How Much Should I Pay For Conveyancing?
Conveyancing solicitor quotes vary and are dependent on a number of factors. Conveyancing fees cover work carried out by a conveyancing solicitor and typically cost between £850-£1500. On top of this you will pay disbursements. Conveyancing fees for leasehold properties cost more than for freehold properties. We have put together all the information you need to know about conveyancing fees and how much you can expect disbursements to cost.
What Are Conveyancing Fees?
Conveyancing fees are the costs you pay to the conveyancing solicitor handling the legal aspects of a property sale or purchase. Always compare conveyancers from several firms before making a decision. Conveyancing fees should be presented openly and comprehensively upon your request for a quote.
Costs are classed as either:
- Legal fees: what you pay the conveyancer or solicitor for carrying out their duties, and
- Disbursements/expenses: third party charges for services such as /searches.
Disbursements and expenses are costs that are incurred then passed onto you. These might include: Local Authority Searches, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Land Registry, Environmental and Local Searches and many more (see below). Expenses have VAT added and include; electronic ID verification, telegraphic transfers and shared ownership issues or new build properties.
How Much Do Conveyancing Fees Usually Cost?
Conveyancing solicitor quotes will vary from one transaction to another and each quote will depend on a number of factors. Location can affect price because as additional searches might be needed if the property is located near a landfill or by a river or coal mine, for example. If there is a new motorway planned for the end of your garden, additional enquiries would be needed.
The legal side of conveyancing, ie: the work done by the conveyancing solicitor themselves, usually costs between £850-£1500, with the cost of disbursements adding to the overall cost. If you are buying a leasehold property, legal fees are usually more.
What are the main disbursements I must pay for?
- Anti-money laundering checks. All solicitors have an obligation to prove the source of your funds is legitimate. This is one of the most crucial phases of the conveyancing process. The Law Society writes: “In many ways, client identification and verification is secondary in anti-money laundering compliance to understanding the source of funds”. These checks are usually done by an online company. You will probably pay extra if you live abroad or a foreign national. Anti-money laundering checks cost between £6-£20.
- Title deeds. If you are selling a property, a copy of the Title of Deeds will have to be obtained from the Land Registry. The cost for title deeds for leasehold properties is higher than for freehold. HM Land Registry records are now all digital. Title deeds will cost £6.
- Leasehold Supplement – Buying a leasehold property is more time consuming than buying a freehold property and more documents must be dealt with by your solicitor. A ‘supplement’ is usually charged to cover the additional work costing £100 – £350
- Searches. Local Authority Searches and their costs can vary between boroughs. Your local council will check their records to determine possible issues with the property such as local planning applications, enforcement actions, restrictions, road plans or possible land contamination. Local authority search range in cost from £250-£450.
- Property fraud. In order to check that the lawyer you are depositing large sums of money with is a real company, property fraud checks are completed and cost £10.
- Transferring ownership. When you have completed on a property, you have to pay the Land Registry a fee for transferring the names on the deeds. The cost of transferring ownership is £200-£300.
- Telegraphic transfer / bank transfer fee. When the time finally comes to transfer the balance on properties, telegraphic transfers are usually made to guarantee funds reach an account on a certain day in accordance with your mortgage provider’s request. Your solicitor will charge for this as will the bank. Bank transfer fees are £15-£45.
- Stamp Duty Land Tax. If you’re buying a property worth more than £125,000 you will pay stamp duty. This applies to both freehold and leasehold properties and whether you are buying outright or with a mortgage. Stamp duty varies in cost as it is charged on a sliding scale.
- Stamp Duty (SDLT) Form Fee – Different to Stamp Duty Land Tax, the SDLT form fee is the solicitor charge for completing the SDLT1 form. This form is submitted to HMRC on your behalf. The cost of completing the form should be set out on the quote and may cost £20 – £50
- Help to Buy supplement. If you’re buying with a Help to Buy scheme, the chances are you will be likely to be charged extra because due to the additional legal work this entails. Help to Buy supplement costs are usually between £200-£300.
- Mortgage fees– These are Paid to your lender. Most mortgage products have a fee, sometimes two – the mortgage arrangement and the mortgage booking fee. The Arrangement fee, often charged when big fees are due. This used to cover a lender’s administration costs. Now it is part of the cost of a mortgage, along with the interest rate. It is also called a product fee, a booking fee or application fee. Before you choose a mortgage, always examine the fees.
- Mortgage Booking fee – Some lenders charge a booking fee to ensure a fixed-rate, tracker or discount deal. It usually costs around £100-£200. This fee is due as soon as you apply and is non-refundable should your purchase fall through.
- Valuation fee – This is paid to your lender to verify how much the property you are buying is worth. Valuation survey costs vary according to lender and purchase price. It will normally be around £250. (This is not the survey which you instructed)
This list is, of course, not exhaustive. When purchasing a property you will come up against numerous fees and charges for various things. The most important thing to remember is that your conveyancing solicitor has a duty to disclose all possible costs to you at their earliest convenience. Remember this when making a solicitor comparison.
Why Are Conveyancing Fees For Leasehold Properties More?
When you compare conveyancing solicitor quotes, those for leasehold properties will be much higher than freehold because there is more work involved in the transaction leading to additional costs. For example, you might have to pay for a Deed of Covenant which is a legally binding agreement between the buyer and landlord/management company concerning factors such as carrying out repair work.
Other work your conveyancer will have to do include possible investigations into the length of lease you are taking over, as well as discussing with the landlord whether to serve notices on them or the managing agent, getting further information about the service charge or management details, for example. Costs can range from £100 to £1,000.
These are the most common costs concerning conveyancing. However there will occasionally be other fees due, usually for extra certificates / building regulation checks / insurance policies and so on. If a seller doesn’t have a FENSA certificate for their double glazed windows for example, an insurance policy may be needed.
What Do I Pay If My Sale Falls Through?
Some conveyancing solicitors offer a ‘no sale, no fee guarantee’. This is basically what it sounds like, whereby if your sale falls through, you do not have to pay the full conveyancing fees. Some may waive fees completely but always get a clear breakdown of what your contract includes covers before you employ their services.
Remortgaging Conveyancing Fees
You do not always need a conveyancing solicitor when remortgaging, for example if you make a “product transfer”, where you move to a new rate or deal which requires no legal work.
In other circumstances, a remortgage will require you to use the services of a solicitor or conveyancer. Many lenders will include a free legal package in their remortgage quotes meaning a chosen solicitor will cover the legal requirements. Double check that this is free. If it’s not, ask if you’re able to shop around.
Do I Really Need A Conveyancing Solicitor?
There is no legal requirement stating that you MUST hire a conveyancing solicitor, however your mortgage lender may insist that you do.
When Do I Pay Conveyancing Fees?
When you hire a conveyancing solicitor, there is a chance you will be asked to pay a deposit up front. Firms sometimes ask for up to 10% of the conveyancing fees at the outset. The remainder will usually be paid after the purchase/sale is completed, though certain disbursements will have to be paid as and when they arise.