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What are conveyancing disbursements?

in Conveyancing & Property Law by Paul Brown on

It’s always best to ensure that you understand what is and isn’t included in any conveyancing quote you get. Knowing what to expect before your conveyance will not only help you to budget but help you to protect your interests.

Disbursements are costs that are incurred as part of the conveyancing process that are not part of the fee for the professional services provided.

Also described as outlays, these costs will mainly include the costs of the various searches that will be conducted in support of the conveyancing process. For example, you may need title searches, property rates searches and other information provided by government authorities and some private entities that may have a connection with or information about the property.

You should expect only to be charged the same fees that your representative has been charged. For disbursements such as searches, this should equal the amount charged by the relevant authority (plus any service fee from third party information brokers processing the requests on behalf of the conveyancing team).

It’s not usually appropriate for your conveyancing team to add a markup to these costs without your agreement.

Other than searches, you may also see settlement agent fees (where an agent is required) and sometimes registration fees and stamping fees. Usually however, the Transfer (Stamp) Duty amount itself is not considered a disbursement, and often registration fees will be attended to through the buyer’s bank.

Some other costs that might be encountered in a conveyancing transaction will be attended to as part of the settlement adjustments rather than as a disbursement. This is usually done when one party is responsible for the cost, but as a practicality the other pays it. In the settlement adjustments one party receives or pays more at the time of settlement to cover this cost.

If you get a quote that does not include at least an estimate of disbursement / search costs, you could be in for a surprise later as these costs can quickly reach the hundreds of dollars.

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