Get Advice on Choosing a Conveyancer
Choosing a Conveyancer
Traditionally in Australia, solicitors were the only people who undertook conveyancing work but that is no longer the case. Today, there are licensed conveyancers who are specialists in property law and are qualified to assist home buyers and sellers with all type of property transactions. While saving money is top of most people's agenda when buying or selling property, there are a number of other important considerations when deciding whether to choose a solicitor or a conveyancer for your conveyancing work:
- It is important that you trust your solicitor or conveyancer. Your conveyancer is your personal legal representative in the property transaction. You need to be sure that they are acting in your best interests and keeping you informed of your rights and responsibilities. Eliminate anyone who you don't feel comfortable with, even if they offer you the best price.
- Check insurance, licenses and qualifications. You want to make sure you are protected (financially and legally) should your conveyancer make a mistake.
- Get a recommendation. Call references and ask about quality of work and customer experience.
- Who is doing the bulk of the conveyancing work? You don't want someone who is overworked or inexperienced as they may miss important details.
It is advisable to contact a conveyancer as early as possible in the home buying / selling process. Conveyancers can advise you on a number of pre-sale legal procedures such as contract negotiations and exchange and organising pre-sale property inspections. If you are selling, they can help you draw up the contract of sale or vendor statement.
Regardless of whether you are buying or selling property never sign anything until you have sought independent legal advice!
Prices between conveyancers and solicitors will vary. Some will charge a fixed fee or flat fee other will charge you on a sliding scale determined by the sale price of the property. In general costs are broken down into the following categories:
- Service Fees. These are the fees charged by the solicitor or conveyancer for the time it take to perform the conveyancing work. Generally, there is more paperwork to complete when buying a property, so service fees for buyers tend to be slightly higher.
- Disbursements. These are the out-of-pocket expenses that the conveyancer incurs on your behalf. Some of these items include: searches, obtaining certificates, stationary costs, faxes etc.
- Additional costs: There are a number of additional costs associated with buying and selling property. Some of these include: mortgage insurance, stamp duty, building and pest inspections, survey reports.
Always ask for a statement of likely costs before the conveyancer or solicitor starts the work. If you are uncertain of any costs or aspect of the conveyancing process get clarification before signing any paperwork or contracts.
When evaluating the conveyancing quotes use your judgement and don't let price be the determining factor. While you don't have to accept the highest bid, you need to feel confident that you are getting the best value and quality service for the money you are being asked to pay.
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