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How much do solicitor's fees cost?

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

When you’re trying to buy a property, you’ll need to factor in the cost of a solicitor into your budget. We’ve done some research to find out how much you’ll need.

When you purchase a property, you’ll need to get a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. A solicitor is qualified in all aspects of law including property, whereas a conveyancer specialises in property law only. If you’re getting a mortgage, it’s more than likely that the lender will want a solicitor to do all the conveyancing on the property.

Although they’ll cost a little more it might be worth using a solicitor if you’re concerned with any potential during the buying process. For example, this could be if the property is old or the ownership is under dispute. If you expect the purchase to be straightforward then there’s no reason not to use a conveyancer. You can do the conveyancing yourself but unless you’ve got lots of time and patience it’s usually best to leave it in the hands of the professionals. Any hold-ups to the purchase could lead to the purchase falling through.

Legal costs vary greatly depending on the complexity of the house purchase - some are more straightforward than others. If you’re buying a leasehold property it can be more complicated and cost more than buying a freehold property.

On average you can expect to spend between £850 - £1500 on legal fees plus the cost of a survey and any disbursements.

How much are surveyor fees?

Survey fees vary according to the type of survey you need. They range from £250 to over £1000, depending on the size, age, and condition of the property.

Valuation survey

Every mortgage lender will require the property to be valued, and if they don’t include this in their costs, you’ll need to pay for one. The cost depends on the size of the house and usually starts at around £350.

Condition report

These surveys are the cheapest you can get and are only suitable for a property that’s under five years old and in good condition. It’s a straightforward survey that will identify possible legal issues or any obvious problems. The report won’t include advice or estimated costs for repairs. The cost for one of these is about £250.

Homebuyer report

This is the most common type of survey undertaken and costs begin around £400. They’re more in-depth than a condition report and will highlight any structural defects or issues that might need attention in the future. A homebuyer’s report that flags up problems, should include estimated repair costs and can be used to negotiate the price of the property.

They may or may not include a valuation of the property that will be required by your mortgage lender.

Building survey

These are the costliest type of survey, starting at around £600. They’ll give you the most comprehensive view of any defects in the property, including advice on fixing problems and estimated costs. These surveys are recommended for properties over 50 years old, properties made of non-standard materials, or where you’re planning to extensively renovate.

Find a surveyor here.

How much are conveyancer fees?

Conveyancing fees include legal fees and disbursements.

Disbursements are anything that’s required to complete a property purchase. This will include amongst other things: ID verification, land registration fee, the property title transfer, the payment of stamp duty, and any bank transfer fees. Common searches include:

  • land registry searches
  • drainage searches
  • planning searches (if you’re concerned about any future property developments).

Each search can cost between £4 and several hundred pounds.

The solicitor or conveyancer acting for you is only allowed to charge you the real cost of these disbursements. They cannot inflate the actual cost.

Because the number of searches required differs with each property purchase, this portion of the conveyancing bill will vary.

As well as disbursements, conveyancing fees include legal fees. The legal fees cover the time that it takes your legal representative to complete the conveyancing.

Budget between £1250 and £1900 for conveyancing fees which include around £400 for disbursements (excluding any stamp duty).

How much are legal fees?

Legal fees vary depending on who you’ve used to do the work - a solicitor or a conveyancer - and how straightforward the purchase is. For example, if your purchase requires more searches to be done this could take extra time and add to the cost of the legal fees.

Budget between £850 to £1500 for legal fees.

How much are transfer fees?

Set aside between £30 and £50 to transfer the money for the house purchase from the lender to the solicitor.

Find out how long it can take to buy a house.


Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

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