5 key signs of a great conveyancing law firm in Singapore

Home Loan
29 September 2022
5 key signs of a great conveyancing law firm in Singapore

Did you know that every time you take a new bank loan for your property, you will need to use the services of a Conveyancing Law Firm?

Yes, whether you’re making a new home purchase or refinancing your existing loan, lawyers from a conveyancing law firm are involved.

What do conveyancing lawyers do for you? They represent you when communicating with multiple parties, including -

  • the bank you took the loan from,
  • the CPF Board,
  • SLA,
  • HDB, and
  • IRAS.

The job of the conveyancing law firm is to make sure all the various payments are made on time with the relevant government agencies. Now that you know what they do, you’ll probably agree that these law firms are handling the most important portion of your mortgage application!

Yet, the work of a conveyancing law firm largely goes unnoticed in the excitement of purchasing your new home. That is, unless they screw up!

As mortgage brokers, we’ve heard many horror stories of poorly run, very disorganised firms which do not have the necessary procedures in place to act on behalf of you, the homeowner. As a result, they cause clients to encounter late charges with the gahmen, late disbursement of your bank mortgage and CPF monies or, in the worst case scenario, completely disappear like a cowardly boyfriend scared of commitment! We’re not exaggerating - ask anyone in the mortgage industry and they’ll tell you the same story.

So if you’re taking a home loan or you’re planning to refinance your loan every 5-10 years, these are the things which you should take note of during your meeting with a conveyancing law firm.

1. Confirm the price you are paying.

"You know why God made snakes before lawyers? He needed the practice." -Saul Goodman, Better Call Saul

(Lawyers, if you’re reading this, please don’t sue us. We’re kidding, we promise!)

The truth is, you can never be too sure if your lawyer is there to help or harm you. So always confirm the amount they’ll charge you before signing any agreements.

For example, a firm may initially entice you with a very low legal fee. Make sure the price is indicated NETT ALL IN, or something to that effect. This is because law firms may include additional charges including:

  • Mortgage Stamping fee
  • CPF fee
  • Law Society fee
  • GST

This can cause the originally promised low $2,000 fee to suddenly be inflated to $3,500!

2. Make sure the first thing you get from the conveyancing manager is a printed calendar.

Your conveyancing lawyer should be more experienced than you in this matter. One way to find out is to see if they provide you with a list of dates and deadlines with regards to your home loan purchase or refinancing.

The follow dates are very important:

  • when you have to exercise your option
  • when you pay your stamp duties
  • when you collect your keys
  • when your funds are disbursed

Any conveyancing representative worth their salt will have all these written, highlighted and pointed out to you. Failure to meet these dates will result in fines and more fines, so make sure to get a copy for your own reference before you leave.

3. Activation of CPF

Your conveyancing fee includes the activation of CPF for lump sum payment (also known as your downpayment) and also activation of CPF to be used as monthly installment. The law firm has to pay a certain amount to CPF to activate these for you.

As mentioned in point 1 this is already included in their fee charged to you. Some firms though do not include the fee for activating the monthly installment. Especially for Private BUC properties. They then save a couple hundred dollars which with 50-100 clients a month translate to huge profit for them so make sure it is activated!

4. Bank panel of law firms

Check if the law firm is under the panel of the bank you would like to have your home loan financed under so as to not incur additional cost. For loans which are above $3 million, prices will be higher. Do note that law firms may change their prices and terms at any time.

5. Personalised service from beginning to end

Having been in the mortgage industry for over a decade, we know there are many good law firms. So how do you choose the best one for your conveyancing needs? In our opinion, choose a firm that is guaranteed to be there for you when things go wrong.

Even at the best conveyancing law firms, mistakes do happen. The larger firms handle more than 400 cases a month, and there will always be the possibility of errors, unfortunately. When the error is the fault of the law firm, how many law firms make the effort to do some form of recovery? We’ve met clients who’ve complained to us about how lousy firms shirk their responsibility and left them in a state of panic.

We firmly believe that a good firm will be clear and upfront about what went wrong, and how they will rectify the mistake. If the error is committed by the firm, they will take responsibility for it and bear the costs. If the error is due to the client, they will still be there to explain and assist in the recovery process, but of course the client should be responsible for the mistake.

Conveyancing Law Firm Fees in 2023

Here's a list of typical conveyancing fees you can expect from a great law firm. These three firms come highly recommended for their attention to detail and high level of accountability to clients:

(Note: All prices are correct as of publishing date and refer to standard cases below $2 million. Prices are NETT, inclusive of mortgage stamp duty, search and registration fee and GST.)

Apex Law PKWA Ascentsia Law
Refinancing $1,500 $1,500 $1,605
BTO Purchase $2,000 $2,500 $2,354
Resale Purchase $1,800 $1,990 $2,354
Sale of Property $1,300 $1,605 $1,605
Private Property
Refinancing $1,800 $1,800 (Condo)
$2,000 (Landed)
BUC Purchase Not Available $2,800 $2,800
Resale Purchase $2,500 $2,675 $2,675
Sale of Property $2,000 $2,461 $2,675
Contact Details Apex Law LLC

190 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
Singapore 310190

Contact: Benjamin Tay
PKWA Law Practice LLC

480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh
#16-01 HDB Hub East Wing
Singapore 310480

Contact: Gustina Lai
Ascentsia Law Corporation

10 Anson Road
#03-20 International Plaza
Singapore 079903

Contact: WK Leong

Here's a list of conveyancing fees you can expect from a good law firm:

  • Private Property Term Loan- $1,300 to $2,000
  • Mortgage Redemption- $600 to $800

Are you buying a new property or has your lock-in period ended on your existing loan?

Take up a loan through us and we will also recommend the best conveyancing law firms in Singapore and extend a preferential rate. Contact our mortgage brokers at Mortgage Master by filling up our enquiry form.

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