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Fixed Fee Conveyancing Solicitors

25/11/2021
(Last Updated: 07/02/2024)
958
5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • A Fixed Fee Conveyancing Quote must state what is included within the quote.
  • Not all conveyancing solicitors offer a Fixed Fee.
  • The fixed fee for a purchase should be more than a sale.
  • A solicitor's conveyancing fee will increase in 2024 due to fewer solicitors offering conveyancing services.
  • A quarter of all complaints dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman relate to costs.
  • A Fixed Fee doesn't mean the solicitor can't charge more if more work is required.
  • Ask what isn't included within your Fixed Price Quote.


What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?

Solicitors and conveyancers most commonly offer a fixed price conveyancing quote instead of charging by the hour. The latter type of quoting fell away in the 2000s during the property boom, where competition was fierce between solicitors.

A Fixed Fee Conveyancing Quote only relates to the solicitor's fees for handling the conveyancing for you. It doesn't cover third-party costs, also called disbursements, such as Stamp Duty, Land Registry fees and Conveyancing Searches.

The average fixed fee for solicitors for £250,000 house purchase is £800 INC VAT; however, this varies considerably between the lower and higher end, and I'll explain why this is the case later.

What information does a solicitor need to provide a fixed-price quote?

  • Property price. If it is an undervalued property, give the full market price as if it were sold on the open market.
  • Tenure. A solicitor's fee is higher for a leasehold or share of freehold because there is more work to do. Leasehold and share of freehold take longer to complete and cost more.
  • Mortgage. Dealing with a mortgage lender takes more time and makes the quote higher.
  • Schemes. Right to Buy, Shared Ownership, Discount Market Sale, New Build - these all take longer to complete, and the solicitor will charge a much higher fixed quote. If you fail to state this on instruction, we will re-calculate your quote to include this work.
  • Postcode of the property. Some areas require coal mining searches.

What isn't included in a Fixed Fee Quote on a purchase?

Conveyancing Cost
Why isn't it fixed?

Stamp Duty Land Tax

The property tax is based on the purchase price, which can change up or down during the transaction. Use our online Stamp Duty Calculator to tell you your tax liability.

Land Registration Fee

The registration fee is based on the purchase price, which can change up or down during the transaction. See the current rate here - Land Registry Registration Fees

Conveyancing Searches

You must pay for various conveyancing searches depending on your property's location and mortgage lender's requirements. Read more - What are conveyancing searches?

Freeholder fees

When buying a leasehold, you need to pay costs to the freeholder, such as a notice or engrossment fee.


What can increase a Fixed Fee?

A fixed fee cannot cover every eventuality during the conveyancing process because too many variables can arise. For example, what happens if you have a defective title, or the freeholder is absent? When quoting at the outset, the solicitor or conveyancer wouldn't have known about this work.

A solicitor won't handle the additional work for free as the cost for some work will potentially be more than the original Fixed Fee Conveyancing Quote. This is why a fixed fee comes with a caveat of other services that can arise during a transaction. We have a list of our Additional Fixed fees here.

Does a fixed fee include everything?

A fixed fee cannot cover every eventuality during the conveyancing process because too many variables can arise. For example, what happens if you have a defective title, or the freeholder is absent? When quoting at the outset, the solicitor or conveyancer wouldn't have known about this work.

A solicitor won't handle the additional work for free as the cost for some work will potentially be more than the original Fixed Fee Conveyancing Quote. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), who regulate solicitors, states, "The rules do not require you to publish a binding quote for every scenario you may deal with, for example, pre-empting unusual complexities or that a client may not follow your advice" . This is why a fixed fee comes with a caveat of other services that can arise during a transaction. A solicitor or conveyancer should provide you with a list of additional services you may require within their quote or provide you with their terms of service.

We have a list of our Additional Fixed fees here.

Transparency in price and service

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Guidance

The SRA states that: "a quarter of all complaints dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman relate to costs". To combat this issue, the SRA have made it a requirement for solicitors to:

  • When an unforeseen complexity arises, or where a client‘s request means additional work, you should inform them of this and provide revised cost information.
  • You must specify whether stated prices include VAT.
  • You must specify exactly what is included within the price displayed. This is important even if you quote a fixed fee to avoid confusion about what someone might pay extra for.

Source:SRA:Transparency in price and service

It is clear that Fixed Price Conveyancing is here to stay; but solicitors must provide clear guidance on what is included and notify you when there is an additional fee to pay.

Frequently Asked Questions
SHOULD
£400
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.


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