Conveyancing - Costs and fees - First time buyer

Conveyancing fees explained

4 min read

How much are conveyancing fees? Find out more about typical conveyancing fees you can expect to pay during your home move, to help you budget accordingly.

  • Arti Dhamu, Move Specialist at My Home Move Conveyancing
    Arti Dhamu

    Move Specialist

    Published February 23rd 2024

man looking at his conveyancing fees online

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a property and want more information on the conveyancing fees you can expect to pay, then look no further. Our in-depth guide to conveyancing fees provides a complete overview of the costs involved.

a lady with her dog looking online at the conveyancing quote for her home move

Curious how much conveyancing may cost you?

Conveyancing fees will depend on the specific details of your purchase or sale. Use our online calculator to get your personalised quote.

In this article:

What are conveyancing fees?

When buying or selling a property, you’ll normally enlist the services of an expert conveyancer who will guide you through the whole process. They’ll carry out the legal side of your home move, including reviewing contracts, raising enquiries, arranging the searches and registering your move with the Land Registry. Conveyancing fees cover this service – and you’ll need to budget and plan for them.

Types of conveyancing fees

There are two types of conveyancing fees:

Who pays conveyancing fees, buyer or seller?

Both the buyer and the seller will pay conveyancing fees for their part in the transaction. The buyer will have additional costs to factor in, including searches of the local area. However, both buyer and seller will need a conveyancing solicitor to represent them, go through the process of conveyancing, deal with mortgage providers and handle changes with the Land Registry.

How much does conveyancing cost?

Conveyancing will vary depending on what conveyancing firm you use and the specific details of your property purchase or sale. You can get an accurate and personalised quote based on your specific house purchase or sale and circumstances with our online conveyancing quote calculator.

Alternatively you can view sample conveyancing quotes to get an idea of the costs involved, although the costs can be quite different depending on your specific conveyancing requirements (for example, leasehold purchases have additional costs to factor in).

Below you can find a breakdown of legal fees and disbursements:

What are disbursement conveyancing fees?

Disbursements are the costs your conveyancer pays on your behalf when conducting your sale or purchase.

The amounts are fairly consistent across the conveyancing industry. When getting your conveyancing quote, check whether the total price includes both the conveyancer’s fee and disbursements.

Most of the below fees are classed as disbursements:  

Money laundering check fees

The conveyancing industry is a common target for money launderers, enabling them to easily circulate large amounts of illegally-gained money into the legitimate economy.

As part of the conveyancing process, your solicitor will ensure money is coming from legitimate sources. This means you’re legally obliged to provide all the necessary documents to verify your identity. If you’re buying a house, you need to show evidence of your deposit and where your funds came from. If you’re selling a property, your solicitor will check the Land Registry to confirm you’re the homeowner.

The cost of money laundering checks is usually £10 – £20, although if you’re living abroad, you’ll likely have to pay more for further checks.

Bankruptcy search fees

With such large sums of money changing hands, your mortgage lender needs to make sure you haven’t gone bankrupt recently.

Bankruptcy searches cost between £2- £4.

Copy of title deeds

Your conveyancer needs to check the title deeds, namely the legal documents proving that you own a property.

The Land Registry charges for every document which has to be downloaded: if you’re dealing with a leasehold property, then the cost can be upwards of £25.

Conveyancing searches

Carrying out the necessary conveyancing searches, including local, drainage and environmental searches is a crucial part of the house buying process. They’ll flag any potential problems and cost between £250 – £450, although the price may vary depending on the property’s location.

It’s also a good idea to carry out a building survey. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors charges around £250 for a basic Home Condition Report. A Home Buyers Report costs around £400 and a detailed Building Survey costs more than £600, depending on the property size.

Electronic Funds transfer fee

On completion, your conveyancer must make an online funds transfer, and will charge a fee for this. If you’re buying a property, the money’s sent to the seller’s conveyancer, while if you’re selling, the funds go to your lender, redeeming your mortgage, with any remaining balance going back to you.

Land Registry Registration Services

If you’re buying a house you need to pay a Land Registry Registration Services fee, to officially transfer the property into your name. Your conveyancer must pay the following costs when applying through the online portal. However, if your application is complex and cannot be done online, costs will be higher.

Property value or amountLand Registry Registration Services fee
Up to £80,000£20
£80,001 to £100,000£40
£100,001 to £200,000£95
£200,001 to £500,000£135
£500,001 to £1,000,000£270
Over £1,000,000£455

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), or Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales, is a government tax on property purchases over certain price brackets. It’s paid as a lump sum on completion and only applies when purchasing a property. Your conveyancer will calculate how much you owe and include it in their quote if you request this. There’s also a small fee for the paperwork and registration.

Leasehold fees

If you’re buying a leasehold property, you’ll usually need to cover additional costs as the process is quite complex. For instance, your conveyancer might need a Deed of Covenant, a legal agreement between you and the landowner which sets obligations such as carrying out repair work. The extra costs range from £100 to £1,000, depending on the property.

If you’re selling a leasehold property, you’ll have to cover extra costs for any additional information required from the landlord or management company. This can cost from £100 to over £500.

Remember, it’s always worth checking your conveyancer’s terms and conditions to see if any additional charges apply to you.

Get a personalised conveyancing quote for your move today.

Comparing conveyancing fees

Conveyancing is a competitive landscape that can lack transparency. Many people get stung by hidden charges or significant disbursements, so to ensure you pay a fair price:

  • Compare conveyancing offers. Get quotes from different firms and compare fees.

  • Watch out for hidden charges. Make sure these offers include both legal fees and disbursements, as the latter might include additional charges.

  • Consider retainer fees. Bear in mind that if your property purchase or sale falls through, many conveyancers will retain some of the fee.

  • Remember that cheapest doesn’t mean best. Check reviews and ask your family and friends for their conveyancer recommendations.

Read our comparing conveyancing fees guide for a more detailed breakdown of what costs to expect.

When do you pay conveyancing fees?

It’s likely that the main bulk of your conveyancing fees won’t need to be paid until you’re ready to exchange contracts on your sale or purchase. The costs for searches will be requested early in the process as these are payable to a third party such as a local authority ­– payment is therefore required before searches can be ordered.

The next point at which you pay money to your conveyancer is when you exchange. You’ll usually pay a 10% deposit of the final balance to your conveyancer. You will then need to pay your final balance before completing, making sure that you have transferred funds in enough time for them to clear before the day of completion.

If you are selling a property, you will need to pay any balance before you complete on your sale.

Don’t worry if it all sounds a bit complicated. Your conveyancer will guide you through everything – including the various exchanges of money that need to happen.

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