Conveyancing Costs

We know how confusing home conveyancing and the associated legal fees can be. That’s why we created a guide to Understanding Conveyancing Fees that is completely FREE for anyone to download. Just click the button below and get your copy now.

Based on the thousands of customers we helped last year to buy and sell residential property (houses, bungalows and flats that people live in), we have created a guide to our typical charges and the legal fees you can expect below.

The actual price you pay depends on several factors, including:

  • The value of the property that you are buying or selling (the price for more expensive properties will be higher);
  • Whether the land is freehold or leasehold property (freehold is cheaper, most houses are freehold, flats are leasehold);
  • Whether the property is registered at the Land Registry. Properties that have not changed hands for a long time may not be registered, which increases costs.

To receive your tailored Free, No Obligation, Fixed Price Quotation, please call us on 01482 300200 or complete our Free Online Enquiry.

There are lots of ways to make the process of buying a property more streamlined. One of the best options is always to spend a little time researching the legal fees and conveyancing costs that you can expect. While there are a lot of additional and often unexpected costs when it comes to buying a new home, the legal side of things is vital to get right.

In our downloadable guide to conveyancing costs and legal fees, we break down every possible cost involved in conveyancing. What follows is a summary of that information and some quick answers to some of the most common questions we get asked at Lockings.

For your peace of mind, all work is covered by our clear price guarantee.

“Friendly, efficient , professional. We were referred to Lockings by an Estate Agent. From the start they forwarded concise information explaining clearly the process of purchasing our property and advised us every step of the way. Any queries were dealt with quickly in a very helpful manner. We would certainly recommend Lockings. Finally, and very importantly, their fees were very reasonable. Thank you Lockings.”

5 star review from Ashley.

Summary of Conveyancing Costs

Conveyancing can often seem overly complicated, and conveyancing costs can be a mystery if you’re unsure what the process involves. That’s why at Lockings, we always make sure that you know exactly what’s happening with your house purchase or sale and are 100% transparent about all of the conveyancing costs and legal fees.

Your overall conveyancing costs will be what you pay to your solicitor so that they can get on with all of the legal aspects that are involved with a property ownership transfer. There’s a lot that needs to be done during the conveyancing process, and it all needs to be correct. There are many ways to speed up a property sale, but any mistakes could slow down the purchase and even cost you your dream home.

So getting the paperwork right is essential for a more stress-free process. 

When Do You Pay Conveyancing Fees?

If you are buying or selling property as an investor, your solicitor may ask for some or all of the payment upfront. 

On the other hand, if you are a home mover, it’s most common for your solicitor to wait for payment of their fees until completion — some, like Lockings, work on a “no sale, no fee” basis, so you don’t pay legal fees if you don’t complete. Your solicitor will also likely limit what they ask you to pay upfront for the things they know they will have to pay out on your behalf — like searches if you are buying. This is why most solicitors only ask for a small deposit when you hire them. 

As the exchange of contracts approaches, your solicitor will send you a completion statement that sets out the rest of the money they require from you to complete your move.

Can I Save Money on Conveyancing Fees?

Many legal fees vary from firm to firm, and no two law firms are the same, so it certainly can pay to shop around. We wouldn’t recommend that you look for the cheapest solicitor — a trap many fall into and regret — because why would you go for the cheapest option for one of the most important purchases of your life? Instead, we recommend ensuring you are paying for a good service and not getting caught out by hidden fees.

For example, any estate agent you use to sell your property (and many you approach when buying) will likely recommend a conveyancing solicitor. This may appear helpful, but some financial incentive usually drives the recommendation, and the estate agent will likely earn a fee if you use their recommended solicitor. So be sure you know what the financial incentive is and whether you are paying or it is coming out of your solicitor’s fee. If it is coming out of their fee, you might still be paying indirectly for the services they deliver from the fee they have left. So you’ll think that you’re getting a complete service for the total price you pay when, in reality, you’re getting a lesser service due to the solicitor paying that referral fee.

