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Conveyancing Fees

A Guide To Conveyancing Costs In Australia
UPDATED 28/06/2018

Average Conveyancing Costs & Fees for Buying a Property

These are the average conveyancing fees when buying an Existing House in Australia. The Average Total Estimate is Fixed Professional Legal Fee plus Standard Searches.
Location Fixed Professional Legal Fee Standard Searches Average Total Estimate
QLD Brisbane $850 to $950 $350 to $500 $1200 to $1450
VIC Melbourne $600 to $700 $270 to $350 $870 to $1050
NSW Sydney $750 to $1000 $350 to $450 $1100 to $1450
TAS Hobart $700 to $800 $350 to $400 $1050 to $1200
If you are looking to understand the price breakdown for Buyers, then click here for a detailed explanation. If your property is NOT an Existing House or you just want a final price for your property, click here to use this calculator.

Average Conveyancing Costs & Fees for Selling a Property

These are the average conveyancing fees when selling a property an Existing House in Australia. The Average Total Estimate is Fixed Professional Legal Fee plus Standard Searches.
Location Fixed Professional Legal Fee Standard Searches Average Total Estimate
QLD Brisbane $450 to $550 $18 to $30 $468 to $580
VIC Melbourne $700 to $850 $350 to $400 $1050 to $1250
NSW Sydney $750 to $850 $300 to $350 $1050 to $1200
TAS Hobart $700 to $800 $300 to $350 $1000 to $1150
If you are looking to understand the price breakdown for Sellers, then click here for a detailed explanation.
If your property is NOT an Existing House or you just want a final price for your property, click here to use this calculator.
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The Full Guide To Conveyancing Fees And Costs

One of the first questions you will ask when you call our office is:
“How much does conveyancing cost?”
This is a very difficult question to answer as your conveyancing needs are dramatically influenced by your specific Lot, the differing parties involved in your transaction, and your personal goals and needs.
Because of this, it’s just not possible to provide you with a precise total conveyancing cost from the outset. Conveyancers are only able to provide an estimated cost based on the good faith that nothing unusual happens during your transaction. Realistically, – unforeseen events and risks do happen – so exact costs can only be provided closer to settlement.

How is conveyancing priced?

It is a standard practice across Australia to provide a quote under these three categories:
  1. Fixed Professional Legal Fee – The Labour, Conveyancing Works, Lawyers’ Time, Conveyancers’ Time.
  2. Standard Search Fees – Third Party Costs payable to Council, Utilities, etc.
  3. Additional Costs – To pay for services outside a “Standard conveyance” and “Standard Search Fees”.
The sum of the above determines your final conveyancing fee. Your final conveyancing fee – which is determined by the specific work/labour required, additional searches and additional costs – can only be finalised once your File Owner and Lawyer work on your file with “due diligence”.

What is due diligence?

Due diligence will uncover risks or any special circumstances that may affect your transaction. This is important as risk discovered will determine mitigative actions and work required to protect your interests and rights. Should the work fall outside a “standard conveyance” additional costs and searches may be required. What falls outside of the “standard conveyance” is a variable that may affect your final cost.

What is a Standard Conveyance?

