How much should conveyancing fees cost in 2022?

Market research carried out in May, 2022, shows the true cost of conveyancing varies considerably between solicitors.

To properly compare conveyancing quotes, you must be aware of potential additional charges and hidden fees that could significantly increase the cost of your home move.

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In this article:

How to (properly) compare conveyancing quotes

If you're buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring equity in a property, you will need a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer to complete the legal work.

To accurately compare conveyancing quotes, you will need to consider:

  • what's included in each quote
  • if the quote is fixed fee
  • if there are any additional fees in the 'small print'
  • what you will be charged if your transaction falls through

You will also need to consider what level of service you are likely to receive from each solicitor.

What's the difference between fees and disbursements?

Conveyancing quotes must show a clear breakdown of the legal fees and disbursements.

Legal fees are paid to your solicitor or licensed conveyancer for completing the legal work.

Disbursements are third-party costs, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and property searches.

Solicitors and licensed conveyancers are not allowed to 'mark up' (profit from) disbursements. This means that solicitors cannot add anything to the cost of a disbursement.

When is a quote not a quote?

...When it's an estimate.

A 'quote' is an offer to provide a service for a given price. For a quoted scope of works, the price cannot vary.

An 'estimate' is an approximate evaluation of what a service is likely to cost. You could, therefore, end up paying more than the original estimate.

You should choose a solicitor that offers a fixed fee conveyancing service. Going with an hourly fee estimate is risky as solicitors fees can range from £150 to £350 per hour.

Hidden fees

To get your business, some solicitors quote a low headline price and list additional fees in the terms and conditions that accompany the quote.

If these additional fees are for work that should be part of a standard conveyancing transaction, they are, in effect, 'hidden fees'.

Law Society guidance to solicitors states that:

“Potentially misleading cost information may also arise where additional charges are later 'bolted on', or where items are referred to as 'disbursements' when they are not.”

No two conveyancing transactions are the same.

Additional work beyond the scope of a standard transaction may sometimes be required. Your solicitor may, for example, need to arrange an indemnity policy if there is a defect in the title, or set up a declaration of trust with a joint-owner.

If you have received a quote, your solicitor should not charge additional fees for work that falls within the agreed scope of a standard conveyancing transaction.

Typical fees hidden in some solicitor's terms and conditions.

Potential hidden fees

Typical fee (Ex. VAT)

Additional enquiries fee £50 - £150
Adverse Possession Fee £50 - £150
Alteration of Official Copies Fee £50 - £150
Appointing an Additional Trustee Fee £50 - £150
Auction sale/purchase supplements £50 - £100
Bank transfer (TT Fee) - 1st TT fee included in our fee £25 - £45 (per transfer)
Cheques Returned or Stopped Fee £25 - £50
Cheques to a Third Party Fee £25 - £50
Companies House Search Fee £25 - £50
Copy documents from third parties £25 - £50 (per copy)
Dealing with Apportionments on Leasehold transactions £50 - £100
Dealing with Freeholder of a Property with Leasehold Title £100 - £150
Declaration of Solvency Fee £50 - £150
Freehold Property with a Management Company (dealing with) Fee £50 - £150
Freehold Property with Leasehold Title Fee £50 to £150
Freehold Reversion Fee £50 to £150
Help to Buy Equity Loan Fee £50 to £150
Help to Buy Forces Loan Fee £50 - £150
Help to Buy Redemption Fee £50 - £150
Houses in Multiple Occupation Fee £50 - £150
Indemnity Insurance Arrangement Fee £50 - £100
Inward payment processing fee £25 - £45
Key Undertaking Fee £50 - £100
Lease Extension Approval Fee £50 - £150
Lease Extension Preparation Fee £50 - £150
Legal Aid Charge Transfer Fee £50 - £150
Lender Panel Management Fee £50 - £150
Licence to Assign Fee £50 - £150
Lifetime Mortgage/Equity Release (dealing with) Fee £50 - £150
Merger of Titles Fee £50 - £150
Multiple Titles Fee £50 - £150
Name Declaration Fee £50 - £150
Newbuild Fee £50 - £250
Obtaining leasehold management information on leasehold sale £50 - £100
Occupier Waiver Fee £50 - £150
Power of Attorney or Court Order Fee £50 - £150
Private Mortgage Fee £50 - £150
Professional Indemnity Contribution Fee £25 - £50
Providing copies of property searches £15 - £30 (per copy)
Reconstitution of Legal Title Fee £50 - £150
Retention Fee £50 - £150
Second or Subsequent Mortgage Fee £50 - £150
Second or Subsequent Mortgage Transfer Fee £50 - £150
Service charge arrears calculation fee £25 - £50
Share Certificate Fee £50 - £150
Share of Freehold Fee £50 - £150
Shared Ownership/Equity Fee £50 - £150
Simultaneous exchange and completion £50 - £100
Software Fee £25 - £50
Solar Panels Fee £50 - £150
Staircasing Fee £50 - £150
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Form Fee £50 - £100
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Staircasing Fee £50 - £150
Statutory Declaration Fee £50 - £150
Subject Access Request Fee £25 - £50
Surplus Funds Payments to a Third Party Fee £50 - £150
Third party ID checks £50 - £100
Third Party Lenders Lawyer Fee £50 - £150
Third Party Matrimonial Lawyer Fee £50 - £150
Third Party Other Lawyer Fee £50 - £150
Unregistered Title Fee £50 - £150
Unrepresented Party Fee £50 - £150
Upgrading Title to Absolute Fee £50 - £150
Voluntary First Registration Fee £50 - £150

