How much are solicitor fees when moving house?

🕑 6 minute read

How much does conveyancing cost when moving house?

When you’re moving house, it’s important to know how much it will cost. Conveyancing is a vital step when you’re buying a home, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to know how much it could come to.

In total, conveyancing fees can cost anywhere between £850-£1,500 according to the Home Owners Alliance, depending on the value and location of the property.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer.

Conveyancers are necessary in the home-buying process, because they ensure the purchase and sale are both entirely legal. You’ll need a conveyancer once your offer on a property is accepted, until you get the keys.

Conveyancing includes all the legal work that needs to be carried out before the purchase and sale of a property is complete. There are multiple stages involved in this process, including property and local authority checks, fraud checks and the transferral of ownership.

What are conveyancing fees?

Conveyancing fees cover the cost of the work that a conveyancer must do on the buyer’s behalf before the purchase of a home can be completed.

These fees include the base rate that you would pay your conveyancing solicitor, dependent on the location of the solicitor’s firm and the complexity of the purchase.

There are additional costs included as part of the conveyancing fees, known as disbursements, that include payments between third parties that are necessary to the conveyancing process.

Conveyancing fees explained

There are lots of processes and checks included that you’ll pay for as part of your conveyancing fees:

Searches

The property will need to undergo a series of searches. These include environmental, water and drainage, plus checks with the local authority for any planned developments near to your new property, which can cost between £200 and £500.

Proving the source of funds

If you’ve received a cash gift from a family member to help you to put money down on your first property – or received inheritance, your conveyancer will handle the legal side of this process. They require additional paperwork in order to check where the money has come from. This can cost around £100, plus VAT.

Help to Buy ISA

If you have a Help to Buy ISA, the government will add a bonus of 25% of your savings in that ISA towards the cost of your first house. The cost of the work entailed in claiming this bonus will be charged by your conveyancer, but the fee is capped at £50 plus VAT.

Anti-money laundering checks

These checks are required to verify your identity and ensure there is no risk of money laundering in the acquisition of the property. These checks can cost anywhere between £6 and £20. The cost can be slightly higher for foreign nationals purchasing property in the UK.

Title deeds

The cost of acquiring the deeds from the Land Registry is usually £7, but it can be more expensive for leasehold properties compared to freehold.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax that is usually paid when you move home – there are some exemptions. You won’t pay stamp duty if you are a first time buyer and the property you're buying is under a certain amount. How much you have to pay will depend on the value of the property that you’re buying, and whether you’re a first-time buyer. A conveyancer will charge you around £12 to handle this.

Help to Buy supplement

Buying a property through a Help to Buy scheme means there will be extra legal work for the conveyancers to carry out on your behalf. The Help to Buy scheme is a series of government-backed initiatives intended to make it easier for people to get onto the property ladder. The fees charged to support with a Help to Buy scheme application can be up to £300.

Property fraud check

These checks ensure you are not being scammed by any parties involved in the sale of the property. The cost of these checks can sometimes be free or can be up to £40 depending on the circumstances.

Transferring ownership

You have to pay in order to have the property moved into your name. The cost of transferring ownership can range from £90 to £140.

Bank transfer fee

This is how much it will cost you to get your money sent to the correct bank account on a specified date by your bank. It is a combined total of the bank’s fee and your conveyancer’s fee for carrying out the task – around £20 to £30.

Conveyancing fees: FAQs

When do I pay conveyancing fees?

Usually, you will pay a deposit to your solicitor upfront – approximately 10% of their total fee. Then, the rest of your conveyancing fees will be due once the transaction of your purchase has been completed.

Can I add conveyancing fees to my mortgage?

You cannot add conveyancing fees to your mortgage. The cost of a mortgage covers the price of the property alone. The conveyancing fees cover the cost of the solicitor’s time and fees incurred while processing the sale and purchase of the property.

How are conveyancing fees calculated?

Conveyancing fees are calculated by taking into account the cost of certain elements, such as bank transfer fees and identity checks, as well as how these costs are impacted by the cost of the property, whether there is a mortgage on the property, and whether the property is a freehold property or leasehold.

Who pays conveyancing fees, buyer or seller?

Conveyancing fees need to be paid by both the buyer and the seller of the property. Each will pay their own conveyancer for the work carried out.

There are certain fees that will only apply to the buyer, i.e. the cost of processing stamp duty, while other costs will apply to the seller, such as the acquisition of title deeds. 

← 

Previous article

Should I downsize to a smaller home?

Calculators and tools

We have a range of mortgage calculators to help you:

  • Find out how much you could borrow from Halifax
  • See how much you could save if you make overpayments on your mortgage
  • Get an idea how a change to the Bank of England Base Rate could affect your monthly payments
Use our calculators and tools

Speak to someone

You can talk to us over the phone or use our mortgage video service from the comfort of your own home.

Contact us