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How to compare quotes

Congratulations on buying / selling your home! You need a settlement agent. Your real estate agent can suggest someone, but you’re a savvy shopper – you want an excellent price, with service to match. Quote time!

What’s in a settlement quote?

Put simply, whether you’re buying or selling, your quote will be made up of:

  • A  professional fee – the fee for doing the work required to complete your settlement; and
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, also known as disbursements. These are payments made by a settlement agent on a client’s behalf, and claimed back from the client. These charges are common to all settlement agents and include fees payable to government departments, banks and strata companies.

Professional fees

  • Professional fees should reflect the value of the settlement service, not the value (price) of the property. A more expensive house should not mean a more expensive settlement!
  • Beware! – some firms advertise attractive headline fees but charge extras if there is a house on the land, if you have a mortgage (who hasn’t?), or the property is strata titled.

What are legitimate disbursements?

  • True disbursements are not discretionary. They are obligatory fees such as title search fees, rates inquiry fees, bank charges and strata company charges that have to be paid in the course of your settlement. A good settlement agent will charge these to you at cost, without adding a margin for themselves. They should be the same wherever you go and are mostly GST-free.
  • If you’re buying, you’ll have to pay government transfer duty (formerly known as stamp duty) and a Landgate registration fee.  These are not disbursements in the true sense, because they’re not out-of-pocket expenses, however they’re usually included in settlement quotes for the buyer’s information.

Not-so legitimate disbursements…

  • Postage, petties, photocopying, emails, faxes and settlement attendance are business overheads and should be absorbed in the professional fee (not charged separately).  You wouldn’t expect to pay for electricity or the office rent! Read more…

Why choose Flat Rate Settlements?

  • We charge all clients a simple flat rate fee.
  • Our only disbursements are government, bank and strata fees, charged at cost.
  • We don’t charge for postage, petties, photocopying, emails, faxes, settlement attendance or other business overheads.
  • We offer written quotes that are simple and transparent
  • We have hundreds of comments from satisfied customers who have engaged us. Trusted settlement agents post feedback from satisfied customers on their websites. You may be surprised how few you find.  Read our reviews here.
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