The conveyancing process its costs and timeframe
Our team help you to understand everything you need to know about the conveyancing process and the costs that might be involved.
Residential Property - Our fees explained
Our experienced residential property teams have a very clear understanding of both freehold and leasehold residential property transactions. We have used this experience to provide the conveyancing fee estimates set out the table below.
We define “conveyancing” as the process which leads to a transfer of a property from one owner to another. The key stages are:
- exchange of contracts when everyone knows the transaction will proceed;
- completion when the property transfer takes place and everyone moves
These estimates are based upon a “typical” and “straightforward” residential property transaction. There may be other factors (which may or may not be known at the outset) which may increase the conveyancing fees you will incur.
If you require a mortgage quite often your lender will agree to us acting for you and the lender and our fees estimate are provided on that basis. If the lender insists upon their own separate representation then you may incur additional fees depending on the lenders requirements.
Our conveyancing fees for the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold residential property are set out in the table below. Please note that due to a number of factors we have a separate table and structure setting the fee estimates where the conveyancing is undertaken in our London office.
Where VAT is stated to be payable this is currently at a rate of 20%
|Price range||Sale – freehold £||Purchase – freehold £|
|Up to £500,000||1,2500-1,550 + VAT||1,350 – 1,650+ VAT|
|£500,001 – £1,000,000||1,550 – 2,100 + VAT||1,650 – 2,395 + VAT|
|£1,000,001 – £1,500,000||1,950 – 2,950 + VAT||2,350 – 2,950 + VAT|
|£1,500,001 – £2,000,000||2,950- 3,950 + VAT||2,350 – 3,950 + VAT|
|Over £2,000,000||Fee estimate provided on application||Fee estimate provided on application|
|Price range||Sale – leasehold £||Purchase – leasehold £|
|Up to £500,000||1,450 – 1,750 + VAT||1,550 – 1,850 + VAT|
|£500,001 – £1,000,000||1,750 – 2,250 + VAT||1,850 – 2,530 + VAT|
|£1,000,001 – £1,500,000||2,250 – 3,350 + VAT||2,550 – 3,450 + VAT|
|£1,500,001 – £2,000,000||3,150 – 4,500 + VAT||3,450 – 4,250 + VAT|
|Over £2 million||Fee estimate provided on application||Fee estimate provided on application|
Our fees for our London office
Our fees on Residential Sales or Purchases
|£0 – £250,000||£1,950+vat Freehold – our minimum charge|
|£2,450+vat Leasehold – our minimum charge|
|£250,000 – £500,000||£1,950 – £2,450+vat|
|£500,000 – £750,000||£1,950 – £2,450+vat|
|£750,000 – £1,000,000||£1,950 – £2,450+vat|
|£1,000,000 – £2,000,000||£3,250 – £3,950+vat|
Bank transfer fees
During the course of your transaction we may have to send money electronically to 3rd parties. Normal examples include sending the purchase monies to the Seller’s Solicitor; paying off your mortgage; or sending the net proceeds of sale to you. Each electronic transfer costs £45 (being £37.50 plus VAT)
Client identification Checks
In order to comply with the rules of regulations of our profession we are required to check and verify the identity of our clients. As part of this procedure we undertake searches the cost of which is currently £5 plus VAT per person
There may be costs in addition to the conveyancing fees we have set out above. Whether you will incur such costs will depend on your own circumstances and requirements or other factors (which may or may not be known at the outset) which relate either the property in question or the transaction itself. We set out below examples of the additional costs you may incur:
|Assent||£750 + VAT|
|Deed of Covenant for leasehold properties (not stand alone covenants)||£250 + VAT (per deed)|
|Help to Buy (Equity)||£495 + VAT (Estate)
£595 + VAT (one-off)
|Help to Buy (ISA)||£50 + VAT|
|ID1 Forms||£250 + VAT (per form)
£350 + VAT (per couple)
|If Lender has their own representation||Add 50% of original estimate|
|Obtaining Indemnity Insurance||£100 + VAT (standard policy)
£150 + VAT (bespoke policy – including disclosure)
|New build supplement*||£295.00 to £395.00 plus VAT|
Freehold owner Occupied
Leasehold Owner Occupied
|£750 + VAT (£1,500 + VAT London)
£950 + VAT (£1,500 + VAT London)
£950 + VAT (plus additional £65 + VAT + tenancy review £450 + VAT) (£1,500 + VAT London)
£950 + VAT (plus additional £65 + VAT + tenancy review £450 + VAT) (£1,500 + VAT London)
|Re-mortgage with Transfer of Equity||As per remortgage fees above plus £495.00 + VAT|
|SDLT – standard returns||£150 – £200 + VAT|
|Shared Ownership||£595 + VAT|
|Statutory Declaration – preparation of||£250 + VAT|
|Transfer of Equity||£750 + VAT (£1,500 + VAT London)|
|Trust Deed – preparation of||£500 + VAT|
|Unregistered Land – additional fees for dealing with unregistered||£250 + VAT|
|Deed of variation||£350 – £600 + VAT|
|Additional registered title i.e. where the property involved comprises of more than 1 registered title, and so more than 1 title needs to be reviewed.||From £100 + VAT per additional title|
|Retention – where a retention is agreed irrespective of who holds the retention.
