What is a Conveyancer in Real Estate?

Understanding Conveyancers' Duties in Residential Purchase and Sale

Anna Dunaeva DLegal Anna Dunaeva August 15, 2022
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Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property from one person to another. Although conveyancing has other applications, it is most commonly applied to real estate transactions.

The conveyancing process encompasses all the legal and administrative work that ensures a property transfer is valid under the law. Conveyancing is what makes a property transfer legitimate.

Am I Legally Obligated To Hire A Real Estate Conveyancer?

Technically, you can act as your conveyancer. However, the scope of the conveyancing process can vary depending on the nature of the property transaction. In addition, ensuring that local conveyancing protocols are followed and each party in the transaction has completed their legal obligations can be a complicated legal process.

If these protocols are not adequately followed or a party does not fulfill their legal obligations, there can be costly consequences. These consequences can include forfeiting a deposit, being taken to court by the other parties, or transfer deficiencies.

It is in your best interest to choose a licensed conveyancer who can protect your rights while transferring property. They can ensure that all the paperwork is in place for the title transfer process and land transfer to be legally binding.

What Is The Difference Between a Conveyancer And A Conveyancing Solicitor?

In Alberta, a conveyancer is usually a real estate lawyer. A conveyancing lawyer is responsible for the legal documents required for the transfer of property. The lawyer also completes legal due diligence and registration of the change of ownership.

However, real estate brokers take on some conveyancing duties. For example, a real estate agent usually prepares a purchase and sale contract and holds the deposit. However, real estate agents do not have a broader knowledge of real estate legal matters. On the other hand, a conveyancing solicitor is qualified in both conveyancing and other aspects of property law. These aspects include things like change of ownership, remortgaging, transferring equity, and lease extensions.

What Is A Conveyancing Lawyer’s Role In A Real Estate Transaction?

Ultimately, a conveyancer helps ensure that all legal obligations are met during the real estate transaction on behalf of both the buyer and the seller. This role includes the following responsibilities.

Preparing legal documents

Preparing all the documents necessary to proceed with the transaction, including mortgage documents, purchase price adjustments, and transfer deeds. This is one of the essential aspects of conveyancing, as it ensures that the property is properly transferred to the new owner. It is also the conveyancer’s role to ensure that this legal paperwork complies with local laws and regulations.

Carrying out due diligence

Due diligence can provide further information for many buyers. Without this due diligence, you might buy property without all the details to be adequately informed. These conveyancing steps ensure that both parties are aware of any restrictions on or issues with the property, from local zoning regulations and developments that might impact the property, to property searches to confirm legal ownership.

Title searches also help ensure that no mortgage or lien is attached to the property that could be transferred to a new owner. Property searches also include tax searches to ensure that property taxes which are the seller’s responsibility, are paid in full up to the date of the transfer of ownership.

Liaising with the other party

The conveyancing lawyer’s job includes liaising with the other party’s real estate lawyer to ensure transfer documents are signed and all payments are made. They will also transfer documents between parties. This coordinated effort can provide a smoother closing of a real estate transaction.

Buyer’s conveyancer

If you are buying property, it is part of your conveyancing lawyer’s role to review the contract of sale and assist you with the transfer of title and mortgage transaction. They can look out for potential red flags and unusual clauses within the contract. Additionally, your conveyancer can explain what the contract of sale entails and advise you on how to move forward with the real estate transaction. With their professional advice, you can be assured that there will be no costly surprises come closing day.

Seller’s conveyancer

If you are selling property, it is part of your conveyancing lawyer’s duty to complete the contract of sale, receive the closing funds, and pay out your mortgage. Your conveyancer can also coordinate negotiations and queries about the sale transaction with the buyer.

Coordinating mortgage and property transfer transactions

Conveyancing lawyers help ensure that the buyer’s bank receives your mortgage documents and provides the mortgage funds. Also, they assist with the payout and closing of the seller’s mortgage.

A conveyancing lawyer’s responsibility includes ensuring that the purchase price is adjusted for taxes, homeowners’ association fees, tenancies, condo fees where applicable, and land transfer tax are paid. If you are based in Alberta, there is no land transfer tax. However, there are government registration fees. Other provincial legal regulations may vary.

A buyer’s conveyancer is also responsible for the registration of documents pertaining to legally transferring ownership with the Land Titles.

Providing additional advice

Some conveyancers may also be able to provide additional professional advice on related legal matters, such as estate planning or tenancy law. This ability can vary depending on your conveyancing lawyer’s experience level, so be sure to research your options thoroughly beforehand. Ensure that you find a suitable real estate lawyer that you trust.

If you are interested in hiring a conveyancing lawyer to protect you during real estate transactions, please reach out to our team at DLegal. We can further advise you about our services and conveyancing fees. Real estate transactions can be a challenging matter. It helps to have someone on your side to protect your best interests and ensure that local legal regulations are followed correctly.

Please note that this is simply a general overview of the subject and does not constitute legal advice. Consult a lawyer for formal advice on your specific situation.

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