About Your Conveyancing Quote
Using the form on this page you can obtain an instant conveyancing quote, or indication of the likely fees for your conveyancing.
The best way to get an accurate indication of your fee is to call our expert and friendly team on 01636 616354
What to Look for in Conveyancing Fees
It’s apparent from an internet search that you can pay whatever you like for conveyancing. There are companies out there offering conveyancing at only £99, and there are boutique London firms which charge more than ten times that much.
How can this be possible, for essentially the same work? How can some firms be so much cheaper than the others?
Solicitors or Licensed Conveyancers
Most of the cheaper firms will be licensed conveyancers rather than solicitors. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it does mean that the staff will lack the overall legal experience and breadth of knowledge, which can sometimes be relevant if an issue arises.
If you want the higher level of qualification and experience, and the higher level of regulation required by solicitors, then only a solicitors firm offers this. The Lexcel and Conveyancing Quality accreditations we hold add further to these requirements.
Quality and Experience of Staff
The firms offering very cheap conveyancing can only do this in three ways. 1. The majority of work will be done by unqualified and low paid staff; 2. much of the routine and some less routine work will be outsourced, probably to India; and 3. a lot is done by automated systems.
Our staff are in large part experienced and most are legally qualified. All are supervised by highly experienced conveyancing solicitors who have gone through all of the training and qualifications required to be admitted to the Roll of Solicitors.
It’s only possible to offer very low fees by handling a huge volume of files at any one time. If your conveyancer is part of a team handling upwards of 200 files, it is hard for them to dedicate as much time to the transaction as you might like.
This is all the more so if the fee is £99, from which some deduction would be applied for advertising etc – if the firm takes away £50 per transaction, how many do they have to do to pay all their overheads and make some element of profit? How important is your individual file in that situation?
Why We’re Different
We’re not some huge warehouse dealing with vast numbers of files. We’re a proper solicitors’ firm run by real lawyers and using experienced staff in whom we invest a great deal.
We are fully regulated and comprehensively insured, all to give you the right level of protection.
Our conveyancing teams, all headed by experienced lawyers, handle smaller numbers of files and we don’t outsource our work. The only aspect of volume conveyancing we’ve adopted is the aid of having automated systems – that helps to make sure that files progress effectively and safely. So we do it to provide a better service, not to enable us to handle greater volumes at lower costs.
Our fees are competitive compared to most solicitors, but we don’t try to compete in the race to the bottom of the market. We don’t want to offer conveyancing at £99 – and we don’t think most of our clients really want what that involves.
What You Get for Your Conveyancing Legal Fee
The legal fee is the only part of the fees that we can control. Other costs are third party fees, charged by the Government (such as Stamp Duty Land Tax, SDLT, VAT, or HM Land Registry fees), or by others such as leasehold managing agents, insurers, search companies.
Your legal fee pays for us providing legal advice and undertaking the following work on your behalf:
- Preparing or considering the contractual documents
- Advising on title to the property and any issues arising
- Liaising with the other lawyers (for your purchaser or seller)
- Liaising with HM Land Registry and either obtaining official registry documents or registering your ownership
- Liaising with mortgage companies
- Liaising with any leasehold landlord or management company
- Raising or responding to enquiries
- Considering any search documents in relation to water, drainage, local government, land charges and environmental issues
- Advising on any Stamp Duty issues and completing the necessary HMRC paperwork
- Handling the funds paid or received on your behalf and ensuring the transaction goes through safely
- Protecting you from fraud by ensuring that other lawyers with whom we deal are aware of their legal duties, and using various important systems to verify their identity
- Covering you with our Professional Indemnity Insurance
- Keeping you informed of the progress of the transaction
- Providing online case tracking
As long as the information you give is accurate, our legal fee won’t change. We give a fixed fee, covering all our legal costs. In some circumstances additional fees may be required – for example, if you need additional legal work such as a declaration of trust, or if your property turns out to be leasehold when you thought it was freehold.
