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DIY Conveyancing in Canberra (house sale)

By apis - 3 February 2014 35

I’ll be selling my house soon and am really considering doing conveyancing on my own. The cost of putting the house on the market is huge, and while I can’t avoid paying for advertising and building/compliance/pest/EER report, I could have a go at conveyancing to save about $1,000.

If anyone’s done it, please post as much details as you can.

This is what I know so far:

– purchase Contract for sale from the ACT Law Society (2 copies @ $25 each)

– obtain building/compliance/pest/EER report (up to $900)

– lease conveyancing from ACTPLA – not sure if this is the same thing as title search

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
DIY Conveyancing in Canberra (house sale)
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jameschad 12:42 pm 03 Aug 14

Cheap good conveyancing here http://www.quickconveyancing.com.au/

new listing site that used to be around found again here yabbit.net

apis 5:25 pm 06 Feb 14

Haha getting the cheques right is a pretty major part of the settlement statement… So what you are actually saying is as an accountant, you can do very basic calculations to 2 decimal places? Impressive.

I am sure the solicitor who has been helping you out for weeks and normally charges $30 per 6 minute unit is going to thrilled when you start calling to quibble over to $0.01 his rounding is out.

I meant I’m not exactly sure what drawing cheques involves, e.g. do I complete some form? Anyway, it seems that conveyancing is the hardest and most serious work in the world, so I might have to hire a solicitor, would be funny if it’s you, I could help you with settlement statement 😛

djk 7:38 am 06 Feb 14

apis said :

djk – yes, bet is fine because I know exactly what settlement statement involves. In fact, I will do it 100% accurately, unlike real solicitors who do dodgy rounding.

I’d struggle with drawing cheques though.

Haha getting the cheques right is a pretty major part of the settlement statement… So what you are actually saying is as an accountant, you can do very basic calculations to 2 decimal places? Impressive.

I am sure the solicitor who has been helping you out for weeks and normally charges $30 per 6 minute unit is going to thrilled when you start calling to quibble over to $0.01 his rounding is out.

djk 9:28 pm 05 Feb 14

Grrrr said :

djk said :

$875 for the allhomes ad according to the agent’s invoice sitting on my desk.

The Agent charged you $875 (and may have been charged less by Allhomes)? .. Or, you are an agent, and were charged $875?

Agent charged my client $875. Not sure exactly what they are charged, but would hope that is cost.

apis 9:06 pm 05 Feb 14

Nylex_Clock – I’d like to contact you, but idk how to do it on this forum. If you have time, could you please contact me on pdmelb@yahoo.com.au

djk – yes, bet is fine because I know exactly what settlement statement involves. In fact, I will do it 100% accurately, unlike real solicitors who do dodgy rounding.

I’d struggle with drawing cheques though.

Grrrr 4:58 pm 05 Feb 14

djk said :

$875 for the allhomes ad according to the agent’s invoice sitting on my desk.

The Agent charged you $875 (and may have been charged less by Allhomes)? .. Or, you are an agent, and were charged $875?

Testfest 2:40 pm 05 Feb 14

Apis – there’s a few commenters in this thread offering some out of date information.

I sold my own house just a few months ago and while I highly recommend doing that yourself (unless you have a truly unique or prestigious property), I would not recommend doing the conveyancing yourself.

In my experience a lawyer in Canberra will cost you between $1200 – $1600 these days, which is a lot to spend, until something goes wrong or the buyer wants to change some clauses in the standard contract (and that happens more than you would think) and all of a sudden that $1500 becomes a bargain price.

All in all, it’s just not worth the risk.

Here’s a thread for lawyer recommendations: http://the-riotact.com/solicitor-for-conveyancing-in-canberra/106471

And one for selling your house yourself: http://the-riotact.com/selling-a-house-privately-in-canberra-my-2013-experience/120647

Nylex_Clock 2:18 pm 05 Feb 14

Scrumpox said :

Pay someone to do it. I sold a house to a dude who claimed his ‘sister’ was a law student and would be doing the conveyancing on the property. Turned out it was actually him trying to save a few bucks and he would would turn up at my solicitor’s office and annoy them so that they would tell him what to do. When it came to the settlement day, this guy sat there all day until 5pm before the property settled, ie they leave ‘selfies’ until last. The whole idea of saving $1,000 on a property worth anything from $0.5 m upwards is a false economy.

I did my own conveyance. Had to do a title search, rates and ACTEW searches, final search. Had to exchange contracts and prepare a transfer (although the seller prepared one as well, so we used that).
Everything went much quicker and more smoothly due to there being only half as many lawyers involved than is usually the case when conveyancing.
Very little effort, saved over $1,000.
Well worth doing.

