Decoupling Lawyer’s Fees – Should you choose the cheapest ?

Decoupling Lawyer Fees

Table of Contents

Introduction

When making your plans to decouple, the cost of the legal fees involved is something that comes top of mind. It does not help when researching on google, you are bombarded with a slew of ads advertising decoupling lawyer fees ranging from the lows of $3500 to the highs of $7000.

This brings about several uncertainties in our mind.

What is the difference between a $3500 decoupling lawyer and a $7000 decoupling lawyer ?
Should I minimise my decoupling lawyer fee and go for the cheapest lawyer ?

Focus of this article

In this article, we will specifically touch on everything you needed to know with regards to decoupling lawyer fees. We will go under the hood to unravel what causes the difference in decoupling legal fees and what you should look out for when selecting a decoupling lawyer.

To achieve our ultimate intent of providing in depth and useful insights for our readers and clients, this article was created with information gathered from the following sources.

Our experience working our legal partners to help our client decouple properties
Conversations with actual decoupling lawyers to understand the decoupling process
Some good old desktop research to fill in the informational gaps

A little bit about ourselves

We are a team of real estate investors turned full time realtors. Having gone through a similar journey that you are planning to embark on, we understand the challenges that you will face trying to navigate your way around ABSD to own your second property.

We now turn our attention to helping property owners like yourself to minimise the cost of decoupling and find the best decoupling lawyer that best suits your needs.

The average cost of decoupling lawyer fees

As mentioned earlier, a quick google search will derive the following result.

Decoupling legal fees averages between $3500 to $6000. In actual fact, from our research most of the decoupling lawyer fees falls within the range of $5500 to $7000.

Why is decoupling legal fees more expensive than a normal buy and sell transaction ?

Let’s address this from the onset, the legal fee for decoupling tends to be two times the legal fee of a normal buy or sell transaction mainly due to the following reason.

The process of decoupling entails an internal buy and sell transaction between you and your spouse. Essentially one party is selling his or her share of ownership in the property to the other party.

To ensure this process is carried out legitimately with no legal concerns down the road, two independent law firms will need to be engaged to represent each party at arms length.

Hence the overall legal fee of decoupling is more costly than the cost of a one way buy or sell transaction. As a side note, the average legal fee of a property purchase transaction will cost you $3500, while a sell transaction will cost you $3000.

As a side note, if you are looking for a quick way to get a preliminary calculation done up for how much funds you need to see through the entire decoupling process. Feel free to hop over to our decoupling calculator.

Why are there decoupling lawyer fees that can go as low as $3500 ?

From our experience, if you see a quote for decoupling legal fees that go as low as $3500. It helps to confirm with the law firm that the cost fully reflects the fee of engaging two law firms representing both you and your spouse, instead of just one party.

There could be a chance the low fee only entails the fee of one law firm.

What are the factors that cause decoupling legal fees to differ ?

Now let’s account for the factors that may cause your decoupling legal fee to increase or decrease.

Outstanding loan

One factor that will result in a increase or decrease in your decoupling legal fee is whether there is an outstanding mortgage and if there is a need to undertake another mortgage after decoupling. This is also known as loan restructuring.

When there is a new mortgage to be taken up your decoupling law firm will have to incur an additional $500 mortgage stamp duty on your behalf.

And in addition to that there would be more administrative steps and documentary submission and clearance that your law firm have to clear based on your bank’s financing requirements.

Hence, normally when you decouple without any outstanding loan, your decoupling lawyer fees tend to be reduced by $500.

Bank’s panel of lawyer

Another important factor to look out for is whether your law firm falls within your bank’s panel of lawyers.

You law firm needs to be within the panel of lawyers for both the bank of your current mortgage and bank for your new mortgage in order to act directly for you.

If the law firm is not within the panel of lawyer they would have to work through another partnering bank that is within the panel and this will increase your legal fee.

CPF involved ?

Similar to outstanding loans, if there is CPF involved and there is a need to fund the purchase of your spouse share with CPF and disburse CPF back to your spouse’s account.

There will be more administrative steps involved in the decoupling process and will be reflected in the overall cost of decoupling.

Value of property

To some extent the legal fees for decoupling would also differ according to the value of your property.

For properties that are of a higher value, your law firm would need to incur a higher premium for professional indemnity insurance, which will be accounted for in your overall legal cost.

Should I choose the lawyer with the lowest decoupling lawyer fee ?

We know it’s intuitive to simply go for the law firm that offer the lowest decoupling legal fee. But in the bigger scheme of things, when your goal is to make at least 350k from your 2nd property investment. It is worthwhile investing in a quality law firm to help you execute the decoupling process smoothly and promptly.

Aside from legal fees, here are some of the other more important factors that you should consider when selecting your decoupling lawyer.

Experience

As decoupling is a more complex process as compared to a straightforward buy or sell property conveyancing process.

A law firm with experience in helping client decouple would have the experience to advise you on all the pitfalls to avoid when decoupling and they would also have a well oiled administrative process to handle all the documentary clearance that is required by banks and CPF board.

This will ensure the decoupling process remains smooth and prompt, without any unforeseen delay or future legal repercussions.

Tapping on one of our recent client’s experiences. Our client thought of avoiding the internal cash payment between spouses, since it is simply an internal bank transfer between husband and wife.

But our experienced lawyer that we engaged advised against it and suggested a formal payment between spouses using cashier orders from individual accounts to ensure legitimate payment trail.

Ability to facilitate the engagement of another law firm

Another important factor to consider is whether the law firm you engage can help you make the arrangement to liase with another independent partner law firm.

We have come across a law firm that can only represent one party, either you or your spouse and will require you to liaise with another law firm yourself.

You will not want to be in the position to juggle the communication between law firms. So it is always important to make sure the law firm you select has the ability to liaise with another law firm on your behalf.