Comparing apples with apples

Service levels vary considerably between solicitors. Some solicitors offer a proactive, high-tech service. Others offer a more traditional, paper-based service.

There is a correlation between slow conveyancing and an increased chance that a sale or purchase will fall through. Choose an unresponsive solicitor and any saving you make on the conveyancing fees will be small change, compared to the cost of losing your new home or buyer.

When comparing conveyancing quotes, make sure you consider service levels as well as fees.

How can I predict a solicitor's service level?

How quickly did the prospective conveyancer respond to your quote request? How keen were they to secure your business? If the solicitor takes a long time to get back to you, or you had to chase them, this is a red flag.

Before you instruct a solicitor, ask them:

  • How regularly can I expect updates?
  • Will I be given my solicitor's direct line?
  • Will the solicitor use email (rather than post)?

Does the quote include 'no move, no fee'?

Many solicitors now work on a no move, no fee basis. If your purchase or sale falls through, no move, no fee means that you won't have to pay any legal fees.

Don't assume that your quote is no move, no fee - make sure the quote states explicitly that it is.

Market Research: Average conveyancing fees May, 2022

In May, 2022, we carried out market research into the conveyancing fees charged by solicitors and licensed conveyancers in England and Wales.

In the tables below, we look at how quoted fees are described, we explain what each fee is for, and we show the range of fees you could end up paying.

How to compare conveyancing fees when buying a property

Purchase Fees

Fee Range
(Ex. VAT)

Purchase legal fee

Fee paid to the solicitor for the conveyancing legal work for the purchase of the property.

£400 - £1,500

Acting for mortgage lender fee

If you are buying with a mortgage, your solicitor will act for your lender to ensure that the lending criteria are met and that the lender's interests are protected.

NB. If your solicitor is not an approved member of your lender's panel, it could slow the process down and cost you £100's more in fees. (Read more)

£50 - £150

SDLT/LTT return form

Fee for completing and filing the Stamp Duty Land Tax return with HMRC or the Land Transaction Tax return with the WRA.

£20 - £50

Leasehold fee

Fee for the additional legal work involved in reviewing the lease and additional documents, liaising with the managing agent etc.

£100 - £250

New build fee

Fee charged for the additional legal complexities involved in new build transactions.

£75 - £150

Shared ownership fee

Fee for additional legal work needed for shared ownership purchases from housing associations.

£150 - £199

Help to Buy (ISA) fee

Fee for the legal work for administering the Help to Buy scheme, government bonus etc.

£25 - £75

Help to Buy equity loan

Fee for the legal work and additional forms completed when buying with the assistance of a Help to Buy equity loan.

£100 - £150

Right to Buy fee

Fee for additional legal work, including liaising with local authorities and housing associations.

