For most of us, the purchase of a new home or investment property will reflect the single largest asset we will ever acquire in our lifetimes. With this much at stake, even a process which may appear straightforward from the outset deserves to be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, the purchase of a new property or the sale of your existing property can turn into a nightmare and a financial disaster if something is missed or done incorrectly in the contract or conveyancing process.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Racing to the bottom of the barrel and choosing a conveyancer on price alone is a very dicey game. Generally speaking, a conveyancer’s cost will be reflective of the amount of work they are undertaking on your behalf in respect of the purchase or sale of your property. It is very easy for a conveyancer to undercut a competitor’s price by $50 or $100 so as to win a job by:
- skipping a title or council search;
- taking no part in the review of a building and pest report or their client's attempt to obtain finance;
- putting an inexperienced junior staff member or trainee to work on the file.
- Requiring the client to undertake one or more steps in the process themselves that would ordinarily or should be undertaken by the conveyancer.
Any of the above steps will create a savings for the conveyancing firm enabling them to look cheap but significantly increase the risks of an error being encountered. Potentially exposing their client to tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss.
It's very easy to “shop” conveyancing quotes these days online and via email. In this regard, it is very common for clients to get two or more prices so as to educate themselves on the market before selecting a conveyancer. But in order for this process to truly educate the client as to the market price for a conveyance in a given market, they must look beyond the price alone and ask a number of critical questions including:
- Is my conveyancer based in Cairns or are they southern based masquerading as being in Cairns by using a virtual or rarely visited office;
- Will the conveyancer be following the conveyancing protocol;
- Does the price they have received include each and every step required in the transaction or are there any “carve outs” for which additional fees are to be charged;
- Are there any steps in the process which the firm will require the client to undertake themselves or is it a “cradle to the grave” service being provided;
- What searches are included with the price;
- Who will be handling my conveyance? A conveyancer or an office junior/trainee; and
- Will any part of the process be outsourced by the firm and if so will this incur an additional fee.
By asking the above questions a client will receive the full picture as to what they are to receive from a given firm and thereby be in a position to truly compare apples to apples.