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Conveyancing

Conveyancing process explained: For Buyers


This is a guide explaining the conveyancing process when buying a home. Conveyancing involves legally transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer. It starts when your offer on a house is accepted and finishes when you receive the keys. Understanding what it involves will help ensure there are fewer surprises along the way.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing involves legally transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer. It starts when your offer on a house is accepted and finishes when you receive the keys.

Who does the conveyancing?

A solicitor or conveyancer usually conducts the conveyancing process, but it is possible (although difficult) to do it yourself as long as you are not taking out a mortgage.                               

First stages

If like most people you are too worried or time poor to do the conveyancing yourself, the next step is to find the right solicitor or conveyancer and “instruct them” to do it for you. Avoid using the estate agent’s recommended conveyancer as it will likely be a commission based recommendation and cost you more. Your appointed conveyancer will then draw up a draft contract or terms of engagement with you, setting out their charges and deposits required.  Your solicitor will write to your seller’s solicitor to confirm they are instructed and request a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the property’s title and the standard forms.

Legal Work

Your solicitor will examine the draft contract and supporting documents and raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. You will be expected to go through the forms the seller has completed and let the solicitor know if you have any queries or concerns. In particular you will want to double check the tenure of your new home: is it leasehold or freehold? If it’s leasehold, don’t rely on your solicitor to check for the length of the lease.

Your mortgage

You will need to get your mortgage in place. This will include ensuring you have the financing available for a mortgage deposit. Your solicitor will receive a copy of the offer and go through the conditions. You will need to get a mortgage valuation. This is carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know that the property provides sufficient security for the loan. You normally have to pay for it, but a mortgage company might throw it in for free to attract business. You will want to have any other necessary surveys done. Whether you have a survey done and what sort of survey you choose will depend on your specific circumstances. Before exchange of contracts can take place your lender will require you to get Buildings Insurance for your new home. You are responsible for the property as soon as contracts have been exchanged so it is in your interests to do so.