The best thing you can do when it comes to preparing to buy a property is to research the fees. There'll be more general costs like your survey and hiring a removals team, but what about the legal side?
People can assume the worst when it comes to conveyancing costs, but there's no need to be concerned.
Here we break down what conveyancing fees are, what's included and what to look out for.
What are conveyancing fees?
Conveyancing is the legal process that occurs when transferring property. It’s all to do with ensuring payments are sent and received appropriately, and that the paperwork is in order with the properties. This is especially important when it comes to putting your name on the deeds. You pay a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor for this service.
What do conveyancing fees include?
There’s a lot involved with conveyancing – from looking over the paperwork, working with your buyer/seller’s solicitors, liaising with estate agents, carrying out searches and much more, you’d be surprised how much your conveyancer does for you.
Often your conveyancing solicitor will ensure your Stamp Duty is paid, so they will require that payment alongside the payment for their services when you approach completion
are third party fees that your solicitor pays and then collects from you at the end. These include ID and bankruptcy checks, Land Registry checks and other fees like these.
are a variety of checks on the property, and include things like water and drainage, through to local authority plans. These are to give you the best idea of any future plans or changes to the area, what the land the property is on is like, that it’s connected to water mains or if it’s at risk of flooding.
Land registry charges
are fixed fee depending on the value of your property. From £40 for properties priced under £80,000, up to £910 for first registration of properties valued over £1,000,000. They are significantly cheaper when paid electronically.
What are the average conveyancing costs?
There will be conveyancing costs for buying and selling, so if you are selling one property and moving into another, your conveyancing fees will be higher.
Currently on reallymoving, the average cost of conveyancing is around £1490 including fees and disbursements. If you're a first time buyer, the average cost is £958.*
We have an article on the breakdown of conveyancing fees
so you can see what you’re likely to pay, or you can use our moving cost calculator
to get a personalised estimate.
What can affect the cost of conveyancing?
The size and value of your property can have an impact on the fees, like the Land Registry Charge and Stamp Duty, but the condition and type of property you buy can also have an impact. If you’re buying a property on a complicated piece of land, issues with the lease or other elements that can require extra work, extra emails back and forth with the seller/buyer, then you may end up paying more.
It’s also important to be aware of referral fees
. When you choose a conveyancing solicitor through a referral scheme like an estate agent, you’re likely to be paying a lot more, which will be passed back to the company referring the solicitor. When being given a referral, you are within your rights to ask how much the referral fee is. This could be hundreds of pounds.
We don’t have referral fees on our site
, so when you compare conveyancing solicitors, you’ll just be seeing the costs from the solicitors. Nothing else.
What happens if the sale doesn’t go through?
This will depend on your agreement with your conveyancing solicitor. Mostly, you will have to pay for any outlay the solicitor has already paid, (disbursements and other fees) but it is likely to be much less than the total bill.
It also depends on how far along in the process the sale is – pulling out right before completion is going to be more expensive than doing so at the beginning of the process.
Whilst it’s not nice to imagine that your sale will fall apart, it’s best to check in advance before you sign a contract with a solicitor, so you know the terms and whether there is a cancellation fee.
When do I pay conveyancing fees?
Conveyancing fees are often paid at the end of your transaction. Your deposit will be transferred, and then upon completion you’ll usually receive your conveyancing bill.
Your Stamp Duty
needs to be paid within 14 days of completion, but often as your conveyancing solicitor is doing this for you, it will be included in their bill and done more immediately.
How can I save money on conveyancing fees?
Always ask about referral fees and compare conveyancing fees online. You don’t need a conveyancing solicitor to be local to you in order to do their job, so you’ll have a lot more options available.
If you want to get an idea of the conveyancing costs in your future home, you can use our Moving Cost Calculator to get a sense of all the fees associated with your move. Whether you’re wondering about Stamp Duty, conveyancing costs, surveys or removals, our calculator quickly takes it all into account so you can feel prepared.
For information about how the cost of moving changed in 2020, and the results of our annual moving cost assessment, you can read our moving cost press release.
Article updated January 2021
* Based on data collected January-August 2019