Solicitor cost

From: Lotana Von Amor


Respectable Forum,

I am trying to understand the tricks of the trade in the area of conveyancing. I have bought 5 properties so far with a little help of 3 solicitors, and still have not found the one that I could recommend my friends. I don't feel comfortable negotiating with them and feel that they treat me as a dummy ripping me off.

Solicitor A. gave me a quote of $890, but at settlement charged me $1640, arguing that the quote was for "acting on the contract". They also charged $400 for "acting on the mortgage" and another $350 for the searches.

Solicitor B. quoted $1000 "for everything" and charged $1199 including disbursements + $350 for the searches. This person also assisted many other people buying from the same new strata titled development charging everybody full fee for identical searches. Is it normal?

Solicitor C. ordered the survey for $400 without asking for my permission. His argument was that the bank will need it. I managed to get a letter from my bank explicitly stating that they don't need the survey, however the solicitor threatened me that the settlement will not occur if I don't pay for the survey he's done - so I paid.

What do others think about these practices? Am I expecting too much? What exactly is "acting on the contract" and "acting on the mortgage"? If I don't mortgage the property I'm buying, does it make the conveyancing less expensive? How much should it cost to buy a strata unit through a solicitor in Sydney? And the most important question - how can I find a solicitor (in Sydney) who is honest, direct, accessible via mobile and e-mail when I need him/her?

Probably too many questions for one post, but it's an emotional issue for me.

Regards,

Lotana
 
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Reply: 1
From: Duncan M




I pay $215 in total using a Conveyancer in South Australia, can Paralegals
act as Conveyancers in your state or is it legislatively monopolised to the
Solicitors?

Duncan.
 
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Reply: 1.1
From: Lotana Von Amor


Duncan,

Yes, it is possible to use conveyancers in NSW. To me, it does not matter if they have a law degree or they don't. But been experienced, knowledgeable, and honest is a must. Using interstate conveyancers would not be an option due to a number of state-specific laws. I tried to use my Solicitor B to buy an IP in Melbourne - she was hopeless.

Regards,

Lotana
 
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Reply: 1.2
From: Graeme Palmer


HI LOTANA, TRY REALESTATE WEB SITE FIXED PRICE OF $595.JUST COMPLETED SALE AND SETTLE THIS WEEK AND COULD NOT HAVE HAD BETTER SERVICE. ALLAN RELF IS HIS NAME & SITUATED IN KING ST SYDNEY.GOOD LUCK.
 
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Reply: 1.2.1
From: Gail H


Hi everyone,
The practices you describe are not acceptable. The quote you get should clearly set out all costs, including disbursements (costs the solicitor must incur on your behalf).

I don't know Sydney, but for people buying in Queensland I have found a great guy in Brisbane called Bruce Gleeson (located in Margate). He's incredibly efficient, helpful, friendly, and returns my calls within minutes (extraordinary). I haven't got the bill yet though. But his quote was very detailed.

Good luck

Gail
 
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Reply: 2
From: Geoff Whitfield


I was very happy with my solicitor. Costs were reasonable; settlement went through "fairly" smoothly.

Settlement date was brought forward initially, then pushed back. But that was all OK.

What I didn't realise that rent from my property was paid in advance (2 weeks) on the day before settlement. The agent did not receive word about the rent, so paid it all to the vendor.

I'm not sure who was at fault- but the missing rent was about 50% of the total conveyancing cost. I suspect it's my solicitor- but there's a few sets of fingers being pointed, and no resolution. It seems that solicitors are asking for a voluntary pay-back from the vendor.

It's bad missing on rent. I'm more worried because, without proof of rent payments in that period, that some money spent on the property might be taken by ATO to be improvements rather than repairs.
 
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