Understanding your conveyancing quote

Obtaining a conveyancing quote is relatively simple - but understanding what is and isn't included can be a little more complicated.

The following are the questions often asked by home buyers and sellers when obtaining a conveyancing quote:

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process involved in transferring ownership of the property from one person to another. Conveyancing is carried out by a conveyancing solicitor or conveyancer.

How do I get a conveyancing quote?

Obtaining a quote for conveyancing fees is straightforward. You can get a quote online from a solicitor (if their website is so enabled), speak to a solicitor on the phone, or use a comparison site.

You will need to see the quote in writing for the following reasons:

  • To understand exactly what is and isn’t included in the quote
  • To understand what the solicitor considers to be additional chargeable work
  • To be able to read the terms and conditions (which often include additional fees)
  • For it to be legally valid

Read more:

Tips for Choosing the Best Conveyancer or Solicitor

What should a conveyancing quote include?

Conveyancing is a complex process with many moving parts. As a result, there is a lot of variation between solicitors, in what they consider to be part of the standard conveyancing process.

Conveyancing quotes for buying a home

A conveyancing quote for a homebuyer should include all of the legal work required to investigate the legal title of the property, report back to the client, transfer ownership to the new owner and carry out the registration formalities with HM land registry.

Sometimes there are elements of the legal work that one solicitor would include as part of the process, where another solicitor would charge extra.

Examples of typical additional fees charged by some solicitors are:

  • Stamp duty land tax form fee
  • Deed of assignment
  • Arranging an indemnity policy
  • Exchanging contracts within a week of completion

There are numerous other examples of potential additional costs. See our complete list here.

The key point is to read the terms and conditions accompanying the quote carefully. This way you know exactly what, if any, the additional fees will be.

Read more:

Buying a home? The hidden costs you may not know about

Conveyancing quotes for selling a home

A conveyancing quote for a home seller should include all of the legal work required to collate all necessary information, prepare the contract of sale, reply to the buyer's solicitor's enquiries and carry out the transfer of legal ownership to the buyer.

As with conveyancing for homebuyers, there are any number of the potential additional fees.

Again the key point is to read the terms and conditions carefully.

What are disbursements?

In addition to the legal fees paid to your solicitor, you will also have to pay ‘disbursements’.

Not to be confused with legal fees, disbursements are third party costs incurred by the solicitor on your behalf.

Examples of disbursements are:

Disbursements should be passed on to you at cost and not marked up by the solicitor. Disbursements should therefore be the same no matter which conveyancing solicitor you choose.

Read more:

What are conveyancing searches when buying a home?

Could I end up paying more than appears on the quote?

Yes. Some solicitors add additional fees that should be included as part of a standard conveyancing transaction.

For unwary clients of some solicitors, their final conveyancing bill could come as a shock. It could be £100's more than the original quote.

It is recommended that you choose a solicitor that provides a guaranteed fixed fee quote.

Even if the quote claims to be guaranteed fixed fee, you should still confirm what is and is not included in the quoted conveyancing fees. It may be that the solicitor has listed "extras" in the small print that really should be included in the upfront fee.

Quittance offers a fixed and all-inclusive legal fee service. With Quittance, the price we quote for legal fees is the price you pay.

Read more:

Conveyancing fees calculator

Comparing apples with apples - when is a quote not a quote?

When it's an 'estimate'. Some firms do not give a true, fixed fee quote.

If your quote says that the fees may vary, depending on the amount of work required, then it is not a quote - it is an estimate.

This is an important point. Legally speaking, an 'estimate' cannot be described as a quote. If you find yourself being charged substantially more that appeared on your quote, you can bring this to the attention of the Legal Ombudsman.

Fixed fee conveyancing quotes - can the legal fees still increase?

Some solicitors still carry out conveyancing on an hourly rate basis. This means that you have no idea how much you will end up paying in legal fees.

This is an old-fashioned approach to conveyancing and solicitors working on an hourly rate tend to be less competitive.

The cost of moving home has never been higher and it is critical that you are able to budget accurately from the outset.

See also:

67 money saving tips for buying, selling and moving home

How does no move no fee work?

Many solicitors offer a no Move no fee service. This means that if your purchase or sale does not complete, you should not incur any legal fees.

You will still have to pay for disbursements If the solicitor has already made payments on your behalf.

You should read any associated conditions of the no move no fee service to make sure there is no catch.

How do I compare conveyancing quotes?

Differences between what's included as well as varying service levels make comparing conveyancing quotes a tricky exercise.

Comparison sites can be useful, however, due to the complex nature of conveyancing, comparison sites frequently offer too little detail.

Once a client has instructed a firm through the comparison site, the client is are often surprised by the terms and conditions which add a substantial amount to the original quote.

Read more:

How to properly compare conveyancing quotes

Your next step

If you are buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring equity in a home and need an expert conveyancing solicitor, we can take care of the legal side of your move.

We work with a panel of specialist conveyancing solicitors to deliver a stress-free moving experience.

  • No Move, No Fee Guarantee
  • Fixed fee conveyancing service
  • CQS-accredited panel solicitors
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher