What is the Solicitor's fee for buying a house?
The solicitor's fee when you buy a house is made up of several elements.
The fee proper is essentially the cost of the solicitor's or conveyancer's time, but the total amount charged will also include 'disbursements', which are additional costs, usually 3rd party fees, incurred as a result of the transaction. For property sales these are usually quite minimal - telegraphic transfer fees and copy document fees, for example, but in the case of a house purchase these will be more significant. Typically these may include:
- Local authority search fees
- Water and drainage search fees
- Environmental checks
- Bankruptcy, credit, and anti-money laundering checks
- Land registry fees
- Chancel searches
- Telegraphic transfer fees
If you are buying a leasehold property, the transaction can be more complicated, as the solicitor or conveyancer will need to check lease agreements and service agreements. Added to that, many flat or maisonette purchases may include a share of the freehold to be checked, or possibly even a share or directorship of the property management company. This is one reason why fees for leasehold properties tend to be more expensive than freehold.
When you search for a solicitor on our site, you will receive a total figure for your conveyancing, with a breakdown of fees and expected disbursements. But you should remember that the fees quoted are estimates only, and based on a 'standard' transaction; fees are subject to confirmation by the respective solicitors, based on the actual circumstances of your sale or purchase. If you are selling and purchasing, you will receive a costing for both the selling and purchase parts of the transaction.
It's also worth remembering that should your sale or purchase fall through, you may still be liable for some, or even all, of the additional disbursements. Many solicitors and conveyancers offer 'no-completion-no-fee' terms, but this will often only apply to the fee element, not to any disbursements they may have incurred on your behalf.
As always, please check exactly what is included, or excluded, before making your final decision and instructing a solicitor or conveyancer.