What is the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

Nobody likes piles of paperwork. But when you’re buying a house in Melbourne, this is simply part of the deal. Title documents, valuations, property appraisals and more all form part of the purchasing process.

However, these are not documents you have to go through yourself. In most cases, people will use either a conveyancer or a solicitor to handle real estate paperwork. You can do it yourself, but without the protection of professional indemnity insurance that these officials have, it can be risky. But what is the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor, and which should you use?

What a conveyancer does

A conveyancer is someone specifically trained and qualified to handle the transfer of real estate from one person to another. They can give professional legal advice on title transfers and conduct official, legal work to ensure your purchase or sale runs smoothly.

You can check the licensing of a conveyancer at Consumer Affairs Victoria, which holds a public register of all conveyancers in the state.

Cut down on the paperwork by using a solicitor or conveyancer.

What a solicitor does

A solicitor is a more general legal practitioner, but one with the specialisation to conduct your conveyancing. They hold a practising certificate for law, and also have the specialist knowledge required to handle the transfer of property.

All licensed conveyancers and Australian legal practitioners are qualified to handle your affairs.

This can be confusing, as some solicitors will refer to themselves as conveyancers for the purpose of your purchase or sale. As a rule of thumb – all licensed conveyancers are qualified to handle your affairs.

Which should you use?

A licenced conveyancer or Australian legal practitioner are able handle title transfer.

Essentially, what this means is you can take your pick of who to use – as long as they have a current qualification and license, they can handle your sale or purchase of property with minimal fuss. There are some differences, however.

A solicitor may be able to provide more general property advice, such as on tax affairs. However, this can come at a premium. On the other hand, a conveyancer will not be conducting any other legal work, and as such could be more affordable.

Which you choose depends entirely on your legal needs. As for the specifics of actually buying or selling a house? That’s where the professionals at Nelson Alexander have you covered.

The Latest