Two of the common themes when clients complain about their past legal representation is a lack of communication and failure to understand each others expectations.

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT A GOOD CONVEYANCING LAWYER WILL DO FOR YOU:

  1. Understand what sort of legal help you need
  2. Make it clear how you will be charged for the transaction
  3. Get involved before your sign the Contract of Sale
  4. Be proactive and practical when there is a problem
  5. Keep you informed at every stage of the settlement process

UNDERSTAND WHAT SORT OF HELP YOU NEED

First things first. In a conveyancing transaction the lawyer isn’t being paid hourly, they are likely being paid to get the whole job done. Some files are easy and some take more time. Your lawyer will have allocated a certain amount of hours they think it will take them to complete the work.

The best way to get the most from your lawyer is to understand yourself what it is you want at the beginning. Communication is key. The bigger law firms will be happy to talk to you all day…but you will pay handsomely for the privilege. Conveyancers are always under the pump so in most cases they simply don’t have the time.

GET YOUR LAWYER INVOLVED BEFORE YOUR SIGN THE CONTRACT OF SALE

A good conveyancing lawyer will be involved early. This helps the client to avoid problems before they happen. Sometimes the lawyer has no choice and is given the file AFTER the contract of sale has been signed, so it’s not always in their control.

A GOOD LAWYER WILL BE PROACTIVE WHEN THERE IS A PROBLEM

I had a call the other day from a purchaser who was with a conveyancer at the time. They were referred to me by a good friend who thought I could guide them in the right direction.

Unfortunately the bank they were borrowing from was taking too long to process their application and it didn’t look like they would be ready for settlement.

As we discussed in our article ‘What happens when settlement is delayed?’ it is very important that the purchaser is ready to settle on the date stipulated in the contract. If they don’t have their funds and documentation ready then there are real consequences that the vendor can exercise.

Anyway the purchaser was wondering if they could reschedule the settlement and was told by the conveyancer (who sounded like they were absolutely flat out) that ‘you’ll have to pay penalties until you are ready to settle’.

Whilst this is strictly true, a good lawyer would have reached out straight away to the Vendor’s representative, explained the situation and asked for a penalty free period of a couple of days to get them across the line.

Often you will find that if the vendor is not incurring any additional costs by not settling on a particular date they will be ok with a penalty free delay.

Taking the time to be practical and proactive can solve problems.