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Understanding Extra Costs & Disbursements for Conveyancing

In addition to the cost of our legal advice and support for your conveyancing transaction, there will be a number of additional costs which have to be paid at the same time, and which your solicitor is obliged to collect.

This guide explains these additional costs (known as disbursements) and gives an approximate indication of costs - or details of where the costs come from.

Your conveyancer usually has to pay these costs on your behalf, so will ask you for money on account in advance or for reimbursement in your final bill.

Our Fees & Charges

Our fees cover the work normally required to complete the purchase of your new home, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and the payment of any Stamp Duty Land Tax (stamp duty) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (land tax) if the property you wish to buy is in Wales.

Examples of Our Legal Fees:

For the purchase of a freehold house of a purchase price of up to £250,000 our legal fees would be approximately £500 plus VAT and disbursements.

For the purchase of a leasehold flat of a purchase price up to £250,000 our legal fees would be approximately £600 plus VAT and disbursements.

For the remortgaging of a property our legal fees would be approximately £300 plus VAT and disbursements.

Our fee quotation assumes that no unusual or unforeseen matters arise during the transaction. Examples of such circumstances which might result in extra costs include, but are not limited to:

  • International property
  • Unusual funding, such as Islamic or the bank of mum and dad
  • Purchase via an auction, part-exchange, help-to-buy, buy-to-let, or shared ownership
  • A defect in title which requires a remedy prior to completion
  • Missing documents
  • Problems with building regulations or planning permission
  • Preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction

Common Searches

Searches have to be paid for in many types of property transactions including buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring ownership of a property. Your conveyancer will explain which ones are needed in your case and will set out the costs in your quotation at the outset.

The most common searches are as follows, with indicative costs:

Bankruptcy searches - £2.00 per person
This checks whether any of the buyers or sellers are currently bankrupt, are an un-discharged bankrupt or are about to be made bankrupt by virtue of any pending court actions.

Environmental search - £47.50
This asks the local authority to investigate and report on whether the property could be in an area affected by flooding, subsidence or historic industrial contamination.

Drainage search - £67.80 (United Utilties)
This asks the relevant water authority to confirm whether the property is connected to the mains sewer, and to identify the location of the fresh and foul water supply.

Local searches - £125.40 (Lancaster)
Your conveyancer will use their local knowledge to confirm which local searches you will need. A standard local authority search will reveal whether any legal restrictions or obligations affect the property. These include tree preservation orders, smoke control orders, as well as the property's planning and building enforcement history. It will also reveal whether the property is in the vicinity of any planned major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Crossrail.

Mining search - £50
This is to find out if the property is built on or near land that was affected by mining and can include a search for mine shafts and subsidence.

Chancel Insurance - £12.22

Other Costs (Disbursements)

Office copies and title plan (Official Land Registry Copies) - £6.00
This checks that the property matches the details held at the Land Registry and confirms the identity of the legal owner, and their entitlement to sell it.

Identification and anti-money laundering checks - £5.40 per person
This verifies the identification of each person who is a buyer or seller in this transaction and is required under the Anti Money Laundering Regulations.

Leasehold fees - depending on the terms of the lease
If the property is leasehold, the freeholder may charge fees to release the seller and transfer to the new owner. There may also be extra fees from your mortgage provider and the management company of the property.

Telegraphic transfer fee - £30+VAT
This covers the costs, disbursements and VAT to electronically transfer the money to allow you to buy the property, pay off your existing mortgage or receive funds from remortgaging.

Land registration fee - Various depending on purchase price
This is to register the new owners and mortgage details for the property with the Land Registry. The cost depends on the price of the property. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hm-land-registry-registration-services-fees

Stamp Duty Land Tax

This is tax charged by the government on completion of the purchase of a property. You can check how much you may need to pay using either:

However, the rules around stamp duty are complex, particularly if you own any other properties. Your conveyancer will calculate the correct amount that you will need to pay and detail it in your quotation.

Timescales

For a property transaction without any complications, it usually takes at least 12 weeks to complete the process.

However, delays can arise from a number of circumstances outside our control, such as:

  • Problems with mortgage lenders
  • Other transactions along the chain
  • Missing deeds and documents
  • Problems with planning permissions, boundaries or historic rights of access

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

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