General Questions

Licensed Conveyancers in NSW are professionally qualified to advise clients in the legal matters involved in the buying or selling of property or businesses within NSW.

You should speak to your conveyancer as early as possible, ideally before you look for a property or before you decide to put your property on the market.

Never sign anything before consulting your conveyancer. If you are asked to sign a contract, request a copy of the contract first. Your conveyancer can then review the contract with you before you sign. There is no such thing as a standard contract.

The conveyancer will work with you from the beginning of the transaction and will explain the various processes and stages, including what is required of you by State and Federal law.

Most conveyancers will advise on the following:

Obtaining the information necessary to complete your transaction

  • Reviewing the contract for sale or purchase
  • Arranging building and pest inspections
  • Examining a strata inspection report (if the property is in a strata scheme)
  • Exchanging the contract of sale or purchase
  • Paying the deposit
  • Arranging payment of stamp duties
  • Preparing and examining the mortgage agreement
  • Checking for outstanding arrears or land tax obligations
  • Ascertaining whether any government authority (e.g. local council, Sydney Water, NSW Roads and Maritime Services) has a vested interest in the land or if any planned development could affect the property
  • Conducting searches to reveal information that may not have been previously disclosed
  • Calculating adjustments for council and water rates for the property settlement
  • Facilitating the change of title with Land and Property Information NSW
  • Completing any final checks prior to settlement
  • Attending settlement.

As the transaction progresses, the conveyancer will advise you on what options you have and inform you so you can make informed choices and proceed through to settlement as easily as possible.

If you are selling or purchasing a property or business in another state or territory of Australia, then you will need to contact a licensed conveyancer in that state (in NSW, VIC, SA, WA, TAS or NT), or a Solicitor (QLD and ACT) as the laws applying to the transfer of property vary. Conveyancers are not licensed to operate in Queensland or the A.C.T.

The role of a licensed conveyancer is quite different across Australia. The relevant states/territory permit licensed conveyancers to undertake differing levels of work and responsibilities. Accordingly the Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy covering each conveyancer is limited to work done within that state/territory only.

Some Licensed Conveyancers in NSW are also licensed to provide conveyancing services in other states. You should check that any conveyancer offering this service holds the appropriate license with the regulatory authority in that state and is covered by the mandated Professional indemnity Insurance Policy for that State. If in doubt ask the conveyancer to provide copies of these details so you can check with the relevant state licensing authority.

You can also contact the relevant Division of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers to find a local conveyancer or ask about the relevant state authorities:

AIC National
Western Australia
South Australia
Victoria
Tasmania
New Zealand Society of Conveyancers

If you choose to do your own conveyancing, research what is required and the risks involved. Do-it-yourself kits are available but generally provide guidance material only. You could encounter technical or legal issues not covered by the kit.

Unless you hold professional indemnity insurance, you may be held personally liable if there is a problem with the transaction and the other party suffers loss, even if you followed the instructions.

The Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW Division cannot offer any legal assistance or guidance to members of the public undertaking their own conveyance. We encourage you to seek the services of a licensed conveyancer to assist you in this transaction.

How are conveyancers regulated

Licensed Conveyancers are regulated by NSW Fair Trading.  In NSW a Licensed Conveyancer must renew their licence annually to continue to practice as a conveyancer.

This process requires each licensee to undertake Continuing Professional Development courses, to keep up to date with changes in legislation and professional issues and ensure they are covered by a compliant Professional Indemnity Insurance policy.

You can check that any NSW Licensed Conveyancer holds a valid license using the NSW Fair Trading License Check.

The academic qualification for a conveyancer’s licence in NSW is satisfactory completion of the Advanced Diploma of Conveyancing (FNS60311), or other approved courses.

The three New South Wales teaching institutions conducting approved courses are:

Ultimo TAFE Sydney 1300 360 601 (fulltime and part time courses available)
Ultimo TAFE Conveyancing Advanced Diploma

Macquarie University, Ryde (02) 9850 7470 (Online course)
Macquarie University Conveyancing Law and Practice Program

Southern Cross University, Lismore 1800 005 687 or email: [email protected] (Correspondence course)
Southern Cross University Associate degree in Law (Paralegal studies)

In addition to the academic requirements, students are required to gain at least two years’ practical experience in conveyancing work.

At least one year of this practical training period must be obtained:

  • while working on a full-time basis
  • under the supervision of a NSW licensed conveyancer (holding an unrestricted licence), or

under the supervision of an Australian legal practitioner (holding an unrestricted practicing certificate).

All licensed conveyancers must be covered by a policy of professional indemnity insurance. As occurs with every other type of professional, this insurance requirement is in place for your protection.

We receive very few complaints about members of the AIC NSW. Those that are received are generally misunderstandings or a lack of communication between the client and the conveyancer. We suggest that as a first step, you talk to your conveyancer about any complaint you have and try to resolve it amicably.

Conveyancers are professionals and should attempt to resolve any reasonable complaints quickly and satisfactorily. If however you are not satisfied then please contact the AIC NSW so we can assist in engaging your conveyancer in a constructive solution.

If we cannot resolve the matter, or if it is of a type that we cannot resolve you can also contact NSW Fair Trading, as the government body which regulates Licensed Conveyancers in NSW.

Please use the following link to NSW Fair Trading - Complaints.

If your conveyance is being handled by a Solicitor rather than a Licensed Conveyancer, then you will need to contact the Law Society NSW to register your complaint.  If you are not sure whether your matter is being handled by a Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer, please contact the AIC NSW so we can assist in directing your matter to the correct authority.

Costs of a Conveyancing Transactions

There are several costs involved in buying real estate. It is vital that you know what the costs are before you commence the transaction in order to budget for them. Costs can blow out if you are not prepared and make yourself aware of what is involved.

Conveyancers are required by law to give you a written quotation of all the fees and charges involved in your particular transaction, so you know what the conveyancing process will cost you. Ask whether there are any other costs or charges that may arise that are not included in the quotation.

Your Conveyancer's professional fee and Conveyancing disbursements, including:

  • Title search costs
  • Government Inquiries e.g. Council searches
  • Agency fees for settlement
  • Fee for attending to loan and mortgage documents
  • Registration fees paid to the Land & Property Information (LPI).

Other costs to be aware of:

  • Fees and charges for obtaining a loan
  • Mortgage insurance where applicable
  • Adjustment of rates and taxes for the period you own the property
  • Insurance of buildings
  • Stamp duty on the contract

When selling, you should make sure the estate agent gives you a written quotation of his fees and charges, or at least the manner in which they will be calculated.

  • Your Conveyancer's professional fee and conveyancing disbursements, including:
  • Title search
  • Zoning certificate from council
  • Drainage diagram
  • Agency fees (settlement etc)
  • Fee to arrange discharge of mortgage, when necessary

Other costs to be aware of:

  • Rates and taxes adjustment for the period you own the property
  • Balance of loan repayments
  • Agent’s commission and charges for advertising etc
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