Everything you need to know about conveyancing in Tasmania

Everything you need to know about conveyancing in Tasmania

This article will give you a broad overview of the entire conveyancing process in Tasmania. Whether you are buying or selling, we provide helpful information about what conveyancing is, tips on how to avoid problems throughout your transaction and a general overview of the different roles you, your bank and your conveyancer play in the process.

What is conveyancing?  

Conveyancing is the description given to the area of law which concerns the preparation of documents for the conveyance/transfer of property.

Conveyancing is the process of transferring legal ownership of a property from one person to another person, most often, from a seller to a purchaser. In Tasmania, sellers are known as “vendors”.

When to engage a conveyancer?

In other states, a lawyer or conveyancer will prepare the contract and organise for the contracts to be signed and “exchanged”, meaning they become binding. In Tasmania, the real estate agent will usually prepare a contract of sale, deal with all offers and then exchange contracts. The Contract of Sale will then be forwarded to the conveyancer or solicitor of the parties.

This means that it is common in Tasmania for vendors and purchasers not to speak to a conveyancer until after they have entered a Contract of Sale. We recommend getting advice on the contract before signing anything.

Conveyancing when buying a house

When buying a property in Tasmania the general rule is “buyer beware”. There are limited requirements for owners to disclose details about the property  in the Tasmanian Standard Contract for Sale and you take the property as it is, with all defects. Searches to identify any issues, including building inspections, are usually performed after you have entered the contract so it’s important to ensure that you seek advice on conditions to put in the contract in case you find issues which will require significant cost to rectify.

As part of our fixed fee, we will review the contract prior to you signing so that we can flag issues in the contract or on the title of the property which may require further investigation. Purchasers are often rushed into making binding offers due to the pressure around missing out, but given it is a significant investment, it is worth taking a minute to ensure you have all the information before proceeding.

Conveyancing when selling a house

As a vendor, it is important to speak to a conveyancer at the time you engage a real estate agent to market the property. There may be issues that can affect the sale that you may not have thought about such as a missing Certificate of Title, GST on homes renovated for sale, capital gains tax consequences or notices from Council that need to be dealt with or disclosed prior to sale.

You may also want advice on the special conditions in the standard contract as it is likely that a purchaser will make an offer that is “subject to” finance, building inspection or sale of their current home.

Do I need a conveyancer?

In short, yes.

The reality is most people don’t have the knowledge necessary to transfer a property without the help of a professional. The process involves a lot of paperwork that is difficult to understand without legal training and there is a lot of filing which is impossible without access to government portals.

If you have purchased or sold previously, you may feel like there wasn’t a lot to it but a good conveyancer will do all the hard work in the background without involving you so you can just sit back and wait for settlement day.

Solicitor or a Conveyancer?

A conveyancer is someone who has completed a course with an approved institution which specialises in conveyancing. A solicitor will have a law degree along with post-graduate training which includes conveyancing training. The term conveyancer is commonly used to describe either a specialist conveyancer or a lawyer who provides conveyancing services.

Both usually offer fixed fee conveyancing services with similar rates but solicitors can give broad legal advice and help you navigate legal issues that arise outside of the conveyance. Given that the fees are usually similar, a lawyer can add more value for your money because they have broader experience to pick up on issues which may not be strictly around the property. For example, a solicitor may be able to advise you on the best structure for asset protection, be in a better position to advise on complicated dealings registered on title or assist you with drafting or updating your will following the purchase or sale. Where the conveyance is required following the death of a loved one or family separation, solicitors can assist with obtaining probate or orders from the Family Court. Advocate Lawyers offer fixed fee packages for not only conveyancing but family law settlements and will drafting. For more about our fixed price packages see our fees page here.

How long does a conveyance take?

In Tasmania a purchase or sale can take anywhere upwards of 21 days from the time the contract is signed but a standard settlement period is 30 days from the time that the sale is binding. The 30 day period may not start until all conditions are satisfied, such as after the purchaser has obtained finance or obtained a satisfactory building inspection report.

Standard searches on the property can take up to 10 business days to come back to the solicitor and so 21 days is generally considered the shortest period of time in which a conveyance can take place if there is no bank involved.

Where there are banks involved on either side, 30 days is usually the minimum period needed for the bank to complete all paperwork and be ready to book a settlement. Banks will usually not start preparing for settlement until the contract is unconditional and this can hold up settlement if a shorter time frame is allocated in the contract.

Where to find a conveyancer?

Every state has slightly different processes and if you are in need of conveyancing in Tasmania then you will require a Tasmanian conveyancer.

While it can be convenient to have a conveyancer near you, Advocate Lawyers can act as conveyancer for clients across the state. Whether you need a conveyancer in Hobart, Launceston or Devonport then we can help. We even offer digital options to verify your identity so that you can do it from a location convenient to you.

Remote & Regional Clients

For clients who are not able to make it to our office – no problem! We have ways of remotely verifying the identity of our clients and we can post relevant original documents for signing.

See our fixed price conveyancing rates here.

What is eConveyancing?

Tasmania does not yet have eConveyancing and transactions are conducted at a face-to-face settlement using original documents and bank cheques. In order to sell, you need to have your physical Certificate of Title to hand to the new owner or their bank.


Your conveyancer will attend settlement for you and there is no need for you to be available to attend settlement. At settlement, the conveyancer for each party and any banks involved will attend a physical location in order to hand over all original documents and funds payable to the vendor, usually by way of bank cheque.

If you are purchasing and have a mortgage, your bank will usually have an authority to access any additional funds from your account towards the purchase and it will supply all cheques needed for settlement. If you don’t have a mortgage registered on title, then you would usually transfer all funds required to your solicitor’s trust account so that they can draw cheques as needed on the day or day before settlement.

If you are selling and you have a mortgage, your bank will usually accept all cheques and place any funds in your account minus the amount needed to pay out your mortgage over the property. Your bank will have the current Certificate of Title for your property and will exchange it for a cheque in payment of the mortgage at settlement.

If you do not have a mortgage then you should have the original Certificate of Title. If you do not know where the Certificate of Title for your property is, we can assist you in applying for a new one from the Land Titles Office.

It’s also important to note that there are more likely to be delays with face-to-face settlements as there is more scope for error with physical documents and cheques. We can help you navigate these issues should they arise.

Who does title searches?

A title search is a search of the Land Titles Office which produces an electronic record of the Certificate of Title. This confirms that the Certificate of Title that your conveyancer or bank receive on settlement is the current edition which shows all current registered dealings on it.

A copy of the title search text and plan is usually attached to the contract so that it is clear the parcel of land that you are contracting to buy. Your conveyancer will ensure that a recent title search has been performed when you enter the contract and before settlement to ensure nothing has changed since you entered the contract.

Who pays conveyancing fees?

Each party is responsible for instructing their own conveyancer and for paying their own conveyancing fees. The cost of conveyancing will depend on the conveyancer you instruct and you may find that fees are slightly more for a  purchase than a sale as there is more work involved.

Professional conveyancing fees in Tasmania won’t generally include any disbursements which are costs paid to third parties which you reimburse to the conveyancer.

Advocate Lawyers are able to provide clients with a breakdown of disbursements for their matter once we have details of the transaction and know what is appropriate for your circumstances. This may depends on:

  • the type of property;
  • whether parties to the transaction are companies or individuals;
  • whether a bank is involved; and
  • whether there are any dealings registered on title which require investigation.

Advocate lawyers provide fixed fee options for standard conveyances as follows:

how can we help you?

Contact us on (03) 6204 9000 or submit a business enquiry online.