This page is for: Home buyer / ownerProperty industry
NOTE: As of 3 February 2016, the legislative requirement for the maximum scale of fees will be revoked. As such settlement agents will be able to set their own fees. This will affect settlement transactions which occur after this date. For further information please view the Minister’s media statement.
Unless you are a suitably qualified lawyer, it would be very unwise to try to carry out the settlement of your own property. It's a complex and time consuming business, with many traps for the unwary.
When you are buying a property, it is necessary for all the paperwork to be completed and all the promises to be fulfilled in the contract for the sale of the property. Such work is known as conveyancing. If you don't want to do this yourself, you must employ a licensed settlement agent or a lawyer with a current practicing certificate in law to attend to all these details on your behalf.
The main difference between employing a settlement agent as opposed to a lawyer is that settlement agents are not qualified to give you legal advice. However, a settlement agent is required by law to let you know when it is a good idea to get legal advice.
Conveyancing is the legwork to make sure the promises in a contract are carried out.
Using a settlement agent
Information about using a lawyerLawyers must have a current practising certificate in law from the Legal Practice Board to perform conveyancing in Western Australia.
What to expect from the settlement agent or lawyer conducting your settlement He or she:
The person conducting your settlement must either not take on a client or cease to act for an existing one if they have a conflicting interest in the transaction.
Information about choosing a settlement agent or lawyer;
When selecting a settlement agent or lawyer, shop around using the Yellow Pages and ask for recommendations from family and friends. It is recommended that you choose your own settlement agent or lawyer, who is not also providing conveyancing services to the seller.
The maximum fee (GST-inclusive) settlement agents can charge for their services is set by law. Settlement agents are free to charge less than the maximum fee. The maximum fee varies depending on:
In addition to the fee for service, settlement agents and lawyers can ask you to pay for any additional costs they incur while attending to your settlement. These costs include search fees, phone calls and faxes. You can ask your settlement agent for an itemised list of these costs.
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