• The last thing you want to deal with on top of the big decision to acquire or offload property is unexpected fees.


    As with almost any professional service, cheapest is not always best. Conveyancing fees vary depending on the length and complexity of your settlement but a good agent is one you can trust to get the best outcome and be transparent with their fees.


    To help you avoid getting stung with hidden conveyancing costs we compiled this handy guide to explain the main types of fees.


    The Settlement Fee


    Also called conveyancing fees or service fees, settlement fees cover the conveyancer’s time and expertise in property transactions. Settlement fees generally include:

    • Preparing all the required paperwork
    • Due diligence on the settlement
    • Dealing with lawyers and banks
      • This might be included in government and financial charges - see our explanation below
    • Setting and attending the settlement
    • Completing all your settlement paperwork
    • Creating, negotiating and amending legal contracts
    • Adjusting rates and taxes (e.g. water and council rates)

    Crescent Conveyancers have made it our mission to always be the settlement agent you can rely on for support along the way. It’s all part of the service!


    Government and Financial Charges


    Property transactions involve a lot of back-and-forth with councils, financial institutions and government agencies.

    Often these agencies and institutions will charge fees for services and you should receive a clear breakdown in your conveyancing fees.


    They might be called government enquiry fees, standard search fees, or orders and requisitions:

    • Department of Finance land tax division
    • Local council or shire search fees
    • Regional water agencies (e.g. Aqwest in Bunbury or Water Corporation in Perth)
    • Landgate search fees
    • Loan establishment fees and mortgage insurance

    With decades of experience, we can accurately quote government and financial charges before the settlement starts. Be wary of agents who are not transparent with enquiry fees as there could be overheads added to incurred fees.


    General Office Disbursements


    Disbursements are office costs incurred by your agent during the settlement. It is normal for postage, couriers, printing and consumables to fall into this category.


    Also, transaction fees charged by PEXA (Property Exchange Australia Limited) will usually be billed under disbursements.


    [We wrote about PEXA recently: read more here.]


    Some conveyancers will charge a fixed fee for disbursements and others will bill by item. Talk to your settlement agent to find out how they charge disbursements as this could also be where hidden conveyancing costs appear.


    Avoiding hidden conveyancing fees


    Sometimes things come up that not even the most experienced settlement agent can predict. Normally this means additional fees for time and enquiries.


    It’s important you can trust your settlement agent to be completely transparent if the unexpected does happen, ensuring no hidden conveyancing costs when the bill arrives.


    You can help yourself (and your agent) by planning ahead and collecting all the relevant information. Surprises we often face include:

    • Additional searches in deceased property cases or where a title cannot be located
    • Subdivided properties with titles issued incorrectly
    • Dealing with unexpected third parties
    • Additional clauses and addenda to contracts

    To earn and keep your confidence we are determined to avoid hidden conveyancing costs wherever possible.

    When you are speaking to conveyancers you should be sure to ask if they have a PDS outlining the types of fees you can expect from them.

    Armed with the above information and your intuition you are in a great position to avoid hidden fees.

    If you have detailed questions about conveyancing fees, avoiding hidden conveyancing costs, or any other property settlement matters our experienced settlement agents would be happy to help.

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