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  1. Blog
  2. How much are conveyancing fees?
Conveyancing help and guides
03 December 2021

How much are conveyancing fees?

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
Laptop on a table with a notepad that has been written in.

Table of contents

  1. 1. What are conveyancing fees?
  2. 2. What affects the final cost?
  3. 3. What do conveyancing fees include?
  4. 4. Conveyancing fees when buying a house
  5. 5. Conveyancing fees when selling a house
  6. 6. What is fixed fee conveyancing?
  7. 7. What is 'no sale no fee' conveyancing?
  8. 8. When do you have to pay conveyancing fees?
  9. 9. Comparing conveyancing fees
  10. 10. What's the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?
  11. 11. FAQs

Conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors are pretty essential to property transactions. However, their legal costs can be difficult to get your head around. There are several factors that affect the cost of their legal fees, as well as additional disbursements that weigh in on the final figure.

In this guide we take a look at average conveyancing fees in England and break down some of the costs. What do conveyancing fees cover? Is a local conveyancing solicitor cheaper?

What are conveyancing fees?

Conveyancing fees are the legal fees you pay a conveyancer or solicitor when you hire them for a property transaction. Conveyancers are necessary for the legal parts of buying and selling property, such as contract exchanges and the final day of completion.

You can read more about the function of conveyancers in our guide article, 'What is conveyancing?'.

How much are conveyancing fees?

Conveyancing costs are priced differently depending on whether you're a buyer or seller. On average:

  • If you’re selling a house worth £256,000, conveyancing fees are £500 - £1500 plus VAT and disbursements.
  • If you’re buying a house worth £256,000, conveyancing fees are £500 - £2000 plus VAT and disbursements.

There are additional factors that can affect the final figure, but as a rule of thumb, buying a house is more expensive than selling one.

How are conveyancing fees calculated?

Whether you're buying or selling, conveyancing costs are usually calculated according to three primary factors:

1. The price of the property:

The size and value of the property can have a big effect on conveyancing fees. If you're buying or selling an expensive property, disbursements like the Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Registry fees are likely to be higher.

2. If you're buying or selling with a mortgage:

If you're looking to take out a mortgage with a lender, your conveyancing fees will be more expensive. If your mortgage offer is approved, your conveyancer will have to work with the mortgage lender to prepare for completion day.

You can expect them to charge a Mortgage Supplement Fee to account for this extra work (£100 - £195 plus VAT).

For more information on selling a property with a mortgage, check out this article.

3. Whether the property is a freehold or leasehold:

Conveyancing fees for leaseholds are higher than those for freeholds. Leasehold properties are leased from a landlord (or leaseholder), so additional costs arise from dealing with the leaseholder. These include investigations into the length of lease, and purchasing a Deed of Covenant, which is a legal agreement between the buyer and landlord to determine who pays for things like repairs.

You can expect a conveyancer to charge a Leasehold Supplement Fee(£100 - £250 plus VAT) to account for these extra negotiations.

What affects the final cost?

There are some secondary factors that may affect your final conveyancing fee:

Is the property a new build?

Conveyancers for new build properties charge more because new builds can be more complex to purchase and sell. New builds may have non-compliance rules with planning procedures, as well as problems with roads and sewers. Naturally, this means more work for the conveyancer.

Is the property Right to Buy?

If you’re buying a council property under a Right to Buy scheme, your conveyancer might charge a higher fee to deal with extra enquiries and issues.

What do conveyancing fees include?

Conveyancing fees include two types of costs:

  1. Legal fees: Standard rates for a solicitor's services.
  2. Disbursements: Expenses a conveyancer has to pay out on behalf of a client for goods or services.

In the following section, we break down costs associated with using conveyancer.

Conveyancing fees when buying a house

Legal feesCostAverage
Professional fee£500 - £2000£1500
Administration fee£50 - £100£75
Professional fee: £500 - £2000 plus VAT

The professional fee is the standard fee that conveyancers charge irrespective of other fees. You will usually see the most variety here.

Please note: Your professional fee may be subject to ‘No move no fee’. This means if the property is pulled from the market, you won't have to pay the conveyancer. 'No move no fee' is an excellent service, but make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully. It usually relies on the property remaining at a static price.

Administration fee: £50 - £100

Some conveyancers charge a fee to meet a proportion of set-up and admin costs.

Disbursements

Search fees

Search feesCostAverage
Local authority£40 - £250£120
Drainage£35 - £50£42.50
Environmental report£36 - £42£39
Chancel repair£12£12
Bankruptcy£2 - £2.90£2.50
Land charges£6 - £10£8
Local authority search fee: £40 - £250

This is a search of your local area. They check for planned road schemes, parking restrictions, building regulations and enforcement notices.

Drainage search fee: £35 - £50

This search provides details of the infrastructure of public water and sewer networks connected to the property.

