By Frances Traynor
11th December 2017
Thu 26 Oct 2017 by Lorraine Imhoff
When you obtain a quote from a Conveyancing Solicitor, it will show a number of additional items called ‘disbursements.’
This rather old-fashioned word describes all the fees and taxes which the Solicitor will have to pay out to other organisations as part of the house-buying process.
Of course you will have to pay the money to the Solicitor at some point – you may be asked for a payment up-front to cover various search fees, while other fees and taxes only have to be paid over when the purchase is due to be completed.
When you get an instant conveyancing quote through us, we are transparent about the fees as well as likely disbursements for your purchase.
These fees do not form part of the Solicitor’s own costs or charges.
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They are usually paid through your Solicitor because this is more convenient – in many cases the organisation concerned will only accept payment through a Solicitor.
Some of these fees can be determined when you ask for a quote, as they are either a fixed amount or are calculated by reference to the purchase price.
Other fees may depend upon other factors – councils each set their own fees for local searches, and some searches only need to be made if the property is in a particular area, or if the buyer wants one made.
When a Conveyancing Solicitor collects payment for these disbursements, he or she is not making any additional charge to the buyer for making the search or payment, unless this has been clearly mentioned in the quote. Nor does the Solicitor receive any commission or discount when making payments. You can call one of our property experts if you need some impartial advice about the process: 0800 038 6699.
A number of other disbursements may also be payable, depending upon the type and location of the property, and whether additional searches are requested.
This list is not exhaustive, and other fees may be payable for some properties.
Your Conveyancing Solicitor should explain exactly what is required – this will normally be done at the start, but some fees may only become apparent during the course of a transaction.
If you are a cash purchaser and do not require a mortgage then you can decide to take a risk and dispense with some or all of the searches. However the land registry fees will always be payable, together with SDLT if the property is worth over £125,000. But if you are getting a mortgage, the lender will dictate which searches are required.
The amounts payable for these various searches, fees and taxes are fixed by the organisations to whom payment is made, or by the government. A quote will show the fees etc. at the time the quote is issued, but they do sometimes change afterwards – for instance the government might change SDLT rates in the budget.
If this should happen you will have to pay the new amount. Of course if a fee comes down before payment has to be made then you will only have to pay the new amount.
If your Conveyancing Solicitor has collected payment for a fee but then does not have to pay it to someone else (e.g. if you decide that you do not require a particular search) then the fee must be refunded to you. However once a particular search has been ordered from the provider it cannot usually be cancelled. If a lower amount has to be paid than has been collected, any balance should be refunded to you.
In fact a cash buyer could settle some search fees direct if they wished, as well as paying SDLT.
In practice it is usually more convenient for the Solicitor to make the payments; often a payment has to be made when a search is ordered, or the Solicitor will have an account with the organisation concerned.
Some searches can only be ordered through companies which do not deal direct with members of the public.
When a buyer requires a mortgage, the Solicitor will need to make sure that SDLT and land registry fees are paid to ensure that the mortgage gets registered.
If you would prefer to work with a solicitor who is transparent about their fees, has fixed fees, and a no move, no fee guarantee, then run a quick conveyancing quote here. Your instant quote will detail any likely disbursements as well as the legal fees for the conveyancing. Alternatively, you can call Homeward Legal on 0800 038 6699 to discuss your upcoming purchase, sale, remortgage or transfer of equity.
Homeward Legal can help you, whatever stage you are at. You might be trying to put together all the costs associated with buying a house, or you might be ready to instruct a conveyancing solicitor.
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