Buying a house - solicitor issue

Dazere

New Member
Messages
5
Hello,

I am close to the end of the process of buying a house. I am a first time buyer and don't have previous experience with it.

My solicitor has provided me with a draft invoice and it is higher than quoted. This is due to a €150 fee to DLS Law Searches for Planning Search. I asked them was this fee not expected as it was not on the quote and they said it should have been on the quote.

I went back and checked the quotes from 3 other solicitors I got and non of them had this fee on their quotes either.

Would you know if it is normal to have this fee or is it something they should have done themselves, but paid the DLS to do?

Thank you in advance.
 

RedOnion

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3,032
It's an outlay that you pay for.

Any estimate I got said 'plus outlays'. The cost of searches isn't known until it's done.
 

Bronte

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13,241
It’s a perfectly normal cost. It’s not something they should have done. All sales have a ‘search’ fee. The searches are done at the last minute to make sure the title doesn’t have any mortgages etc on the property. No solicitor is able to fully calculate all the costs in the quote, which is why they say ‘outlays’ are extra.
 

Dazere

New Member
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5
Sorry, I didn't mention, but this is in addition of 'Searches' fee which is €70 and that is pretty much the same in all the other quotes too.

The quotes I got had the outlays split out by all the individual costs
 
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Palerider

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1,345
These are normal, as already mentioned outlays can only be estimated but would be the same regardless of which Solicitor you use.
 

cremeegg

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2,740
Hi Dazere,

These charges are indeed "normal" as other posters have suggested, normal in the sense that this is how solicitors normally behave. Most business people offer their services at a fixed price and consider it their responsibility to manage their costs within that, lawyers operate to a different rhythm.

The protected status of the legal profession is one of the issues raised by the Troika during their time in Ireland, which has never been addressed.

But if your solicitor quoted "Searches" at €70 and is now trying to charge €70 for legal searches and a further €150 for planning searches then s/he has slipped up and you can refuse to pay the additional €150. Thats my opinion for what it may be worth.
 

Dazzler123

Registered User
Messages
25
The searches are a matter of outlay. This is not a fee for the solicitor...it is a sum the solicitor had to pay a third party as a normal part of the conveyancing process. This should be paid as your original quote will have outlined the solicitor fee plus vat plus outlay.
 

Bronte

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13,241
Hi Dazere,

These charges are indeed "normal" as other posters have suggested, normal in the sense that this is how solicitors normally behave. Most business people offer their services at a fixed price and consider it their responsibility to manage their costs within that, lawyers operate to a different rhythm.

The protected status of the legal profession is one of the issues raised by the Troika during their time in Ireland, which has never been addressed.

But if your solicitor quoted "Searches" at €70 and is now trying to charge €70 for legal searches and a further €150 for planning searches then s/he has slipped up and you can refuse to pay the additional €150. Thats my opinion for what it may be worth.
I disagree with you. In the course of a conveyance things may come up that could not be anticipated. Which is what probably happened as regards the planning searches. The solicitor in this case is sticking to the fee quoted, the outlays are always a separate matter. You may be given an ‘indicitive’ quote for those. Bet anything something cropped up in the title that required the additional searches on the planning. Those searches are to protect the OP and is a sign of a solicitor doing a good job.

It was also not on the quote from three other solicitors. So looks like something that could not be anticipated, but you can be sure in the small print it will state that such outlays have to be paid.

I agree with you as regards reform, but it has zero to do with this thread.
 

cremeegg

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2,740
Occasionally "something that could not be anticipated" arises involving a cost. When you say "something that could not be anticipated" that's a bit of a stretch in this case, a planning search is hardly completely un-anticipatable (is that a word, if not it is now) but certainly I can understand that it might not arise in any particular case.

Bronte, like you I rent out property as a business. Occasionally "something that could not be anticipated" arises, last week I had to get a drain cleaned. But I quote the tenants a fixed rent. I don't say €x a week plus the costs of "something that could not be anticipated", cause even though landlords have huge market power at the moment, because I am not a crook.
 

Bronte

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13,241
Now Cream Egg, you're not equating you paying for the drains as a grounds for this solicitor having to bear the costs of the planning searches surely.

