This article is quite long. To prompt your interest, below are some quotes from online reviews discussing the experiences with budget conveyancers. By reading this article, hopefully it helps you avoid having a similar experience.
Better off giving your money to charity
Dealing with this mob in Brisbane was more stressful than buying the house.
They prove you only get what you pay for
One would think a professional’s quality does not depend on price for due care and diligence would be at the top of their practice.
Dead set useless
We had so much trouble with communication. Almost impossible to get a return call. Made what should have been a great experience overly stressful and super hard work
Pay for what you get
Our contact, all though genuine and polite, seemed inexperienced and slow to respond…By saving a few dollars in conveyancing fee’s, it may cost you a lot more in other aspects of property settlement.
Do not use them
Using them for a simple land settlement. Worst mistake I could have made. Gave them 5 weeks notice for settlement and have had to chase them for everything
Not recommended, definitely not worth the cheap price.
My experience with this conveyancer included very poor communication, discourteous receptionist & more than one person handling my sale. My general impression was inexperience, little attention to detail and very casual approach.
Quite often we receive calls from people asking for our costs to do conveyancing for a sale or purchase. Most of the time, the person calling just wants to know that price and they will “get back” to us. It doesn’t take much to work out that the person is shopping around looking for the cheapest price to get the conveyancing done. Fair enough, people don’t want to spend money unnecessarily to get the same thing. Like buying a new fridge, you can go online and compare prices from different retailers and pick the cheapest place to buy that product. It doesn’t matter if you buy the product from Retailer A or Retailer B, the fridge will be identical in either case so why not pay less when you get the same thing.
The mistake with choosing a law firm or conveyancer to do your conveyancing is making that decision based on price. Conveyancing is not a “product”. You need to realise that conveyancing is a process that you will go through with the law firm. Rather than looking at it as an end result, you need to think of conveyancing as a “service” which requires multiple steps and requiring various interactions to get you to that end result. Another way of thinking about conveyancing as a service is if you were choosing a builder to build your home. Sure you get your completed house at the end (hopefully), but for the 7-9 months it takes for the builder to complete that house, that experience could be trouble free and pleasant or it could turn out to be a living nightmare with poor workmanship, escalating costs, or even worse, an unfinished house with the builder going bust.
The Hidden Price in Conveyancing
Lets not kid ourselves, there is a reason why you can find cheaper conveyancing places out there – you are just a number. Cheap conveyancing works on the basis of large number of files while spending as little time as possible on each file. Also, a lot of places will employ junior people to do the conveyancing. So not only are you just viewed as a number among many, you are also dealing with someone with limited legal knowledge. Did you know that there is no training or qualification needed to be a “conveyancing paralegal” or even a “conveyancing manager”. The knowledge is obtained from learning on the job and you will commonly find examples of conveyancers who were previously receptionists or personal assistants who have moved up to the position.
A number of years ago, there was a widely advertised conveyancing company that was advertising ridiculous low conveyancing costs. Buyers and Sellers were jumping to this company because they thought it was cheaper and after all, it’s the same thing at the end of the day right? As time would show, there were growing complaints against this company:
- Can never get a hold of them or speak to the person handling the file;
- Constantly following them up to ensure things were getting done;
- Costs at the end were comparable to using a normal law firm
In this instance, one of the things that was discovered was that the company had another related company who would provide them with searches. Searches are treated as outlays payable by the client in addition to the professional fee. If you haven’t worked it out, the service company (working in the same office) was adding a service fee on every search which gave the company additional revenue to offset their low professional fee at the cost of the client. The company never disclosed this relationship to clients.
