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 will give you a better understanding of the costs involved when moving home.
Or if you’re ready, why not get a personalised quote for conveyancing
What are conveyancing fees?
When buying or selling a property, you’ll normally enlist the services of an expert property solicitor 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.
There are two types of conveyancing fees:
- Legal fees: these are paid to the conveyancing solicitor for dealing with the legal aspects of the process
- Third party fees (also known as disbursements): these are costs that your conveyancer will have to pay out on your behalf to third parties
How much are conveyancing fees?
Conveyancing fees will vary depending on what conveyancing firm you use and the specific details of your property purchase or sale.
You can get an accurate conveyancing quote based on your property price and circumstances in under 30 seconds
Comparing conveyancing fees
It’s a good idea to get quotes from different firms so you can directly compare each of their conveyancing fees against one another. It’s always important to check whether the conveyancing fees quoted include both the legal fees and the disbursement fees, and check for any hidden costs that might be added as you progress. Don’t forget, cheapest doesn’t always mean best. Check reviews and ask for recommendations from friends and family.
Read our comparing conveyancing fees guide for a more detailed breakdown of what costs to expect.
What is the average conveyancing fee?
Conveyancing fees will depend on the specific details of your purchase or sale. If you would like a quote for your specific house purchase or sale, you can use our online conveyancing quote calculator to get an accurate quote for your conveyancing.
Conveyancing fees for leaseholds
When buying and/or selling a leasehold property, there will be extra conveyancing fees you should account for. This is because there’s more paperwork to deal with, as well as liaising with the landlord or managing agent. For example, your conveyancer may need to investigate the length of the lease, serve notices, enquire about the service charge and possibly get a Deed of Covenant. Learn more about leasehold transactions.
Conveyancing fees: Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales is a government tax on property purchases over certain price brackets. It is paid as a lump sum on completion and only applies when purchasing a property, not when selling. Your conveyancer will be able to calculate the amount of tax you will pay, and you can ask them to include it in their quote if it isn’t shown. There is also a small fee for the associated paperwork and registration.
Get a quote for conveyancing which will also include an accurate SDLT or LTT calculation.
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 or complete 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.
When you’re choosing a conveyancing company, look to see what other benefits they offer within their conveyancing fees, such as a ‘No Move, No Legal Fee’ guarantee. If your sale or purchase falls through, this guarantee offered by some companies will mean you won’t be liable to pay any legal fees.
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. (Note, this is the contractual deposit – see the Jargon Buster below.) 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 when you complete on your sale.
Don’t worry if it all sounds a bit complicated. Your conveyancer will take care of everything – including the various exchanges of money that need to happen.
When are fees paid during the conveyancing process:
We’ve broken the conveyancing process into bitesize steps, so you can clearly see when the different conveyancing fees are usually due:
Step 1 – Initial consultation call
Step 2 – Pay for your search packs + searches ordered (buying only)
Step 3 – Searches returned for review
Step 4 – Contracts signed + completion date agreed
Step 5 – Send your cash deposit to your conveyancer (unless using proceeds from sale)
Step 6 – Exchange
Step 7 – Pay legal fees
Step 8 – Completion (+ any other disbursements due)*
*If you have SDLT or LTT to pay on the property, you will have transferred the funds to your conveyancer or solicitor before completing your purchase.
JARGON BUSTER Deposit
Deposit can mean two things to house movers. It commonly means the difference between the mortgage amount and the house price. It’s the cash you have to pay on top of whatever you are borrowing. However, in the legal language of conveyancing, it means the amount that a buyer pays at exchange of contracts and could lose if the sale does not happen because they pull out. It’s nearly always 10% of the total price. The two meanings are completely different so be careful not to confuse them.
Conveyancing fees myths
Understanding the costs involved in buying or selling a property can be tough – so we’ve busted some myths around conveyancing fees to clear a few things up…
“You should go for the cheapest conveyancer“
✗ – Not true!
While you may be trying to find a way of cutting costs, you shouldn’t always go for the cheapest option. Instead, find out what’s included in any quote and ask who will be working on your case. Check if there’s a ‘No Move, No Legal Fee’ guarantee and whether searches will be honoured if your purchase falls through. It’s always important to look at independent reviews and listen to advice from family or friends too.
