A beginner’s guide to conveyancing costs

When looking at the costs involved in conveyancing, it is important to understand that they come in two guises. The first is the legal fee, which represents the work completed by your conveyancer, and the second is costs often classified as disbursements, which are payable to third parties.

You will, of course, need a conveyancer to undertake the process on your behalf. A good place to start when choosing one is the Law Society list of specialist conveyancers.

Any reputable conveyancing firm will provide a quote breaking down their conveyancing costs.

Legal costs

Once you have a list of potential conveyancers, you should ask for a quote for their services and ask specifically how much they have quoted for their legal fee. Some firms will have a fixed fee, while others will have a fee based on a percentage of the price of the property.

Remember that the fees may vary depending upon whether the property is leasehold or freehold.

Disbursements associated with conveyancing

Your conveyancer will carry out a number of searches and checks on your behalf. There will be a standard charge for these.

The main aspects of this work involve the searches. Local authority searches will reveal any current planning applications that may affect the property and any outstanding disputes. These searches will also reveal whether you are responsible for any paths or roads around the property. These can cost upwards of £250 depending on the authority.

A Land Registry search will be undertaken to establish that the vendor is the registered owner of the property.

Your conveyancer will also carry out environmental searches to ensure the property is not at risk of flooding or built on contaminated land. The water authority search will reveal the drainage plan for the house and whether any public drains are located on the land.

If the area has been the site of mining in the past, you will also need to check that the building has not been affected.

Whilst considering the condition of the property, you will also want to carry out a survey. There are three types: a home condition report, a homebuyer report and a full survey of the building. Prices vary depending on which report you choose, and you should always use a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

The major disbursement will be stamp duty, which will depend upon the value of the property. The current stamp duty holiday is due to end on 31 March 2021.

Other disbursements will include money laundering checks and obtaining a copy of the title deeds from Land Registry (if you are selling a property).

You will have to pay a small telegraphic transfer fee of around £30 when the completion monies are transferred to the vendor’s agent. Land Registry will also charge a fee for the transfer of ownership on completion.

You should consider all the above costs when comparing quotes for conveyancing.

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