I'm just as angry with you with how legal costs in Ireland are badly in need of reform (see cancer case where costs equal the award). Where middle class people like us wouldn't dream of going to court ever because the law is only for the very wealthy or the broke. But this case is a simple conveyancing case. If the solicitor inadvertently left out something in the 'quote' I don't see an issue with the OP having to pay it. It's not like they can cover every angle, it's a legitimate costs. It's not even as if the figure is worth fighting about. If the solicitor did a good job they should be paid and that's the end of the matter. I'll go look at my last quote now to see how this was worded as regards outlays.
 
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Bronte

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13,241
In addition to the above you will have the following some of what are estimates.


Registered Land _ Folio and File Plan €40.00


If unregistered Compliant Map €150.00 plus the Folio and File Plan fee of €40.00 – bearing in mind that an Engineer will have to complete the map and he could charge more than €150.00


Commissioner for Oaths for swearing documents €42.50 (estimate)


You may also have to get a letter from Local Authority re roads and services and the Council charge approximately €70.00 for this.


Should there be additional outlay due to third parties you will be informed of this immediately we become aware of same.


I think the last sentence in particular is totally appropriate. As it happens we ended up in a right pickle because it turned out the title was both LR and RofD, there was no planning for the extension and we had to wait for the statute of limitations for the reg of D part.
 

RedOnion

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3,032
I had a look at my quote for purchase, and solicitor gave me estimates for all outlays, in a number of scenarios:
  • New build
  • 2nd hand; land registry
  • 2nd hand registry of deeds
  • Refinance; land registry
  • Refinance; registry of deeds
He included an estimate (150) for search fees, and I remember he called me to apologise because the final cost came in higher (230), as it was a different county council than he usually deals with, so a different searcher.

I agree the solicitor can only provide estimates, but there is always search fees involved in a purchase. Most people don't have regular property transactions, so won't know what 'outlays' are.

I remember recommending my solicitor to a friend, and they came back to say my solicitor was far more expensive than others - when we looked at it, his professional fee (the only variable) was as expected, but he had provided them an estimate of their total costs for sale and purchase - including a fee to their management co for accounts to complete the sale of their apartment. There's no reason a solicitor shouldn't be able to do that, similar to @Bronte example above with fees for maps, etc.
 

Bronte

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13,241
Rates

Going through the emails I forgot something that happened. I needed an exemption from rates. Part of the property had been commercial for a time and rates were paid. Then it was no longer commercial and became part of the home again. When I applied for the exemption the council furnished me a bill for rates for that year. Here's the exchange:

1. As discussed a confirmation that there is no rates on the property
2. Please be advised that there is 1 years rate due on sale of property Rate Reference No. xxxxx Therefore, please make arrangement to forward €X to Y Council to discharge liability in full. (Attached, find statement for your information). I will issue confirmation letter on receipt of these monies.
3. I'm confused, this bill comes from this year. Can you please inform me how there is now a bill?
4. There is a bill generated each year for this account but the amount owing is struck off at year end as the premises is vacant. However, County Council’s policy is to collect 1 years rate on sale of a vacant property. I hope this clarifies the matter for you.
5. I forwarded your e-mail to Mr. X County Rate Collector, for consideration. In the circumstances he is willing to waive the rate on sale. Therefore, I can confirm that there is no rate liability due to County Council on sale of the property at X – Rate Reference No. 123.


So the council effectively has created a policy to make people pay rates where none is owing. I had to explain the situation including sending them an exemption from NPPR. And then the council made if feel like they were doing me a favour in waiving the rates. All rates had been paid up to the date of the business closing and contact made with the council including a visit by them, all of which they would have on their files.
 

MangoJoe

Frequent Poster
Messages
101
Neither here nor there …. but anytime I hear solicitors costs mentioned I think of my first house purchase and the botched process as overseen by our solicitor on the very simple, standard and straightforward sale of a 3 bed semi.

At one point he was gone skiing and an oversight of his meant that our notice period on our rental was up and we had no keys to our new house. (The sale was being handled by an office junior staff member at this point - Or not at all [?])

After all of that his bill when it arrived was well over what was expected after a horrible experience where he couldn't do the basics.

I paid in full partly as he had been recommended by a family member - But in hindsight he shouldn't have gotten away with it and he was arrogant and ignorant to boot.

I suspect Solicitors routinely inflate their costs and people just pay up out of uncertainty and awkwardness..... ymmv.
 

postman pat

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Messages
324
Its only an estimate sur.. like the childrens hospital,broadband plan etc,I wonder though if a company/solicitor over estimates the fee do they give the money back?
i wonder,i wonder ,i wonder.........

Pat
 
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