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DIY conveyancing: is it a good idea to do your own?

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Buying or selling a home can be an expensive process with professionals’ fees and other costs quickly adding up. So it can be tempting to save some dollars by taking on the conveyancing duties yourself. But, is this a good idea or not?

Can you do your own conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another.

While it’s not a legal requirement to use the services of a conveyancer or solicitor, it’s generally recommended you do.

That said, DIY conveyancing kits are available. These generally cost between $80 to $150 and should contain everything you need to go it alone, including:

  • Step-by-step instructions on what to do
  • A standard contract of sale
  • All relevant land and title forms (as well as a guide on how to fill them out)
  • A full list of government departments you’ll need to deal with throughout the process
  • A list of property searches you’ll need to carry out, including timeframes and associated costs
  • A glossary of legal terms

Property law varies from state to state and can change quickly. So, if you are considering DIY conveyancing, make sure the kit you purchase is up-to-date and corresponds to where your property transaction is happening.

Pros of DIY conveyancing

Save money

Conveyancing fees vary depending on the complexity of your transaction. But a straightforward transfer should cost you around $1,000. So DIY conveyancing can save you money – if all goes smoothly during the process.

Full control

Cutting out the middleman gives you full control and 100% visibility over the process. You won’t need to wait for updates and can make sure all tasks are done as soon as they surface.

Does this mean your translation goes through more quickly? Not necessarily. Remember, it takes two to tango – so the transfer only happens at the speed of the slowest party.

Cons of DIY conveyancing

Costs time

While DIY conveyancing can save you money, it will probably eat up a considerable amount of time. You’ll have to get your head around legal jargon and technical terms, thoroughly research the property, review the sales contract, and liaise with other relevant parties in the transaction among other tasks. Phew!

Personally accountable

Conveyancers and solicitors are covered by professional indemnity insurance – so you’re protected should something go wrong. But, make a mistake when you do-it-yourself and you’re held personally accountable. This can have serious financial and legal consequences.

Lack of expertise

If conveyancing was so simple, then everyone would do it themselves. But there’s a good reason why most people leave it to the experts. Professionals do this day in and day out.

They know what should and shouldn’t be in a contract so can quickly spot errors or red flags. Do it yourself and your lack of legal knowledge might mean you miss something important.

Added stress

Buying or selling a property is stressful enough without adding conveyancing duties on top. Working with a professional takes the weight off your shoulders, and their advice and guidance should stand you in good stead if anything unexpected crops up.

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