I don’t see why selling would be any different, although you would need to know how to request your mortgage be discharged as well as how to get all the stuff together that goes in the contract. You would also need to figure out what to do with the Buyer’s deposit. Perhaps the Agent could pop it into their trust account for you?

Bottom line is lawyers are slow and inefficient as well as charging vastly more than their pitiful efforts are really worth. Avoid them like the plague.

hk0reduck 1:48 pm 05 Feb 14

I sent you an e-mail in relation to this. Might be in your spam box 🙂

Don’t do it!!! Unless you want to, in which case respond to my e-mail!

Scrumpox 1:09 pm 05 Feb 14

Pay someone to do it. I sold a house to a dude who claimed his ‘sister’ was a law student and would be doing the conveyancing on the property. Turned out it was actually him trying to save a few bucks and he would would turn up at my solicitor’s office and annoy them so that they would tell him what to do. When it came to the settlement day, this guy sat there all day until 5pm before the property settled, ie they leave ‘selfies’ until last. The whole idea of saving $1,000 on a property worth anything from $0.5 m upwards is a false economy.

watto23 12:04 pm 05 Feb 14

I personally value my own hours when considering things like this. I can’t for the life of me understand why more people don’t actually put a price on their own time.

ie you say you can save $800, but do you know how many hours of work it will be for you. IMO if it was more than say 8-10 hours which would be most likely, its not worth my time to waste doing it.

I use the same rule for labourers. Ie I laid my own Bamboo flooring, because the cost of getting it laid was $2000 and I considered the 12 hours of laying it worth a decent saving. I usually work on $100 to save me an hour as a basis.

Note this isn’t about earning more money its just about saving me time in general life to do things I’d rather be doing. I certainly don’t earn close to $100 an hour either, but thats what I value my time at. You may consider $50 a decent amount to save you an hour.

Take that into account and your savings suddenly are even less worth the DIY conveyancing approach.

dtc 11:56 am 05 Feb 14

djk said :

And to dtc, disagree strongly about NSW conveyancing being much more complicated. ACT and NSW are very similar unless you are talking about the <1% of matters which are old system.

As I said, not a conveyancer. But as I understood from my personal conveyance many years ago (not done by me!), NSW has more reports to be obtained – s49? certificates, land subsidence, mining, easements roads etc all held by different authorities – to be obtained and then understood. Although perhaps this is no longer the case.

Whereas in the ACT, everything in on the certificate of title. If its not on the title deed, then it has no validity. And all you need to get is the house report (plus perhaps a search of any nearby developments to make sure you dont get a monstrosity next door).

But the actual system is the same, of course.

NoImRight 11:53 am 05 Feb 14

Maya123 said :

djk said :

1% of matters which are old system.

What would belong in the “old system”?

Not much now as most would have had a transaction to at least make them qualified titles by now. Not worth the average person worrying about.

I used to love old law settlements. Lost of work but some of the documenation was fascinating. Plus watching young solicitors who know it all sitting in the room glassy eyed with no idea. 🙂

Maya123 10:51 am 05 Feb 14

djk said :

1% of matters which are old system.

What would belong in the “old system”?

djk 10:19 am 05 Feb 14

apis said :

But for settlement statement I guarantee no errors at my end.

Happy to take this bet – even money?

Your tax return analogy is horrible – a tax return is done annually so lay-people have quite a bit of experience in it, it is the same nation-wide, it can be changed or amended if you muck something up, the tax office is not looking to exploit every tiny mistake you make in your tax return, and it is basically filling in one form which tells you exactly what to do and has a huge FAQ to help you out. Also your likely biggest asset is not on the line if you stuff up your tax return (for the vast majority anyway).

As said above, if you do it yourself, there is probably a good chance the buyer’s solicitor will help you out and it will get done ok. The problem comes when there is an issue with the contract and you have a buyer or their solicitor looking to take advantage of that – you can’t simply go back and “fix” a contract after it is legally binding and say “oh sorry, I didn’t have a solicitor acting for me”.

The reason no-one has given you specific examples of things that could go wrong is because the issues are complex and would probably go over the head of someone without practical conveyancing experience. To elaborate a little, an issue with a settlement statement or a settlement falling over is nothing.

I am not saying this to protect the dark art of conveyancing. It is just some advice despite the fact that you don’t seem to want to hear it. No-one is going to post a how-to guide for you as it is simply not that easy.

And to dtc, disagree strongly about NSW conveyancing being much more complicated. ACT and NSW are very similar unless you are talking about the <1% of matters which are old system.

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