The definition of a standard conveyance differs from law firm to law firm. It should be defined in the Appointment Terms and Conditions and listed in the Scope of Work within the Engagement Letter. Please ensure that you are satisfied with the Scope of Work before nominating a conveyancer. The Think Conveyancing standard Scope Of Work is as follows:
Victorian Buyers Scope Of Work
  1. Drafting and providing you with the first suite of documents (e.g. Transfer of Land, Duties Forms, Notice of Acquisition and Nomination documents as applicable).
  2. Review Section 27 Statement and supporting documentation and forward to you for signing (if applicable).
  3. Providing the relevant signed documents to the Vendor’s solicitors for signing.
  4. Correspond with the Vendor’s Solicitor or Conveyancer in relation to this transaction including seeking for extensions of time for conditions (if relevant), negotiating settlement adjustments and organising Settlement.
  5. Liaise with you and/or your financier for funds to be made available for Settlement and provide any necessary documents as requested.
  6. Prepare Statement of Adjustments and Settlement Statement and book settlement with the relevant parties to the transaction.
  7. Complete Settlement preparation steps on the day of Settlement including obtaining a final Title Search, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  8. Arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  9. Notify relevant authorities of your purchase of the Property and issue Notice of Acquisition and cheque for payment of any outstanding levies.
  10. Send post settlement letter to you together with a copy of the Settlement Statement, our tax invoice and Trust Account Statement (if applicable).
Victorian Sellers Scope Of Work
  1. Obtaining your instructions on matters relating to the sale for the purpose of preparing the Contract of Sale and Vendor’s Statement.
  2. Preparation of the Contract of Sale and Vendor’s Statement and issuing to your Real Estate Agent.
  3. Preparation of Section 27 Statement and obtaining details from your financier to complete Section 27 Statement and forwarding to you and the Purchaser to sign if requested.
  4. Review of the Transfer of Land drafted and signed by the Purchaser and providing same to you for your signature.
  5. Preparation of the Goods Statement and forwarding to you for signing.
  6. Liaising with you and/or your financier to arrange for the discharge of your mortgage at Settlement if relevant.
  7. Review Statement of Adjustments and Settlement Statement received from the Purchaser.
  8. Book settlement with the relevant parties.
  9. Complete Settlement preparation steps prior to Settlement such as providing your cheque directions to the Purchaser and checking the payout figure from your financier if relevant.
  10. Arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  11. Notify authorities of your sale of the Property and issue the Notice of Disposition.
  12. Send post settlement letter to you together with a copy of the Settlement Statement, our tax invoice and Trust Account Statement (if applicable).
Queensland Buyers Scope Of Work
  1. Providing you with one Pre-Signing Contract Review of your Land Contract upon request.
  2. Drafting and providing you with the first suite of documents (e.g.: First Letter to you, any relevant concession forms) relevant to your purchase.
  3. Drafting and providing Transfer and Form 24 documents to the Seller’s Solicitor.
  4. Notify the Seller’s Solicitor and the agent in relation to the satisfaction or otherwise of any contract conditions.
  5. Correspond with the Seller’s Solicitor in relation to this transaction including negotiating an extension of a condition due date, negotiating settlement adjustments and organising settlement.
  6. Liaise with you and/or your financier to obtain funds for Settlement.
  7. Prepare a Settlement Statement (including adjustments under the contract) and book Settlement with relevant parties to the transaction.
  8. Collection of the Transfer Duty payable by you for this transaction and arranging for the stamping of the Transfer.
  9. Complete Settlement preparation steps on the day of Settlement including obtaining a final Title Search, the cost of which is covered by the Search Package Fee.
  10. Arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement, the cost of which is covered by the Search Package Fee.
  11. Send final correspondence to you confirming that the purchase is complete and enclosing a copy of the detailed Settlement Statement, our Tax Invoice and our Trust Account Statement (if applicable).
Queensland Sellers Scope Of Work
  1. Drafting and providing you with the first suite of documents (e.g.: First Letter to you, introduction letter to the Buyer’s solicitor) relevant to your sale.
  2. Receive notification from the Buyer’s solicitor in relation to the satisfaction or otherwise of any contract conditions.
  3. Provide you with the Transfer documentation for signing and provide same to the Buyer’s solicitor.
  4. Liaise with you and your mortgagee to ensure that you and your mortgagee are prepared for Settlement.
  5. Prepare settlement figures (including adjustments under the contract) and book the Settlement with any relevant parties.
  6. Preparing for Settlement on Settlement Date including arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement.
New South Wales Buyers Scope Of Work
  1. One Pre-signing Contract Review upon request but does not include obtaining and review of a Strata Report;
  2. Drafting and providing you with the first suite of documents (e.g. Transfer, Revenue NSW Forms and eNOS as applicable).
  3. Providing the relevant signed documents to the Vendor’s solicitors for signing.
  4. Correspond with the Vendor’s Solicitor or Conveyancer in relation to this transaction including seeking for extensions of time for conditions (if relevant), negotiating settlement adjustments and organising Settlement.
  5. Liaise with you and/or your financier for funds to be made available for Settlement and provide any necessary documents as requested.
  6. Arranging for the Transfer and relevant documents to be assessed and stamped for duty but does not include advice on duty payable. Advice on duty should be obtained directly from the Revenue NSW.