Environmental report fee: £36 - £42

Searches for any environmental risks, including flooding, ground stability and energy infrastructure.

Remember: Some conveyancers offer a complete package for professional searches. These searches are an essential part of your property purchase as they locate potential issues.

Chancel repair liability search fee: £12

A check to see if you need to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the local church.

Bankruptcy search fee (VAT exempt): £2 - £2.90

This is a search carried out by the conveyancer to check for bankruptcy claims against individuals.

Land registry charges (VAT exempt): £6 - £10

A check with the Land Registry to ensure there’s no outstanding charges against the property.

Additional costs

OtherCostAverage
Anti-money laundering£6 - £25£13.99
Mortgage Supplement£100 - £195£132
Leasehold Supplement£100 - £250£163
Bank transfer£25 - £50£37.50
Stamp Duty Land Tax£60 - £80£70
Lifetime or Help to Buy ISA£50£50
Help to Buy£200 - £300£250
Anti-money laundering check (ID Check): £6 - £25

Banks have anti-money laundering regulations in place that your conveyancer has to meet. To complete this check, you need to provide the conveyancer with proof of your identity.

Mortgage Supplement Fee: £100 - £195 plus VAT

If you've applied for a mortgage, your conveyancer will work on your behalf with your mortgage lender to secure your loan. For this additional work, they charge a fee.

Leasehold Supplement Fee: £100 - £250 plus VAT

If the property you're buying is a leasehold, you have to pay a Leasehold Property Supplement Fee. Leasehold conveyancing is much more complex and conveyancers expect to be compensated for this additional work.

Bank transfer fees: £25 - £50

When conveyancers transfer funds to the vendor’s conveyancers (or transfer any balance of proceeds to your bank) a bank transfer fee is incurred.

Stamp Duty Land Tax return prep: £60 - £80

Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid by your conveyancer when they submit a SDLT return on your behalf. This is a fee for the actual task of submitting the return.

Lifetime or Help to Buy ISA: £50

If you are purchasing property with a Help to Buy bonus, your conveyancer will have to do extra work to redeem it.

Help to Buy: £200 - £300

If you’re buying a property through a Help to Buy scheme, your conveyancer might charge an additional fee because of the legal work involved.

Government fees

Government feesCost
Land RegistryFixed
Stamp Duty Land TaxFixed
Land Transaction TaxFixed
Land Transaction TaxFixed
Land Registry fee (VAT exempt): Fixed

This is the charge by HM Land Registry to register the change of ownership. This charge depends on the price of your property. There are some cases where the Government charges double.

Stamp Duty Land Tax or SDLT (VAT exempt): Fixed

SDLT is a Government purchase tax on residential properties. The more expensive your property, the higher the SDLT. If you own more than one property, this will be even more expensive.

Land Transaction Tax or LTT (For Wales): Fixed

Like English buyers, Welsh buyers have to pay a fixed tax that increases with the price of their property.

Conveyancing fees when selling a house

Legal feesCost
Professional fee£500 - £1000
Land Registry copies£3 - £9.60
Professional fee: £500 - £1500 plus VAT

This is the standard fee that conveyancers charge irrespective of other fees. If you're selling a property, your legal fees are generally cheaper than buying one.

Remember: Your professional fee could be subject to ‘No sale no fee’

Land Registry copies: £3 – £9.60 no VAT

When your conveyancer prepares contracts to send to the buyer’s conveyancer, they need up-to-date copies of the freehold's Title Register and filed Title Plan at the Land Registry. These documents prove the seller owns the property and also provide information on any legal charges against the property.

Disbursements

Additional costs

OtherCostAverage
Anti-money laundering£6 - £25£13.99
Bank transfer£25 - £50£37.50
Title & lease copies£6- £12£9
Mortgage Supplement£100 - £195£132
Leasehold Supplement£100 - £250£163
Anti-money laundering check: £6 - £25

Banks have anti-money laundering regulations in place that your conveyancer has to meet. To complete this check, you need to provide the conveyancer with proof of your identity.

Bank transfer fees: £25 - £50

Any transfers over £60,000 incur a bank transfer fee. Your conveyancer pays this fee on your behalf when they transfer funds to your bank account.

Mortgage Supplement Fee: £100 - £195 plus VAT

If you're selling a property with an outstanding mortgage, your conveyancer will have to work with your lender to redeem or port your mortgage.

Leasehold Supplement Fee: £100 - £250 plus VAT

Conveyancers increase their basic fee to account for the additional work involved with selling a leasehold property.

What is fixed fee conveyancing?

Fixed fee conveyancers offer their services at a rate which is 'fixed'. This means what you pay at the end is the same as what was agreed at the start.

Why choose a fixed fee conveyancer?