You’re not likely to get a competitive price if you just use the first conveyancing service recommended to you. That’s why we always tell clients that they should do some research and compare conveyancing fees and costs. While there are average conveyancing fees, some solicitors will charge more than others. There is nothing wrong with that — but make sure any extra you pay is for good service. 

It’s easy to overlook or undervalue the importance of conveyancing, and it might be tempting to cut the cost entirely and do it yourself. While there’s nothing illegal about this, it’s best to be wary. Unless you’ve got an education in property law, you can easily make mistakes if you attempt your own conveyancing.Carrying out your own conveyancing could also cost you more than the average conveyancing fee. If you need a mortgage, your lender will still require their own solicitor, so you may as well choose them for the same fee and ask them to work for you, too, as you will be required to pay their fees anyway and they will work out about the same. 

A good solicitor will be on your side during the transfer of ownership of a property. They are at the heart of the house purchase and will be the key to turning a potentially stressful experience into one that’s as streamlined and stress-free as possible.

When you’re doing your research, make sure that you look for a conveyancing solicitor that offers the following:

  • No move, no fee. If a house sale falls through, you won’t have to pay the conveyancing fees, although you may still have to pay for any disbursements already paid.
  • A fixed quote that includes all of the legal work required. 
  • A specialism in conveyancing (a divorce solicitor may not be the best option when you’re trying to move home!)

Remember that comparing conveyancing fees, services, and customer reviews is always a good idea. Your research is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re hiring the best conveyancing solicitor rather than simply hiring the first one that catches your attention.

Do First Time Buyers Pay More Conveyancing Fees?

If they don’t do their research, first-time buyers can get caught out by higher conveyancing fees. In theory, they shouldn’t pay much more than seasoned home movers for their purchase and should actually pay less because they don’t have a property to sell, which attracts its own legal fees.

First-time buyers are likely to pay more if they use resources like a Help to Buy ISA. If the property they’re buying is part of a shared ownership scheme, there will likely be some additional legal fees to pay — even if they use a service that offers fixed fee conveyancing.

A Summary of Conveyancing Fees

In our conveyancing fees download, you can find a full breakdown of the costs you should expect to pay when buying or selling a property. We also have other downloadable legal guides that can be useful, particularly our property and conveyancing guide. But if you’re looking for some quick answers to a specific question, here’s a summary.

The Conveyancing Process

Your conveyancing solicitor will ensure that everything related to the law is followed correctly throughout the conveyancing process. It’s a good idea to choose a conveyancer with relevant legal experience and training who also offers fixed fee conveyancing. 

One of the first things a conveyancer will do is carry out an identity check, so everyone involved in the house purchase is confident you are who you say you are. Once this is confirmed, they will begin inspecting the seller’s contract (if you’re buying) or drawing up a contract for you (If you’re selling) or both (if you’re buying and selling).

A buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will obtain and consider property searches. They will also go through the seller’s property information forms (a long list of standard questions the seller replies to on standard forms), inspect any surveyor’s reports and ask the seller’s solicitor questions about anything that comes up.

Conveyancingworks best when there is a quick response to those queries, as slow replies lead to slow property ownership transfers. So the seller and the buyer need to work closely with their solicitor and make sure they are quick to respond.

Conveyancers and Mortgages

Arrangements for all the necessary mortgage funds can slow things down, especially if you’re part of a long buyer and seller property chain. As you might expect, mortgage lenders play a major role in property transfers where borrowing is involved. In most transactions, somebody will be using a mortgage somewhere in the chain, even if you are not.

If you arrange a mortgage, your solicitor will often also act for your lender. So there needs to be effective communication between your solicitor, your lender and you.

Paying off a mortgage on a property you are selling can result in delays. However, provided your solicitor requests the amount to pay off — the redemption figure — in good time, this is usually not a problem.

