Conveyancing Pricing

The do’s and don’ts of getting a price for your conveyancing

We think it is vitally important for you to understand that conveyancing should not be regarded as an easily commoditised product. It is not like selling a widget! It is a service and we are in a service industry. If you are looking for a conveyancer then we heartily recommend that you consider the following:

  • Do follow recommendations from people you trust. The vast majority of our business comes from our existing clients who come back to us for repeat business or recommend their friends and family. We welcome the responsibility to provide a good service so as to earn our recommendations
  • Don’t take their word for it – speak to us. Ring us up for a quote. We do not leave that process to an interactive website or to our administrative staff – you will be put through to a qualified solicitor who will not only give you a detailed estimate of fees but will be able to talk you through the process and give you the chance to weigh us up in the process!
  • Do compare like for like. There will be a difference in pricing between a conveyancing firm offering a properly qualified solicitor to handle the work personally and a conveyancing firm where much of the work is done by unqualified or less experienced conveyancing personnel subject to the overall nominal supervision of a qualified lawyer. Visit The Law Society to find a qualified solicitor
  • Don’t just look at the bottom line. We appreciate that every penny is important to you but be very wary of just comparing the final figure on a quote without understanding what is comprised in that final figure. Make sure you are clear what is included and what is not included. Often a significant part of the overall conveyancing cost is not actually the conveyancing fees anyway, it is often the stamp duty land tax and/or conveyancing searches or land registry fees et cetera
  • Do compare the fees actually payable to the law firm – that means the money that they get to keep! Some firms will quote a very low base conveyancing figure but then charge “add-ons” for other parts of the process which are really a constituent part of the overall fee. When considering a conveyancing quote make sure you have added up all the bits that together comprise the fees payable to the conveyancer. Only then will you be able to make a true price comparison
  • Do ask if the conveyancing firm pays a referral fee to anyone (for instance an estate agent) who may have referred you to them. Here at Newstead and Walker we never pay referral fees or receive referral fees. We prefer to recommend and to be recommended only on merit. That way we can remain truly independent.
  • Do check whether the fee is a fixed fee or an estimate.
  • Do check whether the conveyancer will make any charge if the transaction does not go ahead and if so what will they charge, or how will they assess that charge (for example will it be based upon the time actually spent)
  • Do check that the conveyancer has made it clear whether VAT is payable on top of any charges they may have mentioned – after all you are highly unlikely to be able to reclaim the VAT hence the importance of understanding everything which is involved
  • Do make sure the conveyancer has confirmed whether or not they charge “mark-up” on any fees or expenses payable to other parties. For instance some firms will charge an additional percentage over and above the bank transfer fee imposed by the conveyancer’s bank. We do not charge a markup on any such payments. We only recharge to you what we have been charged by the other party.

Conveyancing pricing structure

The following information is relevant to all of the scenarios described below:

  • To see the current hourly charging rate for our conveyancing solicitors, please click here. The pricing structures given below are intended to be a helpful and indicative guide to the likely conveyancing fees but we strongly recommend that you telephone and ask for a personal estimate from one of our solicitors. That will give us a chance to make sure the estimate is as accurate as possible in the light of your circumstances and therefore more likely to be a realistic one
  • The pricing structures given below are not intended to be a binding quotation and are subject to formal confirmation, should you decide to appoint us, in the initial letter which we will send you with our terms and conditions of business and which will set out the detail of the conveyancing costs estimate
  • Conveyancing search fees vary from authority to authority and often from transaction to transaction depending upon what particular searches are ordered. Any figures given below for search fees are indicative only
  • It is impossible for us to give a definitive figure for stamp duty land tax and land registration charges. They depend upon the value of the transaction and other circumstances involved which is why we suggest you contact us for a more bespoke estimate of overall fees but we provide below in the section “links” links to the relevant websites to enable you to provisionally assess the position for yourself.
  • VAT is not currently payable upon the stamp duty land tax itself
  • There are a number of factors which can increase the anticipated legal fees which are not specifically detailed in the pricing breakdown for each type of transaction but which we have tried to give some indication of in the preliminary paragraphs below.

