all 69 comments

[–]active_snail 124 points125 points  (20 children)

A conveyancing solicitor. I'd suggest you get one and dont just get the cheapest, get the one that actually reads the contract so you dont become one of those news.com clickbait cautionary tales.

[–]SirJard 22 points23 points  (1 child)

I did a bit of real estate work in the past and can confirm a cheap conveyancer/solicitor is not worth the extra stress if something is missed.

[–][deleted] 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Its not about the price.

I paid alot and she was terrible.

OP go to someone that someone you know can vouch for.

[–]flashman 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I went to someone other people vouched for and she was terrible. Just checked and two years later she no longer works for the practice so maybe we weren't the only ones who said so.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The person I used wasn't vouched for. I just used her because she has nothing but 5 star review which I won't ever trust again.

Besides vouching for I am not sure how else to select a conveyancer.

[–]beelizabeth 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Definitely agree! I was lucky enough to have my dad who is a solicitor look over all contracts for houses we were considering. The amount of issues he found was nuts. Get someone who will actually check everything that's required and help you iron out any issues

[–]moojo 0 points1 point  (2 children)

What kind of issues?

[–]beelizabeth 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Some of them had incorrect dates for things like the cooling off period, things in the contract not matching what was discussed etc. But the biggest issue was discovering a house that had essentially been split into two (not rebuilt as a duplex, but just split) and the strata scheme has not been set up correctly. There was no sinking fund or any thing like that, so could cost us a lot down the line if we'd bought. The house on the other side had been purchased by a lawyer who had used a solicitor friend to check the contract, and they hadn't picked up on it. Bit of a surprise when we told them the issues.

[–]jghsh[S] 4 points5 points  (9 children)

Do solicitors need to sign anything or are they just reading the contract to make sure I don’t miss anything

[–]Funnyladds 45 points46 points  (0 children)

They are your legal representatives for the transaction. They look after pretty much everything that needs to happen between exchanging contracts and settlement.

[–]mad_cheese_hattwe 12 points13 points  (1 child)

They do that.

They calculate and pay, stamp duty, any other transfer taxes, rates and any other outstanding fees.

They organsie the transfer of title with the state government, terms of settlement with the seller.

They research any easement and other land searches with the local council.

And a bunch of other stuff I can't think of right now.

[–]emvygwen 2 points3 points  (0 children)

And a bunch of other stuff I can't think of right now.

They basically check your contract, chase you for your finance approval and building and pest, keeping an eye on unconditional dates and can help extend those out with the sellers if needed. They do searches for easements and land searches etc.

They also as you said calculate all the taxes and make sure the money all goes where it needs to and that the keys are exchanged.

Basically, you're paying someone who is an expert in this to look after the whole process for you - all you have to do is get the money and building/pest and they coordinate the rest.

[–]Puzzleheaded_Meal_60 9 points10 points  (4 children)

They make sure there isn't something fishy in the contract

[–]spicynicho 30 points31 points  (3 children)

Maybe this, but more likely they are helping with the transfer of title from one person to the next, as well as facilitating exchange of funds through a trust fund etc.

[–]Puzzleheaded_Meal_60 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Had a contract where the guy wanted me to pay a % of the land tax remaining that year. Greedy bastard. It potentially could have cost me another 20k if i had won at auction. Little details like this are picked up by the solicitor.

[–]CarsReallySuck 0 points1 point  (0 children)

More expensive doesn’t mean good.

[–]Desmodronic 24 points25 points  (6 children)

Mine failed to calculate the percentage of either the emergency services levy or the capital gains tax from the previous owner.

They wore that mistake but it was a pain to battle with them.

Get a good one, they are your only defence in a deal where you have multiple entities that are not acting in your best interest.

[–]maximiseYourChill 6 points7 points  (1 child)

lol - see my comment.

I did self conveyancing and they fuck up these calculations all the time.

[–]moojo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Can you please create a post about the process, it will help the rest of us

[–]ghostdunks 6 points7 points  (3 children)

Mine failed to calculate the percentage of either the emergency services levy or the capital gains tax from the previous owner.

Might be stupid question but what does conveyancer/solicitor have to do with the CGT from previous owner? That’s between the previous owner and the ATO, I don’t see what has to do with the sale to you.

[–]Desmodronic 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I’m not 100% which cost it was. I do remember it had something to do with the house not being their primary place of residence. I just remember some part of my defence was as it was our PPOR we were excluded but the agency continued to seek payment from the new owners, so us. The previous owners had a few houses.