Additional Work Means Additional Conveyancing Costs

Conveyancing fees will differ depending on the type of property you want to buy or sell. Your solicitor will need to do extra work with some property types, which will be reflected in your final bill (even if you’ve chosen a solicitor that provides fixed fee conveyancing). The kinds of property where you can expect to see additional conveyancing and legal fees are:

  • Leasehold
  • Shared ownership property
  • Right to Buy
  • New Builds
  • Help to Buy

In the case of the above examples, your solicitor will apply additional fees if required when giving you your initial quote — as long as you have given them the full details. 

However, there are rare situations where it’s only once the transaction is ongoing that something crops up that could cause additional fees — for instance, an incorrectly executed previous transfer. In these situations, you can expect your solicitor to go through your options before you commit to any additional charges.

Why Are Conveyancing Quotes So Varied?

You’ve done the smart thing and spent some time comparing conveyancing quotes, but you could be surprised just how different those quotes can be! Again, the more you understand the process and the different types of conveyancing services available, the clearer it becomes why those quotes can vary.

  • Online conveyancing: These are likely to be the lowest quotes you’ll see, with some of the prices so low they become red flags. Unfortunately, online conveyancing can lead to a range of issues, such as slow response time to queries and a final bill much higher than your original quote.
  • High street solicitors: This is the traditional option for conveyancing options. While the legal fees may be higher than you’ll find online, there’s not always a guarantee that your high street solicitor will do a better job for you than a more anonymous online service.

That’s why comparing conveyancers and checking reviews is so important. If you do choose a high street solicitor, make sure you know which member of their team will be handling your property case, and check their reviews before committing to a final choice. Also, take into consideration whether you need a local conveyancing solicitor.

  • Referrals by estate agents: This has already been mentioned above, but it can’t be stressed enough. Make sure an estate agent’s recommendation is the best option by doing your own research. It’s surprisingly common for buyers and sellers to simply take an estate agent’s word and use their recommendations without additional research.

At least check out their reviews and find out how much the estate agent is getting, as the bigger the referral fee, the more incentive they have to push you to their choice rather than what’s best for you. Remember, you are entitled to know how much the referral fee is. Are you paying it directly through higher fees than you would pay to another solicitor? Or are you paying indirectly, with your solicitor paying the referral fee from their costs? If it’s the latter, there’s a risk the solicitor won’t deliver a good, value for money service because of the cost of the referral fee.

Paying Conveyancing Fees When a House Sale Falls Through

Whether it’s caused by gazumping, the owner changing their minds about selling, or someone further down the property chain being delayed, house sales fall through all the time. It can be frustrating to make an offer, have it accepted, and then find out later that you’re not getting that home.

But when a house sale does fall through, how does that affect your conveyancing and legal fees? Well, if you’re buying, you obviously won’t have to pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Depending on how far things have progressed, your solicitor will likely have already made some payments on your behalf — like property searches if you are buying. So you will not get that money back unless a new buyer purchases the searches off you — something that can happen if the searches aren’t too old.

The further along the selling or buying process you are, the more work your conveyancing solicitor will have done for you. That will mean a higher final bill, even if the sale falls through. Paying those costs — even if you don’t secure your new home — can be frustrating, especially if the sale collapses due to reasons out of your control. 

Unless you have a solicitor operating on a “no sale, no fee” basis, you will also have some costs to pay for them for the work they have done. This can vary considerably between solicitors. So given the regularity with which sales fall through, it’s a good idea to check what happens with any solicitor you are considering. There are not many solicitors out there like Lockings who operate a “no move, no fee” for their home mover customers — meaning “no sale, no fee” applies whether you are a seller, a buyer or both. Most solicitors who operate “no sale, no fee” will still charge their buyer clients something if a transaction falls through. So again, it’s important to check exactly what any solicitor you consider means by “no sale, no fee”.

Don’t forget that if you do get a final bill from your conveyancer you’re not happy with, you can always question them.

Contact the Lockings Team Today

Message us today if you’re looking for a conveyancing solicitor you can trust. At Lockings, we pride ourselves on a professional and friendly conveyancing service that is 100% transparent at all times. Contact us today and get a FREE consultation with our friendly team of advisors.

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