6 Questions You Must Ask Your Conveyancer When Buying a House

There are literally hundreds of conveyancers and solicitors in New South Wales so where do you start in finding the right one for you and your purchase? There are some key questions you can ask when engaging a conveyancer or solicitor to act on your purchase.

1. How much will you charge?

It is important to know from the outset what you conveyancing costs will be. Many conveyancing quotes do not include third part costs (known as ‘disbursements’), such as the fees to local authorities for searches that must be completed. If a quote seems low, it could be that disbursements have not been included.

We recommend asking for an itemised quote so that you can see what your professional fees will be and also have an estimate of the likely disbursements which will be incurred on the conveyance.

At Shaw & Bunner Legal, we charge a flat fee of $1,000.00 plus GST for our professional fees. We charge this flat fee irrespective of the value of the property (i.e. some firms will charge more if the property is worth more) or the nature of the property (i.e. residential vs rural).

We also provide a detailed estimate of the disbursements. For a residential lot, these range between $350.00 to $450.00. We explain to clients that they can safely expect to pay between $1,500.00 to $1,600.00 inclusive of disbursements and GST.

2. Who will handle my case?

Throughout any conveyancing transaction, it is important to have good communication with the person handling your matter. Most transactions are straight forward however if issues arise, you need to know who the relevant person is to contact. When you instruct a conveyancer or solicitor, we recommend you ask who will be the main point of contact for your matter

At Shaw & Bunner Legal, we have a small yet experienced team meaning that you will be able to reach the relevant person dealing with your matter with ease. We are also clear on identifying your main point of contact and you will get to know the entire friendly team through the process.

 3. How often will I hear from you?

Communication is key in any conveyancing transaction. We understand that buying a property can be stressful at times. The stress can be compounded by radio silence from your conveyancer at key stages in the transaction – no updates, no regular phone calls.

We recommend that you have a frank discussion with your conveyancer at the outset of the matter and discuss what your expectations are with respect to reasonable communication. It is also a good idea to confirm the best way for your conveyancer to communicate with you.

At Shaw & Bunner Legal, we ensure that we have this discussion at the commencement of a matter. We value regular communication and keeping our clients updated throughout the running of the matter.

4. Have you dealt with many cases like mine?

Properties don’t always fall into a cookie cut mould. Some purchases are straight forward. Others are not. There can be a range of factors that make a purchase a bit more complicated. Paper roads, restricted covenants and old system title to name a few. If you know there is something unique about the property you are purchasing, ask your conveyancer whether they have dealt with that type of issue before.

At times a conveyancing firm may not be equipped to deal with a complicated matter and the matter is referred to a solicitor. At Shaw & Bunner Legal, we offer the services of a Conveyancer with over 19 years experience in combination with a Solicitor working in the area.

5. What costs will I have to pay if the purchase falls through?

What happens if the purchase does not proceed? It may be the case that there was a race to exchange and another purchaser got over the line before you, or you had second thoughts upon reading the pest & building report. It is important to ask your conveyancing solicitor how much you will need to pay if the sale falls through.

At Shaw & Bunner Legal, if we have provided a formal review of the Contract for Sale and provided advice to you, we simply charge for our time in reviewing the Contract. Our rate is fixed at $300.00 plus GST.

6. When do I need to pay conveyancing fees?

Some firms require a part payment on exchange of contract or monies placed into their Trust Account at the time of providing instructions. Others may require you to pay disbursements as they are incurred through the matter. You should ask the question so you know what amounts, and when, you are required to pay.

We keep it simple at Shaw & Bunner Legal. You will not be required to pay any monies until the conclusion of the matter – on settlement. We provide an estimate at the commencement of the matter so you are prepared for what our fees will be and we generally find if there is an incoming bank, they will make an allowance for your legal fees to be paid as part of the loan.