“Conveyancing fees are expensive, I can do it myself“
✗ – Not true!
If you are using a mortgage for the purchase of a house, or if you have a mortgage on a property you are selling, your lender will require a conveyancer or solicitor to complete the legal work on the transaction. Check out our guide to DIY conveyancing to learn more.
“Conveyancing fees include survey costs“
✗ – Not true!
Your quote should include costs for searches, which check the local area. However, surveys are not included. You can request your own structural survey, known as a homebuyers report, if you want more information, greater peace of mind and to pre-empt any big repair bills. The cost of this kind of survey is not included within the conveyancer’s fees. Your valuation survey (a desked-based survey carried out by your mortgage provider) is not included either, however these often have the costs included in the mortgage fees.
Conveyancing fees jargon buster
When buying or selling a house, you may come across unfamiliar words or phrases. They could appear on your quote or account statement so it’s important to understand what they are.
If you are selling your property at auction, there is a charge to create an auction pack prior to the auction taking place.
If you are buying a property at auction, there is a charge to review the contract pack for the property you intend to buy, prior to the auction taking place.
Buy to Let fee
There is usually a charge added if you are buying or selling a property that either has a current tenant, or you plan to rent it out. For example, your mortgage lender may ask for additional details and checks – this fee covers such additional work.
This part of the conveyancing fees covers the costs your conveyancer pays out on your behalf to third parties for work involved in the house purchase or sale.
Declaration of Trust fee
If you are buying a property with another person and wish to set out in detail how you own the property together, you may want a Declaration of Trust (also known as a Deed of Trust). This is mainly used when the deposit is not divided equally. The fee covers the cost of this additional legal paperwork.
It’s usually advised to have 1-2 weeks between exchange and completion, however things can be done more quickly. If the time between exchange and completion is 3 working days or less, there will be an Expedition fee to pay.
Gifted deposit fee
If you are buying a property with the help of money provided as a gift from a family member or friend, there is usually an additional charge. This is because extra documents and checks will need to be completed for the person providing the gifted money. This fee is charged for each person who helps you.
Indemnity Insurance fee
Indemnity Insurance policies provide financial protection when there are specific legal issues with the property that you are buying or selling. There is a fee applied for arranging these policies which is charged for each policy arranged. (Note that these don’t always cover you for the actual issue itself, however they cover you financially against any future legal action taken because of it).
These are the fees you’ll pay for using the services of a solicitor to complete the legal work on your transaction. Other costs may be included within this fee – though sometimes they’re shown separately – so make sure to check the small print. Legal fees often cover things like Archiving, Lawyer Verification Fees, ID Checks and Telegraphic Transfers.
This administration fee covers the paperwork involved if you’re using a mortgage to buy your house, or if you already have one on the house you are selling.
New build fee
If the house you are buying is a newly built property, or a property that is still under construction, there is a charge for checking that it has been constructed in line with current planning laws and building regulations. It includes checking that the property will have the benefit of a new build warranty (such as the NHBC 10-year guarantee).
Searches / search pack
Your conveyancer will arrange searches of Land Registry and Local Authority information. These check for potential issues with the property and nearby land and are often compulsory when a mortgage is being used, read more about searches.
Second or subsequent mortgage fee
When you are selling a property which has more than one legal charge (such as a mortgage) registered on the property, there will be an additional fee.
When you are buying a property with the assistance of more than one mortgage or finance product, there will also be an additional fee.
Shared Ownership fee
If buying or selling a shared ownership property, the lease and the legal title may contain extra restrictions and the landlord may have additional conditions that the conveyancer will need to satisfy. This fee is to cover the additional work in making all the checks and dealing with any additional parties.
If you’re buying or selling a shared ownership property and need to increase your stake in the property on or before completion (known as staircasing), there will be a charge for the preparation or approval of the necessary documents and the registration of the increase at the Land Registry. There will also be an additional charge made by the Land Registry.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a government tax on property purchases over certain price brackets.
Unregistered Title fee
If you’re buying or selling a property which is not registered with the Land Registry, there is a charge for drafting and checking the Epitome of Title.
Verification of lawyer fee
This fee covers anti-fraud checks that verify the bank details of the seller’s lawyer.