When choosing a conveyancer for your property purchase or sale, it’s always a good idea to consider their experience and reputation. That said, an important factor that could sway you from one conveyancer to another is the price.
So how much should you expect to pay for professional conveyancing, and how can you tell if you’re being ‘ripped off’?
Many conveyancers provide their services for a fixed fee (plus searches and disbursements). The amount will vary depending on the property, the conveyancer and the complexity of the transaction; when you’re requesting a quote, your conveyancer will ask for more information so they can provide more accurate estimates of the costs involved.
Depending on the conveyancer, some will charge a flat fee, while others operate under a sliding fee structure, depending on the property’s sale price. Either way, you can request a written quote in writing when you first enquire.
If you’ve been quoted an unusually high figure, this could be because there are complicated contract clauses and other issues for your conveyancer to navigate. If it is a straightforward transaction, however, and you feel the quote you’ve received is high, then you may want to shop around.
To avoid being blindsided by an unexpectedly high conveyancing bill, it’s advisable to ask for a written quote prior to engaging services. The cheapest quote is not always the best one, as it’s important to engage with a conveyancer who can provide you with the level of service you need.
When you’re evaluating quotes, also keep in mind that a number of factors that can affect conveyancing costs, such as:
1. Scope of conveyancing
The more services they offer, the more expensive your fees may be – but it’s all worth it when you realise that their job is to protect you in your purchase.
One of the services that all conveyancers should offer is reviewing your contract, which enables you to know if there are any risks associated with your purchase.
Conveyancers should also research the property, particularly the title, council rates, and land tax, to ensure that you don’t inherit any of the seller’s debts. Just as importantly, they’ll make sure there is no third party blocking you from becoming the new property owner.
Other services that your conveyancer might offer include contacting your lender for your financing needs; advising you of your stamp duty payable and any available concessions; preparing all of your necessary transfer documentation; and lodging a Caveat – that is, registering your name as a Caveator on title to secure the property by preventing any other dealings from being registered on the title before settlement.
Disbursements are the charges incurred by your conveyancer from third-party services on your behalf. While some conveyancers will provide an exact figure on their quote regarding the cost of such disbursements, some items are difficult to estimate beforehand and so a ‘cost range’ for items like property search costs and inspection fees will be offered.
Examples of disbursements include title searches, stamp duty, land tax, inspection fees, loan fees, building insurance, council rates, water rates and strata levies.
Costs like building certificates, land tax certificates, and government fees to the Environmental Protection Authority and Roads and Traffic Authority usually have fee ranges.