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A SIMPLE GUIDE TO CONVEYANCING, FEES AND DISBURSEMENTS

If you are buying or selling a property, you will need a property lawyer. Robinson Allfree have compiled a range of helpful information and advice to assist you with the conveyancing process in the UK and, in particular, choosing a reputable and regulated conveyancer.

What Is Conveyancing And Who Carries Out This Work?

Conveyancing is an umbrella term which refers to the legal and administrative work involved with transferring ownership of a property from one party to another. Re-mortgaging a property also falls within this term, even though the ownership of a property does not change as such.

Traditionally, conveyancing was completed by solicitors who must be registered with the Law Society and who are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). More recently, ‘conveyancers’ have started doing this work and these specialists must be licensed and regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Alternatively, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is an independent regulator that was set up under the Legal Services Act 2007 to regulate Chartered Legal Executives and CILEx Practitioners but you should check that conveyancing is their specialist area of practice.

We would recommend that you always check who will carry out your work and their credentials, as this can make all the difference. Call them or ideally arrange to meet your solicitor, licensed conveyancer or chartered legal executive.

At Robinson Allfree, all our conveyancing specialists are either solicitors or licensed conveyancers. Head of our property department is Crispin Easter, with Lea Atkinson, Sue Gill ,Irina Kirkham and Laura Maltby making up the team – please click on our profiles to find out more about us and our areas of expertise.

How Conveyancing Costs Are Determined And What Is Included In A Fixed Fee Estimate?

Conveyancing fees vary widely depending on many factors such as:

  • Online conveyancing/High Street Firm
  • Value of the property
  • Whether the property is freehold or leasehold
  • Whether referral fees are being paid to third parties

We are a high street firm offering a bespoke, high quality, high-end conveyancing service which we believe is essential when dealing with something as important as your property. We are not associated with any agency and we do not accept nor pay any referral fees.

Our firm prides itself on integrity and being entirely independent. If an estate agent tells you that you must only use their solicitors, come and speak to us and we shall put them straight.

Whilst a lot of our work can be carried out by phone/email, the majority of our clients are local and want to be able to have face to face meetings with us rather than conduct their conveyancing transaction through an online provider or through a volume conveyancing outlet in another part of the country. Both often have call centres to deal with clients and recruited juniors handling your matter. If you have been quoted a price that is too good to be true...

Conveyancing costs consist of two distinct elements:

1. A basic fee – this covers the cost of the conveyancer’s time to carry out the work.

Our fee assumes that:

  1. This is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arise which require remedying prior to exchange of contracts or the preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction
  2. The transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complications arise
  3. All parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation

The basic fee will increase if the following factors apply to the land/property:

  • All or part of the land/property is unregistered
  • Shared ownership
  • New build
  • Buy to let
  • Help to Buy
  • Equity loan
  • Your lender has their own retained solicitors requiring duplication or extra work
  • The legal title is defective
  • The lease needs to be varied or extended
  • A grant of a new lease and not an assignment of an existing one
  • A declaration of trust is needed to reflect the unequal contributions made to purchase a property

Please note that the above list is not exhaustive.

  1. Our Fees are between £795 - £1500 plus VAT on sales and purchases up to £500,000. If the sale or purchase price is between £500,000 to £1,000,000 and beyond then please contact us to agree a price. Our fees on a mortgage of a freehold will be £595 plus VAT and on a leasehold £795 plus VAT
  2. Disbursements are fixed charges related to your matter that are payable to third parties and these should be the same regardless of which firm you use to handle your transaction.

Below we have set out our typical conveyancing fees and disbursements for a freehold purchase, a leasehold purchase and a re-mortgage of a freehold property.

Please note that the costs information given here is a general guideline and we shall provide you with a more precise and personalised fee estimate either by email or in our client care letter.

Purchase Of A Freehold Residential Property In Thanet By A Couple For £225,000.00 With A Mortgage

Our estimated fees and disbursements:

  • Legal fee £795.00 (plus VAT - £954.00)*
  • Search fees estimated at £280.00 (including VAT) - each local authority charges a different sum for a local search
  • HM Land Registry Fee £135.00
  • Bankruptcy searches £4.00 (£2.00 per person)
  • OS1 search £3.00
  • Bank Transfer Fee £42
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax ** £2000.00

In this case, stamp duty land tax has been calculated on the basis that the couple are buying this property to replace their main residence, with sale and purchase completing on the same day.