Matters likely to increase legal fees where likely amount of increase can be indicated

  • If you are buying (freehold or leasehold) with the aid of a mortgage the extra advice and paperwork related to that is likely to be further charge of £150 plus VAT
  • If you are buying a property on a relatively new and/or large development then it is likely that there will be extra documentation to consider relating to things like adoption of the roads and drains by the local authority, planning and building regulation matters, consideration of any new building property warranty and other such matters commonly requiring attention in such scenarios. Likely additional charge £200 plus VAT
  • Declarations of trust – if you are joint purchasers then you will need some advice as to how best the two of you should own the property and depending upon the advice relevant to you, you may need a declaration of trust drawing up. The cost is likely to be in the region of £250 plus VAT
  • There is now a huge range of insurance policies which are available in the conveyancing market to provide solutions to a whole range of issues in the conveyancing process. These often provide relatively quick means of resolving the issue and are usually acceptable not only to a buyer but also a buyer’s mortgage lender. The cost of the policy itself will depend upon the nature of the problem and the value of the transaction. As to whether the seller or the buyer is to pay for it will depend upon the circumstances and the bargaining power of the buyer and seller, but the time which we will need to take in connection with any advice and arranging of such a policy is likely to be in the region of £150 plus VAT
  • Upon the sale of the property (freehold or leasehold) which is subject to a mortgage, we will have to liaise with the mortgage lender, obtain an official and up to date settlement figure (probably a provisional figure and then a final figure) and liaise with the mortgage lender generally as to any particular requirements they may have – our charges are likely to be around £50 plus VAT per mortgage
  • Help to buy ISA – £50 plus VAT for the paperwork relating to that aspect
  • Help to buy mortgage – £250 plus VAT for the additional paperwork relating to that aspect
  • Reclaiming additional SDLT paid following sale of principal residence – £100 plus VAT
  • Unregistered titles – £100 plus VAT for the extra work which arises as a consequence of the title deeds having not yet been registered at the land registry

Matters likely to increase legal fees where amount of increase impossible to predict

  • If an investigation of the title reveals defects in the title or requires an investigation of additional title documents
  • If the results of the standard conveyancing searches are such that further investigation and/or searches are needed
  • If matters revealed by any standard or specific enquiries raised as part of the conveyancing process require further investigation or action
  • If the other party in the transaction is insisting upon some particularly unusual or restrictive term in the contract or conveyance documents which leads to extra time being spent in advising you as to what that will mean for you and in negotiating with the other party’s conveyancer about it
  • Where we have to spend a lot of time investigating issues around your identity and/or the source of your funds for the transaction
  • On the sale of a leasehold flat it is likely that there may be administrative charges payable to a management company/managing agent/landlord or their advisers. These vary from transaction to transaction but commonly the fees are about £250 plus VAT. For the avoidance of doubt, these are not Newstead and Walker fees but fees payable to the other parties as mentioned
  • There are difficulties elsewhere in the conveyancing chain and we are required to enquire/chase/liaise and coordinate

Residential purchase freehold

Newstead and Walker basic fees. This will depend mainly upon the value of the property – Click here to see fee matrix

Additional fees

Stamp Duty Land Tax filing administration fee – £60 plus VAT

Bank transfer fee (charged by our bank in relation to transmission of purchase money) £17.50 plus VAT per transfer

Where relevant – administration fee payable for dealing with mortgages on  lenders portal (LMS) – £30 plus VAT

Where required – online ID searches –£2.50 Plus VAT (per person)

Search fees – typically approximately £220 including VAT

Disbursements

Registration fee payable to land registry – Click here for HMLR link. No VAT payable on Land Registry Fees

Pre-completion searches – the precise amount will depend upon the circumstances but likely to be approximately £10 (no VAT)

Stamp Duty Land Tax – Click here for SDLT link

Residential purchase leasehold

Newstead and Walker basic fees. This will depend mainly upon the value of the property – Please click here to see fee matrix

Additional Fees

Newstead and Walker leasehold fees – £250 plus VAT

Stamp Duty Land Tax filing administration fee  – £60 all plus VAT

Bank transfer fee (charged by our bank in relation to transmission of purchase money) £17.50 plus VAT per transfer

Where relevant – administration fee payable for dealing with mortgages on  lenders portal (LMS) – £30 plus VAT

Where required – online ID searches –£2.50 Plus VAT (per person)

Search fees – typically approximately £220 including VAT

Disbursements

Registration fee payable to Land Registry – Click here for HMLR link. No VAT payable on Land Registry Fees

Stamp Duty Land Tax – Click here for SDLT link

Pre-completion searches – the precise amount will depend upon the circumstances but likely to be approximately £10 (no VAT)

There may be additional fees payable to the landlord and/or management company for the administration around the transfer of ownership of the lease. These vary from property to property so it is impossible to be definitive but these fees often range from £50 plus Vat to £300 plus VAT. These are payable to the Landlord and/or management company.