  7. Prepare Statement of Adjustments and Settlement Statement and book settlement with the relevant parties to the transaction.
  8. Complete Settlement preparation steps on the day of Settlement including obtaining a final Title Search, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  9. Arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  10. Notify relevant authorities of your purchase of the Property and issue Notice of Acquisition and cheque for payment of any outstanding levies.
  11. Send post settlement letter to you together with a copy of the Settlement Statement, our tax invoice and Trust Account Statement (if applicable).
New South Wales Sellers Scope Of Work
  1. Obtaining your instructions on matters relating to the sale for the purpose of preparing the Contract of Sale.
  2. Prepare the Contract of Sale together with Special Conditions and issuing to your Real Estate Agent.
  3. Liaise with you regarding any requests for amendments to the Contract of Sale and respond to the Purchaser’s Solicitor in accordance with your instructions.
  4. Upon receipt of a Sales Advice from your Real Estate Agent, prepare the Contract of Sale in final form (including the amendment of any conditions as negotiated) and submit the document to the Purchaser’s representative in readiness for exchange (if applicable).
  5. Attend to exchange of the Contract of Sale (if applicable).
  6. Forward the Purchaser’s requisitions on title to you and provide the Buyer’s representative with your answers.
  7. Forward the transfer documentation to you to be signed and returned to our office in readiness for Settlement.
  8. Sign Section 22 Notice on your behalf as your Legal Representative in readiness for Settlement (if applicable).
  9. Liaise with your mortgagee regarding Settlement.
  10. Review Statement of Adjustments and Settlement Statement and provide Section 184 Certificate to the Purchaser’s representative (if applicable) and forwarding a copy to you for review.
  11. Book settlement with the relevant parties.
  12. Complete Settlement preparation steps prior to Settlement such as providing your cheque directions to the Purchaser and checking the payout figure from your financier if relevant.
  13. Arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  14. Send post settlement letter to you together with a copy of the Settlement Statement, our tax invoice and Trust Account Statement (if applicable).
Tasmania Buyers Scope Of Work
  1. Providing you with one Pre-Signing Contract Review of your Land Contract upon request.
  2. Drafting and providing you with the first suite of documents (e.g. Engagement Letter, Trust Account Authority, Transfers as applicable).
  3. Prepare the transfer documentation and submit to the Seller’s Solicitor for signing.
  4. Prepare a Property Transaction Certificate.
  5. Serve requisitions to the Seller’s solicitor and review answers to requisitions.
  6. Liaise with you and/or your financier for funds to be made available for settlement.
  7. Book the settlement with your financier and the Seller’s Solicitor.
  8. Advise your financier of cheque details for settlement.
  9. Correspond with the Vendor’s Solicitor or Conveyancer in relation to this transaction including seeking for extensions of time for conditions (if relevant), negotiating settlement adjustments and organising Settlement.
  10. Liaise with you and/or your financier for funds to be made available for Settlement and provide any necessary documents as requested.
  11. Complete Settlement preparation steps on the day of Settlement including obtaining a final Title Search, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  12. Arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  13. Notify you and the Real Estate Agent when Settlement has been completed.
  14. Send post settlement letter to you together with a copy of the Settlement Statement, our tax invoice and Trust Account Statement (if applicable).
Tasmania Sellers Scope Of Work
  1. Peruse the signed Contract of Sale to prepare and provide you with written advice in relation to its conditions and your obligations upon request;
  2. Draft and provide you with our First Suite documents to sign (e.g.: Engagement Letter and Trust Account Authority);
  3. Follow up on and receiving notification from the Buyer’s representative in relation to the satisfaction or otherwise of the contract conditions;
  4. Prepare a Vendor Transaction Certificate;
  5. Forward the Transfer documents to you to be signed and returned and upon receipt by us confirming that they have been correctly signed and witnessed;
  6. Liaising with you and/or your financier to arrange for the discharge of your mortgage at Settlement if relevant or arrange for the original Certificate of Title to be made available by you if there is no mortgagee on Title;
  7. Respond to any requisitions that the Purchaser may have about the Property;
  8. Draft Statement of Adjustments and Settlement Statement and forwarding same to the Buyer and agree to figures prior to Settlement;
  9. Book settlement with the relevant parties;
  10. Complete Settlement preparation steps prior to Settlement such as providing your cheque directions to the Purchaser and checking the payout figure from your financier if relevant;
  11. Arranging for a Settlement Agent to attend Settlement, the cost of which is quoted in the Search Package Fee.
  12. Notify authorities of your sale of the Property;
  13. Send post settlement letter to you together with a copy of the Settlement Statement, our tax invoice and Trust Account Statement (if applicable).
The Fixed Professional Legal Fee is the money paid for the Conveyancing Service as defined in the Scope of Work. This fee pays for the Lawyers, Conveyancers, Support Teams time, rent, electricity. As for the Legal Fee, as long as the works required for your property falls within the definition of a “standard conveyance”, the Legal Fees will be 100% fixed and will not change. We find that for most of our clients do not require “Additional Services” outside the scope of “standard searches”. “Additional Services” are works outside of the agreed Scope of Works.

