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An introduction to conveyancing fees and disbursements

Buying a property is an expensive business, so it’s very important to go into the process with your eyes open, armed with knowledge about the costs you are likely to incur so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.

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Solicitor, conveyancer or do-it-yourself

Unless you’re extremely confident about doing your conveyancing yourself, which can be a minefield and a migraine rolled into one, you’ll want to instruct a solicitor or a firm of licensed conveyancers such as Sam Conveyancing. If you’re buying with a mortgage loan then your lender will expect you to use one as well. It’s worth gathering a number of quotes for conveyancing costs before you decide because rates can vary significantly. Bear in mind that we’re only look at the costs of conveyancing here: there are wider financial commitments: https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/the-hidden-costs-of-buying-and-owning-a-property/.

The level of legal costs you incur will depend on the complexity of the purchase – a new build, for example, will be relatively straightforward while a Victorian property may be more complicated. Leasehold property transactions are also prone to be more involved.

Fees

As a very rough guide you should be prepared for your legal fees to be in the region of £1000-£1500. Remember that this is just the charge for the hours your conveyancer puts in to complete the administrative and legal tasks. In addition, you need to budget for surveys and other reports for which you will need to engage surveyors. Your conveyancer will be able to recommend reputable firms but the cost of this work is additional.

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Disbursements

In addition to the fees for legal services you will also be responsible for what are called disbursements, which are costs your conveyancer incurs on your behalf and will charge you for. Simple process like verification of identity fall under this heading, as do the many searches that need to be carried out to ensure you are buying a property with no onerous obligations or restrictions attached to it.

These include land registry searches into tenure and the full legal extent of the property, drainage searches, planning searches to ascertain if any development schemes might affect your property in the future. The price of surveys varies enormously from a few pounds for routine ones to several hundred for the most specialist. Conveyancers will only charge you for their own outlay and won’t add any premium on top. But, in any case, it’s wise to plan for a total disbursements bill of about £400.

If you have concerns over costs then best thing to do is ask. A good conveyancer will want you to have a clear idea at all times of what your liability is likely to be.