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Understanding Solicitors’ Fees: Buying and Selling

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Understanding Solicitors’ Fees: Buying and Selling
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A house transaction is usually expensive, whichever side of the deal you are on.

Solicitors’ fees are a significant part of the cost.

But exactly how much will it cost to hire a solicitor? And do these fees vary based on whether you’re buying or selling?

Read on for answers to both of these questions and more.

Do buyers and sellers have separate solicitors in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, it’s common for buyers and sellers to have separate solicitors. 

Both parties’ solicitors will communicate regularly to ensure each party has the necessary documentation to keep the moving house process on schedule.

At the time of writing, it is not illegal for buyers and sellers to have the same solicitor, provided that specific criteria are met. However, this is uncommon.

What activities does a solicitor carry out?

Solicitors typically carry out a range of activities relating to:

  • Paperwork and documentation 
  • Legal adherence
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Financial transactions

In practice, this means that their work generally covers the following steps:

How much does the average solicitor cost?

According to Unbiased.co.uk, the average Solicitor costs £1,400 when purchasing a property in the UK, and £660 when selling. 

(These numbers are estimated for a transaction on a property valued at £350,000.)

How much costs vary (& why)

However, as you would expect, there is considerable variation in this figure depending on:

  • The company you use
  • Your location in the country
  • Your property’s value
  • How complex the transaction is

So, a buyer’s solicitor’s fees may go as low as £800 or as high as £2,500.

A UK government webpage indicates how a solicitor’s guideline hourly rates varies based on your location in the country. 

For example, in London, a solicitor’s hourly rate may rise to £546. In other parts of the country, it could fall to £189 per hour or less.

Why do solicitors charge more for buying or selling?

Solicitors usually charge more for buying than selling a property. 

This is because more work is involved when buying a house, including property searches, surveys, and mortgage lender communications. 

In both cases, solicitors will still charge is a sale falls through.

How to find a less expensive solicitor

The average cost of selling a house in the UK is high. So, it is only natural that buyers want to find affordable solicitors.

These price comparison websites enable users to find out a solicitor’s average hourly fees. 

They can also request price quotations from individual companies. (However, companies often offer a ‘fixed fee’ for their services.)

Reviews and direct recommendations from friends and family are also helpful.

Cost vs quality

The cost of some solicitors could correlate to the quality of the services they provide. 

In other words, cheaper solicitors might provide a less efficient service. This could slow down or even obstruct the process of moving home.

Is a solicitor more expensive than a conveyancer?

Although the rate varies for each company and situation, solicitors typically charge higher rates than conveyancers

This is because solicitors are a qualified experts in a full range of legal services. On the other hand, conveyancers specialise in property but can’t handle unrelated complex legal issues.

Do I have to pay my solicitor before the transaction is completed?

Each solicitor will charge differently. However, the most common practice is to charge a small deposit at the beginning and then the total amount once the contracts are exchanged.

Most companies charge an hourly rate. Since they have yet to determine how long a house transaction will take, it makes more sense to wait until the end.

Some solicitors charge a fixed rate upfront for their services, although this is uncommon. Others may even find companies that offer ‘no completion, no fee’.

What if clients are unhappy with a solicitor’s bill?

Buyers and sellers unhappy with their solicitor’s bill can ask the Senior Courts Costs Office to make a ‘detailed assessment’ of their bill.

Can houses be bought/sold without a solicitor?

Yes, it is possible to complete a house transaction without using a solicitor

However, it is not easy, and mistakes can cost the buyer or seller more than solicitors’ fees.

After all, second surveys might be needed, and undisclosed faults could be discovered after deals go through that lead to legal action.

DIY conveyancing is more feasible for someone selling a property without a mortgage. It is also an option through Deeds of Gift (a transfer without money involved).

These options should be thoroughly researched before being taken on.

Buying or selling a house quickly with We Buy Any Home

Whether you are buying or selling a property, there will inevitably be costs involved. 

There may be an estate agents’ commission, marketing fees, moving costs, mortgage fees, survey expenses, paying for an estate agents’ valuation, and more.

If you need to sell your house fast, We Buy Any Home can help. We are cash house buyers that offer a convenient, quick way to purchase your property quickly in any timeframe. 

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Want to know how it works? Enter your postcode in the box below to receive a free, no-obligation cash offer from us now.

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