What does a conveyancer do, and how can they help you?

Feb 28, 2024By Mint Legal Brisbane
Mint Legal Brisbane

Whether you’re closing in on the hunt for your dream home or hoping to find the right buyer, the property settlement process can feel like the final stretch of a marathon. Though you may have your eyes on settlement day, there’s still a lot of work to do to make it official. 

Conveyancing refers to the legal groundwork needed to buy or sell a property in Australia. It’s a huge part of any property transaction, but it can feel overwhelming if you’re new to the real estate market or worried about any missteps that could cost you money. 

Though every state and territory has its own rules and regulations, knowing the basics of how conveyancing works will help you have a relatively simple, stress-free experience settling your property. So, let’s take a closer look at what conveyancing is, and what a good conveyancer can do for you.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing in Australia is the legal and administrative process of transferring property ownership from one party to another. 

That includes preparing, reviewing and lodging the legal documents needed to make a property transfer happen, from identity verification to the contract of sale. It also involves transferring the property title and coordinating the discharge or establishment of a mortgage. 

This conveyancing process plays a massive role in safeguarding the interests of everyone involved in buying and selling a property, because it helps ensure that everything is done fairly and lawfully.

Conveyencers help people navigate a property transfer from sale to settlement.

What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancer in Queensland is a solicitor who specialises in the legal and administrative part of property transactions. They help people navigate a property transfer from sale to settlement. They also give legal advice, put together the necessary paperwork, and identify any potential issues that may come up in the property transfer. 

Basically, conveyancers help make sure that everything goes off without a hitch, which is a big deal when there is so much money changing hands.


When you’re buying a property, here’s what a conveyancer can do for you:

Review the contract of sale and advise you of any concerns
Prepare, certify and lodge the required paperwork, such as the contract of sale and transfer of land documents
Conduct property searches for outstanding debts, zoning regulations or other potential issues
See if local councils or other government authorities have interests in the property, such as planned developments
Verify your identity
Hold deposit money in a trust account and pay it out for you
Calculate and coordinate the payment of stamp duty and any other rates and taxes
Protect your interests and help you understand your rights
Organise building and pest inspections
Liaise with a bank or financial institution, real estate agent or vendor on your behalf.


When you’re selling a property, here’s what a conveyancer can do for you:

Prepare and lodge the required paperwork
Create a contract of sale 
Liaise with the buyer’s conveyancer on the contract of sale, extensions and other issues
Coordinate the safe transfer of funds


If you’d like to change the ownership of a property from one party to another, you can engage a conveyancer to coordinate the title transfer. This might happen when you’re subdividing land or updating the name on a title due to an owner’s death.

How can a conveyancer help you?

Getting a property from sale to settlement can be a stressful, emotional process. It tends to involve a lot of legal and technical jargon that isn’t always easy for everyone to understand. 

Buying or selling a property is the biggest financial transaction most people will make in their lives, so it’s usually worth having an expert make it as convenient and safe for you as possible. 

Not only do conveyancers guide people through the legal transfer of property ownership, but they can also help both parties make informed decisions, ensure that they meet all their legal obligations, calculate complicated rate adjustments, and streamline what can be a complex process. 

Conveyancers have professional-level indemnity insurance, which protects you and your money if something goes wrong with the contract or the settlement fails.

If you’re selling a property, you’ll need a conveyancer to draw up a contract of sale and prepare any other important paperwork before you can accept offers.

When should you consult a conveyancer?

You shouldn’t wait until you’re about to sign on the dotted line. It never hurts to connect with a conveyancer as soon as you’ve started to think about buying or selling a property. That way you already have someone to reach out to when it’s time to get them involved in the property transfer process.

You can also consult a conveyancer about subdividing land or transferring a title to other people, such as your children. 

If you’re selling a property, you’ll need a conveyancer to draw up a contract of sale and prepare any other important paperwork before you can accept offers. 

If you’re planning to buy a property, it’s a good idea to engage a conveyancer well before you make an offer, bid at auction or sign a contract. They can review the contract of sale, check that everything is in order with the property, and help you understand your potential legal obligations.

You’ll also need a conveyancer during settlement – the process where payment is exchanged and the property is transferred from seller to buyer. That’s because conveyancers ensure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone has ticked the right boxes. 

5 tasks a good conveyancer should do for you

Prepare your legal documents: Your conveyancer should handle all the legal and administrative documents related to the settlement of your real estate transaction.

- Review the contract of sale: Conveyancers should comb through your contract of sale and advise you of its terms — and highlight any special conditions that go beyond a generic contract and relate specifically to your property.  
- Coordinate financial transactions: You shouldn’t be crunching any last-minute numbers related to stamp duty or council rate adjustments. Conveyancers will do this on your behalf. They’ll also ensure that everyone’s payments are made correctly and on time. 
- Act as your agent on settlement day: A crucial part of a conveyancer’s role is to coordinate settlement with the other party, particularly on settlement day, when they’ll arrange for the hand-over of keys and complete any final checks. 
- Be your advocate: Your conveyancer works for you. They’re not just there to file paperwork, so they should do what they can to advocate for you, provide legal advice and protect your interests. 

What is the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

In Australia, you can work with a solicitor or a licensed conveyancing specialist during the conveyancing process. Both solicitors and licensed conveyancers need to have professional indemnity insurance to protect you from any financial or legal harm. Conveyancers specialise in property transactions, while solicitors are legal practitioners who can work in other areas of the law. 

Whether you choose to engage a solicitor or licensed conveyancer depends on what works best for your particular property transaction. If you foresee any especially tricky legal issues, it can be a good idea to work with a solicitor.

If you’re planning to buy a property, it’s a good idea to engage a conveyancer well before you make an offer, bid at auction or sign a contract.

How to choose a conveyancer

When engaging a conveyancer, it’s important that you look for a licensed professional you feel you can trust. So your search should involve more than a quick Google search or the promise of a cheap service fee. Review their qualifications and experience level, and check if they’re highly recommended or well reviewed.

It’s also a good idea to consider some of a conveyancer’s intangible qualities. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do they communicate clearly? Are they organised and thorough? 

Conveyancers in QLD need to be solicitors. 

If you have specific circumstances that make the property transaction complicated or unusual, look into engaging a conveyancer or solicitor with relevant experience.

Understanding conveyancing fees and costs

Conveyancing fees can vary widely depending on the complexity of the property transaction, the practitioner’s skill level and other associated costs, such as property searches and council certificates. On average, conveyancer fees can range from $800 to $2500 for straightforward property transactions.

Ask prospective conveyancers for an itemised quote that breaks down all the costs and fees you can expect to pay for their services. Fees can also differ based on a practitioner’s location and experience.

Can a conveyancer act for both buyer and seller?

Yes, it is legal for a buyer and seller to use the same conveyancer on a transaction. Most of the time, though, it’s not recommended. 

That’s because you want your conveyancer to advocate for you when there’s a dispute, maybe over a settlement delay or a contract condition. You want them to be free to give you advice without having the interests of the other party in the back of their mind.