Buying or selling a property in Victoria is a crucial financial decision.

To ensure a hassle-free transfer of ownership, enlisting the services of a conveyancer or property lawyer is advisable. But which legal professional should you engage with?

Conveyancers are experts in simple property transactions, like preparing relevant conveyancing legal. Property lawyers can provide more comprehensive legal assistance. They can advise on other aspects of the law, like taxation, wills, or disputes.

Conveyancers and property lawyers play a vital role in real estate transactions. However, they also vary in expertise.

As a client, you should understand how these professionals differ, so you know you’re getting and paying for the right services.

This article compares a conveyancer and property lawyer in-depth to help you decide.

Conveyancer vs Property Lawyer: Key Differences

Conveyancers and property lawyers may do similar work. Both can do and are experts in the conveyancing process.

However, that is only as far as their similarity goes. Their specialisation, duties, flexibility, and cost of services differ considerably.

Let’s discuss these factors further in this section. But for a quick overview, here’s a table summarising the unique features of conveyancers and property lawyers.


Professional Differences


Property Lawyers

Education and specialisation

Require a professional qualification; have a general knowledge of the legal aspects of buying and selling properties

Require a law degree; have a deeper understanding of the law, rights, and obligations in property transactions

Professional duties

Perform basic conveyance work

Perform conveyance work and handle complex or unusual legal matters that may arise

Level of security and flexibility




More affordable fixed rates

Generally more expensive

1. Education and Specialisation,

To become a conveyancer, one must complete an accredited conveyancing course for a diploma. They should also finish a period of practical training supervised by a professional practitioner.

The licencing requirements for conveyancers vary between states and territories. Once licensed, they should consider joining the Australian Institute of Conveyancers for ongoing professional development.

This education and training make conveyancers well-versed in the legal aspects of buying and selling properties.

To become a property lawyer, one must complete a Bachelor of Laws degree or a Juris Doctor postgraduate degree. Afterwards, they must complete the Practical Legal Training and apply for a Practising Certificate from their local issuing authority.

Years of extensive study and training allow property lawyers to handle various property-related issues. They can accurately interpret documents and provide sound legal advice to clients.

2. Professional Duties

Some of the most significant duties of a conveyancer include:

  • doing title searches to ensure the property is free of any legal impediments
  • preparing contracts for selling real estate
  • reviewing the contract to remove unfavourable clauses and ensure the client’s best interest
  • inquiring about the property zoning and analysing flooding reports or council approvals
  • preparing settlement papers or attending settlement on the client’s behalf
  • liaising with all parties involved in the property transfer (buyer, seller, bank, etc.) for timely accomplishment of paperwork

On the other hand, a property lawyer can perform the above-mentioned conveyancing duties and more. For example, they can:

  • deal with legal issues or disputes that may occur before, during, or after the property transfer
  • advise on structuring, taxation, prepare lease agreements, etc.
  • represent a client in court

3. Level of Security and Flexibility

Licenced conveyancers may provide general advice on property transactions. However, they cannot deal with complex legal matters or issues outside conveyancing.

In contrast, property lawyers can help with a broader range of legal matters than conveyancers. Clients who need comprehensive legal guidance find this flexibility of property lawyers advantageous.

Further, often disputes will arise during a conveyancing process such as defective s32’s, rescission of contracts, termination of contracts or a repudiation of contract. You often need legal advice in this respect.

It also gives them a sense of security should problems over a property transaction occur down the line.

Some believe professional indemnity insurance policies covering law practices also add security when hiring property lawyers.

4. Cost

The difference between conveyancers and property lawyers becomes more pronounced when you compare the fees charged for their services.

Generally, conveyancers charge less than property lawyers.

Conveyancers are more cost-effective because of their defined roles and duties. They can offer fixed pricing since they work on routine property transactions and requirements.

Conveyancing fees in Australia vary, ranging from $700 to $2500. Additional costs may also be needed, depending on the required certificate searches (e.g. local authority, environmental, drainage).

On the contrary, property lawyers are generally more expensive because of their higher level of education and the breadth of services they offer.

Still, property lawyers have different fee structures, so clients should research first.

How to Choose Between a Property Lawyer and Conveyancer

As a client, there are two things to consider when deciding which property legal professional to engage with: transaction complexity and budget.

1. Analyse the complexity of your property transaction.

The choice between a conveyancer and a property lawyer comes down to your needs. If your transaction requires standard conveyancing work, the expertise of a conveyancer is the most practical choice.

However, a property lawyer is your best ally if:

  • you have a high-risk, complex, or unusual property transaction
  • you need to consult about other property law matters
  • you feel you might need legal representation in the future

Conveyancers advise clients to see a qualified lawyer when things become too complicated.

And so, you’ll be saving time and money when you engage with the right legal professional from the start.

2. Determine your budget allocation.

As discussed earlier, property lawyers typically charge more than conveyancers. So, it is more practical to engage with a conveyancer if:

  • your property value is low
  • you have a limited budget
  • your property transaction is straightforward

So, choose a legal professional who provides the appropriate service at reasonable costs.

Consult with the Right Conveyancing Specialist

Conveyancers and property lawyers are both qualified to ensure smooth property transactions. However, after our comparison, we see how these legal experts differ.

As a client, knowing their differences should help you choose the right professional services that fit your needs and budget.

If you need further assistance with property transactions in Melbourne, contact TNS Lawyers at +61 3 9052 3214 or email us at