How To Check Solicitors Charges: Do Solicitors Charge If A House Sale Falls Through?


There is no question about it; when buying a home, assistance from a solicitor is highly recommended. A home purchase is one of the biggest events in many people’s lives, and it is an expensive affair. After spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a home, you want to make sure you own the property, and it’s just as you wanted it to be. Working with solicitors on a sale, though, can be quite expensive. Today the average fee for a solicitor when buying a home in the UK is close to £2,400. Unfortunately, though, not every home sale will reach completion. What happens to those solicitor’s fees if your home sale falls through? What will you end up paying?

Understanding the Cost of Conveyancing

Conveyancing costs generally depend on the property value and its location; as the value of the property increases, so do the conveyancing costs. Today you can expect to see conveyancing costs between £600 to £2,400 with an average cost of around £1,200. These prices do include VAT.

This global fee usually includes the following:

  • Solicitor’s legal fee
  • Conveyancing disbursements
  • Other additional costs.

The legal fee is the rate the solicitor charges for his or her services. Typically, that’s either a fixed fee or an hourly rate.

Conveyancing disbursements are fees or taxes that the solicitor pays to a third party as part of the home-buying process. The disbursements are not directly included in the solicitor’s fee but are separate fees that need to be paid upfront when initiating the conveyancing process. Search fees, court fees, and land registry fees are examples of disbursement. Typically your solicitor will let you know what those disbursements are, what they’re going to cost you, and when you can expect to pay them well in advance of the transaction.

Here is a list of some common disbursement fees charged by third parties, which will be collected from you by the solicitor:

  • Land Registry fee to ensure that the individual selling you the property is the actual owner of the home
  • Electronic ID verification to check for proof of your identification and verify your address. The data you provide will be checked against national records to verify the information you have provided
  • Local authority searches are done to ensure that shortly, there will be no major constructions that will impact your property. You do not want a major highway or a large mall built near your home within two years of moving. The cost of these searches does vary, but they are not cheap.
  • The environmental search fee is to ensure that the land near you has no contamination or pollution and the water is clean.
  • Water and drainage fees are to ensure that your home is already connected to drainage and the main water supply.
  • The Telegraphic transfer fee is to cover all the bank charges when money is transferred by the buyer.
  • The Land Registry fee is for the transfer of the property into your name. The fee depends on the value of your property.
  • The property fraud check fee is to ensure that any money being paid by the seller is not fraudulent.

There may be other fees and requirements if the property you’re purchasing is a leasehold.

So, what does your solicitor do to earn the money you end up paying? He or she handles all of the legal documentation and searches listed above involved in the transfer of ownership between the seller and you. He or she also handles all of the required communication with the Land Registry. Your solicitor draws up the contract, then once it’s complete, ensures payment of Stamp Duty, your estate agent, and other parties. It’s a fairly big job, and if your home sale falls through, your solicitor could be in the middle of that job when it happens. At that point, understanding what you might STILL owe even though you’re not getting the home of your dreams is a must.

What You Might Owe If the Sale Falls Through

There are several different reasons you may not be able to purchase the home you set out to. It could be that the survey uncovered several seriously concerning issues. It’s possible the seller took another offer before the official exchange of contracts. Maybe your life situation changed, and this is suddenly no longer the right home for you. No matter what the change, if the sale falls through, your solicitor has still likely done quite a bit of work on your part, and you typically will be responsible for that work. You’ll often be responsible for any disbursements that have already been handled and any hours logged by your solicitor. Typically checking with your solicitor in advance will help you understand exactly what you might owe, and if you’re still in the market for a new home, he or she may offer some credit to your account when you do find the right home to meet your needs.

Finding Cheap Conveyancing Solicitors Near Me: Comparison Shopping

Fortunately, there is no shortage of solicitors in the UK; you can easily find one by doing an online search, and while many are diligent, others are not. One of the great things about the internet is that it allows you to check and compare prices on almost anything, and the same applies to solicitor fees in the UK. Today you can easily check out the pricing information for solicitors and determine what services they offer. This way, you know what you are getting for your money. Many online websites offer comparative quotes of solicitors in each part of the country. Finding the right one for you at the right price shouldn’t be too difficult.

Keep in mind, though, that price doesn’t always equal quality. When you are in search of a home, you will be recommended a list of solicitors by your real estate agent, your financial lender, or even the building contractor. You are at liberty to choose one on your own, but the important thing is to get a solicitor who knows real estate, unlike a family lawyer who may not know the latest regulations and laws in the world of real estate. Select someone who both fits into your budget and has the necessary experience.

