When buying or selling a home, you will need to use a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to take care of the legal side of things for you. This ensures that no important details are missed and protects you from any unpleasant surprises during the property sale or once the deal is done.
The exact amount you pay for conveyancing will depend on who you hire to do the job for you, with some of the fees set by the conveyancer and others set by third-parties. Understanding these fees can give you a better understanding of whether you are being offered value for money, or not.
In this article we look at the main fees and other costs you will pay for conveyancing.
Whether you use a specialist conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor, they will charge you for their time and the work they do. These are the main fees that will vary between different companies. It is a good idea to get a full breakdown of the fees you are charged, so you can more easily compare quotes between different companies.
Disbursements are the fees your solicitor or conveyancer must pay to third parties for key services and checks during the conveyancing process.
The main disbursements cover:
Anti-money laundering checks
Required by the government to prevent money laundering, these are various legal checks to confirm your identity when buying or selling property. Your ID documents will be compared against other independent sources, with this process now commonly carried out online.
The cost of money laundering checks vary, though foreign nationals and ex-pats tend to have to pay more as checking their ID is usually more complicated.
Obtaining title deeds
To legally sell your home, you need a copy of the Title Deeds. These are a series of documents, usually held by the Land Registry, which prove that you own the property.
You will normally be charged a set fee for a single set of Title Deeds, plus an extra fee for any additional documents. If you are selling a leasehold property, you will usually have to pay a higher fee to obtain the relevant title deeds.
When buying a house, it is important to have all the information you can about the property and the surrounding area. Searches are enquiries made with various relevant authorities to establish anything you will need to know before committing to buying the property.
Typical searches include contacting the local council, the Environment Agency and Coal & Water Authorities for key information, such as whether the area is subject to flooding, any rights or way on your property and anything else that may affect you when living in the property.
A common optional search involves contacting the local planning office to find out about any development due to take place in the area in the near future.
Property fraud checks
If you are buying a property, it is a good idea to check that the seller’s lawyer represents a real company before transferring the purchase price to them. This usually only involves a small fee, but is well worth the cost to avoid being caught out by fraud.
Transfer of ownership
As a seller, once you have exchanged contracts on a property, you will need to pay a fee to the Land Registry to transfer the property into the buyer’s name. This fee varies depending on the value of the property.
Bank transfer or Telegraphic Transfer fees
Mortgage companies typically require funds to be transferred using a Telegraphic Transfer. This guarantees that the money reaches the seller at the right time.
Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually charge a fee for handling the transfer, plus the fees charged by the bank.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
If you are buying a property, you will have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax if the property is above a certain value. For residential property, this is currently £125,000, while for non-residential property and land it is £150,000.
The tax is charged on a sliding scale, spread over several property value bands. This means that you will pay a different percentage for the portions of the property’s value in each band.
Please note: Stamp Duty Land Tax no longer applies in Scotland, where you will instead pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.
Additional fees and costs for leasehold property
When buying a leasehold property, there may be additional costs to consider. This can include things like a Deed of Covenant, which is a legal agreement between you and the leaseholder stipulating both your and their responsibilities, e.g. for building repair work.
Expert conveyancing across the UK
Bird & Co Solicitors is a long-established law firm offering conveyancing services on properties across England and Wales from our 3 offices in the East Midlands. We hold the Conveyancing Quality Mark and regularly deal with all types of conveyancing transactions, from small country cottages to luxurious city penthouses.
To find out more about our conveyancing services, call us today on 01476 591711.