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Conveyancer or Solicitor - what's the difference?

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Conveyancer or Solicitor - what's the difference?

When selling a property, engaging the help of a conveyancer or solicitor is quite essential. This is particularly important when it comes to selling your property privately, as a conveyancer or solicitor will aid with the legal processes of selling your property including writing the contract of sale, vendors statement, along with the other documents and paperwork you need to sell a property (documents and paperwork you need to sell a house). Most of the time you’ll hear people say that you need to engage a conveyancer or solicitor to help with this process, one or the other but not both. Why is that, and which one should you hire?

While their roles do overlap somewhat, they each function slightly differently in the conveyancing process. Here are some of the fundamental differences between conveyancers and solicitors.


Conveyancing is a necessary step in property selling which encompasses the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one buyer to another. A conveyancer, therefore, is someone who specialises in property transactions. Conveyancers have to be trained professionally in property transactions, with a higher education qualification in conveyancing (i.e. an advanced diploma of property conveyancing), along with 12 months of supervised conveyancing experience. Alternatively, they might have a law degree and have completed a practical legal training course.

Conveyancers are responsible for conducting and overseeing property transactions, and ensuring they go as smooth as possible without any oversight or rule breaking. The conveyancer will assist their client through the property transaction, all the way through to settlement. The conveyancing process has three stages: Pre-contract, pre-completion and post-completion.

A conveyancer would be hired at the initial stage of the property sale, before a contract of sale has been drafted. An important note on this- in some states a contact of sale must be drafted before a property can be placed on the market. The conveyancer will be assisting you with preparing the contract of sale, along with other documents and paperwork involved in buying or selling a house. This includes tasks like making inquiries in regard to zoning and titles and providing information on tax and rates. They will also advise on property inspections and assist in the transfer of the property from one party to another by preparing the settlement statement.

Conveyancers specialise in the process of legally transferring a property from one party to another in a practical sense- in other words, they make the sale ‘happen’. However, they may be limited in the amount of legal advice they can offer.


A solicitor is a trained legal practitioner who is qualified to deal with conveyancing as well as other matters. They typically have areas of specialisation, and must hold the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in law as well as a practical legal training course or a supervised workplace training. A solicitor is able to complete all of the tasks that a conveyancer does in actualising a property sales transaction from start to finish, including preparing legal documents, making inquiries as to zoning and titles, reviewing the property contract and preparing the settlement statement. However, in addition to the services a conveyancer provides, a solicitor is also qualified to offer legal advice and take legal action in regard to your property, thus offering you more protection and leverage when it comes to carrying out the sale and transfer. Solicitors are able to deal with a wider range of legal matters than conveyancers are.

Which should I choose to help me with my property transfer?

Both solicitors and conveyancers are capable of carrying out a property transaction smoothly, so you can remain within the bounds of legality. Both conveyancers and solicitors essentially perform the same tasks when it comes to carrying out these procedures- with the differences lying in the extent to which they can offer advice on matters outside the immediate tasks at hand. It’s important to consider your circumstance and the current and future legal matters surrounding your property, and estimate how involved legally the transaction will be. A conveyancer will get the job done, but a solicitor will offer extra protection and knowledge, with the ability to offer you legal advice. Depending on your situation, this may be important- for example a solicitor may be necessary in advising on indirectly related matters such as marriage ownership and tax.

As far as pricing goes, hiring a conveyancer is generally more affordable than hiring a solicitor, as is to be expected. Conveyancers and solicitors are both required to have insurance to cover errors in their work, so both are relatively on equal footing when it comes to protection. In the end, choosing which to go with comes down to the circumstances and resources of the individual. If you want a little more flexibility and legal connections, go with a solicitor. If you’re not too fussed and just want to get the job done, maybe a conveyancer is your best bet.