When you buy or sell a property, you’ll likely speak to a couple of settlement agents to compare their conveyancing fees in Perth or WA. It’s so important to find the best firm for the job, and price forms part of this overall decision.
When speaking to potential firms, you should find someone you trust, who understands you and your transaction. After all, buying or selling your biggest asset is not something you do every day.
There are a variety of factors, which we’ve outlined in an earlier post, that can impact your choice of settlement agent. One of these factors to consider is the fees & charges associated with their service.
In this post, let’s focus on conveyancing fees
It can be difficult to compare quotes and conveyancing fees from different firms. They may use different terminology or bundle different costs together.
Let’s decipher the most common terms, and explain what they mean for you:
Settlement Agent Fees
Also known as Conveyancing Fees, the firm’s Professional Fee, Service Fee or Service Amount, is the cost of the conveyancer’s time & skill to complete your settlement.
As your Settlement Agent, our job is to transfer your property correctly and on time. We’ll act within the terms of your contract and will keep you updated as it progresses. This process involves preparing a variety of legal documentation and coordinating with various parties.
But what are all these extra disbursements?
Disbursements are additional charges incurred on top of the conveyancing fees in relation to the settlement of your property. Usually, these relate to third-party firms or services.
The most common disbursements are:
Postage & petties
These charges can also be known as office or administration charges or general office disbursements. Most settlement agents include this as a provision for postage (including premium express post & registered post), phone calls, emails, photocopying & fax.
Side note, yes, we are still required to fax some documents in order to comply with your contract!
As part of our role, we will conduct a variety of searches with Landgate, starting with the Certificate of Title. This will tell us whether there are any mortgages or caveats that are to removed at settlement.
It will also show any encumbrances that will remain on the title after settlement, impacting the new owner.
We also conduct searches of the plan and certain encumbrances to gather more information.
Government enquiry fees
These charges are also known as local authority enquiry fees or orders and requisitions enquiries. If you’re the buyer of the property, your conveyancer will contact various government agencies including:
- Department of Finance (Land Tax division)
- The local council or shire
- Water Corporation
- Any regional water agency (e.g. Busselton Water Board, Aqwest)
- The WA Planning Commission
Each of these departments, will charge a fee to provide the information. The fees vary between agencies and between local councils.
Most settlement agents will show these fees as an estimate on your quote until the exact amount can be known when they make the enquiry for you.
The searches received back from these agencies will enable your conveyancer to ensure that outstanding rates and taxes are apportioned between the buyer & seller. Any outstanding amounts will also be paid at settlement.
Section 43 Certificate fee
This fee is also known as a strata enquiry fee, and as the name suggests is only applicable to buyers of strata properties, such as units or townhouses.
The strata company will advise any levies and insurance that are applicable as well as any current issues that the buyer should be aware of.
PEXA is an electronic settlement platform, and thus this fee can sometimes be referred to as an electronic settlement charge. If your transaction settles on PEXA, bank cheques won’t be payable and some title search fees won’t apply either.
ASIC Company Search fee
If you are buying or selling as a company, or the other party to your transaction is a company, your conveyancer will complete a company search with ASIC. We will check that the company is currently registered and ensure that the correct officeholders sign the settlement paperwork.
Bank cheque fees
As the name suggests, where a bank cheque(s) is required for your settlement, there will be a fee imposed by the bank to issue the bank cheque.
Settlement attendance fee
Some conveyancing firms will charge a fee to attend settlement.
Where settlement doesn’t take place electronically on PEXA the parties will be required to physically attend Perth CBD to complete settlement. This involves handing over bank cheques in exchange for the legal documentation, including the title deed.
Many firms also use a third-party agent to attend settlement and this charge may be passed on to the client.
Given Metro Settlements’ central location in Perth CBD, there is no charge for us to attend your settlement. This is all included in our standard professional fee.
Transfer Registration Fees
In order to lodge the Transfer of Land and legally change the ownership of a property, Landgate require a Transfer Registration Fee be paid to them.
Registration fees for transfer documents are based on the consideration paid (usually the purchase price). The current fees can be found on Landgate’s website.
Transfer Duty (previously known as Stamp Duty)
Transfer Duty is a type of tax imposed by the WA State Government which is paid by the buyer of the property. It is required to be paid before ownership can be transferred into their name. Your settlement agent will take care of arranging this for you with Office of State Revenue.
What about hidden fees?
It’s important to understand that some property settlements may require additional work. This can result in additional conveyancing fees.
However, a good settlement agent will ask you the right questions from the outset. In the event that extra work is required, any additional costs will be disclosed to you up front, so there’s no surprises at the end of your transaction.
Some settlement agencies and conveyancing solicitors have documents called Product Disclosure Statements that outline the additional charges that could apply.
You should check with your preferred settlement agent if they have a PDS. It is important to familiarise yourself with this document before making the decision to appoint them.
How can I be sure that I’m not paying too much?
Settling a property is one of the biggest transactions you’ll make in your lifetime. As such, we believe that you shouldn’t choose your settlement agent based on price alone.
At Metro Settlements, we probably won’t be the cheapest option but we also won’t be the most expensive and we guarantee that our expertise in conveyancing will save you time and money.
All our settlement fees are personalised to your particular transaction and we promise to be open and honest, and disclose all fees up front.