If you are planning to purchase a property, conveyancing fees are going to be a necessary part of the process. Conveyancing fees will cover the amount of money that you are required to pay to ensure that the legal side of your home sale or purchase is correctly handled. They can typically be split into two different parts, which involve the legal fees that are charged by the conveyancer or solicitor for doing the work, and the disbursements, which include third-party charges for certain services such as property services or surveys.
What are the Legal Fees for Buying and Selling a House in the UK?
In the UK, there are some conveyancing fees that apply to sellers only, and others will only apply to buyers. The price of the fees can vary depending on a range of factors including the location, for example, if the property is located in a high-risk area such as near a river or an area that was once used for mining.
The legal fees included in the conveyancing bill will cover the work that is done by the solicitors. These will vary, but typically, you can expect to pay around £850-£1500, not including any disbursement costs. If you are purchasing a leasehold rather than a freehold property, you can usually expect the legal fees to be higher.
What Disbursement Fees are Paid Along With Legal Fees?
Along with the legal fees paid to the conveyancer or solicitor, you can expect to pay for a range of disbursement fees. These include:
If you are selling a property, you will be required to get a copy of the Title of Deeds, which are typically held by the Land Registry. It will usually cost more to get the Title of Deeds for leasehold properties compared to a freehold property. It costs around £6 to get a copy of title deeds.
Money Laundering Checks:
Anti-money laundering checks are carried out in order to legally verify your identity. They are typically conducted by an online company and generally cost between £6-20. If you are a foreign national or are currently living abroad and want to buy a home in the UK, you can expect to pay a price at the higher end of the scale.
Property Fraud Checks:
Whether you are buying or selling a property, it’s important to check that the solicitor you are sending money to is a real and legitimate company. These checks typically cost around £10.
Legal Fees for Buying a House – Property Searches:
If you are purchasing a property, there are various property searches that you will be required to carry out in order to be eligible for a mortgage. These include local authority searches, environmental searches, and planning searches. The type and number of searches required will depend on several factors including where the property is located and its history. A local authority search will typically cost between £250-£450.
Legal Fees for Sale and Purchase Agreement:
The transfer of ownership will make up the bulk of the legal fees when coming to an agreement for a sale or purchase of a home. You will be required to pay a fee to the Land Registry to transfer your name with the name of the buyer or seller upon completion of the sale. You can usually expect to pay around £200-£300 for the transfer of ownership.
Stamp Duty Land Tax:
If you are not a first-time buyer or if you are purchasing a property priced more than a certain amount, you will be required to pay stamp duty. Typically, this is set at £125,000, although there is currently a stamp duty holiday in the UK that allows buyers to enjoy no stamp duty fees on properties priced under £500,000 until 31st March 2021. The stamp duty changes were introduced by the UK Government and came into immediate effect on 8th July 2020.
Bank Transfer Fees:
Homebuyers will likely need to use telegraphic transfers to ensure that funds are guaranteed to reach an account on a certain day that will be requested by your mortgage provider. Your solicitor will charge fees for performing this transfer, which you will need to pay along with any charges from the bank. Fees typically range from £20-£50.
Help to Buy Charges:
If you are purchasing a property through a Help to Buy scheme, you can usually expect to be charged more in fees due to the additional work that this will entail. Your conveyancer will need to do extra work to redeem the bonus provided by a Lifetime ISA or Help to Buy ISA, but any charges for redeeming the bonus are capped at £50, plus VAT. Overall, Help to Buy supplement charges tend to be around £200-£300 in total.
If you are getting help from somebody else when it comes to paying your deposit, you will typically be required to pay more to ensure that the paperwork required to prove that the cash comes from a legitimate source is completed. Law firms typically charge up to £100 to buyers who are getting help from their parents with a deposit, for example.
Legal Fees for Moving House – Leasehold:
If you are purchasing a property that is leasehold rather than freehold, you can usually expect conveyancing fees to be much higher as there will typically be a range of additional costs to cover. For example, you may need to cover the cost of a Deed of Covenant, which is a legally binding agreement between the buyer and management company or landlord that covers factors such as who is responsible for carrying out repair work. You may also need to pay for a range of further work such as an additional investigation into the leasehold length, or liaising with landlords to serve notice on them or management agents, getting further information on management details or service charges, and more. Additional costs for buying a leasehold property can range from as little as £100 to as high as £1,000, depending on the specific property and circumstances.
Are There Any Other Legal Fees for Selling a House?
The most commonly associated conveyancing fees and legal costs have been listed above, however, there are various occasions where it might be required for you to pay additional fees, whether you are selling or purchasing a property. For example, you may be required to pay additional insurance fees as a seller to get building regulation certification for factors such as double-glazed windows. On the other hand, if you are buying a property where the seller does not have these regulation certificates, you may be required to purchase a suitable insurance policy.
What Happens if a Sale Falls Through?
Whether or not you will be required to pay fees if your sale or purchase falls through will depend on the firm that you use. Some conveyancing solicitors work on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis meaning that if the sale falls through you will not be liable to pay the conveyancing bill in full. Some may also be willing to remove any legal fees if the property purchase falls through. Before working with any conveyancing solicitors, it’s worth getting a full and clear explanation of what to expect from their services and what is covered by any guarantee that they offer.
Fees for Remortgaging:
If you want to remortgage your property, you will usually expect to pay conveyancing fees as part of the process. Typically, this will be lower compared to purchasing a home for the first time as in general, many of the disbursements will not be required if you are remortgaging a property that you already own. You will also not be required to pay for services such as the transfer of ownership.
Is Hiring a Conveyancer Necessary?
Whether or not you will be required to hire a conveyancer will depend on your specific circumstances. While it is not legally required to do so when you are purchasing a home, you will typically find that the majority of mortgage lenders will require you to hire the services of a conveyancer as a condition of mortgage acceptance.
Legal Fees UK
If you are a cash buyer and do not require a mortgage, you can do the conveyancing yourself. However, it is recommended that you work with a reputable conveyancer regardless of your situation, as the fees that you will pay for disbursements, property searches and other essential services can be much less compared to future repair work and costs that you may incur if certain issues are not uncovered at the time of the purchase. If you are not required to hire a conveyancer by your mortgage company or are a cash buyer and decide against it, it’s a wise idea to get an appropriate insurance policy to protect yourself financially in the future.
When hiring a conveyancing solicitor, you may be asked to pay a deposit that could be up to 10% of the total fees. The remaining fees will typically be settled once the purchase is completed.
Now that you know what to expect from conveyancing fees, why not search our available properties in London to find the perfect new home?