The additional fee not only includes the consideration and preparation of the retention clauses which can be extensive but also the potential holding of the retention and reviewing the contract provisions at a later date to deal with the release of the retention
|From a minimum of £100 to £500 + VAT|
|Gift letter – including dealing with verifying ID, source of funds and source of wealth||£125 + VAT|
*When purchasing a new build property the transfer deed pursuant to which you will acquire the property will create the title for the property you are purchasing. As such the contract papers and transfer deed will be significantly more detailed. The transfer will include any necessary rights that the new build property requires over shared roads, services, service media, common parts and open space, as well as imposing any covenants relating to the ongoing maintenance of these areas. It is also common with new build properties for there to be a management company to manage the shared areas and common parts. Additionally new build properties often have an extensive planning pack to be considered including not only the planning permissions relating to the particular dwelling and the relevant phase of the development but also documentation dealing with planning obligations as well as highway and drainage agreements.
Conveyancing disbursements are the payments or taxes that need to be paid to third parties and examples include the payment of stamp duty land tax, the cost of searches and land registry fees and indemnity insurance premiums. Disbursements are not part of our conveyancing fees and the amounts or rates are set by the third party.
VAT may be payable at the current rate of 20% in respect of some of the disbursements listed below.
To enable us to proceed with your proposed purchase we will need to apply for the usual searches. The searches we undertake are the “minimum” searches recommended for all property purchases. Your lenders’ requirements will typically be that we undertake all the usual and necessary searches, which typically include:
- Local authority searches.
- Land Registry searches.
- Environmental searches.
- Water authority searches.
- Location specific searches.
- Chancel repair search.
Depending on the exact location of your property, other searches may be required (such as mining, planning etc) but we will know more as matters progress.
The searches need to be paid for at the point the searches are ordered. The cost and the extent of the “usual” searches will vary depending on where the property is located. We take an initial payment on account of £500.00.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
You may have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) which is a tax paid by the buyer of a UK residential property. The stamp duty rates vary depending on the value of the property, your personal circumstances for example whether you are a first time buyer or multiple home owner
HM Land Registry Fees
The Land Registry charge set fees for providing information and for registering property transactions. The fees range from £3.00 to £1,150. The fees either depend on the service or in, case of registration, the value of the property or the amount of the mortgage.
In order for us to proceed we ask that you make an initial payment on account of £100. This will enable us to obtain title documents for the Land Registry, copy planning permission for the local planning authority and pay any administration fees which may be charge by our lender.
We take an initial payment on account of £600.
If your lender does not accept search indemnity insurance and we need to apply for searches, then we take an initial payment on account of £500.00. for usual searches (please see the notes on Purchases above).
Any surplus funds will also be held as money on account of our legal fees.
The fee estimates and disbursements we have set out above are intended to provide you with an indication of what we estimate our conveyancing fees will be for handling a residential property transaction for you. We would always recommend that you telephone the Residential Property Farms and Estates Team to discuss the proposed transaction or transactions with us, so that we can discuss the finer details with you, which would include financing, proposed timetable and whether or not your ability to proceed is dependent upon another transaction which may have an impact on our fee estimate.
We can talk to you about the principles of co-ownership where more than one person will own the property in question, the options available to you in terms of how the property is held, merit of prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements and what should happen if and when the property needs to be sold.
There may be unforeseen matters that arise during the transaction which could both effect your proposed timetable and the conveyancing fees that you will incur. We set out below some typical examples for you to consider:
The title to the property may be unregistered, which means the seller still relies on conveyances and transfer deeds to prove ownership of the property in question.
