When the time comes to buy your next property, you’ll need to take a series of formal legal steps to transfer ownership. The people who specialise in conducting these legal proceedings on property purchases and transfers are called conveyancers.
You’re probably wondering how much does a conveyancer cost in Victoria?
Good question! Conveyancing fees can depend on whether you’re employing a conveyancing solicitor (with a law degree) or a registered conveyancer (without a law degree). Conveyancing solicitors may charge higher conveyancing fees.
However, there are conveyancing solicitors available who charge competitive fixed price conveyancing fees. Solicitor Luke Primon at Entry Conveyancing, for example, charges a standard conveyancing fee that can be quoted here. We’ll explain more about this later.
How do you find a good conveyancer?
When you’re looking to hire a conveyancer always check their qualifications. In particular, make sure they are:
If you decide to hire a conveyancer who doesn’t have a law degree, make sure they’re licensed and a member of the AIC.
A non-solicitor conveyancer is qualified to provide conveyancing services only. Section 4 of the Conveyancers Act 2006 (Vic) lists the types of legal work a conveyancer in Victoria is not authorised to conduct on behalf of a client.
How much does a conveyancer cost in Victoria?
The cost of conveyancing generally depends on the type and cost of the property. On average, conveyancer fees in Melbourne, Victoria, are between $750 to $2,200.
The conveyancing fee may, or may not, include costs that are incurred by the conveyancer when researching your property. These are called disbursements and you should ask whether they are included in the conveyancing fee, or are extra costs.
As a general rule on conveyancing fees, disbursement costs in Victoria are under $400.
Where does conveyancing fit in the sales process?
Property purchase in Victoria features a number of stages.
Let’s start at the beginning. You’ve either put in the highest bid at auction or purchased a property at a private sale. What happens next?
Stage 1: Signing a contract
You’ll sign a contract of sale that is usually drawn up by a solicitor representing the vendor (seller).
This is a document that lays out the terms of the sale and the responsibilities of the two parties to the contract.
With a private sale, once both the purchaser and vendor sign the contract it becomes legally binding.
At auction, the highest bid above the property reserve price constitutes a binding oral contract. The reserve price is not shared with the bidders. It is only known to the vendor and the real estate agent. The agent is likely to tell bidders at auction when the reserve price has been reached because this means the property is officially on the market.
If you’re the highest bidder at auction, you will generally sign a contract of sale immediately after the auction.
Then you and the vendor will each keep a copy of the signed and witnessed contract.
Stage 2: Payment of a deposit
The terms of the contract will state the amount required for a deposit on the purchase of the property. The normal deposit amount is 10% of the purchase price.
Stage 3: The cooling-off period
Section 31 of the Victorian Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic) provides for a ‘cooling-off period’ of three business days for a private sale. This means a property buyer can cancel their purchase from the date and time they sign the contract. The cooling-off provision gives them the opportunity to back out of the purchase if they change their mind.
Written notice of a decision to withdraw must be provided within the cooling-off period. Keep in mind that there is NO cooling-off period for properties purchased at auction.
Stage 4: Conveyancing
You should appoint a conveyancer before you sign a contract of sale for a property transaction. This will enable them to lock your conveyancing services into their schedule and hit the ground running. How much does a conveyancer cost in Victoria? Our tip is to look for a qualified conveyancer with transparent conveyancing costs.
Your conveyancer will conduct a title search to ensure the transfer of ownership will be smooth and without legal hiccups. The title search will reveal:
the legal owner of the property
whether there’s anything that might interfere with the transfer of legal ownership such as:
an unresolved mortgage debt
caveats by third parties who claim part ownership of the property
whether the property includes easements that enable third parties to access the land for specific purposes. Common easements include a right of access to utility workers to work on water or electric power infrastructure. Other types of easements might allow neighbours to cross your property to access a road. Take care here because easements may restrict your use of the property
whether any applicable covenants exist that might limit use of your new property. Covenants can be used by property developers to create a uniform ‘feel’ to a neighbourhood and may limit the number of houses, the material in which houses are finished (e.g. brick, stucco or weatherboard) and the colour scheme
that any special conditions included in the contract of sale are complied with
that council rates, land tax and water rates are paid by the seller up to the date of property transfer.
Once these issues have been verified by your licensed conveyancer, they’ll prepare the legal documents required for the formal transfer of ownership, which you’ll sign.
Stage 5: Requisitions on title
These are formal questions you can ask the vendor during the settlement period, which is usually between 30 and 90 days. It’s a good opportunity for you to obtain additional information on the property that wasn’t available previously.
Stage 6: Stamp duty payment
Stamp duty is a state/territory government transaction tax imposed on home buyers. Stamp duties are calculated as a percentage of the dutiable value of a property, which in most cases will be the purchase price.
In Victoria, the percentage of stamp duty you’ll pay will depend on the value of the property you’re buying.
Percentage of dutiable value owed in stamp duty
$25,000 or less
$25,001 to $130,000
$350 and 2.4% of dutiable value over $25,000
$130,001 to $960,000
$2,870 and 6% of the dutiable value over $130,000
$960,001 to $2,000,000
5.5% of dutiable value
$2,000,001 or more
$110,000 and 6.5% of the dutiable value over $2,000,001
Source: State Revenue Office Victoria
Other factors will have an impact on how much you owe in stamp duty including whether you’re a first-home buyer, whether the house is a new construction or an existing home, and whether it’s your primary residence or an investment.
Stage 7: Settlement
On settlement day your conveyancer and a vendor representative will meet to settle the sale. Or, if they’re using the PEXA digital property settlement platform, this exchange of documents and monies will take place online.
Once all the documents are exchanged, either physically or digitally, they’ll be lodged with Land Use Victoria, which is the state land registry office.
The Victorian Government will charge you a Land Transfer fee of $89.50 plus $2.34 for each entire $1,000 of the purchase price for your home.
To give you some idea of what you’ll be paying, for a home purchase of $750,000 you’ll end up owing around $1,850.
If you purchase your home outright, you’ll receive the Certificate of Title. However, if you’ve taken out a mortgage to pay for your property, your bank will retain the Certificate of Title until your loan is paid in full.
Stage 8: Break out the champagne!
Now it’s time for champagne on the floorboards! Invite your family and friends over to your new house and show them around.
Are you looking at conveyancer fees – Victoria?
You’re in luck because Entry Conveyancing’s Luke Primon is a property solicitor who can help with every legal aspect of buying or selling property.
How much does a conveyancer cost in Victoria? Entry Conveyancing charges a fixed conveyancing cost of $895.
There are no extra conveyancing costs involved, no extra fees, and no surprises.
Contact us today for a free confidential chat about your conveyancing needs.