Our blog this week highlights the need to pay close attention to the details in your conveyancer’s fee schedule to ensure you you know exactly what you are paying for.
The recent deregulation of fees in the conveyancing industry has increased competition in what was already a competitive market. On the back of the deregulation, some conveyancing companies began advertising that they charge a ‘flat fee’ for their conveyancing service, with many promising a temptingly low figure.
Problems began to arise when people starting looking at the ‘fine print’ within the Product Disclosure statement, which showed all the extras that weren’t included in the advertised fee.
So what should you look out for? Firstly, the saying, ‘if it looks too good to be true it probably is’ rings trues here. In other words, if it looks too cheap, there’s likely to be hidden catches.
You should also look for what you are being charged as a ‘Settlement Fee’ when comparing conveyancing quotes, paying careful attention to whether the fee is quoted as a single fee or broken down. The main thing to be aware of is that there is a difference between the Statutory Cost (which cannot be negotiated) and the settlement fee, which is the conveyancer’s fee for service on matters relating to settlement and can be discounted.
Other items you could be up for on your conveyancing bill, that may or may not be highlighted without looking at the fine print include:
• Lodging the contract for OSR assessment
• Payment of Stamp Duty 7 days before settlement
• Identification in the office
• Banking the proceeds of sale
• Attending to rent adjustment
• Assisting parties to prepare an Offer & Acceptance
• Longer than 20 minutes of consultation
• Rebooking & attending settlement up to 3 times
So just remember, the cheapest isn’t always the best, nor will it necessarily end up being the cheapest once all the fees are broken down.