Fixed fee services are extremely common in today's property market. Many people choose to go with a fixed fee service because there are no 'hidden costs'. If you're on a tight budget it's helpful to know exactly what you're paying for.

While fixed fee conveyancing is commonplace, this doesn't mean it's fool-proof. Most complaints follow miscommunication over what's actually included in the service. To avoid this, make sure you scrutinise fixed fee deals thoroughly.

If you're thinking of going with a fixed fee solicitor:

  • Understand the full extent of the solicitor's services by reading the small print carefully.
  • Ask them anything you don't understand about their final fees. It's better to ask earlier before raising a dispute.
  • Make sure you're transparent with the solicitor about the details surrounding your property. If the property is a leasehold, the conveyancer can duly prepare.

What is 'no sale no fee' conveyancing?

Some conveyancers offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ (or 'no move, no fee' for buyers) guarantee. This means you only have to pay your conveyancer or solicitor if the transaction successfully completes. This doesn't include any disbursement costs, so you'll have to pay these - at least in part - up front.

Disbursements allow your conveyancer to progress with surveys and checks without having to wait for payment and authorisation for each one. If your sale falls through, you'll still have to pay these costs - even if you're in a 'no sale, no fee' agreement.

A 'no sale, no fee' agreement is usually based on certain terms and stipulations being met, with a common condition being that the selling price (or buying price) does not change. If this price changes in the course of the transaction, you may still have to pay your solicitor if the sale fails to complete.

Here’s a guide to 'no sale no fee' conveyancing if you want to know more.

Remember: When getting quotes from conveyancers, make sure you receive clarification about what's included in the 'no sale no fee' agreement. If you understand the costs, you won't be blindsided if the sale falls through.

When do you have to pay conveyancing fees?

Conveyancing fees are paid according to the contract you agreed:

  • Standard conveyancing fees: Standard conveyancing fees are usually paid at the end of the property purchase or sale. If you've sold a property, your conveyancer will transfer your purchase funds once they have subtracted both the estate agent's fee and their own.
  • Fixed conveyancing fees: Fixed fee conveyancing fees are generally paid at the end of the sale. However, if you have breached the terms of your contract, you might be asked to pay additional fees.

Comparing conveyancing fees

When you compare conveyancing fees, you should pay special attention to their professional legal fee, because this is where you'll see the biggest variance between firms.

When you receive a quote from a conveyancer, the quote should outline their professional fee and disbursements. The professional fee might be higher or lower depending on the firm’s:

  • Reputation
  • Expertise
  • Size

Generally speaking, the more expensive your conveyancer's legal fee, the greater the quality of service you'll receive.

Disbursements have similar rates across the firms. They consist of upfront costs that a conveyancer needs to pay on your behalf to begin the conveyancing process. This includes Land Registry title checks and searches.

While they do have similar rates, it's worth evaluating the full breakdown of disbursement costs. Some firms may not include disbursements or VAT in their quotes to make them appear lower.

As well as comparing fees, you should take the conveyancer's performance into account . Reading customer reviews is a good way to do this.

It's also worth checking their membership to regulatory groups like the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Council for Licenced Conveyancers (CLC). This will ensure you’re getting the best value for money without sacrificing on quality.

What's the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

The difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor is straightforward: conveyancers are solicitors who specialise solely in property, while solicitors offer a full range of legal services, including property.

Both licensed conveyancers and solicitors are fully regulated and insured to help you buy or sell property. Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, while the Council for Licensed Conveyancers regulates Licensed Conveyancers. Both follow similar conveyancing practices and procedures.

You can read more about how to choose a conveyancing solicitor here. Or, for more on fees, check out our guide to estate agency fees.

FAQs

Why does conveyancing cost more if you're remortgaging?

If you're buying a property with a mortgage, a conveyancer will cost more. This is because your conveyancer will have to work with your mortgage lender. You can expect your legal fees to increase by about £50-£250.

Do conveyancers charge for every email or call?

Some conveyancers charge for communication via emails and calls, but the terms of these charges must be outlined in their 'terms of engagement' contract. It can be tedious going through the specifics however, especially if you're after a fixed service.

Who is responsible for conveyancer fees?

The buyer and seller are obligated to pay their own conveyancer's fees. However, under certain circumstances, the fees can be paid by a single party.

Some homesellers might offer to pay the buyer's conveyancing fees if they are keen for a quick sale. In a more dire scenario, where one party breaches contract terms after an exchange of contracts, there are financial penalties. This includes paying the other party's legal fees.

Are local conveyancers cheaper than standard conveyancers?

No, local conveyancers aren't necessarily cheaper than online conveyancers. In fact, they tend to be more expensive than online conveyancers. Local conveyancers need to maintain a high street presence as they own premises. To offset the costs of owning a premises, their fees are often higher.

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