What you find today is that most conveyancers will, by default, use a third party search provider to do their searches. As you would expect, third party search providers charge fees for their interaction in the search process. In all cases, these searches will be more expensive than obtaining the searches directly through the relevant authority. The reason why this is now becoming the preferred option is because it is a lot quicker, easier and cheaper for the conveyancer to use these search companies than running around doing searches directly with each information provider. By way of example, some searches can be obtained for free by the conveyancer by accessing those searches directly from the source, by using the search provider, these searches cost up to $20.00 each. Another example is a relative cheap search that can cost up to 300% more by using a third party search provider. Its also not uncommon to see fees for doing council searches costing up to an additional $50.00. You can start to see that initial $100 – $150 you thought you were saving by using a discount conveyancer can be quickly eroded.
At Vantage Law, we prefer to obtain searches with the costs to the client in mind by going directly to the relevant authority. Where we are unable to obtain the search directly, we negiotiate to obtain the search at the cheapest cost to you. This takes more time and effort on our part, but that is the service we provide to you.
As mentioned above, budget conveyancing works on volume not personal attention. Until you are in the situation, you won’t really know what level of service you will need. By that time, it will cost you more to change conveyancers/lawyers than those higher quotes you got shopping around. If you don’t think this happens…then think again. Over the years, we have been contacted a number of times by the other party asking us if we can take over their conveyancing. Unfortunately, at that stage our usual recommendation is to persevere through the transaction as the costs would be in addition to whatever costs they have already incurred or want to charge with their first choice.
The most common complaint you hear is lack of being able to speak to the person handling your matter with continuous promises of call back which never eventuate. This also happens at our level and we have had numerous issues with certain conveyancing firms attempting to communicate with them. A notable experience was trying to contact a conveyancer to inform them of an error in their documentation and see if they wanted us to correct it on our end for them. We had no obligation to do so and there are definitely other conveyancers or lawyers who don’t care about correcting such mistakes, but at Vantage Law, we like to ensure everything for the transaction is right. In this example, we made three attempts to call the conveyancer, each time being interrogated by the receptionist who appears to be the deciding factor as to whether our call is deemed worthy enough and told we would get a call back. You would think that if a solicitor is contacting you to discuss a matter, there is good reason for the call.
At Vantage Law, we have a simple belief, if we need to spend 3 minutes or 3 hours with you, we are happy to invest that time with you so you are comfortable with, and understand, the conveyancing process (without wanting additional fees). If we can’t take your call straight away (sometime we are on the phone for up to 90 minutes with clients or banks), we will call you back as soon as possible.
When dealing with a non-lawyer, you have to accept that you are dealing with someone who doesn’t have broad training or experience of identifying or dealing with legal issues. While we have seen some creative job titles for conveyancing clerks, which seem to be an attempt to give credibility to that person, you will simply not get the same experience as you would with a practising solicitor. The vast number of law firms employ paralegals to handle their conveyancing matters. A lot of issues can potentially pop up in a conveyancing transaction, so you need to realise that your purchase or sale doesn’t operate in a legal bubble immune to those risks. This is where having a properly qualified person handling your conveyancing matter can help you enormously.
Did you know conveyancing paralegals cannot comment or give you advice on issues of a legal nature?
If a legal issue arises or a potential issue identified, is the person handling the file properly qualified or experienced to detect and advise you properly? Don’t fall into the false impression that because you are paying someone to do your conveyance, that what they are telling you is right.
We have experienced enormous tensions with conveyancers giving their client bad or simply wrong advice which ultimately affects our client. We’ve seen conveyancers try to act like lawyers preparing legal documents which quite frankly are embarrassing. On one occasion at settlement, we pointed out to a conveyancer that one of their documents needed to be amended with her response being “I’ve been doing this for 18 years so I know what I’m doing”. The incoming financier refused to accept the document until it was amended. After making the correction, the conveyancer ignored us and left settlement as fast as she could get herself out the door…luckily she didn’t have to wait long.
As you can see, there can be a lot of aspects to the conveyancing process where you will be involved and possible issues arising. After reading the above, do you still think it’s all the same when it comes to finding the right choice for your conveyancing needs? Contact us now and speak to the solicitor that will personally be dealing with your conveyancing matter from start to finish.