Conveyancing Costs Explained

Conveyancing costs should in theory be the same regardless of which solicitor or conveyancer you choose to work with as the process needed to be completed is in theory the same. The challenge though is that the conveyancing costs for completing the legal work vary considerably depending on who you instruct.

Any online search can turn up residential conveyancing fees ranging from 'too good to be true' estimates (and note the word 'estimates'(!) - i.e. there's no sense in which an estimate is 'fixed') of £99 right up to £2000 or more.

What costs should remain the same?

Regardless of who you instruct to handle your conveyancing, the following are costs that you should budget for when buying or selling a home:

For buyers: legal fees, stamp duty (online stamp duty calculator), land registration fee, property searches, ID searches, bankruptcy and priority searches and leasehold notices/charges (if buying a leasehold property; these include e.g. freeholder notice fee, deed of convenant fee, share certificate).

For sellers: legal fees, office copies, title plan and management information/leasehold pack (if selling a leasehold property).

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Confused between your conveyancing solicitors' fee and the total conveyancing costs?

A conveyancing solicitor's fee is what they charge for all the legal work required to legal transfer from one person to another. Getting a fixed fee quote is vital if you want to keep control of your final bill; if you get an estimate instead, be aware that an estimate is not fixed and allows your bill to keep rising if your conveyancing encounters any issues.

These are just some conveyancing costs to look out for that are often shown as additional costs, when they are actually part of your solicitors' legal fees.

  • Bank transfer fees
  • Storage of documents/archive fee
  • Mortgage fee
  • Expedition/Fast Exchange fee
  • Reply to enquiries fees
  • Bankruptcy fee
  • ID fee
  • Postage, telephone and incidentals fee
  • Help to buy, right to buy, shared ownership and new build

Read the full list of potential additional conveyancing fees your solicitor may charge - Additional Conveyancing Fees

Always ask your solicitor for a Fixed Fee Conveyancing Quote which includes all of the legal work they expect you to pay.

Conveyancing Costs Explained: What Different Parts make up a Conveyancing Fee Quote?

Legal work, liaison with client and otherside solicitor

A property solicitor has to take on all legal aspects of the conveyancing for their client, because it needs to be done by someone with the correct legal training, which most clients will not have undertaken. At the beginning, they check a client's ID and then proceed to drawing up or inspecting a contract. They inspect surveyors' reports They have to start by properly checking the IDs of their client but must also draw up or inspect contracts, examine surveyors reports and property searches and must give answers to any legal or other enquiries from the otherside and they must at all times be responsive to client enquiries and requests for progress updates.

With an estimated quote, a solicitor's firm may well add on a supplement for obtaining property searches on behalf of a client.

Mortgage work, liaison with lenders

If you're buying using a mortgage or selling but haven't fully paid back a mortgage you used to buy the property involved, your solicitor has to communicate with lenders to ensure matters are handled correctly and efficiently.

Conveyancing solicitors always charge more when a mortgage is involved but this should not prevent them from providing a fixed fee quote once the fact has been established.

SAM Conveyancing always provides a fixed fee quote, regardless of whether a mortgage is involved in a conveyancing matter or not.

(Buyer only) Stamp Duty, Land Registry and associated disbursements

Your solicitor has to pay stamp duty to the Treasury on your behalf if the value of the property you're buying is more than £125,000. They must also update the Land Registry so that it can record the new buyer's ownership and this involves paying a fee. When a solicitor pays money to a third party on a client's behalf, it is termed a disbursement.

With fixed fees, the fees cover all normal disbursements you can expect in a standard conveyancing. However, some solicitors – particularly those offering a low initial (but NOT fixed) quote – charge additionally for each standard disbursement. This is one of the main areas where unfixed quotes can greatly increase.

SAM Conveyancing includes all standard disbursements within its one fixed fee.

Leasehold, Shared Ownership, Right to Buy, Help to Buy, New Builds

If a client’s conveyancing involves any of the above, a solicitor will have to carry out additional work which invariably increases conveyancing fees.

Regardless of this and similar to the case of mortgages, a solicitor can easily establish these matters before working out a quote. The trouble is that often, an initial quote does not address these matters but you can rest assured they will be charged for!

SAM Conveyancing always accounts for these matters in its initial quote: you know any conveyancing costs will not increase, can compare us to other firms and budget accordingly.

Here's the reason for different conveyancing costs

The reason for different conveyancing costs comes down to the conveyancer you get to complete the legal work for you. The three types you have to choose from are online conveyancing, high street solicitors and estate agent/mortgage broker referrals. Read on to find out the secret behind their varying conveyancing fees and the potential pitfalls of working with them.

Online Conveyancing

With conveyancing costs advertised as low as £99, online solicitors and conveyancers are marketing low cost conveyancing to capture the attention of many. The challenge here often lies in the detail of what the actual final cost will be; either with additional charges (like budget airlines) and/or a slower and more stressful service due to the economies of scale - do more cases per conveyancer.

The best advice when working with a low cost conveyancing quote is to read the small print and check the online reviews. Bad service and over charging is often complained about on conveyancing forums and online reviews. You can read more about what to look for in additional charges here - The Scam of Cheap Conveyancing

High Street Solicitors

The more traditional or typical conveyancing costs can be obtained through a local high street solicitors. The legal costs are often higher than online conveyancing ranging from £700 to £1,000 for a property valued at £250,000 and this increases the more expensive the property transaction.

There can often be a feeling of paying more, getting more with high street solicitors, however this is not always the case which makes knowing who is actually handling your legal work even more important. When you get your conveyancing fee quote, ask who is going to be handling your conveyancing and then check their details on LinkedIn and on conveyancing forums to find out whether they have had good experience and whether they have had anyone moaning about their service.

Estate Agent Referrals

Most buyers use the solicitors their estate agents refer in the hope that this will lead to a more seamless transaction - or at least this is how the estate agent sells it to you. The conveyancing costs through an estate agent referral are often £200 more than a High Street Solicitor and this is normally because the High Street Solicitor pays a referral fee to the Estate Agent for the introduction.

With regards to the service or speed, the estate agent's solicitor will work at the same pace as any other, as they can only affect the work they do and can't speed up the otherside solicitors, the mortgage lender, management companies, local council, or even the solicitors further up the chain. This is why you should never truly believe an estate agent referred solicitor can make your conveyancing go any quicker.

If you are looking to use an estate agent referred solicitor then make sure to read this - Forced into using estate agents solicitors

Need your conveyancing costs explained?

If you are looking to get your conveyancing costs nailed down then please call us on 0333 344 3234. We provide fixed, competitive quotes that don't have lots of additional charges to add on. You get to work with one individual throughout and our service has been highly reviewed online.

*Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels

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