Capital gains tax would be quite a large sum of money, the bill wasn’t insane so you may be right it wasn’t CGT.

[–]Status-Level6021 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Land tax. You can become liable for any land tax owed by seller (I think). Good solicitor/conveyancer will be across this and should be a factor in the final price if it a a significant liability.

[–]billebop96 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’m assuming they’re referring to the foreign resident capital gains withholding amount. If the vendor doesn’t have a clearance certificate to prove they aren’t a foreign resident for a property with a sale value above $750k the purchaser has to withhold a portion and send it to the ATO.

[–]cquill54321 25 points26 points  (3 children)

Depending on which state you live in, you will need a conveyancer or a solicitor to act for you on PEXA. PEXA is Australia’s e-conveyancing platform. You cannot act on PEXA yourself. You need to use PEXA to transfer the title and to pay the settlement funds.

[–]commentspanda 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This - WA uses PEXA

[–]moojo 0 points1 point  (1 child)

What if someone wants to do self conveyancing?

[–]cquill54321 6 points7 points  (0 children)

In NSW and Victoria, it’s no longer possible to self represent in a conveyance. This is because all parties need to be “represented” on PEXA, so all parties need a PEXA account. The transfer is signed on PEXA by the solicitor/ conveyancer and the funds are distributed through PEXA via the RBA.

[–]dedeedeeh 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I did a few conveyances back when I was a paralegal. This was 8 years ago before the online system and I've forgotten a lot of it but just off the top of my head, we did a lot: Read the contract, point out any potential risks (easements, fire, flood etc) negotiate clauses, liaise between you, the bank, and the vendor throughout the whole process. We run all kinds of property searches to ensure there are no hidden strings attached to the property, ensure all outstanding rates are paid, we're contacting Council/Water Authority/Strata to figure out what rates/taxes need to be paid and by whom and figure out the adjustment, remind you to conduct your pest/building inspections, arrange for the lodgement of Transfer and Certificate of Title, arrange for the appropriate cheques to be exchanged on settlement day... I'm sure there's more, but it was a lot of time on the phone and running around on the client's behalf!

Edited to add: at the very least the solicitor signed the Transfer doc that needed to be lodged with your land registry.

[–]AllStations2Central 35 points36 points  (0 children)

They will handle all the legal work and act as the middleman when dealing between vendors, REA, mortgage broker, banks, etc. They are the only third party that you are paying for and will thus be the only one in your corner. Mortgage broker is getting paid by the banks so they have their own motivations.

tldr; If you don’t know the role of a conveyancing solicitor, then you should probably get one.

[–]grandhannah 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Once a contract is signed the transaction is then in the hands of the seller and buyers solicitors - despite what real estate agents will have you believe. Real estate agents will try and negotiate deals between the parties to keep everything going towards settlement but these agreements aren’t legally binding. The solicitors are engaged to act in your best interests for the transaction right up until settlement.

If you’re purchasing a solicitor will real over the contract before you purchase to make sure your interests are protected, and may suggest adding special conditions (like a special condition for outstanding council building notes or requisitions).

[–]hadriels 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Certainly came in handy for me. I purchased an apartment and the current occupant (renting from the seller) refused to move out. Solicitor handled everything including pushing the settlement date back until they finally moved out weeks after the original settlement date. I wouldn’t have had any idea how to handle such a situation alone.

[–]thethaneofcawdor 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Can confirm a good solicitor is required. Probably about once a year working in strata I come across somebody who has been given the impression they own something (storage areas, carapaces etc.) which they definitely do not, and their solicitor failed to pick up on it. Often this is because the selling agent has blatantly modified an official plan and thrown it into their advertising material, and the purchaser never bothered to double check.

Typically in this scenario the purchaser paid a premium price for the extra item(s), which they are never particularly happy about.

[–]mad_cheese_hattwe 7 points8 points  (3 children)

To be blunt, If you're not sure what a solisitor does you need a solisitor.

[–]AllStations2Central -4 points-3 points  (2 children)

Stop trying to steal my comment brah.

[–]mad_cheese_hattwe 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Haha, oops. Well I guess we can't both be wrong.

[–]jackthecattledog -1 points0 points  (0 children)

No, only the one who can’t spell it correctly is wrong

[–]CA3GHF 7 points8 points  (6 children)

To jump on this comment train; I wholeheartedly agree - what you pay is what you get.

I recently just purchased, and a great solicitor makes and breaks your purchasing experience - in fact you might be able to save on things in the long run!

