The costs for a conveyancing transaction can be misleading. Whilst it is now expected that a fixed legal fee can be given for a straightforward transaction, often, the plethora of unadvertised fees and costs which can arise is unique to each individual case. Each conveyancing transaction is split into two forms of costs, the legal fee owed to the Solicitor and the Disbursements which are usually paid to third parties to conduct mandatory tasks during the transaction. We have elaborated on some of these disbursements below so you’re aware of the reasons for the additional costs.

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING CHECKS

Required by the government to prevent money laundering, these are various legal checks to confirm your identity when buying or selling property. Your ID documents will be compared against other independent sources, with this process now commonly carried out online.

The cost of money laundering checks may vary, though foreign nationals and ex-pats tend to have to pay more as checking their ID is usually more complicated.

STAMP DUTY LAND TAX

Stamp Duty Land Tax is actually a disbursement and its cost depend on the property price. Read more about Stamp Duty here.

HM LAND REGISTRY FEES

Every land and property transaction in England must be registered at HM Land Registry. This government department charges a compulsory fee for registering the change in ownership, with the fee applied on a sliding scale depending on the price of the property or the mortgage on it. Current fees range from £20 to £910. Check the Land Registry site for more information on fees.

OFFICIAL COPY ENTRIES AND FILED PLAN

Your solicitor must apply to the Land Registry for an official copy of the deeds and an official copy of the filed plan when you are selling your property. Where a document referred to in the official copy is not set out in the official copy, your solicitor will have to obtain an official copy of the document. When you are buying a property, your solicitor will obtain an official copy of the filed plan to use for search purposes, sometimes referred to as the Search Plan.

SEARCHES

When you buy a property or remortgage your existing home, your solicitor must undertake certain legal searches on the property that reveal more information about the land on which it stands, the surrounding area, environment, water and drainage, and details of any planning applications. Other common searches in England and Wales are chancel repairs and mining and brine mining. Read more about the most common searches and why they are required here.

LAND CHARGES (BANKRUPTCY) SEARCH

When you are buying a property, your solicitor must carry out a search against the names of all buyers and/or borrowers in the Land Charges register. This search will reveal if anyone involved in the purchase is currently bankrupt, is an undischarged bankrupt or is about to be made bankrupt in a pending court action.

LOCAL SEARCH INDEMNITY INSURANCE

A full local search on a property may not be required when you are buying without a mortgage or where your lender agrees. In this instance, your solicitor may recommend that you purchase local search indemnity insurance to protect you against any problems that arise that might otherwise have been revealed in a local search.

OTHER INDEMNITY INSURANCE

Solicitors use indemnity insurance to protect you from any number of issues that could arise and affect your sale or purchase. Common issues are around title deeds, leases, insolvency, restrictive covenants and missing landlords. The solicitor will arrange the insurance and you will pay the premium.

PROPERTY FRAUD CHECKS

If you are buying a property, it is a good idea to check that the seller’s lawyer represents a real company before transferring the purchase price to them. This usually only involves a small fee, but is well worth the cost to avoid being caught out by fraud.

TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP

As a seller, once you have exchanged contracts on a property, you will need to pay a fee to the Land Registry to transfer the property into the buyer’s name. This fee varies depending on the value of the property.

BANK TRANSFER OR TELEGRAPHIC TRANSFER FEES

Mortgage companies typically require funds to be transferred using a Telegraphic Transfer. This guarantees that the money reaches the seller at the right time.

Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually charge a fee for handling the transfer, plus the fees charged by the bank.

ADDITIONAL FEES AND COSTS FOR LEASEHOLD PROPERTY

When buying a leasehold property, there may be additional costs to consider. This can include things like a Deed of Covenant, which is a legal agreement between you and the leaseholder stipulating both your and their responsibilities, e.g. for building repair work.

LEASEHOLD: LANDLORD’S NOTICE FEE

Where the property you are buying is leasehold, you must pay a fee to the freeholder (landlord) or their agent to register you as the new owner and your lender as an interested party. Where a separate management company is involved in managing the lease, you may have to pay a fee to the management company.

LEASEHOLD PACK OR MANAGEMENT COMPANY INFORMATION

When you sell a leasehold property that is subject to management company rules, ground rent payment and service charges, your solicitor will require the specific details of these from the freeholder or management company. The management company will charge a fee for providing this information and the fees varies from company to company.

GROUND RENT/SERVICE CHARGE

When you are buying a leasehold property where the seller has paid the ground rent and/or service charges for the year in advance, the proportion of that cost that has to be met by you will be agreed by your solicitor and the seller’s.

In order to provide all our clients with the upmost transparency, we have listed a non-exhaustive list of disbursements which may arise during your case:

Additional Charges (where applicable)Fee*
Lender Representation Fee (Sale)£50
Lender Representation Fee (Purchase)£75
SDLT Return Preparation Fee£50
Telegraphic Transfer Charge (each)£30
Indemnity Insurance Arrangement Fee (per Risk)£30
Deed of Covenant Arrangement Fee£75
Help to Buy Administration Fee£50
Right to Buy Administration Fee£50
Disbursements (where applicable)Cost**
Land Registry Document Fees (no VAT)£6 to £30
Bankruptcy Search (per name) (no VAT)£2
Land Registry Priority Search Fee (per title) (no VAT)£3
Land Registry Registration Fees (no VAT)£20 to £910
Property Searches (incl. VAT)£95 to £300
Leasehold Management Pack (inc VAT)£50 to £500
Notice of Assignment/Charge (per notice) (inc VAT)£30 to £300
Deed of Covenant Preparation Fee (inc VAT)£30 to £300
Stamp Duty Land TaxVariable

All disbursement costs are estimates only and may vary on a case by case basis. Furthermore, any quotes generated may vary pursuant to any referral’s included.

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