We also have to charge VAT on our fees at the standard rate of 20%.
Disbursements is a word used by the legal professions to refer to expenses, or items which have to be paid out to others on your behalf. Think costs or expenses.
We can’t control the amount of these as the fees are imposed by other bodies such as HM Government. We do, however, do what we can to reduce the amount of expense, by, for example, using the online submission service offered by HM Land Registry (which for some transaction reduces the fee by half).
The largest third party expense in a purchase is Stamp Duty and Tax. For more information where you are purchasing in England see this official Government SDLT page and the Stamp Duty calculator. There may be an additional charge if you are purchasing a second residential property, so careful advice is essential.
If you are purchasing in Wales you will pay Land Transaction Tax rather than SDLT. You can calculate this here.
A second substantial expense in purchase transactions is the Land Registry fee for registering the change of ownership. We can generally reduce these by using the Land Registry online services. Details of the main fees are on this Land Registry fee scale page.
The final major expense in purchase transactions is the Search Pack. This covers searches – or in other words, a defined set of enquiries against various databases and information records – relating to water and drainage (to verify that the property is connected to a sewer and has a maintained water supply, plus some other information from the utility company), environment (to verify whether the property may be affected by environmental risks such as land contamination, old industrial or landfill sites, flooding or other environmental risk) and local authority (which confirms the status of nearby roads, planning applications, building regulations and such like). In our case there is a fixed search pack fee of £299 which includes VAT and all of the above reports.
In sales the expenses are less, although there are small fees (£3 or so) for searching against various databases, and in some cases it may be necessary to pay modest amounts for indemnity insurance if there is a risk with your property which you are required to cover your purchaser for (such as if there is doubt about a right of way – insurance can be purchased to put your purchaser’s mind at ease).
The quote on this page does not currently give information on all the disbursements as these do not vary between firms to any great extent. If you want a full run down please contact our team on 01636 616354.
Please note that Conveyancing.Lawyer does not provide commercial legal advice or in relation to pure land purchases. We can help with these but as the issues are different, a different fee scale applies. Please ask for information.
Our fee assumes that:
- this is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arise including for example (but not limited to) a defect in title which requires remedying prior to completion or the preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction
- (leasehold properties) this is the assignment of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease
- the transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise
- all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation
- no indemnity policies are required. Additional disbursements may apply if indemnity policies are required.
In a typical leasehold purchase there will be the following additional fees:
- Notice of Transfer fee – This fee if chargeable is set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £75 and £250.
- Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – This fee is set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £75 and £250.
- Transfer of any share in the Management Company or application to become a member (where relevant). This fee is again chargeable under the lease. Often the fee is between £75 and £250.
- Deed of Covenant fee – This fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate. Often it is between £200 and £500.
- Certificate of Compliance fee – To be confirmed upon receipt of the lease, as can range between £100 – £300.
In some cases there can be two sets of these fees payable where there is a Landlord and Management Company that require notices. These fees are set by the Landlord or Managing Agent for the whole development.
These fees vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges given above. We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents.
You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as this we receive this information.
Where you are selling a leasehold property it will be necessary to obtain information from the Landlord or Management Company. The cost they charge can typically be up to £500.
Some of these fees may also be payable for freehold properties that are on developments which include management companies.
How long will my house purchase take?
How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-8 weeks.
It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a first time buyer, purchasing a new build property with a mortgage in principle, it could take 4-6 weeks. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 3 and 6 months. In such, a situation additional charges would apply.
Stages of the process
The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. In a typical purchase the stages will include the following (this will be slightly different for a sale or other transactions):
- Take your instructions and give you initial advice
- Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender’s solicitors if needed
- Receive and advise on contract documents
- Carry out searches
- Obtain further planning documentation if required
- Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
- Give you advice on all documents and information received
- Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you
- Send final contract to you for signature
- Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)
- Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
- Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
- Complete purchase
- Deal with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax
- Deal with application for registration at Land Registry