Conveyancing Fees & Quotes Guide
Looking at conveyancing fees, the average conveyancing fees, and the difference between solicitors and conveyancers.
Alexandra Ventress ★ Digital Content Writer
Table of Contents
Whether you are buying or selling a house, chances are that you are going to be dealing with conveyancing fees at some point. The amount you will have to pay, the type of conveyancer you use, and are all points you will have to navigate.
In this blog, we will be looking at the average cost of conveyancing, hidden costs to look out for, and how you can sell your property without the conveyancing fees.
What is the difference between a conveyancing solicitor and a conveyancer?
Whilst a conveyancer and a solicitor complete the same job, there are differences between the two professions. It is the job of your conveyancer or your solicitor to guide you through the process and progress the legal side of your property sale. The real difference between the two professions lies in the specific knowledge that each one holds. A solicitor is a qualified lawyer who has excessive knowledge of a wide range of subjects, is able to tackle complex legal issues, and can offer a full scale of legal services. A licensed conveyancer on the other hand has specialised knowledge of property law but is not as well versed in wider aspects of the law.
Is it better to use a solicitor or conveyancer?
Whether or not it is better to use a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor is completely down to personal choice. Both conveyancers and solicitors are knowledgeable in progressing property sales, but as selling and purchasing a house is one of the most stressful events in life, it is important you are comfortable with your legal representation throughout.
What is residential conveyancing service?
Whilst the term residential conveyancing sounds quite complicated, it is actually referring to the process of progressing a house sale. If a conveyancer is residential, then it means that they specialise in the legal side of property sales or purchases.
What is fixed fee conveyancing?
Fixed fee conveyancing is the same as run-of-the-mill conveyancing except all of the work is being done for a fixed fee. This way, the amount that you are quoted at the start, should be the amount that you pay at the end. A fixed fee conveyancing quote will usually be made up of the following:
Conveyancers legal costs
Estimate for third-party services
The advantage of using fixed-fee conveyancing is that allows for easier budgeting and allows you to remain informed of the process and how much it will cost, however, surprise charges can still occur and not all agreements will be the same so the solicitor may make a profit.
What is no sale no fee conveyancing?
No sale no fee conveyancing is exactly what it sounds like on the tin. It means if your property purchase does not go through, you will not be left paying all of the charges. A lot of buyers and sellers will use a no sale no fee conveyance service in order to save on conveyancing fees. You will have to pay a small deposit, but other than that you will have nothing to pay until your house sale is complete.
What is online conveyancing?
Online conveyancing works in a very similar way to traditional conveyancing, except it is all performed online. They will still undertake all of the legal work behind your house purchase or sale, but it will usually be for a cheaper fee. Other advantages of using an online conveyancer are that it is usually easier to track progress and they often have flexible working hours. However, on the flip side, you run the risk of falling victim to hidden costs and they may be harder to get in contact with.
Can I complete the conveyancing process myself?
Whilst it is possible to conduct the conveyancing process yourself, it is not recommended that you do this. Unless the house purchase or sale is a very straightforward process and you are confident that you can understand the legal jargon, paperwork, and documents you will need to send off and sign for. However, you need to understand that any mistakes made will fall on your shoulders, and you could end up facing financial repercussions or even risk your house sale falling through as a result.
What is the average cost of conveyancing fees UK?
According to data from ReallyMoving, the average conveyancing fees in 2023 can range from around £500 – £1150 without including disbursements. Disbursements can add up to £700 more to your bill!
Exactly how much you will pay in conveyancing fees depends upon a variety of factors, such as:
- Whether you are using a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer
- If the property is leasehold or freehold
- The price of your property
- Where about your solicitor or conveyancer is based
- If you are using an online conveyancer
- The location of your property
- The type of property you are purchasing (Right to Buy, Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, etc)
How much should a solicitor charge for buying a house?
Whilst the exact amount you will pay in conveyancing fees depends upon a wide variety of factors, according to Homeowners Alliance, if you are selling a property, the same research has shown that you can expect to pay an average of £610 – £950.
It is worth bearing in mind that if you are dealing with a leasehold property, then you can end up paying an average of around £300 more.
What are disbursements and legal fees?
When it comes to conveyancing, the fees that you pay to have your house sale progressed can be split into two groups: legal fees and disbursements. These are categorised as:
- Legal fees – This is the basic rate that the conveyancer or solicitor will charge for doing the work
- Disbursements – This is what third parties charge for certain services like searches
These are some of the disbursements you can come across during the conveyancing process:
If you are purchasing a property, then whether you are using conveyancers or solicitors they will recommend that you get local authority searches done. These searches cover a wide range of areas however they will usually include a drainage search and an environmental search as well as a planning search if you wish to find out if any development has been planned for nearby. These will typically cost between £250 to £450.