Estimated subtotal: £3418.00

Disbursements are fixed charges related to your matter that are payable to third parties and these should be the same regardless of which firm you use to handle your transaction. If there are defects in title or if certain documents are missing, then we may need to obtain indemnity policies to rectify such matters. The cost of such policies usually depend on the property value and we shall advise you on the specific fees, if such policies are required.

* Our fees cover the work required to complete the purchase of the property and includes:

  • Investigating the title to the property including carrying out searches in respect of Drainage & Water, Local Authority and Environmental
  • Raising enquiries with the seller's solicitors and obtaining satisfactory replies thereto
  • Approving a draft contract package
  • Drafting a transfer deed
  • Preparing a written report on title to you including details of your mortgage offer, if applicable
  • Proceeding to exchange contracts and completion of the purchase
  • Calculating Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase price and preparing and submitting the appropriate Return to HM Revenue & Customs
  • Registering the purchase and mortgage (if applicable) at the Land Registry

**Stamp Duty Land Tax – this depends on several factors including the purchase price of the property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC's website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority's website here.

How Long Will This House Purchase Take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average purchase takes between 6-10 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the number of parties in the chain and at what stage they are in the conveyancing process. For example, at the bottom of the chain is a first-time buyer who is struggling to obtain a mortgage offer and this delays the transaction. Or perhaps a buyer’s survey has come back with adverse results which leads to negotiations over the purchase price between solicitors or estate agents.

Conveyancing Stages

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a freehold residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have set out some key stages:

  • Take your instructions and give you initial advice
  • Advise you on joint ownership
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender's solicitors if needed
  • Receive and advise on contract documents
  • Carry out searches
  • Obtain further planning documentation, if required
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller's solicitor
  • Draft transfer deed
  • Give you advice on all documents and information received
  • Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you
  • Send final contract to you for signature
  • Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)
  • Obtain pre-completion searches
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Complete purchase
  • Deal with payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Deal with application for registration at Land Registry
Purchase Of A Leasehold Residential Property In Thanet By A Couple For £180,000.00 With A Mortgage

Our estimated fees and disbursements:

  • Legal fee £950.00 (plus VAT - £1140.00)*
  • Search fees estimated at £280.00 (including VAT) -each local authority charges a different sum for the local search)
  • HM Land Registry fee £95
  • Bank Transer Fee £42
  • Bankruptcy searches £4.00 (£2.00 per person)
  • OS1 search £3.00
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax ** £1100.00

In this case, stamp duty land tax has been calculated on the basis that the couple are buying this property to replace their main residence, with sale and purchase completing on the same day. The lease is an existing one and ground rent is £25.00 per annum.

Estimated subtotal: £2664.00

Disbursements are fixed charges related to your matter that are payable to third parties and these should be similar regardless of which firm you use to handle your transaction. If there are defects in title or if certain documents are missing, then we may need to obtain indemnity policies to rectify such matters. The cost of such policies usually depend on the property value and we shall advise you on the specific fees, if such policies are required.

There are certain disbursements which will be set out in the individual lease relating to the Property. The disbursements which we anticipate will apply are set out separately below. This list is not exhaustive and other disbursements may apply depending on the terms of the lease. We will update you on the specific fees upon receipt and review of the lease from the seller's solicitors.

Additional Anticipated Disbursements

  • Notice of Transfer fee – If chargeable, this fee is set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £30.00 -£150.00.
  • Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – This fee is set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £30.00- £150.00.
  • Deed of Covenant fee – This fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate. Often it is between £100.00-£250.00.
  • Certificate of Compliance fee - To be confirmed upon receipt of the lease but this can range between £100.00-£250.00.

These additional anticipated fees vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges given above. Sometimes VAT is also charged on these fees. We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents.

You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as this we receive this information.

