How much does a solicitor charge to sell a house
How much does a solicitor charge to sell a house?
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How much does a solicitor charge to sell a house?

(Last Updated: 11/10/2023)
5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • The average total solicitor fee is £1,200 INC VAT for selling a house*.
  • In a 2023 YouGov survey cost is the most important deciding factor when choosing a solicitor - see full YouGov Syrvey.
  • Solicitors charge more for selling a house compared to conveyancers.
  • Solicitors charge more for leasehold, mortgage and affordable housing. Read more - What's different about specialist leasehold solicitors?
  • Solicitors often give an upfront cost instead of charging per hour for conveyancing.
  • In a recent YouGov survey, only 16% of clients chose their solicitor based on a low cost.

How much does a conveyancing solicitor cost?

There are 4 costs a solicitor charges for selling a house:

  • Core fee. This is often the headline estimate to cover the majority of most standard conveyancing transactions. Often, online conveyancing quotes have a low core fee and rely on charging a lot of additional fees within the terms and conditions. The core fee is always based on the price of the property. The cheaper the property, the cheaper the charges for the solicitor. A core fee will start as low as £350 EXC VAT however could be more realistic at around £800 EXC VAT. If you get a low core fee, pay special attention for the regular and irregular additional fees.
  • Regular Additional fees. Regular additional fees include if you have a mortgage to settle, if the property is a leasehold/share of freehold, bank transfers, Online ID or if the property is affordable housing. These costs are normally declared upfront within your estimate of costs alongside the core fee.
  • Irregular Additional fees. The core fee doesn't cover irregular additional work, such as drafting a deed of covenant, correcting a title defect like a breach of a restrictive covenant, transferring leaseholder protections or dealing with third-party solicitors linked to a divorce. Solicitors should send you a list of the Irregular Additional work and their fee for this work at the outset, within their terms and conditions.
  • Solicitor disbursements. These are costs that the solicitor pays to third parties on your behalf, such as Land Registry or Leasehold Management fees. Some solicitors label legal fees as disbursements because they pay a third party, but add on a margin and charge this to you; most commonly a Bank Transfer Fee. See a full list of disbursements here - What are disbursements for selling a house?

So...How much does a solicitor charge to sell a house?

When selling a house, it shouldn't be a difficult question to answer, however, you're faced with a few issues:

  • Low estimates. The majority of online conveyancing quotes will have a low upfront "core fee" which isn't what you pay at the end of the transaction.
  • Fixed Fees don't cover everything. When you ask for a fixed fee, this often encapsulates a standard conveyancing transaction from start to finish. However, the majority of transactions don't reach completion without a hurdle or two to jump and this is where the solicitor will look to charge Irregular Additional fees.

How do I find out what the irregular solicitor charges are?

A quarter of all complaints to the Legal Ombudsman about solicitors relate to the costs charged during a transaction. This is something that can be easily avoided, using the guidance provided by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which states a solicitor should:

  • provide charges information prominently, in as clear and understandable format as possible;
  • state if VAT is included or excluded in the legal charges;
  • specify exactly what is included within the price displayed (scope of work), even if it is a fixed fee quote because a client needs to know what falls outside of a fixed fee;
  • explain if the pricing for face-to-face services is higher versus a strictly online service;

When an unforeseen complexity arises which falls outside the scope of work, or where a client‘s requests mean additional work, the solicitor needs to inform you of the additional work and the cost of doing it.

I am using a conveyancer
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is the regulatory body for Licensed Conveyancers, who are qualified property lawyers specialising in conveyancing. Solicitors are regulated by the SRA. The CLC have their own code of conduct that its members must adhere to and they state for any quote:

"Before or when accepting instructions, you inform Clients in writing of the terms on which the instructions are accepted, a complete, accurate estimate of fees and disbursements to be charged and if and when they are likely to change."

What are the hidden fees when selling a house?

The following table shows a list of hidden fees charged by a solicitor/conveyancer when selling a house:

  • Charges in the terms and conditions. Make sure you read all of the documents in full before instructing your solicitor.
  • Hourly work. Some conveyancing work is on a time basis, so you need to find out the hourly rate of your solicitor and an estimate of the amount of time it'll take to complete the additional work.
Frequently Asked Questions
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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