Make Sure You Know What You’re Ordering
In my unique role, I interact often with prospective clients who are trying to decide on a law firm for their upcoming real estate transaction. Many are first-time homebuyers. Almost all have questions: ‘Who’s the best lawyer?’, ‘What’s a good price?’, ‘Is Land Transfer Tax a scam?’, ‘How much do you charge?’, ‘Do I meet with a lawyer when I sign?’, ‘What ID can I use?’, ‘Can you help with a quick close?’ etc. etc. etc.
Recently, a prospective client called to ask how much we charge for a refinance on their home. This individual was surprised to be asked how many other payouts they intended to have completed throughout the course of this matter (most people have 2-3… but we’ve seen some with over 20). They had browsed our website and found our pricing page that features our smorgasbord list of the flat-rate legal fees we charge for our most common services; however, they had not understood that Title Insurance, government fees, and disbursements would be charged on top of that (hence why we encourage people to submit a request directly through our website in order to receive a free, detailed and personalized closing costs quote in writing). Don’t worry. Most people aren’t aware of all the costs involved, either.
As we educated the prospective client about each cost component required to process the transaction, they got a much better understanding of the total cost of what they were seeking to complete. It was suggested that as they compare law firms on price, they are assured to obtain fulsome quotes that include all ‘ingredients’ so that they may make the most informed decision on total costs involved (and not just the quoted legal fee).
When we provide written quotes, we make sure to include everything so that clients know ahead of time and can budget accordingly (helps to relieve anxiety, doesn’t it?). We actually encourage cross-shopping; we’ve found that most clients who ask us about our pricing will return after realizing just how cost-competitive we are.
Lesson: Make sure that you get apples-to-apples before you go for the whole enchilada.