Moving house always brings with it a host of costs, including estate agent fees, insurance and mortgage fees. Conveyancing fees – the amount paid to make sure the legal side of a house purchase or sale is carried out – are another cost that can vary depending on whether you are buying, selling or both, but what are you getting for your money? Here is what to expect when it comes to conveyancing fees.

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What is the average cost for conveyancing?

This can be broken down into two parts: the legal fees charged by the solicitor or conveyancer carrying out the legal work and the third-party charges for certain services, such as searches. These are called disbursements.

According to the HomeOwners Alliance, conveyancing fees vary but typically fall between £850 and £1,500 plus disbursements. Costs are higher for buying a property and lower for selling.

What are the costs for a buyer?

Included in a buyer’s conveyancing costs is the conveyancer’s fee for their work, which will usually include collating property information and documentation, requesting searches, investigating the title to the property, obtaining funds from the mortgage provider, and preparing and completing the property transfer. There will also be local authority, environmental, drainage and water search fees, bank transfer fees, ID verification, HM Land Registry fees, bankruptcy checks, and stamp duty land tax costs.

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What are the costs for a seller?

Sellers also pay the conveyancer for their work, which can include preparing a contract for the sale, obtaining completed property information forms from the buyer’s solicitor, and obtaining the title deeds. It can also include the fee for a copy of the title, bank transfer fees, and ID verification.

There may also be extra charges to consider, such as when the purchase is a leasehold property or is being bought using the Help to Buy scheme. Conveyancing fees for leasehold properties are usually much higher.

What if a sale falls through?

Some solicitors and conveyancers operate a ‘no sale, no charge’ policy, while others may waive the legal fees if a sale falls through. It is always worth asking for information about conveyancing costs and what their policy is in the event of a no-sale before hiring someone.

How are conveyancing fees paid?

Conveyancing solicitors often ask for a deposit to be paid at the start of the process. The rest will be paid when the house sale or purchase is completed. Again, check the payment schedule with your conveyancer.

Finally, it is strongly advised that you choose a conveyancing solicitor who is registered with a professional body.