Conveyancing costs vary considerably depending on who you decide to instruct. In theory, the costs should be the same regardless of which solicitor or conveyancer you decide to work with as the same process is being completed, however this is rarely the case.
Which costs should remain the same?
Regardless of who you instruct to handle your conveyancing process, the costs below are what you need to budget for when you are selling or buying a home:
- Buyers: Legal fees, Stamp Duty, Land Registration Fees, ID Searches, Property Searches, Bankruptcy, Priority Searches and Land Notices or Charges.
- Sellers: Legal Fees, Office copies, Title Plan, Management information and Leasehold Pack (if you are selling a leasehold property).
Conveyancing Solicitor’s fee and your total Conveyancing Costs Explained
A conveyancing solicitor’s fee is what the conveyancer charges for all of the legal work they are required to carry out. Getting a fixed fee quote is vital if you want to keep control of your final bill.
If you get an estimated fee amount instead of a fixed fee, be aware that this allows the fee to keep rising if your conveyancer encounters any issues along the way.
Below is a list of conveyancing costs that are often portrayed as additional costs, when in fact, they are actually part of the solicitor’s legal fees:
- Bank transfer fees
- Storage of documentation
- Archive fee
- Mortgage fee
- Accelerated exchange fee
- ‘Reply to enquiries’ fee
- Bankruptcy fee
- ID checking fee
- Postage and telephone fees
- Help to buy, right to buy, shared ownership and new build additional fees
Always ask your solicitor for a fixed fee conveyancing quote which includes all of the legal work that they expect you to pay for so that there isn’t the potential for additional conveyancing fees.
What costs create a conveyancing fee quote?
A solicitor is required to complete all of the legal aspects of your conveyancing as it needs to be undertaken by someone with the correct legal training.
At the start of the process they need to check the client’s ID, they then move onto drawing up a contract or inspecting a contract. They are also required to inspect a surveyor’s report if a survey has been completed on the property, check through the searches and respond to any legal enquiries raised by the other side’s solicitors. Additionally they must keep clients informed of the progress of their sale or purchase.
With an estimated quote, a solicitor’s firm may add on additional fees for obtaining the property searches on your behalf.
If you are selling with an outstanding mortgage your solicitor has to communicate with the lender to ensure matters regarding the mortgage are handled correctly and efficiently.
If you are purchasing with a mortgage you need to keep in mind that conveyancing solicitors will always charge more for the work to do with handling the lender, however, this shouldn’t prevent them from providing a fixed fee quote.
Stamp Duty and Land Registry
Your solicitor is required to pay stamp duty to the Treasury on your behalf if the value of the property you are buying is more than £125,000 or if you or someone else you are purchasing with owns more than one property worldwide.
They also need to update the Land Registry so that the ownership of the property is registered correctly into the new buyer’s name/s. This also involves a fee. When a solicitor pays money to a third party on a client’s behalf, it is called a disbursement.
With fixed fees, the normal disbursements you can expect in a standard conveyancing transaction are covered. This is one of the areas that unfixed quotes can see you paying a lot more than you initially expected.
Shared ownership, Leasehold, Right to Buy, Help to Buy, New Builds
If you are purchasing a property that involves any of the above, your solicitor will have to carry out additional work which will increase your fees. Regardless, a solicitor will easily be able to establish a quote for the conveyancing work.
Reasons for varied conveyancing costs
The reason for different conveyancing costs ultimately comes down to the conveyancer you choose to complete the legal work for your transaction. There are normally four different ways that you can choose your conveyancing solicitor:
- online conveyancing,
- high street solicitors, and
- estate agent and mortgage broker referrals.
Read on to find out the reasons behind varying conveyancing costs.
The danger of online advertising is that a company may be marketing low cost conveyancing fees to capture the attention of people browsing for a solicitor or conveyancer.
You must pay attention to the figures they are quoting you and also what the final cost will actually be; if there are additional charges, how efficient the solicitor is etc.
Clients who have had bad experiences with terrible service and unknown fees popping out will often express their experiences in online reviews.
The best advice when deciding whether or not to instruct a solicitor based on a low conveyancing quote is to ensure that you are reading the small print and to also check the online reviews.
High Street Solicitors
Typically, conveyancing costs can be obtained through your local high street solicitors. However, the legal costs are often a lot higher than those from online conveyancers. The costs can range from around £700 to £1,000 for a property valued at £250,000 and the fee will increase the higher the property’s value.
You may think that if you are paying more then you will be getting a better service, however, this isn’t always the case, which means that knowing who is actually handling your legal work even more important.
When you receive the quotes, have a look at their reviews so that you can find out whether other clients had a good experience with the company.
Estate Agent and Mortgage Broker Referrals
Most buyers will use the solicitors that their estate agent or mortgage broker recommend in the hope that this will lead to a more efficient transaction, or at least this is how the estate agent or mortgage broker will sell it to the buyer. In actual fact they are often hundreds of pounds more expensive than what you would pay for a high street solicitor. This is because the estate agent or mortgage broker will be paid a referral fee from the solicitors for all of the clients that they introduce to them.
The solicitor will work at the same speed as any other solicitor as they can only complete all of the work on they are required to but they cannot speed up the other side’s solicitors, the mortgage lender, management companies or the local council. There is no sense in which using a solicitor referred to you by an estate agent or mortgage broker can make the conveyancing process go any quicker.