Lawyer or Conveyancer?

I am about to put my house on the market for Sale and of course am looking to buy. The property I will purchase will be just over the $1 million dollars, which although sounds huge, is about the price to re-buy in the area of Parramatta and surrounds. Do you think I could save some money by getting a conveyor, or should I engage a lawyer? Is there any difference?

People buying or selling property will often use a conveyancer to save money. A conveyancer is not a lawyer, but has completed a conveyancing course to become a licensed conveyor. As a conveyancer does not have a law degree, there is a risk that engaging a conveyancer, particularly when spending a lot of money or in a complex matter, may cause problems.

In a recent case before the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal of New South Wales, purchasers of a rural property walked away with additional expenses related to the purchase of property.

The purchasers purchased a five-acre lot of land, in New South Wales and on the recommendation of the real estate agent they engaged a conveyancer to act for them on the purchase. The purchasers believed that their conveyancer would carry out similar work that a lawyer would in the purchase of the land.

During the conveyancing process, the purchasers claimed that the conveyancer advised them that they could access their land along a certain corridor and that it was unnecessary to obtain an identification survey.

After settlement the purchasers engaged a builder and lodged the relevant applications with the local Council. In response to the application the Council requested plans showing access to the land. The conveyancer provided written advice to Council that, access to the land was along the south west boundary. The Council declined access along this boundary on the grounds that Council had located a water main and needed unfettered access for maintenance purposes.

On account of the denial of access along the boundary by Council, the purchasers were required to turn part of the fence on the property into a gate and construct an access track to their proposed house.

The purchasers had signed a waiver to obtaining a survey, however they stated that many of the items in the documents that they signed were ‘mumbo-jumbo’ and they would only have read about a third of them. In addition, they relied on the conveyancer’s skill and expertise to advise them on the purchase of the land.

The Tribunal found that the conveyancer did not know how the right of carriageway affected the land and access to the land. However, because the conveyancer had stressed the importance of a survey report, which the purchasers had refused to obtain, the Tribunal dismissed their application.

In purchasing land it is always a good idea to make sure that the advice you are relying on comes from someone with a strong legal background, in conveyancing and property work. It can make a big difference.

If you are selling or buying property and need strong, practical and effective legal advice, call Frank Boitano at Barwick Boitano today, on (02) 9630 0444 or email your query on fjb@bblawyers.com.au РMake an appointment today for peace of mind to your legal query.

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