Residential sale freehold

Newstead and Walker basic fees. This will depend mainly upon the value of the property – Please click here to see fee matrix

Additional Fees

Newstead & Walker fees for paying off mortgage (if relevant) £50 plus VAT (per mortgage)

Bank transfer fee (for example sending money to mortgage lender or sending you net sale proceeds) £17.50 plus VAT per transfer

Disbursements

Land Registry charges – charged by Land Registry for obtaining documents from Land Registry – approximately £3 per title plus £3 for each additional document which may be required in respect of the title (typically there may be a requirement to obtain one or possibly two additional documents). No VAT is payable on these disbursements.

Residential sale leasehold

Newstead and Walker basic fees. This will depend mainly upon the value of the property– Please click here to see fee matrix

Additional Fees

Newstead & Walker fees for dealing with extra leasehold aspects – £250 plus VAT

Bank transfer fee (for example sending money to mortgage lender or sending you net sale proceeds) £17.50 plus VAT per money transfer

Disbursements

Land Registry charges – charged by land registry for obtaining documents from land registry – approximately £3 per title plus £3 for each additional document which may be required in respect of the title (typically there may be a requirement to obtain one or possibly two additional documents). No VAT is payable on these disbursements.

There is usually a fee payable to the Landlord/management company for obtaining what is commonly known as a “management pack”  – the provision of information relating to the running of the building, service charges etc. These vary from property to property so it is impossible to be definitive but typically these charges range from £200 to £500 plus VAT. These are payable to the Landlord/management company.

Residential mortgage/remortgage

Newstead and Walker basic fees – £450 plus VAT

Additional Fees

Pre-completion searches – the precise amount will depend upon the circumstances but likely to be approximately £10 (no VAT)

Bank transfer fee (for instance paying off old mortgage) £17.50 plus VAT per transfer

Where relevant – administration fee payable for dealing with mortgages on  lender’s portal (LMS) – £30 plus VAT

Where required – online ID searches –£2.50 Plus VAT

Search fees – approximately £220 including VAT unless the mortgage lender will accept search insurance instead which is likely to be cheaper than the search fees but a bespoke quote would need to be obtained in relation to the transaction

Disbursements

Land Registry charges – charged by Land Registry for obtaining documents from land registry – approximately £3 per title plus £3 for each additional document which may be required in respect of the title (typically there may be a requirement to obtain one or possibly two additional documents). No VAT is payable on these disbursements.

Registration fee payable to land registry – see link here

Newstead and Walker indicative basic fees matrix

Please note these are indicative fees and not fixed. The final fee may be subject to change if unforeseen time has to be spent on the transaction, or if there are particular circumstances in the transaction involving extra complexity or requiring extra care. Please contact one of our lawyers for a bespoke estimate for your transaction.

Purchase price Newstead and Walker fees (exclusive of VAT)
Up to £200,000 £595
Up to £300,000 £645
Up to £400,000 £695
Up to £500,000 £745
Up to £600,000 £795
Up to £700,000 £845
Up to £750,000 £895
Up to £1 million £995
Over £1 million £1250

What is included in the price?

Unless otherwise agreed with the client in respect of the particular transaction, we would normally expect the following services to be included in the price:

Freehold purchase

  • Taking initial instructions
  • Carrying out conveyancing searches and reporting upon the results
  • Investigation of title
  • Dealing with standard preliminary enquiries/Property Information Forms
  • Raising specific enquiries arising out of the conveyancing process
  • Negotiation and agreement of purchase contract
  • Reporting to client and advising on contract title and all other information received
  • Liaison with client and other stakeholders as to completion date
  • Dealing with anti-money-laundering measures/source of funds enquiries
  • Attending to exchange of contracts
  • Negotiation and agreement of transfer document
  • Liaison with client as to completion monies required
  • Standard pre-completion administration such as procedural requisitions
  • Standard pre-completion searches
  • Attending to completion
  • Dealing with Stamp Duty Land Tax return on client’s behalf
  • Dealing with Land Registry application
  • Reporting final completion of conveyancing process and liaison with client as to storage of deeds

Leasehold purchase

  • All steps relating to freehold purchase as detailed above
  • Review and report on lease
  • Review of additional leasehold information such as Leasehold Information form supplied by Seller
  • Review of leasehold information such as Leasehold Property Enquiries provided on behalf of landlord/management company
  • Dealing with Landlords and/or Management company’s notice requirements post-completion

Purchase involving a mortgage

  • All steps as to freehold or leasehold purchase (as applicable) as detailed above
  • Review of mortgage instructions from lender to us
  • Review of and liaison with client in respect of any special conditions attached to mortgage instructions/mortgage offer which require legal input
  • Reporting to lender/valuer as required in relation to lender’s requirements
  • Advising client as to the nature and effect of legal charge/mortgage
  • Submission of certificate/report on title to lender and requesting mortgage funds
  • Ensuring registration of mortgage in favour of lender and any associated restriction on title
  • Dealing with lender’s post completion requirements such as sending completed registration/original mortgage