What Are Additional Services and Work Outside The Standard Conveyance?

These are additional services that you may request. Here are some examples:
  • General Power of Attorney drafting / review
  • Deed of Rescission / Variation drafting / review
  • Caveat Lodgement
  • Licence Agreement drafting / review
  • Land Contract Review – Off the Plan property
These are not standard – not all people require it – so these services come at an additional cost.

What are Searches?

Searches are “requests for information” from third parties for Search Certificates. Examples of this include Title Search (provides Title particulars, ownership details and encumbrances), Land Tax Clearance Search (Details on any outstanding payment of land tax due to the Office of State Revenue) and Plan Image (Dimensions, gradient and other physical features of the Lot).
This information is needed by the Conveyancer to do the Conveyancing Work and Due Diligence. Searches are third party costs payable to authorities.
These are required expenses – are mandatory depending on the local government authorities – and come an extra cost beyond the Fixed Professional Legal Fee. For example, when you need surgery, you would pay a Surgeon for his labour. And you – as the client – would be expected to pay for the general anesthesia and rental of specialised equipment (not the Surgeon). Searches, like general anesthesia and x-ray machines, are necessary expenses that cannot be avoided.

Does the State affect the cost of conveyancing?

Yes. Different states have different laws, legislation and Searches requirements. For example:
  • Victorian Sellers; Requires Vendor Disclosure / Section 32 and Contract drafting; High Labour Intensity
  • Victorian Buyers; Requires Vendor Disclosure / Section 32 and Contract review; High Labour Intensity
  • NSW Sellers; Requires Vendor Disclosure / s 10.7 drafting; High Labour Intensity
  • NSW Buyers; Requires Vendor Disclosure / s 10.7 review; High Labour Intensity
  • QLD Sellers; No Vendor Disclosure / Agent typically drafts contract; Medium Labour Intensity
  • QLD Buyers; Extensive Due Diligence; High Labour Intensity

What are Standard Searches?

Standard Searches are the bare minimum searches required according to State legislation and Conveyancing Lawyer best practice. Provided that your matter falls under the standard conveyance (with no unusual circumstances), you will likely not need any Additional Searches. Below is the Think Conveyancing Standard Search Package for each State.
Victorian Buyers Standard Searches
  1. Property searches including one Title Search, Council Rates and Water Certificate, Special Water Meter Reading, SRO Land Tax Certificate and Owners Corporate Certificate (if relevant).
  2. Settlement Agent fees for Melbourne CBD. Settlements in regional areas may incur additional costs for Settlement Agents.
  3. Costs associated with postage and opening a matter.
Victorian Sellers Standard Searches
  1. Property searches including one Title Search, Registered Plan, Land Information Certificate, Water Information Certificate, Planning and Bushfire Certificate, SRO Land Tax Certificate, VicRoads Certificate, EPA Certificate and one Owners Corporation Certificate (if relevant).
  2. Settlement Agent fees for Melbourne CBD. Settlements in regional areas may incur additional costs for Settlement Agents.
  3. Costs associated with postage and opening a matter.
Queensland Buyers Standard Searches
  1. Property searches including one Title Search, Registered Plan, Land Information Certificate, Water Information Certificate, Planning and Bushfire Certificate, SRO Land Tax Certificate, VicRoads Certificate, EPA Certificate and one Owners Corporation Certificate (if relevant).
  2. Settlement Agent fees for Melbourne CBD. Settlements in regional areas may incur additional costs for Settlement Agents.
  3. Costs associated with postage and opening a matter.
New South Wales Buyers Standard Searches
  1. Property searches including one Title Search, Council Rates and Water Certificate, Special Water Meter Reading, SRO Land Tax Certificate and Body Corporate Certificate (if relevant).
  2. Settlement Agent fees for Sydney CBD. Settlements in regional areas may incur additional costs for Settlement Agents.
  3. Costs associated with postage and opening a matter.
New South Wales Sellers Standard Searches
  1. Property searches including one Title Search, Copy of Plan, Section 149(2) Certificate, Drainage Diagram, Land Tax Clearance Certificate and one S184 Strata Management Certificate (if applicable).
  2. Settlement Agent fees for Sydney CBD. Settlements in regional areas may incur additional costs for Settlement Agents.
  3. Costs associated with postage and opening a matter.
Tasmania Buyers Standard Searches
  1. Property searches including one Title Search, Plan Image, Council Rates and Water Certificate, Special Water Meter Reading, SRO Land Tax Certificate.
  2. Settlement Agent fees. Settlements in regional areas may incur additional costs for Settlement Agents.
  3. Costs associated with postage and opening a matter
Tasmania Sellers Standard Searches
  1. Property searches including one Title Search, Registered Plan, Land Information Certificate and SRO Land Tax Certificate.
  2. Settlement Agent fees for Hobart CBD. Settlements in regional areas may incur additional costs for Settlement Agents.
  3. Costs associated with postage and opening a matter.
While the Conveyancer works hard to keep within the parameters of the Standard Searches, sometimes, she/he may recommend that you order Additional Searches.