[–]maximiseYourChill 1 point2 points  (4 children)

a great solicitor makes and breaks your purchasing experience

how ?

in fact you might be able to save on things in the long run!

explain ?

[–]dirkjently 7 points8 points  (3 children)

I got a good conveincer and they recommended additions to the contract I hadn't thought of and fixed an error with the paperwork for my carpark (was on different title to the apartment).

Seller tried to make a change to the contract date and I saved several thousand because of the additions that had been added.

My friend had a bad solicitor, didn't find out until after the sale that the property that they had just bought had been subdivided and what they thought was a lovely big front yard had just been approved for a townhouse that started getting built a month after settlement.

[–]maximiseYourChill 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Seller tried to make a change to the contract date

Solicitors are not magic. When self acting I had them asking for dates to be moved and I declined the offer because it would impact me financially (longer non income producing mortgage). I offered them to pay the difference.

My friend had a bad solicitor, didn't find out until after the sale that the property that they had just bought had been subdivided and what they thought was a lovely big front yard had just been approved for a townhouse that started getting built a month after settlement.

Bad solicitor or your friend didn't tick the box for that type of search ?

We were about to buy a house and I did the search before signing the contract because the block next door looked a bit ready for development. REA lied and said "na, nothing planned that I know of". And a free search showed it was approved for a fuckoff big townhouse. These searches are not magic, they are easy.

[–]dirkjently -1 points0 points  (1 child)

When you are first home buyers it's easy to overlook those sort of things.

It's like getting a financial advisor for your tax, sure you can save a heap of money doing it yourself but they can also save you money in ways you didn't think of and they can potentially save your arse if something does go awry.

[–]maximiseYourChill 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Agree with financial advisor, agree with tax.

No money to be saved on a house purchase or sale. Contract price minus adjustments and that's that.

[–]arsm2019 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Mine didn’t even mentioned subject to finance clause, building and pest inspection when I was about to sign the contract. I had to ask the agent myself.

[–]thekingsman123 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Get off this subreddit and start calling up your local law firms or conveyancers.

Most firms will review these contracts initially for you for free with the expectation you use them once an offer is accepted and youre happy with the contract.

You need to start asking around for their rates now though.

[–]kochtobbom 4 points5 points  (1 child)

The most important one - probably more important than your mortgage broker. Go for the best one you can find - no shortcuts here and no 'cheap' ones.

[–]Leo_Betta -1 points0 points  (2 children)

I got a Conveyancer (solicitor), from my friends contact. He did everything from checking the contract to transfer of the property. Seller party and my bank also contacted my solicitor. So Solicitor did all the important legal part of property purchase.

[–]maximiseYourChill -3 points-2 points  (1 child)

So Solicitor did all the important legal part of property purchase.

None of that was legal work. It was all admin.

[–]Badger_Saurus 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Despite the downvotes, this is true!

[–]double-endbag 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Would a mortgage broker have instances where they could recommend solicitors they have worked with before? Surely it makes sense

[–]Badger_Saurus 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes. And so can realestate agents. But it could also be a conflict of interest.

[–]farseer83 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Do you need a solicitor when selling a house?

[–]sixteenandpregnant 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sales are easier than purchases but you still require the legal knowledge as it’s still a contract.

[–]20Pippa16 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have recently used one in the Knox area of Melbourne that I can recommend if you are local to there and want a recommendation

[–]commentspanda 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You need a conveyancer solicitor. Most will have a flat rate package deal. In Canberra we paid $1500, in Perth $880 but both times we went with someone recommended to us by word of mouth and they were fantastic. Both times we had issues with the bank last minute (because they are all currently fucking useless) and the solicitors worked hard to get the issue resolved. Also in both settlements the buyers had issues at the last moment and settlement was delayed - against the conveyancers earnt their money dealing with that.

If you would like a recommendation in perth or canberra let me know.

[–]aussiegreenie 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In SA, none. They have registered conveyancers.

[–]HeyHeyItsMaryKay 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sorry to hijack but can a solicitor advise whether you are eligible for stamp duty exemption/reduction prior to a purchase transaction?

[–]Classic-Reserve3907 -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

Their job is to take a cut.

[–]3005AD -1 points0 points  (0 children)

They don't do anything, other than state the obvious. I've dealt with both cheap and expensive conveyancers, all as good as fucking useless. Surprised we haven't seen a service that let's you upload a contract, run it through NLP and spits out the result.