When you decide to sell your home you’ll probably instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to deal with the legal side of the process. Here we take a look at how much that will cost and what work their fee covers.
It’s one of the major costs you’ll incur selling a property, but if you decide to sell your house with us we’ll appoint an independent solicitor to act for you and cover all their fees.
Do you need a solicitor to sell your home?
It’s not a legal requirement but it’s certainly advisable to work with a professional. Conveyancing – another term for the legal process of buying and selling homes – is often complicated and involves lots of paperwork. Also, your buyer’s mortgage company may insist you hire one.
If you choose to go down the do-it-yourself conveyancing route you’ll be legally responsible for any mistakes you make or any details you miss. In the worst-case scenario that could lead to you being sued. Solicitors and conveyancers are responsible for the legal process once they’ve been instructed, and if something goes wrong they have professional indemnity insurance to cover them.
Choosing your solicitor
Most people opt for one of three of conveyancing providers:
- An online service – often cheaper than traditional solicitors, online conveyancing is carried out digitally and over the phone, so if you want face-to-face contact it’s probably not right for you. But if your transaction is relatively simple they’re a good option. If it’s more complex, perhaps involving a leasehold or requiring local knowledge, it might be worth using a traditional service.
- A conveyancer – they only practice property law. Although they do not have the breadth of legal knowledge of a solicitor their sole focus on property transactions means they’re well equipped to make the process go smoothly in most cases.
- A solicitor – they train in a range of legal fields before, if they choose to, specialising in conveyancing. They provide the same service as a conveyancer but are likely to have more knowledge if there are other matters involved such as divorce. We also have lots of experience dealing with more challenging house selling situations including divorce and inheritance.
Some firms will offer a no sale no fee service. This means if the sale falls through, as around a quarter do each year, you do not have to pay the legal fees. However, they usually require a small upfront payment to cover third party costs, such as money transfers.
It’s always worth looking at online reviews and asking friends and relatives for recommendations before making your final decision. Your estate agent may recommend a solicitor, but don’t be afraid to choose someone you feel more comfortable with. And be sure to check your solicitor is registered with the Law Society or your conveyancer with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
How much solicitors charge to sell a house
This varies depending on the value of the house and how simple the ownership is, for example, leaseholds are more complex which is reflected in higher costs. You’ll either be charged a fixed fee or a percentage of the sale price, so you’ll need to work out which is better value for you.
As well as the legal fees of your solicitor, you’ll need to pay for admin charges, known as disbursements, such as:
- Copies of title deeds – £4 to £8
- Anti-money laundering checks – £6 to £20
- Bank transfer fees – £25 to £45
Of the services mentioned above online conveyancing is the most cost-effective, but double-check exactly what’s included in the fee if it’s particularly low.
A traditional solicitor will typically cost the most with a conveyancer usually a little cheaper. Either way, you could pay anywhere from £400 to £1,500 plus the admin fees. Whoever you choose they should give you a breakdown of costs before you go ahead.
If you’re buying a home as well as selling, this will bump up the price, potentially more than doubling your bill. There’s generally more legal legwork involved in buying a home, as well as more expensive third party charges such as those associated with local authority searches and changes to title deeds. On top of that, you will also have to pay stamp duty.
Some solicitors will ask for a deposit before they start work and take the rest of their fees on completion. Others will take all their costs out of the money you make from the sale, before transferring the remaining amount to you.
What work does conveyancing involve?
As well as drawing up contracts, your solicitor will walk you through the paperwork you need to fill out and when you need to do it. They’ll be in contact with the buyer’s solicitor and advise you on how to answer any questions that come up about your home.
They’ll also deal with the Land Registry and changes to your home’s title deeds. Most importantly, they’ll make sure you get the money from the sale of your property on completion.
Your role in the process
Once you’ve selected your conveyancer it’s worth searching out all the relevant documentation you’ll need further down the line. This includes title deeds, an energy performance certificate, service records for your boiler and proof of planning permission and building regulations compliance if you’ve had major work done.
During the process, your solicitor will ask you to fill out a TA6 form (a TA7 for leaseholders) which documents everything about your property from who’s responsible for the boundaries to who supplies your electricity. They’ll also ask you to complete a TA10 form documenting all the property’s fixtures and fittings.
On some occasions, you’ll need to chase your solicitor to make sure they’re moving the process along and have received and sent documents.
Working with us
Solicitors are a vital part of any home transaction, but weighing up which one is right for you and whether they’ll offer value for money can be daunting. That’s one reason people opt to sell their homes to us.