administrative duties, usually handled by a conveyancer.  

You’ll want to make sure you’ve got a conveyancer on your side, because the paperwork involved can be cumbersome, complicated and overwhelming. RACV Members can access specialist conveyancing expertise.

Here's what to know about conveyancing when buying a house.

What to know about conveyancing

What is conveyancing? 

Conveyancing is the area of law relating to the transfer of real property; the change of ownership from one owner to another, explains Lindel Enticott, solicitor and Head of Legal at for

When you're selling a property, you are obliged to disclose certain information to the potential buyers in a Section 32 Statement (or 'Vendor Statement').

Your licenced conveyancer or solicitor can help you gather the relevant documents to make sure you've ticked all your boxes from sale through to settlement. "Contracts of sale aren't particularly straightforward. Legal jargon can be difficult to decipher, with unfamiliar expressions and technical terms that you need to understand," Enticott says.

When buying, your conveyancer will review the contract of sale and any disclosure statements, guiding you on the terms and conditions of your purchase, the key matters affecting the property and your due diligence (the homework you should be doing before you buy).

A buyer that fails to meet their legal obligations during a conveyancing transaction can face serious financial consequences. You will need the services of an experienced licenced conveyancer or lawyer to complete the change of ownership on your behalf.

What does a conveyancer do? 

A conveyancer is responsible for ensuring the title to the property is transferred from seller to purchaser, advising on any legal issues along the way. This means you can focus on the task of moving, explains Enticott.

“Navigating the legal requirements of conveyancing can be challenging without proper support. Legal terms in the contract can be hard to understand. Adjustment calculations (where the rates and outgoings are split between seller and buyer) can be quite complex and the laws regarding stamp duty and taxes are constantly changing,” Enticott says.  

The principle of ‘buyers beware’ exerts even more pressure on buyers to do their homework beyond just a physical inspection of the property. There can be many potential traps to avoid and hurdles to overcome, she adds.   

“Without someone who has full knowledge of the industry to guide you through the process, it can be extremely stressful if you encounter obstacles or issues along the way.” 

woman typing at computer

A conveyancer will help with all the paperwork in transferring home ownership. Image: Getty


What do conveyancers handle? 

Your conveyancer will handle all the paperwork to do with transfer of ownership for your property, even if you're buying a property with someone else (buying as 'joint tenants' or 'tenants in common'), or if you are purchasing property with a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund. 

If you're buying, a conveyancer will:

  • Review, prepare and lodge all the legal documents, such as the contract of sale and the Transfer of Land instrument
  • Research property titles; check for any third-party rights to enter or use the land, such as easements
  • Help you understand exactly what you're purchasing
  • Hold funds on your behalf in their trust account and disburse trust funds according to your instructions
  • Deal with the vendor and estate agent on your behalf
  • Deal with your bank or financial institution and coordinate payments at settlement

 For the seller, a conveyancer will:

  • Prepare and lodge all the legal documents
  • Coordinate discharge of mortgage with your bank or financial institution
  • Organise for the release of deposit to you
  • Secure title documents from you to effect transfer of it to your buyer
  • Handle extension requests and other similar communications

How do you find a conveyancer?

Engaging the services of a lawyer or a licensed conveyancer who specialises in this area can save you a lot of time and trouble along the way. Enticott says that fees can differ depending on the complexity of the matter, so make sure you ask about fees before engaging a conveyancer. 

“The fee for an ordinary conveyancing matter which doesn’t require a higher level of skills and additional work will usually vary between $1,000 and $2,000.  

“There can also be other costs involved, such as the cost of obtaining property and rates certificates to complete the buyer’s due diligence and to prepare the Statement of Adjustments of Outgoings,” she explains.  

Will the conveyancer be there on settlement day? 

Yes. Your conveyancer will complete settlement on your behalf and guide you through the process until the keys to the property have been delivered to your hand. 

The conveyancer will coordinate a settlement time with the vendor and the buyer, and ensure that the transaction goes ahead without any hiccups.  

Your conveyancer will also handle financial adjustments, such as clawing back council rates you may have paid in advance.  

They will also send you final documents confirming that the property is now registered in your name and notify your local council and water authority about the new ownership. If you’ve got questions in the weeks and months after settlement, the conveyancer is only a phone call away to handle it for you. helps take the stress out of buying and selling property.
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