A guide on how to save money on conveyancing costs when buying a home, from SAM Conveyancing
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How to save money on conveyancing costs when buying a home

(Last Updated: 21/03/2023)
7 min read
It is only once you start the conveyancing process that you find out exactly how costly buying a home can be. You might think all you have to do is to save a 10% deposit, however there are many more costs to consider.

We've set out below ways of saving money - among the potential savings you can make from your conveyancing costs are:

  • 10% off your mortgage valuation;
  • £370 off your solicitor's legal fees;
  • £200 off your HomeBuyers Report or Building Survey;
  • £100-£150 of undeclared property searches;

Stamp Duty

(from 0% to 7% of the purchase price)
It doesn't matter where you live or what property you are buying, if you buy a house in England and Wales, you are liable to pay Stamp Duty, which is a tax you pay to HMRC.

What you pay is a percentage of the purchase price and the percentages change according to this value, starting at 0%, going all the way up to 7%. Yes, you actually get taxed for buying your bricks and mortar, sadly!

You pay 0% - or nothing, up to a purchase price of £125,000, however at £125,001 you need to pay 1% of the purchase price as stamp duty. If you have to pay stamp duty then it'll be the most expensive single item in your conveyancing.

NB Chancellor Philip Hammond Introduced Relief for Stamp Duty for First Time Buyers in November 2017 (click to find out more, including if you're eligible, under 'Budget 2017')

You have to pay Stamp Duty no later than 28 days after completion – which is when you collect your keys and move into your new home. If you’re buying using a mortgage, you need to make sure that your solicitor has the money for paying the tax, otherwise they won’t be able to finalise the purchase.

Are you liable for the second home stamp duty charge?
If you own another property you need to check to see if you are liable for any second home stamp duty.

Can you save money on stamp duty?
Many companies offer what are known as ‘Stamp Duty Mitigation schemes’, which use loop holes within the tax system to minimise the tax. They often charge thousands of pounds for structuring these arrangements and handling the legal aspects involved.
Before you consider going down this route, we’d offer you two reasons to be wary:

  • The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has classed these schemes as unethical and has forbidden solicitors from any involvement with them.
  • HMRC constantly examines schemes which appear to be about avoiding, or even evading, tax. If it rules such a mitigation scheme illegal, you stand to pay your stamp duty in full, plus interest and you’ll additionally lose any money you spent on the scheme.

We advise you to steer clear of these schemes: just pay the Stamp Duty, annoying though it is.
We’re actually campaigning for Stamp Duty reform, you’ll be pleased to know. We think it would be much fairer if the bands operated like PAYE tax bands - you should pay X% to a certain property value and then pay the higher X% only on the amount remaining above the value, not on the whole value.

Mortgage Valuation

(Costs From £400 to £2,000)
You need a mortgage valuation when getting a mortgage and it can be costly. The mortgage lender wants to make sure that the property they are going to lend you money on is worth what you (or the seller) say it is. To do this the mortgage lender instructs a RICS surveyor to inspect the property and confirm the property value.

Saving money on your mortgage valuation
You can’t negotiate over the cost of a mortgage valuation but there is a way to save money. If you pay for the mortgage valuation up front, rather than adding its cost onto the mortgage, you will save the additional money in interest that you’d end up paying.

It might well seem odd that we’re saying you can save money by spending more of your precious cash reserves up front but you’ll benefit over time.

We calculate the average saving to be around 10% of the cost of the mortgage valuation or £60 on a £600 mortgage valuation. Look after the pennies…

Conveyancing Solicitor Fees

(Costs from £400 to £2,000)
You might undervalue this part of conveyancing and want to make the largest savings here.

But the truth is that your solicitor is at the heart of everything in the conveyancing process: good solicitors are the difference between a stress-free experience and an absolute nightmare!

Saving money on your conveyancing solicitor
First of all, never get dazzled by a solicitor quote which starts at £99. You’ll only be disappointed when you find your 'airline quote' doesn't include everything you need.

The cost for conveyancing can vary; for a £250,000 property, here’s some comparables:

AA Conveyancing             £869
Cavendish Group             £799
awb Partnership               £899
SAM Conveyancing           £529 (saving of £370)

These are the things you should expect from your conveyancing solicitor:

  • 'No move no fee’
  • Fixed quote to include ALL the legal work you need to buy your home
  • To be working with a specialist conveyancing solicitors

*Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels
Want help now? Call us on 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply)

Building Survey/HomeBuyer Report

(Costs from £400 to £2,000)

We can’t stress enough how VITAL it is to get a survey done when buying a property: this is never a place to cut costs, in our opinion, because you don’t want to discover any nasty, expensive surprises after you’ve spent so much money already…

A Building Survey/HomeBuyer Report focuses on structural defects such as damp, subsidence, poorly maintained areas and potential property concerns.

It is completely different to a Mortgage Valuation (discussed earlier) and not to be confused with one.

Saving money on your Building Survey/HomeBuyer Report
Choose the right survey for your home. Go for:

The best way to save money is by choosing a surveyor who provides a competitive quote. Make sure your surveyor is either an MRICS or FRICS qualified to be sure of their qualification and experience.

The cost of a HomeBuyer Report can vary; for a £250,000 property in Berkshire, here’s some comparables:
Blanchard Consultants   £500
The Survey Company     £600
SAM Conveyancing         £400 (saving of £200)

Property Searches

(Costs from £295 to £500)
When buying a property your solicitor needs to buy ‘searches’ to find out information about your property and the surrounding area. The Property Search Bundle includes the 4 most purchased searches: Chancel, Drainage and Water, Environmental and Local Authority Searches. Depending on your circumstances, you might need to purchase additional searches.

Commons Registration

Commons Registration Search

Drainage and Water

Drainage and Water Search

Highway Search

Conveyancing Searches Example: HighwaySearch

Planning Report

Planning Report

Local Authority

Regulated Local Authority Search

Energy & Infrastructure

Energy and Infrastructure Search

Climate Risk Report

Conveyancing Searches Example: Climate Report

Environmental Appraisal

Conveyancing Searches Example: Environmental Appraisal

Environmental Report

Environmental Search

Flood Appraisal

Conveyancing Searches Example: Flood Appraisal

Flood Risk

Flood Risk Report

Coal Mining

Coal Mining Search


Subsidence Report


Chancel Search


Radon Search

Chancel Search

Chancel Search


Drainage and Water Search

Climate Risk Report

Conveyancing Searches Example: Climate Report

Environmental Report

Environmental Search

Regulated Local Authority

Regulated Local Authority Search

£295 INC VAT

Saving money on your Property Searches
With searches, it is more of a case to make sure you have all the search costs included, rather than saving money. A number of solicitors offer different search packages.

Make sure you know what searches you are getting and that they include everything you are going to need to know about the property.

To find out more about any of the above or to talk about other conveyancing costs you are concerned about please call us on 0207 112 5388 or 01344 567 887.

Prices within this article were correct at the date of publishing. To get an up to date quote please call 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply)

*Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels
Want help now? Call us on 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply)

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.