Freehold sale

  • Taking initial instructions
  • Locating/receiving deeds/title details
  • Preparing draft contract and contract package with supporting documentation
  • Liaising with client as to completion of standard preliminary information such as Property Information Form and Fixtures Fittings and Contents form
  • Submission of contract package to buyer’s solicitors
  • Negotiation and agreement of contract
  • Dealing with specific enquiries raised on behalf of buyer
  • Liaison with client and other stakeholders as to completion date
  • Dealing with anti-money-laundering measures and any source of funds enquiries
  • Attending to exchange of contracts
  • Negotiation and agreement of transfer document
  • Dealing with standard pre-completion administration such as procedural requisitions
  • Standard pre-completion searches
  • Attending to completion
  • Reporting final completion of conveyancing process and liaison with client as to storage of deeds

Leasehold sale

  • All steps as to freehold sale as detailed above
  • Liaising with client as to additional leasehold documents required such as leasehold information form
  • Liaising with landlord/management company as to documentation required from them such as leasehold property enquiries
  • Ascertaining particular requirements affecting the transaction pursuant the lease or the requirements of the landlord/management company
  • Ascertaining and advising relevant parties of any additional fees or costs payable to 3rd parties such as landlord, management company or their advisers or representatives 

freehold or leasehold sale involving a mortgage

  • All steps as to freehold or leasehold sale (as applicable) as detailed above
  • Ascertaining details of any mortgages affecting the property being sold
  • Liaising with relevant mortgage lenders as to amount due to lender and any procedural requirements
  • Liaising with client as to mortgage lender’s requirements
  • Dealing with payment of mortgage redemption monies at completion
  • Ensuring requisite documentation relating to the release of the mortgage is produced by or on behalf of the mortgage lender and provided to the buyer’s solicitors

What is not included in the price or what sort of things might cause the original estimate of our costs to be exceeded and/or have an adverse effect on timescales?

  • Not being given full or adequate information by client at outset or at relevant stages of transaction
  • Failure to deal promptly with our engagement and/or anti-money-laundering measures/source of funds enquiries
  • Other parties in the transaction or their advisers do not respond promptly and need chasing outside agencies such as search providers being slow to provide results/information
  • Matters revealed by an investigation of the title and/or precontract information and/or results of searches requiring further investigation
  • Matters arising which require remedial action such as retrospective consents (e.g. for unauthorised work under building regulations) or insurance indemnity policies (which can often be required for all manner of defects in title and other deficiencies in the conveyancing process)

Important notes

  • We do charge for abortive time should the matter not progress to completion. Our standard practice is to charge on the time spent basis, based upon the hourly charge out rate of the relevant person or persons handling the matter on your behalf
  • We rarely give fixed fees for conveyancing work. The figures given for our professional fees should be assumed to be estimates unless it is otherwise made clear that they are fixed fees
  • We try very hard to give a realistic estimate of the likely cost at the outset so as to minimise any disappointment at the end of the transaction and we will notify you as soon as it becomes likely that the original estimate is likely to be exceeded, notifying you of the likely increase in our fees as best we can predict at that point in time

Timescales

How long your transaction will take will vary greatly depending upon circumstances. We typically estimate that a conveyancing transaction will take somewhere around six weeks from start to exchange of contracts and something like a week or two weeks further for completion. However, the following factors which are outside of our control can affect timescale:

  • There is often a lag between acceptance of your offer and the issue of the estate agent`’s memorandum of sale. This is sometimes because information is awaited by the estate agent such as details of one party’s solicitors
  • How long it takes for the chain to be complete. For instance if you have agreed to buy a property from someone who is still trying to find somewhere to buy, and the transaction cannot begin until they have agreed their purchase
  • Difficulties involving other transactions in the chain. The whole chain will, except in exceptional circumstances, need to exchange and complete simultaneously. It follows that the speed of the chain is dictated by the slowest party in it
  • If there is something which crops up in your transaction which needs resolving then there may be a time implication – for instance if a retrospective approval is needed for something involving building regulations or if there is a delay on your mortgage offer et cetera et cetera.

We think that overall for any property involved in a chain a very rough rule of thumb to work on is something like 2 to 3 months from start to finish. 

Links

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) – please find link to the SDLT calculator

Land registry fee for registration – please find link to land registry fee order here