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What is Fixed-Fee Conveyancing?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Fixed-fee conveyancing is a collection of legal services provided by an attorney at a flat price to assist a person with the process of buying or selling real estate. The term “conveyancing” in the sense of real estate law is most commonly seen in places like Australia and the United Kingdom, where attorneys may entice clients with offers of fixed-fee conveyancing to allay concerns about unexpectedly high legal fees. It is important to be aware that this applies only to attorney fees, not disbursements to third parties associated with the sales contract, and these can add up quickly.

In conveyancing, the attorney handles legal matters associated with property transactions including title searches, filing changes of deed, identity checks on the parties involved, and so forth. The exact process varies, depending on the jurisdiction, and using an experienced real estate lawyer can increase the chances of a smooth, successful transaction. In fixed-fee conveyancing, the attorney offers these services for a flat fee, based on the sales price of the home.

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One issue with this is that the attorney does not count disbursements, payments for everything from filing title paperwork with the proper authorities to accessing electronic databases. When people receive a fixed-fee conveyancing quote, they should ask about what kind of disbursement charges to expect. The attorney can provide a sample invoice or estimate to give people an idea of how much they will end up paying for all the services, not just the work of the attorney.

Fees can vary widely and it is advisable to solicit quotes from multiple firms, and to rely on advice from friends when it comes to selecting a good conveyancing attorney. Some attorneys can create substantial cost savings for their clients, while others may be more expensive. Another issue to be aware of is the potential for a clause in the contract allowing the attorney to increase the fees if unexpected complexities arise. In a contract with this clause, it is a good idea to ask about hourly rates to prepare for the eventuality of possibly needing to pay more if something goes wrong with the sale.

In many regions, it is possible to look up a chart of average fees, to give people an idea of how much other people pay for similar types of transactions. When looking at quotes for fixed-fee conveyancing, sellers and buyers can bring these charts with them and may want to use them as a negotiating tool; if an attorney asks much more than the going rate, she should be able to explain what kinds of benefits and services she is offering to justify the unusually high price.

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