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The conveyancing process is arguably the most important stage of selling a house.
When you purchase a property, there are various legalities that have to be completed. Technically, you can take care of these yourself, but this should only be done if you have experience in the area, or if you have access to a peer with conveyancing experience, who is willing to provide free advice.
If you get aspects of the conveyancing process wrong, then you could find your sale falling through, or in dispute with someone, which could end up costing you dearly. That’s why it is strongly recommended that you hire a solicitor/conveyancer when either buying or selling a property.
But how much are conveyancing costs for buyers and sellers? Read on to find out.
Many, but not all, solicitors are able to carry out conveyancing as part of their work. Some solicitors specialise in conveyancing and property law, and in particular, areas such as land, bridging, auctions, commercial and residential.
There is also a specialist job role called a ‘conveyancer’. These individuals specialise in conveyancing and are accepted by most lenders. They will typically have passed various qualifications and will be licensed by a regulatory body in some way.
A licensed conveyancer and a conveyancing solicitor fulfil essentially the same role, however a conveyancing solicitor is also trained in legal services, whereas a conveyancer is not.
For most simple sales, purchases, remortgages and transfers of equity, a conveyancer is typically more than adequate. But if you have a complex situation or want the reassurance of someone with a legal background, then use a conveyancing solicitor rather than a conveyancer.
Throughout the remainder of this blog, the individual carrying out the conveyancing process will be described as a ‘conveyancer’ – but this can apply to either a conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor, too.
Conveyancers typically set their fees based on the valuation or purchase price of the property. The higher the price or the value, the higher the fee. This is because the higher the value of the property, the more liability the conveyancer carries in the work they are performing. The higher costs therefore reflect their increased liability and professional indemnity insurance costs.
Indeed, some conveyancers may not even act for properties that are valued over a certain level.
The typical UK cost for a conveyancer on a residential purchase is in the region of £500 – £1000, and is a similar amount when selling a residential property.
In addition to the (typical) £500 – £1000 conveyancing costs, you will also have to pay additional legal costs, known as ‘disbursements’. These payments cover:
The conveyancer will have paid the different companies, bodies or organisations for these, and usually only charge you the cost price.
The CHAPS fees (transfer fees) are what you will be charged by the conveyancer, for transferring money to and from accounts. This typically costs in the region of £35.
Most legal fees and disbursements will be plus VAT, which (at the time of writing this blog) will add an additional 20% to most of the items on your bill, except stamp duty.
For a mortgage, lenders will sometimes offer you free legal support. They will either appoint an external solicitor or conveyancer to act for them and for you, or they will use their in-house legal team. They will cover the cost of this.
As it is only a remortgage and not a purchase, there are fewer requirements, which is why they are usually happy to offer this for free.
If there is anything out of the norm however, such as a transfer of equity, you will be expected to cover this additional cost. It is very rare for a lender to offer free legal support for purchases.
Lenders do sometimes offer a cashback which can be used towards your legal costs. It is common for a cashback to be sent to the conveyancer rather than the borrower, and they will typically put these against your legal bill.
Most conveyancers will be happy to move your fees across to a new purchase/sale, but this can depend on the stage, and how much work they have done so far. Remember that many of the items they have already paid for will be relevant to a particular property (such as searches or land registry) which means that if the transaction falls through, they can’t be used for another purchase and you will have to pay for these again.
When a purchase falls through, it is worth asking your estate agent or conveyancer if a previous buyer withdrew, or a sale fell through, because their searches may be available for you to purchase.
Similarly, you may be able to sell yours to recover some of the costs. Searches typically only last three months however, so it does all depend on the time scales.
You can obtain an insurance policy that will pay out in the event of a sale falling through, called a ‘Home Buyers Protection Insurance’, or similar. Policies start at around £50 upwards, and will cover legal costs, valuation and survey fees, and even give you gazumping cover.
WeBuyAnyHome is the UK’s leading home buying company and one of the only genuine cash house buyers around. We can purchase your property in as little as 7 days – making it easy for you to ensure your sale and purchase go through at the same time.
With us, you won’t have to go through the typically drawn-out legal processes, as we appoint you a solicitor from our independent panel who are skilled in dealing with quick property sales. You also will not have to pay for this conveyancing support – we cover all legal and conveyancing costs for you.