*Our fees cover the work required to complete the purchase of the property and includes:

  • Investigating the title to the property including carrying out searches in respect of Drainage & Water, Local Authority and Environmental
  • Raising enquiries with the seller's solicitors and obtaining satisfactory replies thereto
  • Approving a draft contract package
  • Requesting and checking the management pack completed by the freeholder/managing agents, raising any additional enquiries and obtaining satisfactory replies thereto
  • Drafting a transfer deed
  • Preparing a written report on title to you including details of your mortgage offer, if applicable
  • Approving any apportionments of service charge and ground rent
  • Proceeding to exchange contracts and completion of the purchase
  • Calculating Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase price and preparing and submitting the appropriate Return to HM Revenue & Customs
  • Registering the purchase and mortgage (if applicable) at the Land Registry
  • Serving notices of transfer/charge

** Stamp Duty Land Tax - this depends on the purchase price of your property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC's website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority's website.

How Long Will This Flat Purchase Take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your flat will depend on a number of factors. The average purchase takes between 10-14 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the number of parties in the chain and at what stage they are in the conveyancing process. For example, at the bottom of the chain is a first-time buyer who is struggling to obtain a mortgage offer and this delays the transaction. Or perhaps a buyer’s survey has come back with adverse results which leads to negotiations over the purchase price between the solicitors or estate agents. More often the delay is due to incomplete management packs or the managing agent/freeholder taking time to respond to enquiries raised. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between three and six months. In such a situation, additional charges would apply.

Conveyancing Stages

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential leasehold property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have set out some key stages:

  • Take your instructions and give you initial advice
  • Advise you on joint ownership
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender's solicitors if needed
  • Receive and advise on contract documents including the lease
  • Carry out searches
  • Obtain further planning documentation if required
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller's solicitor
  • Draft transfer deed
  • Give you advice on all documents and information received, including the management pack
  • Go through conditions of mortgage offer
  • Send final contract to you for signature
  • Obtain pre-completion searches
  • Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Complete purchase
  • Deal with payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Deal with application for registration at Land Registry
  • Serve notices of transfer and charge
Re-Mortgage Of A Freehold Residential Property In Thanet By A Couple For £200,000.00 With Repayment Of Current Mortgage

Our estimated fees and disbursements:

  • Legal fee £595.00 plus VAT (£714.00)*
  • Official copies of the register and title plan £6.00
  • Search fees estimated at £280.00 (including VAT) – each local authority charges a different sum for the local search. Some lenders do not require searches but may requires us to obtain an indemnity policy. The exact price will depend on the property value.
  • HM Land Registry Fee £30.00
  • Bank Transfer Fee
  • Bankruptcy searches £4.00 (£2.00 per person)
  • OS1 search £3.00

Estimated subtotal: £1079.00

Disbursements are fixed charges related to your matter that are payable to third parties and these should be similar regardless of which firm you use to handle your transaction. If there are defects in title or if certain documents are missing, then we may need to obtain indemnity policies to rectify such matters. The cost of such policies usually depend on the property value and we shall advise you on the specific fees, if such policies are required.

Our fees cover the work required to complete the re-mortgage of the property and includes:

  • Investigating the title to the property including carrying out searches in respect of Drainage & Water, Local Authority and Environmental, if these are required by the lender
  • Checking your completed re-mortgage questionnaire and obtaining any necessary documents from you
  • Preparing a written report on your mortgage offer
  • Redeeming any current charges on your property
  • Registering your new mortgage at the Land Registry
How Long Will This Re-Mortgage Take?

How long it will take from receiving your mortgage offer until mortgage funds are drawn down will depend on a number of factors. The average re-mortgage takes between 4-6 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on whether the lender requires searches or whether there are defects in the legal title. If works have been carried out during your period of ownership that would have required planning permission/building control consent but none were obtained, then the lender need to be advised and will normally require indemnity policies.

Conveyancing Stages

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential leasehold property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have set out some key stages:

  • Take your instructions and give you initial advice
  • Advise you on joint ownership
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender's solicitors if needed
  • Carry out searches, if required by the lender
  • Obtain further planning documentation if required
  • Go through conditions of mortgage offer
  • Obtain pre-completion searches
  • Agree completion date (date on which the mortgage funds are drawn down)
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Deal with application for registration at Land Registry
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For additional information on all of the services Robinson Allfree provide please contact
our Ramsgate Office on 01843 592361 or our Broadstairs Office on 01843 865261.