Willingness to explain

This is an intangible factor, but we find it really helpful to select a lawyer that is friendly and willing to spend some time breaking down and explaining the details of the decoupling process to you.

It will help you execute with confidence and develop clarity throughout the process.

Do I need to find my own lawyer ?

The short answer is no, if you are working with a realtor that specialises in property decoupling, you do not need to search for a law firm yourself. Your realtor should be able to recommend a lawyer that best suits your needs.

List of decoupling lawyers and their lawyer fees

Advent Law LLC
Website : https://www.linkedin.com/company/advent-law-firm-pllc/
Contact : 6883 2718
Location : 111 North Bridge Rd, #25-03 Peninsula Plaza, Singapore 179098
Experience : 21 years of property conveyancing experience with focus on decoupling
Review : 4.8 out of 5 stars, 8 reviews on google
Review (by Decoupling Expertise) : refer to Advent Law Corporation reviews
Decoupling legal fee: $5,000

Advance Law LLC
Website : https://www.advlawllc.com/
Contact : 6323 5488
Location : 430 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #11-01 OrangeTee Building Singapore 319402
Experience : 11 years of property conveyancing experience with focus on decoupling
Review : 4.1 out of 5 stars, 77 reviews on google
Review (by Decoupling Expertise) : refer to Advance Law LLC Reviews
Decoupling legal fee : $5,000

Pertinent Law LLC
Website : https://plaw.sg/
Contact : 6714 3488
Location : 10 Anson Road #31-15 International Plaza Singapore 079903
Experience : 30 years of property conveyancing experience
Review : 4.9 out of 5 stars, 473 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $5,388

Anthony Law LLC
Website : https://www.alcorp.com.sg/
Contact : 6534 7337
Location : 331 North Bridge Rd, #10-02/03 Odeon Towers, Singapore 188720
Experience : Over 30 years of property conveyancing experience with numerous awards
Review : 3.8 out of 5 stars, 60 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $5,500

Alpha Law LLC
Website : https://alphalawllc.com/
Contact : 6255 7707
Location : 190 Lor 6 Toa Payoh, #05-508, Singapore 310190
Experience : Over 35 years of property conveyancing experience with numerous awards
Review : 4.8 out of 5 stars, 104 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $6,000 to $6,500

Apex Law LLC
Website : https://www.apexlaw.sg
Contact : 6717 3131
Location : 190 Lor 6 Toa Payoh, #03-512, Singapore 310190
Experience : Over 30 years of property conveyancing experience with numerous awards
Review : 4.4 out of 5 stars, 125 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $5500

PKWA Law Practice LLC
Website : https://pkwalaw.com/
Contact : 6397 6100
Location : 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, #16-00, HDB Hub, East Wing Tower
Experience : 30 years of property conveyancing experience with numerous industry awards
Review : 4.9 out of 5 stars, 1,411 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $7,500

CNP Law LLC
Website : https://www.cnplaw.com/
Contact : 6323 8383
Location : 600 North Bridge Road #13-01 Parkview Square (Parkview 2), Singapore 188778
Experience : 35 years of property conveyancing experience
Review : 3.8 out of 5 stars, 31 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $6,500

Golden Law LLC
Website : https://goldenlaw.com.sg/
Contact : 6737 2968
Location : 51 Goldhill Plaza #18-06 Singapore 308900
Experience : 20 years of property conveyancing experience
Review : 4.4 out of 5 stars, 7 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $4,500

YY Lee and Associates LLC
Website : https://yylee.sg/
Contact : 6224 1848
Location : 2 Havelock Road #06-17 Havelock 2, Singapore 059763
Experience : Over 40 years of combined experience in property and finance law
Review : Yet to be reviewed, 0 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $3,500

Lee and Lee LLC
Website : https://www.leenlee.com.sg/
Contact : 6220 0666
Location : 25 North Bridge Road Level 7 Singapore 179104
Experience : 42 years of experience in property law
Review : 3.8 out of 5 stars, 28 reviews on google
Decoupling legal fee : $8,000

Yeo & Associates LLC
Website : https://yeolaw.com.sg/
Contact : 6220 3400
Location : 101A Upper Cross Street #12-13 People’s Park Centre, 058358
Experience : 18 years of experience in property law and decoupling property
Review : 4.4 out of 5 stars, 141 reviews on google
Review (by Decoupling Expertise) : 4 out of 5 stars, refer to Yeo & Associates LLC Review
Decoupling legal fee : $6,000

For more topics related to the legal aspect of decoupling refer to the following articles

More reads, more gains ?

Kudos on making it this far. The fact that you have invested the last 5 mins reading this article. We believe you are a like minded real estate investor looking to beat the rat race by getting more out of your real estate investment.

If so, do check out the following articles.

Author

  • Jue Wen

    Jue Wen is the content marketing lead. This means he spend his waking hours researching and writing all things real estate. He believes life is a hustle and there is no joy in grinding away daily in our little rat races. He believes making wise moves in real estate investment can be a game changer. Aside from writing all things real estate, you can find him in your nearest bouldering gym.

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Jue Wen

Author

Jue Wen is the property analyst and content marketing lead at decoupling expertise.
He specialises in helping clients overcome the complexities involved in owning their second private property in Singapore.
He had over 10 years of experience in real estate investing and have written over 40 detail guides on decoupling and minimising ABSD. He is a licensed real estate consultant and holds a Bachelor degree in Business Management from the Nanyang Technological University.

Kenji

Co-Author

Kenji is the Group Division Director of ERA Realty Network.
He have got over 20 years of experience in real estate and have successfully helped over 50 couples purchased their second property. He specialises in helping client achieve the best approach towards acquiring their ideal investment properties while minimising ABSD.