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So many people that are new to the property game – and let’s face it, we all were once – seem to come up against the same the question. “What is the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer? Both can handle standard conveyancing, so which should I be using?” The answers are really quite simple but it is important to understand one key difference.
The key difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor is that a conveyancer focuses solely on the process of transferring property ownership between parties, and a solicitor is able to perform other services in addition to conveyancing as needed.
In order to understand this further, it is important to explore the term ‘real property’. Real property is simply immovable property, primarily land and buildings. Real property is the term applied to all land, buildings and their fixtures in relation to ownership. The reason it is important to understand this term is because a key definition between these two legal professions is that a conveyancer is restricted to dealing with real property while a solicitor is able to deal with more intangible matters, such as wills and bonds, as well as conveyancing.
Most property transactions will only require the services of a conveyancer as opposed to a solicitor. By focusing solely on property transfers and sales, licensed conveyancers are able to offer a more cost-effective and specialised service. While full-service solicitors will charge by the hour, a conveyancer will more often than not charge a flat fee for a standard matter and their specific knowledge can expedite the process significantly.
However, a knowledgeable solicitor will be crucial if your property transaction is more complicated or requires attendance at a court. It would be wise to consult with a conveyancer initially to determine whether it is necessary to use a solicitor in order to avoid additional costs.
So, if you’re looking at whether you will need a solicitor or a conveyancer to handle your property transaction, it is important to take your own personal circumstances into consideration. More often than not, a licensed conveyancer will be able to handle your matter or in the least direct you to a solicitor who can.