What are Additional Searches?

If your Conveyancer suspects any “out of the ordinary risk”, they may request you conduct an Additional Search. For example, your Conveyancer may discover that your property is located in an ex-mining area. You would be advised to do a “Contaminated Land Search” to make ensure your property is okay. The search reveals that there is a covered up deep bore in the backyard – exactly where the Granny Flat was supposed to go.
You decide not to go ahead with the purchase of the property on the basis of an unsatisfactory search result. As the “Contaminated Land Search” is not standard – with most suburbs in Australia does not require them – you would have had to pay an extra fee for this search (out of the ordinary).
In this example – while the cost was extra and outside of the standard requirement – you would have benefited by saving hundreds of thousands of dollars by avoiding the purchase of an unsatisfactory property.

Why Searches Are A Must

A Conveyancers job is to manage your risk. This is why you cannot demand your Conveyancer to use “out of date” searches, “free searches”, “skimp on searches”, or not searches at all. Holding your Conveyancer to these demands effectively handcuffs your Conveyancer and prevents them from doing their job properly. For property transactions that involve a significant quantum of money, it is best practice to use “up to date” and insured Search Certificates. If a provider tells you that Searches are not required – be suspicious. Due diligence with property is a MUST and it is not possible to do a high quality job without sufficient Searches (standard and sometimes additional).

Why Due Diligence is Needed To Determine Final Price

The above example demonstrates that the Conveyancers often need to be knee deep into the transaction before they can determine risk. Risk and special circumstances cannot be discovered until the legal work commences, and Conveyancers cannot be fully certain of all required costs until towards the end of the settlement preparation process.
In other words, intensive diagnosis work throughout the settlement and active due diligence are needed for a safe conveyance. This is why final pricing is so difficult. Risk is invisible until discovered and conveyancing works is elastic!
As your Legal Team, we must ensure that:
  1. All the legal paperwork is completed correctly;
  2. All outstanding amounts owed – e.g deposits, penalties, out of pocket costs – are fairly transferred or paid for;
  3. Should any changes be to the transaction be required, the correct legal protocol is followed.
If any of these come unhinged, then risk is potentially introduced, and extra work may be required.
The variable sum of all these works – the multidimensional paperwork requirements, the extra third party costs, and any out of ordinary legal labour to mitigate risk – will determine your ultimate conveyancing fee. Lastly, risk sometimes happens at the last minute. This is why we can only calculate your final conveyancing invoice at settlement.

Does the cost of the property affect the cost of conveyancing?

In Australia, the cost of the property does not affect the price. The service fee for a residential $350,000 property is the same as a residential $2,000,000 property.

Does the type of property affect the cost of conveyancing?

Yes. For example, an Apartment generally has a Body Corporate (Owners Corporation). This means there will be an added Body Corp search required for the transaction.

What else may affect Cost?

The City Council Search, Water Information Statement and Body Corporate (Owners Corporation) Searches can dramatically differ across City Councils. This will affect the final cost and estimate. In addition, the Conveyancer does not control the cost of the Certificates – third party prices do change. For that reason, always request an up-to-date quote. See the below for examples of how fees differ between locations. Note the huge difference in prices between the City Councils.
Search 3rd Party Search Cost
Council Rates Search in QLD Brisbane City Council $12.54
Council Rates Search in QLD Logan City Council $342.96
Water Information Statement VIC Melbourne $30.25
Water Information Statement VIC Macedon Ranges $156.63
S 603 Certificate NSW Sydney $114.76
S 603 Certificate NSW Albury $209.07
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