Homeless For Christmas - The importance of choosing a good Solicitor

  • Tags: First Home Buyers, Gold Coast Property, Law, Selling Property, Solicitors

Homeless for Christmas - The importance of choosing a good Solicitor

Is the cheapest option the best option? – Definitely not in this case!
What is the biggest purchase you will ever make? – Property!

Why would you leave anything to chance with your property purchase?

In our business of selling property we see people make decisions on which professionals they will appoint based solely on cost. Through my experience I have come to realise that this justification is harmful and can often cost the purchaser/seller a lot more at the end of the sales process.

Here is a story about a family who very nearly ended up homeless 3 days before Christmas due to the incompetence and poor service they received from a “cost effective” conveyancer. This decision to use this particular conveyancer was made in good faith that this professional would provide the service that they advertised and promised.

In brief this is what happened, a young, professional family decided to relocate from NSW to the sunny Gold Coast. They found the home they wanted to purchase, entered negotiations and secured the home. 

The contract was in place with settlement to take place Thursday the 21st December, giving the family time to move in and be reasonably settled for Christmas eve on the Sunday.

What happens next COULD and SHOULD have been avoided!

Settlement was postponed TWICE, 4 days before Christmas due solely to avoidable mistakes on behalf of the “cost effective” conveyancer.
  1. 21st December – settlement was booked for 3:30, all parties were in attendance. The clerk who was outsourced by the conveyancer had made an error with the amount on a cheque, a simple typo had stopped settlement
  2. 22nd December – Last business day of the year, settlement is booked for 2pm, all parties are once again in attendance. The “cost effective” conveyancer appointed the same outsourced clerk who AGAIN stopped settlement by losing a cheque. The banks refused to release the funds held. It was now 3pm
At this point of the transaction the purchasers were understandably upset, it was looking like settlement would be postponed until mid January. They were looking at having to source two weeks of accommodation, storage for their furniture, further removalist costs all on the last business day of the year, the prospect of being homeless for Christmas was looking like becoming a reality at an extremely high unexpected cost.

Throughout this time the seller’s solicitor was continually in contact with all parties (including the purchaser who he wasn’t acting for), he was aware of the situation and understood that the best result for his client was for settlement to take place – including notifying them of this second postponement in the hope they could make contact with their conveyancer.

To add another level of stress to this situation the “cost effective” conveyancer that they appointed to act on their behalf was unable to be contacted by the purchasers, the purchasers broker, the sales agent or the sellers solicitor. All calls were diverted to voicemail.

The seller’s solicitor put a Plan B in place; on the spot in the event that the conveyancer couldn’t locate the cheque in the next hour to ensure settlement took place.  He stayed at the settlement location and managed everyone involved as he realised the importance of settlement taking place on this day.

3:50pm, 10 mins until the close of business for the year the cheque is located, settlement finally took place.

The anxious purchaser was notified of settlement firstly by their bank, secondly by us, through the seller’s solicitor and lastly sometime after settlement by their conveyancer.

This transaction, fortunately had a positive outcome for everyone involved. It was however  filled with unnecessary anxiety and stress.

The seller had decided to go with a well-known local solicitor who specialises in conveyancing, if the seller hadn’t made this decision I honestly believe settlement would not have taken place prior to Christmas.

The reason for sharing this story is to encourage you as a purchaser or seller to not base your decision on who you will use for conveyancing on price only. The difference in experience, knowledge and service can be incredibly varied.

Ask for recommendations from professionals you trust, look for case studies like this one. As real estate agents we see the very best and worst and we are able to suggest and advise accordingly as are brokers, bankers, insurance providers etc.

Often the cost difference between a good solicitor and a conveyancer is only several hundred dollars, in hindsight these purchasers would have paid a lot more for to avoid the situation they found themselves in.

by Dale Harris

Homeless for Christmas - The importance of choosing a good Solicitor
First National Burleigh
Suite 18, Treetops Square, Burleigh Waters, Queensland 4220
Phone: 07 5522 3100