Conveyancing: How much does it cost?
Our specialist conveyancing solicitors are often asked “How much will conveyancing cost when buying a house?”
It is regularly asked by first time buyers as they are unfamiliar with the process, an issue Sophie Pope wrote about in her recent article “What first time buyers need to know”.
What are the legal costs when buying a house?
In this article, residential property solicitor Kym Gaisford explains:
- How legal fees are calculated when buying a home
- What conveyancing searches you need
- What are conveyancing disbursements?
- How the conveyancing process works for purchases
- How much conveyancing costs when buying a home
If you are buying or selling your home in these challenging times, you can also read Jennifer Smith’s article on Buying a Home during the coronavirus pandemic here.
The majority of solicitors charge fees on a sliding scale based on the property value. This is often referred to as the basic fee. The more expensive the property the higher the fees will be. This is usually down to the amount of risk incurred on a higher purchase.
In addition to the basic fee some solicitors will charge additional fees. These are outlined below.
Leasehold fees when buying a house
If the property is a flat, also known as a leasehold property, or a share of freeehold, the solicitor may charge an additional fee because there is extra work involved such as:-
- Going through the lease and reporting to you on it;
- Going through the management pack which includes the ground rent and service charge; and
- If there is a share of freehold, dealing with the transfer of the share
Frettens are one of only a few solicitors in the area with a specialist leasehold team. Any issues or complications with leases, extensions and enfranchisements can be handled by our team of specialist lawyers.
New build conveyancing fees
If the property you are purchasing is a new build the solicitor may charge an additional fee because there is extra work such as:-
- Making sure the roads are adopted or there is an agreement in place for the roads to be adopted by the local authority;
- Ensuring the property has been built in accordance with planning permission and building regulation approval; and
- Ensuring all CIL contributions and other planning obligation payments have been paid in full.
Help to Buy Conveyancing Fees
If you are purchasing the property with the assistance of a Help to Buy Loan the solicitor may charge an additional fee because there is extra work involved to ensure we comply with the separate Help to Buy requirements.
There are very specific deadlines to adhere to and forms that need to be completed accurately in order to request the funds for a Help to Buy purchase.
If you are buying the property with the assistance of a mortgage the solicitor may charge an additional fee. Your solicitor also acts for your lender and therefore must comply with the mortgage offer and conditions contained therein.
We are required to report matters to your lender in accordance with the Council of Mortgage Lender’s Handbook such as gifts and any discrepancies that arise.
Do you pay tax on conveyancing legal fees?
All fees will be subject to VAT.
What are conveyancing disbursements?
In addition to solicitors’ fees you will be required to pay third party charges, known as disbursements. These are payments made to third parties by your solicitor as part of the home-buying process and include the following:
What conveyancing searches do you need?
This search reveals planning permissions and building regulation approvals that affect the property. It also confirms whether the road which gains access to the property is adopted and therefore maintained by the local authority.
Drainage and Water Search
This search reveals whether the property is connected to foul and surface water and whether the property is connected to mains water.
This search reveals matters such as whether the property is in an area potentially affected by subsidence and flooding.
Land Registry and Land Charges Searches
We carry out a bankruptcy search (known as a Land Charges Search) before exchange to ensure you are not bankrupt. This is a requirement of your lender which must be carried out for each individual purchaser on each transaction. We also carry out a Land Registry Search between exchange and completion to obtain priority.
This means we have a period of time in which to submit your application for registration and no one else can change the register within that period.
Land Registry Registration Fees
Once completion has taken place we will submit an application to the Land Registry to transfer the property into your name. The Land Registry charge fees on a sliding scale basis based on property value.
How much do conveyancing searches cost?
The cost of the searches (Local, Environmental and Drainage and Water Search) depend on the local authority the property falls within. The typical cost of these searches is between £240 and £270.
Gifts for purchasing a house
If you are getting a gift we must report this to your lender.
We will need to take ID of the person(s) who is gifting you the money (known as the gifter) and obtain a letter from them confirming that the money is a gift and not a charge or a loan.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
First time buyers are exempt from paying SDLT on all property purchases up to £500,000.00. If the property value is over £500,000.00 you will pay SDLT on a sliding scale, depending on the property value.
If you are purchasing a property with someone who has purchased a property before, you will not benefit from the FTB relief. All purchasers need to be first time buyers.
You can read Jennifer Smith’s article about the SDLT holiday here.
Buying a property can be a complicated process and many people aren’t aware of all the stages involved, particularly for first time buyers.
The following document is given to all our conveyancing clients at the outset of any property transaction, but it is here for you to download at any time if it is of use to you.
Frettens' Conveyancing calculator
At Frettens we have an easy-to-use online conveyancing cost calculator. You can fill in a few details and get an immediate estimate of legal fees for buying your house.
We also have a dedicated ‘Ask Us’ team who handle all of our conveyancing enquiries and quotations.
They offer friendly, straight-forward advice in plain English. You can contact them here or call us on 01202 499 255.