What are disbursements when selling a house

Thu 06 Jun 2013 by Lorraine Imhoff

Written by Lorraine Imhoff

A quote from a Conveyancing Solicitor for legal costs on the sale of a house may also include some items listed as ‘disbursements.’

This means they are fees that the Solicitor will have to pay to other companies during the process of selling your property.

These fees do not form part of the Solicitor’s own costs or charges. Your Solicitor will collect payment from you and pay the money over to another organisation. They are usually paid through your Solicitor because this is more convenient. 

When you are selling your home, these disbursements do not usually add any significant expense. In fact the only one that you will generally be asked to pay is the land registry fee for supplying a copy of your title and plan. 

The land registry is the government agency which is responsible for registering property titles.

When a home is being sold, the seller’s Conveyancing Solicitor will obtain an official copy of the title and the title plan to send to the buyers’ Solicitor with the contract.

This is necessary to show that you own the property being sold.

Sometimes the registered title will state that the property is affected by provisions contained in a document which is filed at the registry – this is common with houses which were originally built by a developer as part of an estate. Your Conveyancing Solicitor will have to obtain a copy of any such document, for which the registry makes an additional charge.

Most Solicitors now obtain copy documents by direct download through the land registry’s site for business customers.

The fees for obtaining copies in this way are considerable less – copies of the register and plan together are currently £6 rather than £14, while copy documents are usually £5 rather than £11.

Because these charges are very low, many Solicitors no longer list them as separate disbursements, but just pay them out of their own charges. 

Some Conveyancing firms also ask you to pay what is usually called a ‘Telegraphic Transfer or ‘TT’ fee.

This is the fee charged by the firm’s bank if a payment has to be sent to your lender to pay off your mortgage. Such payments have to be sent by a system known as the 'Clearing House Automated Payment System' or 'CHAPS'. This is used to when same-day payments of large sums are required. 

You may be charged a separate TT fee if you want the balance of the proceeds of sale sent direct to your bank account by this same-day transfer system, rather than by the normal BACS transfer.

If you are selling a leasehold flat, you may also have to pay some additional disbursements. You may be asked to pay the land registry’s fee for supplying a copy of the lease, which will be (at the time of writing) £11 if it has been stored electronically or £23 otherwise.

If your flat is in a block which is managed by a company or by managing agents (including local authorities) the buyer will want a management information pack.

Your Solicitor will usually have to obtain this. There is no set fee, and management companies can charge as much as they like – it may be £300 or more.

Your Solicitor will contact the company to find out how much they want, and ask you to pay this.


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