- Employing the services of a conveyancer is a must for buying or selling a house.
- Average conveyancing fees across Australia range from approx $800 - $,1400.
- Get answers to 6 of the most common questions homebuyers have about conveyancing.
Buying a house will likely be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. Therefore, it is vital that you pay for one more legal service to ensure that the property is transferred from one owner to another without any hiccups.
Conveyancing fees are just one of the many costs of moving. So how much does it cost, and what service do you get for your money? We decided to find out and got quotes from local conveyancers in every Australian state.
In this guide
What is conveyancing?
Simply put, conveyancing is the legal transfer of property from one owner to another.
This process involves a range of legal requirements, the key ones being exchange of contracts and settlement.
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Why you need a conveyancer
Buying a property can be a complicated exercise involving a lot of legal documents and forms. Rather than try to negotiate them yourself, it can pay to employ someone who is an expert in property law – a conveyancer.
Your conveyancer can also give you advice about your obligations under state and federal law.
A conveyancer needs to have studied property law at tertiary level for at least two years, as well as working in conveyancing in a supervised capacity for at least two years before they can apply for a conveyancing licence.
Besides handling the all-important exchange of contracts and settlement when you buy a property, your conveyancer also looks after a range of other processes including:
- Sourcing the Certificate of Title of the property you are buying.
- Reviewing the Vendor’s Statement of the property you are buying and making sure everything is in order.
- Liaising with local councils.
- Possibly organising building and pest inspections.
- Checking on any outstanding Council rates or water bills.
Conveyancers can also obtain a number of certificates on your behalf and will have to pay the relevant authority. These payments are called disbursements and will come on top of your conveyancer’s regular fee.
Here are some types of disbursements and their fees in NSW:
- Local Council Building Certificate ($250)
- Land Tax clearance certificate ($27.50)
- Local Council 10.7 certificate (formerly S149 certificate) ($53-133)
- Local Council Rates Enquiry ($65)
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Average conveyancing fees in Australia
Conveyancing fees can vary widely within states and between states.
Your conveyancer will base their fee on a range of factors.
Here is a list of average conveyancing fees (excluding disbursements) across Australia. Quotes taken from local conveyancers in May 2021:
Based on 10 quotes in NSW, ranging from $990 to $1,760, the average base conveyancing fee is about $1,400.
Based on 6 quotes in the Northern Territory, ranging from $1,050 to $1,550, the average base conveyancing fee is about $1,260.
Based on 10 quotes in Queensland ranging from $880 to $1,400, the average base conveyancing fee is about $1,050.
Based on 6 quotes in South Australia, ranging from $550 to $1,090, the average base conveyancing fee is about $810.
Based on 6 quotes in Tasmania, ranging from $580 to $1,540, the average base conveyancing fee is about $1,000.
Based on 10 quotes in Victoria, ranging from $600 to $1,800, the average base conveyancing fee is about $960.
Based on 6 quotes in Western Australia, ranging from $750 to $1,100, the average base conveyancing fee is about $920.
Doing it yourself
You can, of course, attempt the conveyancing yourself when you are buying a property, and you can save a lot of money by buying a conveyancing kit for $100-$150.
A conveyancing kit should contain all the relevant legal forms and instructions for you to complete the legal side of your purchase as well as a list of all the government departments you will need to contact.
However, it’s worth remembering it can be a complicated and time consuming process and if something goes wrong you are not covered by any insurance, unlike conveyancers, who have professional indemnity insurance.
As well as being experienced in all the necessary legal processes, conveyancers also have a trained eye, and are more likely to spot any irregularities that need attention.
What’s the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?
A conveyancer’s skills are focused on property law, whereas a solicitor, as well as being able to perform the conveyancing role, is able to advise you on broader legal issues.
For example, they can help you if your property purchase involves more complicated procedures such as tax issues or divorce proceedings. You can turn to a solicitor for advice.
Are conveyancers cheaper than solicitors?
Usually, yes. Conveyancers will often have a fixed fee (disbursements will cost extra), whereas solicitors will charge you by the hour for their services.
Does the buyer or seller pay the conveyancing fees?
Both the buyer and seller will need to undertake conveyancing processes as part of the property transaction and therefore both will need to pay their respective conveyancing fees.
How are conveyancing fees calculated?
Your conveyancer will base their fees on how complicated the transaction is, how much work they have to do and the type of property involved. The more complicated the transaction, the more you can expect to pay.
Your conveyancer may also base their fee on a percentage of the property purchase price.
On top of their fees, your conveyancer will also charge you for a range of disbursements (see above).
Can you negotiate conveyancing fees?
Yes, you can. You are entitled to negotiate with your conveyancer over fees and work out an upfront cost for their services.
How long does the average conveyancing take?
After contracts have been exchanged, you can expect to wait 4-6 weeks for settlement.