What are typical conveyancing fees?
A breakdown of what you might expect to pay, what it covers, and where you can save
Last updated on
Jun 1, 2022 10:41
Conveyancing fees vary, but you’re looking at somewhere in the region of £850–£2,000 plus VAT (though they can be a lot higher, depending on the property). Let’s break down the costs.
Conveyancing fees are an important cost to factor into your home buying budget. Essentially, it’s the amount of money you need to pay your solicitor or licensed conveyancer to handle the legal transfer of the property from the previous owner to you. It’s this transfer that’s known as “conveyancing”.
Note: A conveyancing solicitor is a lawyer who specialises in property law, while a licensed conveyancer is a professional who is only trained in conveyancing.
Conveyancing fees cover all the legal costs involved in buying a property. They fall into two categories: legal fees and disbursements.
Whether it’s fees or disbursements, there are various factors that’ll impact the amount you’ll have to pay for conveyancing – including the kind of property you want to buy and its location.
You might expect to pay between £850 and £2,000 (plus VAT) for legal fees, covering your solicitor or conveyancer’s time and expertise. This is on the lower end of the scale though – it also depends on the property value, and could even hit £5,000 or more.
That cost doesn’t include the disbursements – the extra charges from third parties.
That’s why, when you get a quote for conveyancing, it’s crucial to get a detailed breakdown of all the ‘foreseeable’ disbursements you may have to pay. (Some disbursements you can’t predict as they’re set by third parties, and are specific to the property you’re buying, so would be impossible to get a quote for).
Here are six common disbursements and their costs:
More complicated property transactions will take your solicitor or conveyancer more time to sort out. In that case you’ll often be charged some extra fees to cover this. Here are some examples:
Buying a leasehold property means you’re buying the property but not the land it’s built on. You have a lease (a contract with the freeholder – the landlord) that lasts for a certain length of time. This can be anything from a few years to a few centuries. Many flats are sold as leasehold properties, but some new-build houses are too.
In contrast, when you buy a freehold property, you own the property and the land. Everything.
So, what’s the difference in conveyancing fees when a leasehold property is involved? Basically, your conveyancer needs to charge a supplement (an extra cost) to cover the added complications of a lease to read and a landlord to chase. This could be an additional £200, plus disbursements (charges from third parties) unique to leasehold properties.
Here’s a breakdown of the additional work involved:
If you remortgage your home with your existing lender, you usually don’t need to hire a conveyancer. You’ll simply be moved to a new mortgage deal, which doesn’t involve any extra legal work. This does depend on your lender though.
But if you remortgage with a new lender, there is some legal work that needs to be done – so you will need a conveyancer. Some mortgage lenders include conveyancing for free as part of their remortgage package, but be aware – the conveyancing service included in these kinds of deals won’t always be the fastest or smoothest out there, and that’s putting it lightly.
Legal fees may be lower for remortgaging – between £300 and £1,000. But you might have to pay some of the same disbursements (charges) as when you first bought your home. For example, your new mortgage lender may want you to carry out property searches to make sure your property is a safe investment for them.
You might be asked to pay your conveyancer a fixed amount on account at the start, usually around £500. But you usually won’t be asked to pay the full amount until you’ve exchanged contracts and fixed your completion date (when the sale is finalised).
Many conveyancers offer a “no sale, no fee” guarantee. That means if your sale falls through during the buying process, you won’t have to pay the legal fees for your conveyancer’s work up until that point.
But what you will probably still need to pay for are the costs of any disbursements that your conveyancer has already paid on your behalf (for the ID checks, property searches, and so on).
Some conveyancers might be willing to waive these costs if you buy a different property but continue to use them for your legal work. It’s worth asking about this before you instruct your conveyancer.
Let’s look at some ways to keep the costs of conveyancing manageable:
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