For example, imagine you had a friend who just wrote a Bishopsgate Law review online because they were accommodating when your friend had to sue a contractor who didn’t complete some work. Those solicitors might have been helpful in that situation, but just because they’re solicitors doesn’t mean they have the experience you need to complete the sale of your home, so be sure you’re working with a team that specialises in the purchase of homes.

What Are No Win No Fee Solicitors?

In the UK, several conveyancing firms can assist the public with the purchase of a home. Most of these agencies have a fixed fee rate or they can at least give you some sense of what you might pay on the completion of your sale. If you’ve seen an ad near public transport for “Homeward Legal Conveyancing” or “Simpson Millar No Win-No Fee” services or even all of those “No Win No Fee” solicitors in Cheltenham, though, you might be curious as to how that works.

These ads offer an idea called no sale-no-fee conveyancing. The idea here is that if the sale of the home does fall through, the buyer will not have to pay the legal fees. Sometimes you may see these called “No Sale-No Fee” solicitors or “No Move-No Fee” conveyancing services.

In reality, this is just advertising hype to attract more home buyers. In almost all cases, even if the home sale does not fall through, you will never get back ALL of your money. So if you paid £2,300 for the conveyancing lawyer, you might get something small back if the home deal fails. Some solicitors have it printed in small writing that there will be no refunds if the home sale does fall through. Others are willing to give a partial refund. If the solicitor had already hired third parties to conduct surveys and searches on the home, these professionals still need to be paid, even if the home sale fails.

In general, the solicitor will have incurred fees for disbursements with third-party agencies, and he or she has to pay them, so that sum of money will be deducted from your final refund.

With conveyancing solicitors and “No Sale-No Fee” arrangements, you will be required to pay anywhere from £150 to £350 which covers third-party costs for the searches.

Finding No Sale No Fee Conveyancing Solicitors Near Me

In some cases, experienced ‘no win-no fee’ property solicitors in London and beyond can be the right choice. They really can help, and many won’t charge you their legal fees if the sale falls through, only the cost of the disbursements they’ve already paid. These no-win-no-fee solicitors in the property will usually help you understand what conveyancing with no sale no fee arrangements mean at the first arrangement. So, how do you locate these professionals? Do you just type “no sale no fee solicitors near me” into a search engine? To find the right conveyancing solicitors with no completion and no fee arrangements to meet your needs, you’ll do the same as you would to find traditional property solicitors.

  • Speak to your lender/real estate agent about a referral to a solicitor but do not sign anything until you speak to him or her. You need to get a positive feeling first.
  • Speak to your friends and family who may have dealt with a solicitor with experience in real estate
  • Do an online search and read the reviews. Granted, some reviews may be fake but look at the overall picture they portray of the lawyer.

No matter what referral you get, it is important to physically visit the solicitor, ask him or her all the necessary questions, and determine the type of response. Do not be afraid to ask about the solicitor’s experience and whether he or she is licensed and registered. If the solicitor is evasive or vague with the answers, continue with your search.

Finding the Right Person to Meet Your Needs

Buying a home should never be an emergency, and you should set yourself ample time to do the legwork to find a decent conveyancing solicitor. Speak to several solicitors and get a quote, but don’t always go for the cheapest solicitor in town; in most cases, if you choose a deal that seems too good to be true, it may be.


What are solicitor’s abortive fees?

If your conveyancing solicitor did not come with a ‘No Sale, No Fee Guarantee’  your conveyancing solicitor will most likely bill you for some or all the legal work already done under the contract you signed. The amount you will be billed depends on how much the solicitor has already completed. In most cases, you will end up paying anywhere from 60-80 per cent of the lawyer fees even though you did not get anything in return.

What does pulling out of a no-win no-fee mean?

If you decide to pull out of a no-win no fee claim despite having signed a conditional agreement, you will be liable for all the legal work done up to that point.

Do solicitors charge if house sales fall through?

If a home sale falls through, regardless of whether the seller or buyer pulls out, you will be liable for the solicitor’s conveyancing fees. The amount you will need to pay will depend on how much work the lawyer has already completed.

Do I need to pay the conveyancing fees upfront when purchasing a home?

Some firms ask for the entire amount upfront, and others ask for anywhere from 10-40 per cent of the fee upfront. You need to ask the solicitor how he or she wants the payment.

Can conveyancing fees be negotiated?

In many cases, you may be able to negotiate the bill with the solicitor. The decrease in your bill after negotiations may drop by £100 to £200.

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