Conveyancing costs cover all aspects of the legal side of your house move. They’re used not only to secure the services required under UK law, but also to secure the professional services of your chosen conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer. These fees are usually paid upon completion, following the transfer of your deposit.
What do Conveyancers Charge?
According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), conveyancing costs are one of the important factors that movers take into account when selecting a conveyancer, reporting that 87% of movers make the decision based on cost. Many people naturally want to know how much conveyancing services are going to cost. However, it’s not always easy for conveyancers to publish set fees, as no two moves are ever the same.
Why? Because conveyancing fees are made up of two distinct parts:
1. Legal fees charged by the conveyancer, which can vary depending on whether the property in question is freehold or leasehold. There is often more work involved in handling a leasehold purchase and sale, which means legal fees may be higher in those circumstances.
2. Disbursements, which cover necessary third party actions. This includes search fees – which can be more or less depending on the location of the property – Land registry fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax, and any other fees needed to complete the process.
It’s not surprising that a survey by the Legal Services Board (LSB) discovered that only 17% of conveyancers display their prices online, and the CMA Legal Services Market Study acknowledges that ‘it is difficult to be more transparent because legal services are often bespoke’. Despite this, some conveyancing solicitors, such as our team here at Movus, do have a commitment to transparency, offering personalised quotations.
What is the Average Conveyancing Cost in the UK?
Both the Homeowners Alliance and the Money Advice Service state that the average conveyancing cost in the UK is between £850 and £1500. However, this does appear to be rising, with reports suggesting that conveyancing fees have increased by 5% in recent years. Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to look out for three things that can help you to keep your costs down:
1. No Exchange, No Fee
Perhaps the most important thing to look for is a no exchange, no fee policy. While it is certainly hoped that each house move progresses seamlessly, some do not always make it through to the completion stage. A good way to financially protect yourself from this risk is to select a conveyancer that does not charge the legal side of the fee should the transaction not take place (although costs for disbursements will still need to be paid).
2. No Hidden Costs
It is definitely worth selecting a conveyancer who values transparency, and includes all expected fees within the initial quotation. Moving house can be a costly experience, so the ability to properly budget for conveyancing upfront can be a big help. While it is always true that unforeseen circumstances can occur, which may require additional fees, transparent conveyancers will always do their best to avoid any nasty surprises.
3. Good Communication
At times when the unexpected does occur, and when it may be necessary to add additional fees to your bill, a conveyancer with excellent communication can make all the difference. Great conveyancers will always communicate clearly the situation at hand, and the potential cost, before you incur any additional fees, ensuring you are prepared and are able to budget accordingly for any changes to the expected fee.