Conveyancing Costs

One of the most stressful aspects of buying or selling property is the financial one. In addition to having to save for a deposit you also need to set aside some money to pay for your Legal costs. We seek to inform you what these costs will be made up of below.

The Legal Fee

When you receive your conveyancing quotation, or a full breakdown of your conveyancing costs, you should see that there are a number of different categories of charges. These usually fall under three broad headings: the legal fee, disbursements and SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax).

This is a similar situation to any quotation you may receive from a professional. For example, a builder may give you a quotation with the headings: materials, labour and VAT.

Disbursements are similar to the builder's materials. There is unlikely to be much mark-up on the materials. These are costs incurred by the builder, which are simply passed on to you. It is the same for a solicitor. Disbursements may include items such as searches and telegraphic transfer fees. These are charges made by external providers, and passed on to you by the solicitor. Of course, some solicitors do bump up the disbursements with menial things like "postage", "form completion" and "photocopying charge", and you should be wary of these.

The "Legal Fee" would be the equivalent of the builder's charge for "Labour". This is the solicitor's charge to you for their time and expertise. It is sometimes called the "professional fee".

When you are comparing conveyancing quotations, you should find very little difference between the cost of the disbursements on each quotation (if there is a large variation, then you should take a close look at why) - what will differ is the "Legal Fee".

There is good reason for this. Some solicitors have higher overheads than others. Those situated in London, for example, will have to pay their staff considerably more than those situated in the North of England. Some solicitors simply consider themselves as being "better" than others, or more "up-market" and will therefore charge more.

Make use of the Internet

The Internet is the great equaliser when it comes to what people charge for their services.

It could be that there are two restaurants in a town. One looks very posh, with  an expensive menu and a dress code. The other is more "family" oriented, with affordable food. One would assume that expensive restaurant is serving better food. However, a quick search of the Internet could quickly turn up some interesting information. The "posh" eatery has received some terrible reviews about the service and the food, whilst the cheap family place has glowing reviews about the service, food and atmosphere.

Before the Internet, you would need to rely on local knowledge to know which of the two restaurants were worth a visit. Now, a simple 10 minutes of research on Google could tell you the real picture. Why? Because we live in an age where if someone has a good experience, they reach for their smart phone and instantly tweet a nice comment about it, or a favourable review or perhaps just a Facebook like. If someone has a bad experience, then they are equally likely to share it.

Solicitors have not escaped this scrutiny.

It is unrealistic to expect every solicitor to have 100% good reviews and feedback, so don't look for that. Some people simply can't be pleased, and will give a bad review for everything. What you need to do is look for overall good feedback. If 9/10 people are saying that they received excellent service - then that's a good indication that the solicitor is doing a good job.

Just because a solicitor is very expensive, it does not mean that they will do any better job or a faster job than a solicitor who is five times cheaper.

If you were looking for a good defence lawyer or an excellent prosecutor to sue someone for you, then you would of course try to get the best solicitor money can buy. However, conveyancing is not as subjective as arguing a case is court. It is a well-defined and prescriptive process, and can be done just as well by anyone who is qualified, experienced and trained to do it.

Different Fees for Different Types of Instruction

Your legal costs would obviously vary depending on the scale and nature of the work being undertaken.

For instance, you could be instructing your solicitor to act for you in a Sale Only situation. That is, you are selling but do not need to buy another property at this time. You could be in a Sale and Purchase situation where you are selling your own home and buying another or you could be Re-Mortgaging your existing property and not moving anywhere.

Lets take a look at some of the typical fees and disbursements that could be charged in the above scenarios:

Legal Fees

The legal fee usually increases according to the value of the property being sold or purchased. This is likely because of higher insurance indemnity premiums that are payable as the risks get more costly. These fees are usually applied with reference to valuation bandings within a scale.

At the time of writing the following scale of charges was extracted from a typical online conveyancer.

Sale Only Transaction

Price Band Legal Fee for Sale Work
£0 - £100k £295
£100,001 - £200k £295
£200,001 - £300k £345
£300,001 - £400k £395
£400,001 - £500k £495
£500,001 - £600k £595
£600,001 - £700k £695
£700,001 - £800k £925
£800,001 - £900k £945
£900,001 - £1m £1,650

Disbursements

Item Amount Condition
Official entries £10.00 Mostly always charged
Leasehold sale supplement £175.00 Leasehold properties only
Telegraphic transfer fee £30.00 If mortgage to redeem applies
Islamic Mortgages £125.00 If Islamic Mortgage

Purchase Only Transaction

Price Band Legal Fee for Purchase Work
£0 - £100k £325
£100,001 - £200k £325
£200,001 - £300k £325
£300,001 - £400k £445
£400,001 - £500k £595
£500,001 - £600k £695
£600,001 - £700k £795
£700,001 - £800k £925
£800,001 - £900k £945
£900,001 - £1m £1,650

Disbursements

Item Amount Condition
Bankruptcy Search £5.00 Always charged
Priority Search £5.00 Always charged
Leasehold purchase supplement £175.00 Leasehold properties only
Telegraphic Transfer Fee £35.00 Always charged
Water & Drainage Search £39.00 Always charged
Local Authority Search £85.00 Always charged
New Build Purchase £95.00 If applicable
Repossession or Auction Supplement £95.00 If applicable
Shared Ownership £95.00 If applicable


Remortgage Transactions

Price Band Legal Fee for Work
£0 - £100k £350
£100,001 - £200k £350
£200,001 - £300k £350
£300,001 - £400k £470
£400,001 - £500k £620
£500,001 - £600k £720
£600,001 - £700k £820
£700,001 - £800k £925
£800,001 - £900k £945
£900,001 - £1m £1,650

Disbursements

Item Amount Condition
Official entries £10.00 Mostly always charged
Leasehold sale supplement £175.00 Leasehold properties only
Telegraphic transfer fee £30.00 If mortgage to redeem applies

Note: VAT will be applied to some of above charges and legal fees.

The above schedules are included as a guide only and do not particularly represent the actual fees and charges you will pay.