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Inside look at Conveyancers

Inside look at Conveyancers

This week we turn our attention to the important profession of conveyancing. Conveyancers are property law specialists and play a vital role in the industry, facilitating the transfer of ownership of property. Recent changes in legislation have been a driver of change for the profession, requiring conveyancers to update the way they verify the identity of their clients.

Penny Erskine, Business Manager at Conveyancing Matters took time out of her very busy day to tell us about her career, the challenges of being a conveyancer and what it takes to be a success in the profession.  After speaking with Penny Erskine for a few minutes, it becomes crystal clear that she simply loves property!

What path did you take to become a conveyancer?

When I finished school, I spent a gap year in Chile. My father had started a conveyancing business while I was away and upon my return I started working there as the receptionist.  From there, I moved into administration and progressed through the ranks of the organisation, learning all aspects of the business.

What qualities are needed to be a successful conveyancer?

Conveyancers need to be great communicators as there is lots of client contact involved in the role. They must possess a high level of attention to detail and should also be comfortable juggling multiple tasks. I get interrupted all the time in my role and you must be able to pick up where you left off without making any mistakes. All of these things are essential to being a great conveyancer.

What challenges do conveyancers face in their role?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing conveyancers is unrealistic timeframes sometimes imposed by banks and by the real estate agents who prepare the contracts.

In a move to reduce the risk of land title fraud, new legislation has just been passed that requires clients to have face to face contact with their conveyancer to verify their identity.  It’s national legislation, but South Australia is the first state to put it into action. It’s a change but it has been a fantastic development. It has actually made things easier, as I’m able to answer all of my client’s questions more easily in a face to face scenario.

Another challenge is the verification of the identity of our overseas clients. Clients outside of Australia have to visit their local embassy to verify their identity, which can cause hold ups in the process.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most enjoyable part of my role is when I ring a client to tell them their property has settled or that their money has been transferred.  The client is always so happy to hear the news and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Can experience in conveyancing create pathways to other careers in property?

Yes, someone with experience in conveyancing could make a career side step into mortgage broking or as a real estate agent. 

What training is required to be a conveyancer in SA?

In Australia, the licensing requirements to become a conveyancer vary from state to state. In South Australia you must complete an Advanced Diploma of Conveyancing through Tafe SA to become a qualified conveyancer. From there, graduates need to register with Business and Consumer Affairs to gain a licence to operate as a conveyancer.  Practising conveyancers are also required to have a certain level of insurance and must undertake ongoing professional development each year to retain their licence.

If you wish to find out more about conveyancing in South Australia, contact the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (SA).