When making a property purchase you should consider the following costs relating to legal fees:
- Solicitor / Conveyancer fees
- Mortgage lender fees
- Stamp duty
- Land registry fees
- Local authority and Conveyancing searches
- electronic transfer fee
Conveyancing Solicitor fees explained
The fees will vary depending on factors, such as the type of property transaction and the type of property.
Your solicitor’s fees will usually be fixed and occasionally a percentage of the value of the property. This depends on the type of property, its location and how complex the transaction is.
For example the fees may be different for freehold vs. leasehold properties as the latter may require additional checks and paperwork.
It is important to discuss conveyancing fees upfront before entering into an agreement with a property solicitor.
In addition to the legal costs associated with buying the property, there may also be additional charges to 3rd parties such as land registry fees or stamp duty. It is advisable to check with your solicitor beforehand so that these costs can be taken into account when budgeting for any property transactions.
Why you will need to budget for legal fees when buying a property
Buying a new property can throw out all sorts of issues that can end up costing you money in future. These range from contaminated land environmental issues, to structural issues with the building.
Getting the right legal advice for your house purchase can save you lots of money in future and help reduce the risk.
A licensed conveyancer is a specialist in property and should be able to handle paperwork, however, it is recommended to use a property solicitors (also known as a property lawyer) as they can handle more complex legal issues as they arise.
Your solicitor’s fees should cover all legal aspects of the purchase, such as carrying out local authority searches to ensure there are no issues with the title, preparing documents related to the transaction, dealing with completion of paperwork and payment of fees.
Conveyancing solicitors understand the conveyancing process and can give you realistic time scales, whilst also dealing with the seller’s conveyancing solicitor on your behalf.
Third party costs & Conveyancing disbursements
These are third party costs and typically include various conveyancing searches such as:
- local authority search
- water and drainage search
- environmental search
For older properties or those in specific areas, you may even require searches such as a coal mining search.
These should all be taken into consideration as part of your conveyancing fees.
The conveyancing searches are important as mortgage lenders will want to know that there are no serious issues with the property.
If you are a cash buyer you can often save money by avoiding the searches that a mortgage provider may insist on – but this is not recommended as you will want to know the full history and legal risk associated with your property.
You may need to pay stamp duty (land transaction tax in Wales or buildings transaction tax in Scotland) on residential properties. This depends on the property value and location.
What are the additional costs to consider when buying a house?
The big one is the property price, covered by the mortgage fees, but then there are ongoing costs such as energy bills and council tax once the property transaction is complete and you own the property.
When getting a mortgage, there may also be additional fees such as arrangement fees. Your mortgage broker will be able to tell you more about that.
Do you have to pay a solicitor to buy a house?
In the UK, it is possible to buy a house without using a solicitor.
However, you should be aware that this carries significant risks and complications. A property purchase involves a lot of paperwork and legal procedures, so having an expert to handle the transaction can provide assurance that everything has been done correctly and according to the law.
In addition, a solicitor will be able to advise on any wider implications of the purchase that you should consider before proceeding.
Do you pay solicitors fees for both buying and selling a house?
You can avoid conveyancing costs when buying and selling a house by handling the legal aspects yourself as there is no legal requirement to get legal help.
However, it is not recommended. A an expert property solicitor can help you with all legal aspects of both buying and selling a property, including:
- Preparing and exchanging legal contracts
- Guiding you through the legal process
- Carrying out conveyancing searches
- Dealing with the drawdown of the mortgage
- Completing all legal questionnaires
- Receiving and handling the deposit
- Communicating with the buyer’s solicitor
- Negotiating on issues such as moving dates
- Reporting on all the legal documents
- Dealing with deed of transfer
- Dealing with Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Registering the purchaser as the new legal owner
If you have any questions about how a solicitor can manage the legal aspect of your property transaction, get in touch here.