What are disbursements?
A disbursement is an expense your solicitor pays on your behalf and later adds to your final bill for you to reimburse them.
An example would be Land Registry fees – as the person who is moving, you need to pay Land Registry fees, however your solicitor will pay this expense to speed up the process, they will then add this to your final bill as a disbursement.
The amount you pay for disbursements will be the exact cost of the expense that your solicitor has paid. These costs will usually be similar between all conveyancing solicitors. The most common conveyancing disbursements are listed below.
Buying a property
Bankruptcy search - £2 - £4
Your mortgage lender will need to know that you, or any other person named on the mortgage, has not been declared bankrupt. Your solicitor will check all named parties.
Local Authority searches - £100 - £200
The cost of Local Authority searches can vary and depend on which borough the property is in. The local council will check their records to determine local influences on the property such as planning applications, enforcement actions, restrictions on permitted development, road schemes or land contamination. Some conveyancers use Personal Search Companies rather than Local Authority searches, but the costs are comparable.
Land Registry office copies - £4 - £8
Your solicitor will arrange a pre-completion search to ensure the vendor legally owns the property you're buying.
Environmental search - £30 - £35 plus VAT
An environmental search is additional to the basic Local Authority search and will investigate specific concerns such as subsidence, flooding or industrial contamination.
Drainage search - £30 - £40 plus VAT
This ensures the property is connected to fresh and foul water sewers. The cost will vary between water companies but should not fall too far outside the range given above.
Local searches - £40 - £250
These are location-specific and are suggested by your solicitor if there is a history of mining from coal, tin to limestone.
Telegraphic transfer fee - £25 - £45 plus VAT
This is charged by your bank to cover the cost of transferring the money to the seller’s conveyancer.
Land registration fee - From £20 (for properties under £80,000) to £910 (for properties over £1,000,000)
This is a fixed cost disbursement that depends on the cost of the property being purchased. Conveyancing quotes should state the cost of the land registration fee.
Stamp Duty – Have a look at our Guide to Stamp Duty for more information.
Selling a property
Land registry office copies - £4 to £8
These documents confirm that you are the legal owner of the property you wish to sell.
Telegraphic transfer fee - £25 -£45
Cost to transfer money to pay off your existing mortgage.
When you compare quotes for conveyancing services, have a look at the breakdown, as it will include disbursements. If you are unsure about any charges, you can always ask your conveyancing solicitor.
Last reviewed January 2020