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- Purchase Questionnaire. (password protected)
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If you would like more information about anything conveyancing, don’t forget to check out our Frequently Asked Questions by clicking here, or checking out the answers to our most commonly asked client questions below.
Communication during your fixed fee service
As we offer a fixed fee conveyancing service, it can be difficult to find an appropriate balance of communication between ourselves and clients. The below information will set out guidelines for communication during your fixed fee service and an FAQ to answer any questions you may have.
Traditionally, lawyers charge an hourly rate for all work and communication to do with your matter. As you can understand, this can get expensive. Alternatively, a lawyer may charge on an item-by-item basis in accordance with the Practitioner Remuneration Order. For example, the Practitioner Remuneration Order allows a lawyer to charge $20.80 just for making an appointment by telephone (see Item 11 of the Order). This can also add up in cost.
The third way to charge for services is to charge a fixed-fee for a standard legal matter. This is what we are able to offer to you- a conveyancing service that combines the benefits of full lawyer legal representation with the certainty of an up-front fixed fee.
To allow for a fixed fee service, we must ensure that time is used effectively and can be tracked accurately. Thus, the amount of communication you can expect during a fixed fee transaction must be outlined clearly.
A guideline to communication:
Email is the best and preferred means of communication. This is because emails allow us to keep a precise record of what has been said, particularly if we are giving legal advice.
In the interests of efficiency, we do request you follow the below when emailing:
- • Please send your emails to the person in charge of your file rather than emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- • Please include your surname and file reference number in the subject line of your email (e.g. SMITH 2142N). If you do not know your file reference number, please get in touch.
- • Please keep your emails concise.
- • While emails are checked regularly, responses may not be immediate. We reply to emails promptly, but on a “triage” basis.
- • However, if you have not received a response within 24 hours, we may not have received the email. [EC1]
Written letters are great as they can also form part of the file record. However, we may respond by to your letter with a call or by email.
We would prefer not to receive faxes as they are often unclear, incomplete, and thy are difficult to reply to.
A phone call allows us to deal with time-critical issues quickly and effectively. However, if not used carefully, a call can negatively impact our efficiency. Therefore, we have developed the following guidelines:
Please avoid cold calls.
A cold call is where a client calls unexpectedly for a non-urgent matter. Examples of “cold” telephone calls include:
“I’m calling to check that status of my property purchase, how are things going.”
“I have a couple of questions, can you please answer them for me now.”
We try to discourage “cold” calls, simply because they are very distracting and labour-intensive. This can have a negative ripple effect on all other work being handled by that staff member and can take time away from other necessary work. Conveyancing is time-critical and time is allocated based on what is most pressing. For example, a client who wants to cancel their purchase during the cooling off period must be given priority over a non-urgent, unexpected call.
This also means that we will be able to give your case the necessary attention at the critical stages, without being distracted by cold calls.
Returning our calls
When a member of our teams calls you to speak about your file, we ask that if you cannot take the call at that time, that you call back as soon as you can.
If you need immediate assistance or advice you should call us straight away. Urgent calls are prioritized as they allow us to resolve issues before they escalate. We do not charge additionally for urgent calls. If you are confused as to whether your situation is urgent or not, please see the below examples:
“The information I gave you is incorrect and need to correct it.”
“Unfortunately my finance has fallen through and I need to cancel the contract.”
“I need to pay the deposit today but don’t have enough money.”
If you are not sure if the matter is urgent or not, it is always best err on the side of caution and call us.
Where the need arises for a non-standard task to be undertaken and it is appropriate for us to deal with it, we will advise you of the need and the associated cost. Some examples include:
- • A real estate agent won’t refund a client’s deposit after the client had cooled off, requiring a letter of demand to be drafted.
- • A vendor removed something from the purchased property the day before settlement, requiring urgent negotiations on the client’s behalf.
- • A vendor is unable settle on time, requiring negotiation and a licence agreement to be drafted to allow the purchaser to take occupation of the property.
However, if the task is not one that we feel is appropriate for us to undertake, we will inform you that we cannot assist and that it is your responsibility to ensure that it is attended to. Some examples include:
- • Your lender requires you to obtain an insurance certificate of currency from the vendor’s insurer.
- • You have promised the purchaser that they will obtain a certificate of final inspection from the council and will deliver it to the purchaser before settlement.
