House Conveyancing Fees

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Conveyancing fees comprise the costs charged by a solicitor or licenced conveyancer for carrying out the legal work involved in transferring residential property ownership between a buyer and seller. Conveyancing fees cover the time and effort conveyancers and their staff spend on essential tasks like conducting searches, verifying titles, drafting contracts, liaising between parties and overseeing completion. For both buyers and sellers, understanding what influences conveyancing fees helps in budgeting for this unavoidable cost when moving house.

Core Conveyancing Tasks

Standard conveyancing fees are charged primarily for core legal tasks including:

  • Taking instructions from clients about the property sale or purchase and desired timescales.
  • Requesting and verifying identification documents from clients for anti-money laundering purposes.
  • Obtaining evidence of the seller’s title, checking deeds, preparing contract pack.
  • Arranging searches related to the property. Reviewing search results and raising enquiries.
  • Preparing a draft contract of sale and conveyance transfer deed.
  • Negotiating terms, answering buyer’s enquiries, and agreeing on the contract.
  • Advising on joint ownership structures where there are multiple buyers.
  • Updating clients regularly with progress and guidance.
  • Overseeing exchange of contracts and advising clients pre-completion.
  • Securing signed transfer documentation and witnessing client signatures.
  • Executing completion formalities like stamp duty payments on behalf of the client.
  • Registering the buyer as the new legal owner and supplying proof documentation.

Conveyancing fees cover this whole process from pending contracts to legal completion. The time spent depends on the case’s complexity.

Standard Conveyancing Fees

Many conveyancers quote a base fee for standard conveyancing work on a typical property sale or purchase. This standard fee assumes:

  • A freehold residential property. More work is needed for leasehold or shared ownership.
  • One buyer/seller. Additional effort is required to handle joint owners.
  • No title issues or defects were identified affecting the property. These add complications.
  • A mortgage is required. Preparing additional deeds increases work.
  • The transaction follows the standard conveyancing workflow without unexpected deviations.

Quoted standard fees can range from £500-£1500 for a purchase and £500-£1000 for a sale. Conveyancers in London and the South East often charge higher fees reflecting the greater time input needed for properties in these regions. However, the actual final fee depends on the particular complexities of each case. Simple transactions may end up below standard estimates while more complicated cases accrue higher fees.

Extra Conveyancing Fees

Many conveyancers detail extra fees chargeable for additional work such as:

  • Acting for a lender providing the buyer’s mortgage – £150-£300
  • Preparing shared ownership leases and regulations – £200-£500
  • Submitting help to buy paperwork – £50-£150
  • Obtaining consent to sell from mortgage lender – £75-150
  • Dealing with title issues like easements, restrictive covenants etc – £200-£500
  • Transfer of equity cases e.g. adding joint owner – £250-£600
  • Unregistered land registration – £250-£600
  • Help to Buy ISA bonus claims – £50-£100
  • Approving property alterations post-exchange – £75-£250
  • Drafting statutory declarations e.g. identifying client – £75-£150
  • Reviewing Solar Panel leases – £75-£150
  • Settling neighbour disputes delaying transactions – £200+

NOTE: THE FEES MENTIONED GIVE A GUIDE TO ADDITIONAL COSTS THAT MAY APPLY TO SPECIFIC SITUATIONS. CONVEYANCERS SHOULD PROVIDE FULL FEE BREAKDOWNS UPFRONT LISTING WHAT EXTRAS COULD POTENTIALLY ARISE. THE FEES MENTIONED MAY VARY DEPENDING ON THE SITUATION.

Disbursements and Third-Party Costs

As well as their fees, conveyancers pass on the costs of disbursements needed to complete transactions. These include:

  • Search fees – e.g. local authority, environmental, water/drainage searches.
  • Land Registry registration fees – based on property value.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax – Property purchase taxes payable to HMRC by the buyer.
  • Electronic money transfer fees – For sending and receiving completion funds.
  • VAT on fees – If the conveyancer is VAT registered..

These costs are collected by conveyancers on behalf of the parties involved and included in final invoices. The buyer usually pays the stamp duty and land registry fee.

Factors Affecting Conveyancing Fees

While base fees provide indications, the actual conveyancing costs incurred depend on:

  • Property type – Leasehold, shared ownership and unregistered land require greater work.
  • Property location – London and rural locations take more work.
  • Multiple owners – Joint owners mean more paperwork and clients.
  • Mortgages – Acting for lenders increases work.
  • Title issues – Complications like access rights must be resolved.
  • Property alterations – Check correct planning permissions exist.
  • Purchase delays – Problems that interrupt standard timeframes cost more.
  • Client urgency – Those in a rush may request out-of-hours work for a premium.
  • Formal client identification – More involved for overseas clients or those lacking standard ID.

Conveyancers should provide realistic quotes accounting for these kinds of variables from the outset to avoid budget surprises.

Reducing Conveyancing Fees

Ways buyers and sellers can aim to reduce conveyancing costs include:

  • Research – Compare quotes from a few conveyancers before selecting competitively priced services.
  • DIY property information – Gather fixtures lists, title deeds and plans yourself to save time and costs.
  • Be organised – Provide conveyancers will full information promptly when requested to prevent delays.
  • Avoid urgency – Rushed timeframes usually mean conveyancers charge premium rates for out-of-hours work.
  • Declare issues early – Disclosing concerns you have about the property or transaction early on saves time investigating later.
  • Ask about inclusions – Some offer products like home buyer reports free or as part of their package.
  • Check disbursements – Ensure no excessive markups are being added to third-party costs.

While conveyancing involves unavoidable legal fees, being organised, open and proactive can help reduce costs. Shopping around also prompts conveyancers to remain fairly priced in a competitive market.

Using Conveyancing Fees Calculators

Many conveyancers provide online instant quote calculators to estimate potential fees. By inputting property details like type, location, purchase price, buyers etc, these tools calculate indicative fees to help buyers and sellers budget. However, buyers should still obtain tailored quotes from their shortlisted conveyancers before deciding, as online calculators cannot assess all individual transaction complexities that affect final costs. They offer a sensible starting point.

How Are Conveyancing Fees Paid?

Conveyancing fees are usually payable at various stages of the process, not as a single upfront payment. For example:

  • On instruction – Initial payment covers setting up the case.
  • Upon contract – Further payment once the draft contract is prepared.
  • On exchange – Proportion payable upon legally committing to purchase.
  • On completion – The remaining amount settles the whole balance.

Staged payments allow costs to be spread. However, conveyancers expect fees to be settled promptly at each stage and can pause work until paid. The buyer typically pays the stamp duty on completion.

Conclusions

Conveyancing fees cover the essential legal work of transferring property ownership. Understanding what determines standard fees versus extra costs helps buyers and sellers budget realistically. While conveyancing represents an added expense for movers, professional expertise protects your interests in high-value property transactions. Paying a fair conveyancing fee ultimately safeguards your assets and tax on cash gifts UK when gifting money for a deposit.

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