3 Questions For The Conveyancing Solicitor

20 May 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


Legal fees payable to a conveyancing solicitor are perhaps the best example of the hidden/indirect costs of home ownership. Below are answers to three important questions that a prospective homeowner should ask a conveyancing solicitor in a bid to cut down on costs.

How About A Flat-Fee Arrangement?

More often than not, conveyancing solicitors quote an hourly rate of payment for their services. However, these professionals fully understand the cost implications of home ownership and as such, they're often flexible when it comes to the mode of payment.

A flat-fee arrangement means that prospective homeowners and their preferred solicitor(s) settle on a specific amount to be paid at the end of the transaction. Flat-fee arrangements are preferred over hourly billing rates for the fact that there is no possibility of spiraling legal costs. Spiraling costs are common with hourly billing rates because it may take longer to finalize the property transaction than the prospective buyer had anticipated.

Which Conveyancing Searches Will Be Carried Out?

Some conveyancing searches are mandatory while others are optional for prospective homebuyers. For example, the water and drainage conveyancing search is mandatory in a large number of jurisdictions and so is the local authority conveyancing search. Water and drainage conveyancing searches often have these two objectives:

  • The location of water mains within residential property
  • Establishing the distance between the property and public sewer utility lines as well as establishing the location of sewer lines within the residential area.

Local authority conveyancing searches seek to establish the proximity of residential property to public infrastructure (e.g. railway lines and super highways) and how this may affect the construction of a new home. The higher the number of (non-mandatory) searches that a conveyancer has to undertake, the higher the conveyancing fee will be at the end of property transaction.

What's The Cost Of Falling Through?

Various factors may contribute to a homeowner's inability to eventually purchase a piece of residential property. For example, the results of a local council conveyancing search may reveal that the property in question is located in a protected area on which the construction of residential settlements is prohibited.

In such a case, the property transaction is said to have "fallen through". Conveyancing solicitors often charge their clients for services rendered before the stage at which the transaction fell through.

The cost of "falling through" is not necessarily static with some solicitors. Prospective homeowners should find out if they can bargain on this charge just in case things don't go as planned.

As it is in the current real estate market, the cost of a house in itself is overwhelming for a large number of average citizens. Work with your solicitor to see how you can set a budget or payment options. Click here to read more.