When buying any type of property, including a residential home or property owned by family or a trusted friend, it's good to have experts on hand who can guide you through this process. There are many steps needed to ensure the paperwork that shows ownership of the property is in order, and many legal risks to buying property of any sort.
Along with a real estate agent, you might then hire a conveyancer, who assists with the real estate transaction itself, or a solicitor, who is able to give legal advice about that purchase. Note a few differences between the two, and this can help you determine which would be the right choice for your purchasing transaction.
As said, a solicitor, or lawyer, can offer legal advice regarding your transaction. This might be important for certain purchases; for example, if there is an easement across the property, if you suspect there might be lead paint or asbestos on the property, or if you are buying a foreclosed property or one with a lien of any sort attached to it. A solicitor can advise you on your legal risks, rights, and responsibilities in those cases.
However, many transactions are not so complicated and not so risky; buying a typical family home in a well-established neighbourhood, without any real risk of having contaminants in the home or in the soil, may not mean many legal risks and complications. A conveyancer can then be sufficiently qualified to assist you with the transaction.
A conveyancer is someone who handles much of the paperwork needed during a real estate purchase; they will look up the title of the property, and will arrange the inspections needed for the property, collecting those reports once the actual inspection is done. A conveyancer may also ensure that a deposit of any sort is properly handled and dispersed as needed.
While a solicitor may advise on liens that might be on the property, as well as easements and other such legal matters, they typically do not "run errands" for the buyer. For instance, a solicitor might advise on information that is revealed due to a home inspection, but will rarely arrange those inspections and collect those reports. A solicitor may advise on your rights and responsibilities when it comes to deposits for a property, but will rarely ensure that you've made those deposits and that the funds are dispersed. For these types of everyday, routine issues with buying a property, you would need the services of a conveyancer.