Conveyancing fees can vary hugely – sometimes you might think you’d be better off asking how long a piece of string is rather than trying to pin down the exact legal costs of buying and selling property.
Solicitors’ conveyancing fees vary as widely as house prices. For a guide on average conveyancing fees, we’ve looked at the expected outlay in 2017-18. You can also read our updated version for 2018 here and for average conveyancing costs in 2019 here.
As ever, there is more to take into consideration than simply the price of instructing a conveyancing solicitor alone. So let’s get started.
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The average price from online quotes
Post Office Money and the Centre for Economics and Business Research showed that the average cost of conveyancing fees in the UK was £1,419 back in 2014. Those fees relate only to the solicitors’ charges and do not include the other costs of buying a property, such as surveyor fees, stamp duty, estate agents’ fees and removals. However, that headline figure does include VAT, levied at a hefty 20 percent on all service transactions.
Factor in Land Registry fees, searches, disbursements, bank transfer costs and other sundries, and it’s clear there really is no such thing as an average conveyancing fee at all.
Using the conveyancing search engine, The Solicitor Finder, we gathered quotes for buying a property priced at £220,000 (the average cost of a property in the UK is around £223,000). The prices ranged from £522 up to £954. All offered the same service, but with more than £400 of a difference between highest and lowest, it’s clear both buyers and sellers should shop around for the right deal for them.
Using Homeward Legal’s instant quote service, again for purchasing a property valued at £220,000, we were offered a conveyancing fee of £600 that includes VAT. On top of the fees to be paid to the property lawyer, the following charges will also have to be levied, so remember to add these on your top-line figure: Stamp Duty Land Tax; Land Registration fee; online ID verification; bankruptcy search fee per person; Registration of Title; and all local authority searches including chancel liability insurance, drainage and water. These latter fees are known as disbursements and are fees or charges your conveyancing solicitor will have to pay for essential services to complete the transaction.
Homeward Legal’s quote also comes with our “no completion, no fee” guarantee that ensures you won’t be out of pocket if your transaction fails to complete for whatever reason.
Why cheaper isn’t always better
As the costs of buying and selling a property mount up pretty quickly, it is tempting to look at the cheapest offer and go with that. The more you shop around, the more likely you are to come across a deal that seems the perfect fit for your pocket.
But be warned – if the price seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it’s exactly that. The baseline figure on our lowest quote from The Solicitor Finder might have been just £522, but remember that isn’t the price you will actually pay. Those disbursements and other fees we just talked about must be paid on every transaction, and it’s essential to know before you agree to instruct a conveyancing solicitor precisely what you’re going to be liable for.
Is the most expensive quote guaranteed to give the best service?
Just as with the lowest price, the most expensive quote on offer is no guarantee of good service or quality or of not including unexpected and unexplained costs later. Price is only one element of what you need to consider when choosing a conveyancing solicitor. Reputation and experience are equally important.
All conveyancing solicitors on Homeward Legal’s nationwide panel are regulated by the Law Society or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers. Approved members will have the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) logo on their website to show the standards they must perform to. Do your own research, too, and find out more about the firm whose quote you are interested in.
Watch out for hidden commission in an estate agent deal
Estate agents often offer to introduce clients to their chosen solicitor. It often seems easier to people to go along with that recommendation, but doing so will almost certainly hit you in the pocket. The agent is likely to receive a commission of upwards of £400 for the referral and guess who’s paying for that? Yep, it’s you.
With Homeward Legal’s quote service, you will find out in seconds exactly how much your total conveyancing fees will be. There are no hidden extras, no surprises awaiting you on completion, simply a comprehensive, competitive and transparent quote.
Get a free instant, no obligation quote now and see how much you can save with Homeward Legal.
If you’re a first-time buyer, check out Homeward Legal’s comprehensive First-Time Buyers’ Hub where all your questions about purchasing for the very first time are covered in detail.