Losing faith/trust in lawyers (selling property)

Discussion in 'The Buying/Selling Process' started by Poe, 13th Jun, 2015.

  1. Poe

    Poe Member

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    Have any of you been with a lawyer when selling a property that you begin to wonder if they can handle the money transfer part of the settlement even?

    The lawyer I am using will not admit he made a mistake when he exchanged contracts and put down 1 month extra in the settlement period instead of the period that had been agreed upon. Claims that we had agreed over the phone when in fact they had been sent both verbal and subsequent texts to confirm the various contract details. So out of pocket for another month of mortgage payments and other expenses.

    They want to now have the transfer of ownership document signed and given to them before settlement and it was put to me that what of they hand over the document without even bothering to collect the money first.

    So, outside of changing lawyers (already taken months, don't want more delays), are there safeguards in place just in the system process (have mortgage owing so there is a bank involved) to keep the mind at ease?
     
  2. Ausprop

    Ausprop Member

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    been in a similar situation where I felt like it was too late to change horses... worst decision ever. It only got substantially worse.
     
  3. Poe

    Poe Member

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    Seriously, please tell more. I need to be prepared moving forward and your story can help others as well maybe.
     
  4. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates ...and people wonder why?

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    What has your agent done for you?
     
  5. Ausprop

    Ausprop Member

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    I was well into a litigation process with one lawyer. Being new to litigation (that was my first time thru the wringer, probably been thru about 10 now and countless more thru my profression) I was accepting of pretty much everything. Thru my work I met an amazing litigation lawyer. With the first lawyer that I stick with - as I thought it was too hard to jump ship - I lost my un-losable case at trial. I had kind of thought there were aspects that were wrong at times but seeing as my case was so winnable I just thought the courts would come to the right decision - they didn't. the judgment was gobbledegook and just didn't make any sense (took them a year and half to deliver it too). I was seriously stuffed... out of desperation I was forced to change lawyers. The new guy was appointed about a week before my appeal - he pointed out many many of the serious and fundamental slips that had happened...serious issues that should have simply not happened but were too late to fix. I had a very quick crash course about how law works, who does what, the politics and questionable aspects of the system, strategy etc etc. So the full bench of the supreme court sat and thankfully my lawyer got their heads in the right space and they made some amazing orders (my lawyer calls them toothfairy orders - as you just never see it). It was a sensational result but for reasons too complex to list here, the judge that erred caused me material damages that were simply undoable.

    so... if I had my time again, should have dumped the first lawyer when there was the first sign of incompetence. I've learnt it thru other aspects of my life too. As soon as you see that sign just go for it, slash and burn and do what you need to do. That small sign is not just your imagination or you being sensitive and it won't get better. It's a ticking bomb waiting to go off.
     
  6. Poe

    Poe Member

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    The lawyers were recommended to us by them. Did not realise until later that one of the lawyers family works for that agent's company. The lawyer had put in their reply to us that the extra month had been agreed to - just ask the agent to confirm as well. The fact that our verbal/texts correspondence were to both the lawyer/agent with no mention of the extra month anywhere did not seem to matter. The agent appears to be hedging his bet by taking the lawyers side in this even though he used our agreed settlement time when conversing with us previously.

    So lesson learnt - Do not use a recommended lawyer from your agent ever.
     
  7. Hooray

    Hooray Member

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    What part of 'independent legal advice' did you not understand?
     
  8. TMNT

    TMNT Member

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    You mean you actually trusted a lawyer in the first place! !!!!!!!!!:D
     
  9. Terry_w

    Terry_w Member

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    If it is a nsw contract then the settlement period is listed on the front page - which you must have signed.

    transfers must be signed before settlement because they need to be handed over on settlement day. Transfers can't be registered without the title so not much to worry about there.

    If you are worried you can change lawyers.
     
  10. pinkboy

    pinkboy SS Lookerafterer

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    Did you not check the contract when you signed it in the first place? In this instance YOU are the one in control. This is your opportunity to change contract conditions. You physically signed right?

    You say this has been going on months? YOU are in control of your lawyer...YOU pay them. If they are incompetent, change. But don't assume incompetence if there is element that YOU have generated due to YOUR inexperience/incompetence/carelessness.

    You text your lawyer back and forth? That's unprofessional from both sides in my opinion. Why are you not respecting a transaction worth $100,000's of dollars?

    Sounds like you are desperate to sell if a month of expenses is hurting you. If it's an IP and rented, not such a big deal. If it's PPOR, really, you've already had a 'few months' to make arrangements.

    Honestly, sounds like you're laying blame on everyone else, but yourself.

    pinkboy
     
  11. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo Member

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    This is true and applies to all professionals. I would lay your case out to the lawyer and remind him that he is being paid to act in your interests under the law.
    In the end, I had to give my fuddy-duddy solicitor very clear instructions about what to do because he didn't have the bottle to do it by himself. He needed a rocket up his arts and that's what he got.
    Good luck.
     
  12. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Vantedge

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    If this is in NSW and they didn't provide you with a section 47 certificate then report them to fair trading. See how they like that.
     
  13. sanj

    sanj Member

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    I'm a bit confused, you gave verbal instructions to your lawyer, they drew up the contract which you then signed and now you're saying the date was wrong?

    Did u not check the dates when you signed?
     
  14. Ausprop

    Ausprop Member

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    I'd be interested to know what you signed as well. Unfortunately the best lawyers can't save us from ourselves
     
  15. Poe

    Poe Member

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    I had a look at the contract signed. The document signed said 42 days. There was some requests for amendments earlier (4 months settlement and a few other things). Only an amendment to 8 weeks settlement was agreed upon.

    The lawyer changed the settlement (crossed it out) and wrote above, 3 months from date of contract with their initials. They claim we agreed to make the amendment and now that the contract has been given to the other party, it is binding.

    This is the first time selling a property so a markedly different experience when we bought the place. The lawyer we used (now retired) then made the entire buying experience so smooth, we had no qualms about the selling process becoming complicated.

    The problem with the extra month is that besides the extra money out of pocket to pay mortgage, the sale takes place in the next financial year (would cost less in taxes if done this year due to a work break period).
     
  16. Terry_w

    Terry_w Member

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    CGT is based on the date of the contract, not settlement (in most cases).
     
  17. Hooray

    Hooray Member

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    Ask your lawyer where you gave them the authority to amend the contract.
     
  18. Poe

    Poe Member

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    I mentioned in my original post about this - they claim we agreed to the extra month and were surprised we forgot this - note that we were sending confirmations about the agreed upon amendments including the 8 week settlement after that date to both the lawyer and agent before we signed the contract.

    From what I can make out, they spoke to the buyers lawyer who mentioned 3 months as the settlement period and they put that down as the amendment instead of the 8 weeks we told them to (multiple times). I can understand it being a genuine mistake, but the cover up from their side (even forgetting the monetary at our end) is mind boggling.
     
  19. Hooray

    Hooray Member

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    Just cough up the extra months mortgage. Your lucky you get to pocket any of it the way your acting.
     
  20. bellz

    bellz Member

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    I am amazed that your lawyer has initialled an amendment to a contract settlement date!

    I am a conveyancer working for a lawyer, and this would never be done in our office in a million years!

    Transfer documents have to be signed and returned to the seller's solicitors - this is standard practice as a previous poster has indicated. Settlement wouldn't happen otherwise.

    I am stuffed if I use text messages at all with my clients, I don't want clients knowing my personal mobile number for a start, I have a life outside of work lol and don't want clients contacting me outside of work hours.