I'm so surprise that conveyancing solicitors that we have met so far in Sydney are actually worst than the one we know in Malaysia. They're not just bad but simply unprofessional. It is almost like anyone can be a solicitor...
We have been changing our solicitors for 3 times and eventually find a acceptable one with the drawback that the legal fee is 4 to 5 times higher.
Why I say so? Here are few incidents that I faced:
- Missed the important letter about DA approval final date is delayed. This was extremely important because this basically tells you that you have the right to rescind the contract.
- Did not understand the right of purchaser to rescind the contract and gave the wrong information that the right to rescind the contract is the developer when a DA approval final date is not met.
- Did not read the contract at all. During contract briefing which was less than 10 minutes, he did not highlight the most important clause in the contract that the GST was excluded from the property price. There were also some other unacceptable clauses that required us to pay more were not being explained at all.
We ended up didn't buy this property because of GST exclusion which we found out ourselves.
- Kept missing email from seller's solicitor and did not want to admit and address that. Our agent had to request the email to forward to us every time and we passed it to our solicitor.
- Too many errors in the contract and said that is basically okay without a proper reason given. Many of our concerns on the contract were not addressed at all and kept saying that "this is how it was done". The obvious one is many clauses mentioned in the contract were basically missing and can't be found anywhere in the contract, this is okay and this is how it was done? Oh my god..
- Push us to sign the contract before addressing our concerns. This is the worst part and obviously he did not stand on our side.
We ended up change this solicitor to another one which was better but of course the legal fee is a lot higher too. There are few clauses that do not side us at all were not explained by our previous solicitor.
The whole contract was being rewritten but the legal fee went to the seller directly. We signed the contract eventually and waiting for the settlement date at this moment.
- Getting a right conveyancing solicitor is like shopping but we need to keep in mind that we're the customer and we have the rights to change our solicitor if we think that he doesn't represent us well.
- Depends on how complicated of your contract. If you're buying sub-sale off-the plan property, those kind of contract is the most complicated one (which is our case in third property above), then my advice is you must get a good solicitor.
- However, if you're buying off the plan property from a reliable developer directly, the contract is the same for everyone. In that case, you do not need to worry that much about the contract. You can take risk to go for cheaper legal fee option provided you're comfortable with it
I think what I experienced here is simply because the property market in Sydney is spoiled. The property market is too hot that nobody cares about the contract. If you care, you missed the opportunity to buy. People just sign and go ahead without thinking much. Many solicitors just copy and paste from their previous contract and apply one contract to every thing. That explains why there are so many irrelevant clauses and mistakes in the contract.
If you're lucky, everything goes smoothly. If you're not, you could end up trouble to pay GST that you're not supposed to pay (which is the biggest trap in my opinion) or many other issues.