- • You intend to lease the purchased property and require the landlord’s information and forms.
If any situations arise where we may need to engage in services that require additional costs, we will be sure to communicate this to you in advance with full disclosure and with the assurance that you can choose whether you wish to engage these services.
An experienced team member will be responsible for the day-to-day dealings with your matter, and you will deal with the same team member until settlement.
Our lawyers generally operate in the background, researching and updating the information and advice that we provide. They will become directly involved with individual matters when needed. When a complex or unusual situation arises we may involve a lawyer. However, you are entitled to speak with a lawyer at request and our team will comply.
As discussed above, we prefer that you refrain from doing so except in urgent circumstances. Please read below for other ways of obtaining the information you are seeking:
- • Please re-read any other communications, letters or documents that we have previously given you. They information you are looking for has likely been covered in these.
- • Visit our website and check out our FAQs. These cover some of the most commonly asked questions with detailed explanation.
- • Remember to direct your questions and concerns to the correct party. For example, we will not be able to answer questions about your bank’s lending procedures.
Please remember that if your question or concern is urgent you should get in touch asap by phone or email. You will not be charged additionally for urgent matters.
How will I know what to do next?
After each communication with you, we will give you clear next steps. We will make sure that these next steps are also sent to you in written form so that you can refer back to these.
You can assume that everything is progressing accordingly unless we have given you a reason to believe otherwise. We have robust systems and procedures in place to ensure that everything in your matter moves at a pace and so that any issues can be dealt with proactively. We will get in contact with you if you need to know anything important or if we require action from you.
Once the real estate agent has introduced you to a property, they should step back. If a real estate agent asks you to contact us about something, you should politely inform them that you are legally represented, and that he or she should contact your legal representative. We will then be in a position to ensure that the real estate agent does not jeopardise your legal position or the transaction.
While we will liaise with your lender to arrange settlement of funds, any issues that arise to prevent settlement must be addressed by you or another professional service that you have hired. If your lender asks you to obtain any documents or information from us, you should inform your lender to make direct contact with us. We will let you know if you need to action anything that the lender requests through us, and any additional costs associated with our attending to these tasks.
We completely understand that buying and selling property can be stressful and that when under pressure talking to a professional can put your fears at ease. However, spending time speaking with you will only take away from urgent tasks, so we kindly ask that you refrain from calling us with hypothetical questions and concerns. You can trust that if anything truly serious or detrimental takes place, we will be available to speak with you and guide you through the process.
If we have advised you that you will need to attend to certain tasks, it is because these tasks are not standard matters and thus they are not included in our fixed-fee. In most cases, these will be tasks that require your personal attention and for which we are unable to assume responsibility.
A common assumption in a fixed-fee transaction is that the client has the free use of a lawyer or legal professional for the duration of their conveyancing matter and that they are entitled to call upon us to provide legal advice on a variety of unrelated legal questions, or to attend to tasks that are not part of the conveyancing transaction.
Fixed-fee conveyancing works because we can anticipate the allocation of resources and time associated with the average conveyancing transaction and quote accordingly. The fixed fee entitles you to our solicitor conveyancer services for your individual transaction, but not representation for other legal matters.
We will handle all communications with other parties and other stakeholders in a professional and timely manner, and we will update you accordingly.
If you receive a conflicting explanation or advice from your lender, real estate agent, mortgage-broker or anyone else who advises you, we will provide you with our legal advice but then it is up to you as to whether you act on it or not.
Mr. Conveyancer is a law firm, and when we provide legal advice we do so in the expectation that it will be acted upon. We accept full responsibility for the legal advice we give our clients and carry full professional indemnity insurance.
We will never knowingly leave you exposed to trouble. We will always act immediately and decisively on your behalf in order to prevent trouble or to resolve any issues that may arise, even if we are unable to obtain your instructions in time.
It should be noted that few matters attract additional costs, and we tend to err on the side of generosity when deciding whether or not additional costs should be charged.
If you warn us in advance that you will be travelling and may be difficult to contact, we will advise you to appoint an Attorney to act on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is a document which appoints another person to act on your behalf, make decisions and to sign documents for you in your absence. However, we find that is still possible to communicate effectively by email or calls from anywhere in the world.