£100 - £200

Buy to let fee

Fee for additional legal complexity in buying an investment property

£100 - £200

Purchase Disbursements

Fee Range
(Ex. VAT)

Electronic ID verification

To comply with money laundering regulations and lender requirements, conveyancers must confirm the identity of their clients.

£0 - £25
(per person)

Bank account verification

Anti-fraud checks such as 'Lawyer Checker' confirm the identity and bank account details of the seller's solicitor before purchaser funds are transferred.

£7.50 - £12

HMLR office copies

Official documents that confirm whether the seller is the legal owner of the property, and if there are any third-party charges over the property.

£3 - £8

HMLR registration

HM Land Registry (HMLR) is the official register of property and land ownership in England and Wales. When a property changes hands, a fee is charged by HMLR to update the register. (see full fee table)

£20 - £910

Property searches

Usually sold as a pack that includes local authority, drainage and water, environmental and chancel searches.

NB. Some solicitors offer a free replacement set of searches if a purchase falls through.

£275 - £450

Bankruptcy search

A pre-completion search required by the lender that checks whether borrowers (mortgagors) are declared bankrupt.

£2 - £15
(per mortgagor)

Telegraphic transfer (TT) fee

Fee charged for sending the purchase funds electronically to the seller's conveyancing solicitor.

£15 - £45

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Most conveyancing quotes will show the amount of SDLT payable to HMRC. With some exemptions, SDLT is payable on the value of the property.

(See: SDLT Calculator)

HM Land Registry (HMLR) registration fee table

HM Land Registry (HMLR) is the official government body that registers ownership of property and land in England and Wales. When a property changes hands, HMLR charge a fee to update the register.

The fee depends on the purchase price of the property, as follows:

Purchase Price

Registered by post

Registered online

£0 - £80,000

£40

£20

£80,001 - £100,000

£80

£40

£100,001 - £200,000

£190

£95

£200,001 - £500,000

£270

£135

£500,001 - £1m

£540

£270

£1m plus

£910

£455

If the property is a new build there is an added fee of £15 pounds.

Calculate my purchase conveyancing fees

How to compare conveyancing fees when selling a property

Sale Fees

Fee Range
(Ex. VAT)

Sale legal fee

Fee paid to the solicitor for the conveyancing legal work for the sale of the property.

£350 - £1250

Mortgage fee

If you have a mortgage, your solicitor will complete the legal work to redeem the mortgage and release the lender's charge over the property.

£50 - £150

Leasehold fee

Fee for the additional legal work involved in selling a leasehold property, including obtaining leasehold information and handling leasehold enquiries etc.

£100 - £250

Sale Disbursements

Fee Range
(Ex. VAT)

Telegraphic transfer (TT) fee

Fee charged for electronically transferring funds to the lender when redeeming the mortgage.

£15 - £45

HMLR office copies

Official documents that confirm whether the seller is the legal owner of the property, and if there are any third-party charges over the property.

£3 - £8
Calculate my sale conveyancing fees

How to get the best value conveyancing

The difference in conveyancing fees (excluding disbursements) paid by a property buyer or seller can run to £1,000's. With the ever-increasing cost of moving home, it is certainly worth comparing conveyancing quotes to find the best deal.

Care needs to be taken when comparing conveyancing quotes to identify any potential additional costs and fees that are not included in the headline figure.

When comparing conveyancing quotes, however, there is more to consider than simply finding the lowest fees.

Checklist

The following checklist can help you find a conveyancing solicitor who will complete your transaction quickly, cost-effectively and with minimal stress:

  • What is included in the quote?
  • Is the quote fixed fee?
  • Are there any additional fees in the terms and conditions?
  • If the quote is an estimate, what will you end up paying?
  • Is the solicitor on your mortgage lender's approved panel?
  • Is the quote no win, no fee?
  • Will you be charged for replacement searches if your purchase falls through?
  • What are the solicitor's opening hours?
  • Can you access your file online?
  • Based on your initial experience, has it been easy to communicate with the solicitor?

How we can help you

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
Get a Quote

All-inclusive quote from £384 inc VAT

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Chris Salmon, Director

Author:
Chris Salmon, Director