Often with unregistered titles documents can be missing or difficult to interpret, particularly plans which may no longer be accurate or consistent with current ordnance survey plans.
Where the title for the property is unregistered it is not uncommon for the selling party to find themselves having to provide a statutory declaration or statement or truth, setting out the facts and a chronology relating to the property in question and their period of ownership. In turn this may need to be backed up by some suitable indemnity insurance to protect the purchaser and any mortgage lender that may be involved.
You can also find when dealing with an unregistered titles that the purchaser’s solicitors insist that the title is registered before they will investigate and report to their client. This involves an application to Land Registry to “voluntarily” register your title. This may not necessarily hold up the transaction, as the purchaser’s solicitor can continue reviewing the unregistered title, but they may insist upon the title registration being completed before they will exchange contracts.
If you are purchasing a property that is subject to a tenancy agreement for example an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, that tenancy agreement will need to be reviewed in order for us to be able to advise you correctly on the terms of the tenancy and your ability to obtain vacant possession.
If you are going to purchase the property with a mortgage, then the tenancy will also have to be inspected in order for us to be able to report to your mortgage lender and obtain their approval to proceeding with the transaction.
Often with rural and country properties the property in question may come with either a paddock or field. It is not uncommon for land to have been purchased in the past to extend the garden grounds and amenity areas. This can present a number of additional issues that we will need to explore and advise you upon including but not limited to:
- Planning permission for change of use from agricultural land to garden land;
- Advising on grazing agreements, cropping licences or farm business tenancies and your ability to obtain vacant possession;
- Looking at the stamp duty implications for acquiring land which is not currently considered residential but may be treated as residential for the purposes of stamp duty land tax liability.
The property in question may involve a commercial element, perhaps a small part of the property is let to a commercial tenant, in which case we may need to involve our real estate colleagues to advise on the terms of the tenancy agreement, the tenant’s obligations, your obligations as landlord and, most importantly, your ability to obtain vacant possession if and when required.
The timeframe it takes to complete the residential property transaction varies enormously depending on a number of factors. The most significant factor effecting residential property transactions will be what is commonly referred to as the “chain”.
The “chain” is effectively the term used to describe the number of related transactions which are effectively linked to your transaction. For example, if you have agreed to purchase a property, you may need to sell your property in order to enable you to do so. In turn, the purchasers of your property may then need to sell their property and so on and so forth. Likewise, the owners of the property you have agreed to purchase may also have found a property which they wish to buy and so the same scenario will apply to that transaction as well.
You will sometimes see estate agents refer to a property being “chain free” which means there is no related linked transaction upon which the sale is dependant. This only relates to the property being offered for sale although a purchaser of that property may need to sell their own home to enable them to proceed.
The number of property transactions in a chain also can vary significantly although from our experience the average number of transactions would be between 3 and 6.
In terms of the timeframe required to complete a property transaction which is chain free, this would ordinarily take between 6 to 8 weeks to get to the point of an exchange of contracts, with the completion date then determined to suit the parties’ requirements. That completion date could be simultaneous with the exchange but often, it is between a week and 10 days to allow the parties to arrange removals and vacate the property. This assumes that the purchasing party requires a simple and straight forward mortgage and that there are no significant “issues” with the property which need to be rectified, for example; an unregistered title with poor quality plans, land missing from the title or a potential neighbour or boundary dispute which needs to be resolved.
The more property transactions there are in a chain the greater the chance that one or more of the properties involved presents a significant “issue” which needs to be resolved. This then in turn delays that transaction and the other linked transactions.
It is also important to remember that property transactions will also involve several professional advisors including the lawyers acting for the various buyers and seller, their mortgage advisors, accountants, building surveyors, planning consultants, architects so on and so forth. If building surveyors need to be undertaken, planning advice received, taxation advice considered etc. then you will appreciate there is scope for the timeframe to extend to enable the various inspections, consultations to be undertaken, advice prepared, received, and considered. Where possible we will work with the professional involved to try and identify and resolve any significant “issues” as early as possible.”
Who will be doing your conveyancing?
Your conveyancing will be done by a team of experienced experts as well as a qualified solicitor. Who will carry out your conveyancing will depend on where and when the property transaction takes place, but you can view the list of Partners, Senior Associates, and Associates who head up the department here: