Conveyancing fees, how to get the best deals
Buying a house is likely to be the most expensive purchase you will ever make and there are many costs involved. The Conveyancing Fees (sometimes called Legal Fees) are just some of these. If you understand what these fees are when buying a house, you will be better prepared and be able to make sure you have all of the funds available.
The legal costs for different conveyancing firms can vary considerably. When obtaining a quote, you must also need to make sure that it is fully transparent, so that there are no hidden costs. Some firms may not include all costs in their initial quote so that you will choose them, then as you progress through the transaction more and more costs will crop up. When getting quotes, it is wise to ask what is actually included in the figure given and request a full breakdown of fees to be aware of any additional costs that could be added a later date.
The Conveyancing Fees
The actual legal fees for the conveyancing firm when buying a house will vary depending on a few factors including:
- The value of the property you are buying;
- Whether the property is leasehold or freehold;
- Whether the property is a new build or shared ownership; and
- If you are taking advantage of any government Help to Buy scheme or saving accounts.
This is because the amount of information and complexity of the work involved when buying a house will vary, and more complex matters will require substantial additional time to process and check. The more time your solicitor spends on your purchase, the more money they will want to charge by way of conveyancing fees.
Did you know that Express Conveyancing’s Conveyancing Fees are fixed as long as your circumstances remain unchanged? Speak to us to find out more.
The fee charged should cover the whole transaction from beginning to end when buying a house and will usually be a fixed fee rather than an hourly rate. This means that you will have a clearer indication of the costs from the start.
Before you commit to buying a house, your conveyancer will carry out a number of searches, depending on where the house is located different searches may be necessary. For instance, you may need a flood risk report if the property is near a river, or an underground search if it is in London.
If you are obtaining a mortgage to pay for the house, these searches will not be optional as lenders usually require you to fully check the title to the property you are buying. This is because if you didn’t have a certain search and there turned out to be a problem, this could decrease the property’s value, meaning that the lender would have insufficient security for their loan. This could also be very bad for you, as you may end up having to sell the property at a loss or paying out a lot of money to have the issues fixed.
The main two searches that are carried out when buying a house are the Local Authority Search and the Water and Drainage Search:
- The Local Authority Search will reveal if any planning permissions have been granted, if building regulations have been complied with at the property, and if the road is maintained by the Local Authority, as well as much more. The fee for this search will vary from Council to Council and can range from approximately £90.00 to £200.00.
- The Water and Drainage Search confirms whether the property is connected for both foul and surface water drainage, whether there are any drains in the boundaries or vicinity of the property, and if the property you are buying has a water meter. The fee for this search is usually around £50 – £60.
If it is revealed that other searches are required when buying a house, your conveyancer will discuss this with you and any additional fees involved at the time. For example, if the surveyor spots a potential issue which requires a particular expert to assess.
Land Registry Fees
Prior to completion of buying a house, you conveyancer will carry out an Official Search with Priority. This protects your purchase and ensures that, in between completion of your purchase and the registration of your title being completed, no one else can register anything against the property. This usually costs £3.
Your conveyancer will also carry out a bankruptcy search against your name if you are getting a mortgage. This will ensure that there are no adverse entries registered against your name which would affect your ability to take out a mortgage. The cost of this is £2 per name.
Finally, on completion of your purchase, your conveyancer will register you as proprietor of your new property at the Land Registry and the Land Registry charge a fee for this. The fee can vary depending on the value of your property and can range from £20 all the way up to £910.
Telegraphic Transfer Fee
Due to money laundering legislation, when you are buying a house all the funds must pass through your conveyancing firm.
In order to move funds quickly on the day of completion, they must be sent via Telegraphic Transfer. The firm you use will be charged by their Bank for doing this and the fee can differ from bank to bank. Some firms may charge a higher fee and actually profit from this.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax payable on the purchase of your property. When buying a house for £40,000 or above, we must complete a Land Transaction Return on your behalf and make any necessary payments.
The rules around Stamp Duty Land Tax, how much to pay and if it is payable, can be complex when buying a house. To calculate exactly how much it will be you can use an online calculator provided by the HMRC. Some firms may make additional charges for the completion of your Land Transaction Return.
When buying a house there are other fees that may be payable depending on the individual purchase.
You may require a Trust Deed to be made if you wish to hold the title to the property in specific shares, or if you are buying a house that is subject to Ground Rent, you may have to pay a Notice of Assignment Fee to the management company. Your conveyancer should discuss these with you before buying a house and explain the fees which may be involved.
Some conveyancing firms will make extra charges for certain checks that need to be carried out when buying a house, for instance ID verification. Make sure that when you obtain a conveyancing quote that you ask if they make any extra charges!
Even after your purchase has been concluded there can be even more costs. When moving into a new home it is always a good idea to have the locks changed as you never know who may have a set of keys still. You also need to factor in the costs of redecorating and furnishing your new home, as well as more major work you may want to complete, such as having new windows fitted.
Although it may be tempting to rush to purchase a house as soon as you have enough saved up for a deposit, remember that if you do not have any extra funds you could end up sleeping on the floor!
Disclaimer – our articles are designed to give you guidance and information. There is no substitute for proper direct advice, particularly as everyone’s circumstances are different. If anything in this article may affect you, please contact us for advice that is specific to your circumstances.