It’s a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor’s job to take care of all the legal requirements of buying or selling property in the UK. But, while usually vital, this isn’t free. So, how much does conveyancing cost?
The real answer is “it depends”. Here’s everything you need to know about conveyancing fees and where they come from:
What Do Conveyancing Solicitors And Conveyancers Do?
Conveyancing refers to buying or selling ownership of a property. You can think of a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor as the person whose job it is to “convey” the property from seller to buyer.
You’ll need to enter your conveyancer’s name and address on the paperwork, as they’ll be responsible for:
- Giving legal advice
- Dealing with the contracts
- Transferring funds between buyer and seller
- Carrying out local council and Land Registry checks
The difference between a conveyancer and a conveyancing solicitor is that the latter is a property specialist, but only the former can handle any major legal issues and provide complete legal services. That’s why solicitors tend to be a little more expensive when it comes to conveyancing fees.
What Are Conveyancing Fees?
Conveyancing fees are essentially the legal costs of buying or selling property.
Some of these are charged by the legal professional you choose to handle that side of the sale or purchase for you. Others are an intrinsic part of a property sale or purchase that various other bodies charge you. Some are paid only by the buyer. Some, only by the seller.
- Legal fees – the fees charged by your conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor for their services.
- Disbursements – the name given to fees that are levied by other bodies
What Is The Average Cost Of Conveyancing Fees In The UK?
The cost of conveyancing fees is usually tied to the value of the property you want to buy or sell. However, the average fees you’ll usually pay should be around:
- Conveyancing fees (when buying) – £500-1150 plus roughly £700 in disbursements.
- Conveyancing fees (when selling) – £610-£950.
- Conveyancing fees (for a leasehold) – usually add around £300 to the fees because of the extra work involved.
How Much Are The Legal Fees When Buying Or Selling Property?
The average legal fees when buying or selling property can be seen above. Roughly between £500 and £1150 plus disbursements, depending on whether you are the one purchasing or the one selling the property.
But what are these fees really for? Why do they vary so much? The factors that affect the cost of the legal fees and disbursements you will pay include:
1) Freehold or Leasehold
Leasehold properties add additional tasks – and thus, cost – to the fees you can expect to pay. These tasks might include liaising with the landlord or investigating the length of the lease. Certain documents also need to be created, including:
- A Deed of Covenant – a legal agreement between the buyer and the landlord or property manager.
- Leasehold Management Pack – this is a list of the charges the sellers can levy, paid for by the sellers. This can cost anywhere from £300-£800.
- Notice of Assignment (or Transfer) – this notice informing the landlord you now own this property can be free. Or it can cost several hundred pounds.
2) The Price And Size Of The Property
Play a large role in determining the fees you can expect to pay a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor.
3) Checks and Searches
The professional handling your conveyancing will need to complete a range of checks and searches for you. Some of these are required by law. Some are simply a good idea:
- Anti-money laundering checks – verify your identity for a small fee.
- Gifted deposit checks – to prove that your deposit came from somewhere legitimate. Even if your parents are very generously funding your property purchase, it may cost upwards of £100 to prove they got the money from a legitimate source.
- Property fraud checks – that verify the lawyer your conveyancer will transfer money to is legitimate. Another small fee.
- Local authority searches – covering issues like drainage and environmental conditions (including things like nearby rivers or coal mines) and other issues. Planning searches that check for local development are also common and smart. These fees can range from several hundred pounds to £500.
4) Land Registry fees
HM Land Registry administers who owns what land and property in England and Wales. They charge fees for searching and updating their records, including:
- Copy of the Title Deeds – getting a copy of these from the Land Registry involves paying a small fee.
- Transfer of ownership – the Land Registry charges around £200-£300 for transferring ownership of a property.
If you discover the property you’re buying or selling isn’t on the Land Registry and think this might reduce costs here, there’s some bad news. This will require your conveyancer or solicitor to do a lot more work, adding costs.
5) Help to Buy and Other Schemes
Help to Buy, Right to Buy, and Shared Ownership schemes all generate extra work for the conveyancer. The prices they can charge for this work are capped, but can still be £200-£300.
6) Other Taxes and Fees
There are also some additional fees, including:
- Bank transfer fee (or telegraphic transfer fee) – it costs a small amount of money to guarantee that the funds will reach the seller’s account at the set time.
- Stamp Duty – this varies depending on property pricing, starting at properties valued at £125 000 and going upwards. There are different rules for first-time buyers.
Do I Have To Hire A Conveyancer Or Conveyancing Solicitor?
It is possible to handle the conveyancing of property you are buying or selling yourself, though usually only if you don’t have a mortgage. Almost every mortgage lender will insist that you use a professional because of the complexity of the tasks involved. There are also the potential costs of getting it wrong.
Conveyancing solicitors are more expensive than conveyancers. But solicitors also provide a full range of legal services and advice that a conveyancer can’t.
Finally, it’s worth asking for conveyancer recommendations from people other than the estate agent selling the home to you or for you. The cost of conveyancing isn’t the only thing to check when hiring a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor. You also want to be sure you can trust them.
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