If you are buying a property through the Help-to-Buy scheme, then you’ll have to pay between £200 and £300 for the Help to Buy supplement. This is a fee that is charged due to all the extra legal work involved with the conveyancing work.
If your deposit has been gifted, you will need to beware that you will likely have to pay extra money to cover the paperwork. This is necessary to prove that the money has come from a legitimate source and can cost up to £100.
One of the key points in the conveyancing service is the transferal of ownership from the seller to the buyer. This will take place on completion and involves paying between £200 – £300 to the Land Registry.
When you are selling a property, you will need to obtain a copy of the title deeds to prove you are the registered owner of the property. If you do not have a copy you will need to pay for a new copy, most likely from The HM Land Registry. The average cost of new Title Deeds is an average of £6 however if the property that you own is a leasehold, then you will likely have to pay more than this.
Your mortgage lender will require the funds on a certain day, so in order to ensure that they arrive on time you will need to use a telegraphic transfer. Your solicitor will be the one in charge of transferring the funds and will charge a fee for the process, as well as the bank’s charge. The bank’s charge ranges from £20-£30.
If you live abroad or you are a foreign national then you may end up paying slightly more to have these checks performed. These are legal checks to verify your identity and are often performed by online companies. You will usually pay between £6-£20.
In order to make sure that the company you are hiring to progress your purchase or sale is legitimate, you will need to get a fraud check done. These are usually around £10.
If the property that you are planning on purchasing costs more than £125,000, then you will need to pay stamp duty. Exactly how much you will have to say will depend upon a variety of factors, so it is a good idea to discuss with your conveyancer.
If you are using a Lifetime or Help To Buy ISA, then your conveyancer will charge you extra for the work involved, but the amount is capped at £50+VAT.
In the unlikely event that the property you are selling is unregistered, you will have to get the property registered with the HM Land Registry. This will cost you anywhere from £120 to £140.
Hidden fees and costs
When it comes to a property transaction there are some extra costs you will need to be wary of, as sometimes conveyancers will overcharge you for services you should not have to pay for. These are often disguised as ‘potential additional costs’.
These are another case of overheads being passed off as additional charges and should be covered in the basic legal fee. If your case involves international phone calls and postage but other than that, this should not be part of the bill that you will need to foot.
The SDLT is an important document that needs to be filled in and returned to HMRC by law. Even if you are under the threshold for SDLT, you will still need to fill in the form. This is a cost you are going to incur, so be sure to look out for it in your conveyancing quote. Your conveyancer will usually charge around £20-£50+VAT.
This is called ‘professional indemnity’ and it is a very tricky charge. conveyancing fees cover this in the basic charge and so you should not be made to pay for it. This is an overhead of their business and some conveyancers will try charging you between £50-£100+VAT for it.
Once your case is completed your conveyancer should hold onto your documents for a set number of years and whilst most will do this free of charge, some will need payment to keep them. If your solicitor wants a fee in exchange for keeping the documentation then it is a good idea to pay them as you never know when you may need them. They will often request between £15 – £50.
Can you negotiate solicitors fees?
Negotiating conveyancers fees can be a tricky area, so if you plan to do so you need to be sure you know what you are doing and are well-versed enough in the law to be able to know how much you will need to pay for the progression of your sale or purchase. In the early stages of buying or selling, your conveyancer will give you a quote of how much roughly the process will cost you. It is at this stage that you must look over your quote, check for hidden fees, and compare the number against other law firms. From this, you will be able to access how much negotiation power you have.
If you have already agreed to a quote from your solicitor, then it is unlikely that you will be able to negotiate your end fee. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to negotiate your bills before you agree to a quote.
How quickly can conveyancing be done?
The amount of time it can take to complete conveyancing can vary from conveyancing team to conveyancing team. It depends upon a variety of factors such as the type of property, and complexity of the case. As a good rule of thumb, conveyancing usually takes around 12 weeks to be fully completed but it can be done in as little as 4.
Does the seller pay conveyancing fees?
Both the buyer and the seller will be paying the conveyancing fees, however exactly how much each party will pay depends on what work they need to do in order to progress the sale, as well as the size of the property, and price. As a rule of thumb, the more complex your property transaction is, the more you will have to pay in conveyancing fees.
How to compare conveyancing quotes?
When it comes to conveyancing quotes, there are things you will need to be wary of. Some conveyancing firms may try and add disbursements that should be covered in your basic fee, by hiding them in the small print or labelling them ‘potential additional disbursements’. So it is important when you get your conveyancing quote that you ask for a full breakdown of the prices involved with the progression so that you can check for hidden costs.
Before you agree to any quotes, you should read over them carefully, checking for any hidden fees and reading about what will be included in the service, as well as shopping around and getting a wide range of quotes from a variety of conveyancers. This way you can get a balanced view of which route is the right one for you.
Is there a way to avoid conveyancing costs?
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