Solicitors Fees for Buying a House Explained
The average solicitor fee for buying a house in the UK is £2,339, based on the average UK house price of £277,000. This includes the solicitor’s legal fee, conveyancing disbursements and potential extra costs.
To provide the most accurate results, Compare My Move has taken averages from 46 UK conveyancers. This ensures that you have an idea of what to expect when it comes to purchasing your property.
In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about solicitor fees when buying a house. This includes a thorough and detailed breakdown of individual costs.
Here are the average conveyancing fees in 2024:
|Solicitor's Legal Fee
|Potential Other Costs
How Much are Solicitor Fees when Buying a House?
The cost of your solicitor fees will vary depending on whether you’re buying a freehold or leasehold property. It’s also worth finding out if you’d be better off using a solicitor who offers a fixed fee conveyancing service. This ensures that you will be charged a fixed rate.
On average, solicitor fees amount to around 14% of the overall moving costs. For more information, use our Cost of Moving House Calculator for an accurate estimate.
The table below shows a breakdown of solicitor’s fees for both freehold and leasehold properties for a range of property values.
|Freehold Solicitor Fees
|Leasehold Solicitor Fees
Up to £100,000
£100,001 to £200,000
£200,001 to £300,000
£300,001 to £400,000
£400,001 to £500,000
£500,001 to £600,000
£600,001 to £700,000
£700,001 to £800,000
£800,001 to £900,000
£900,001 to £1000,000
Average taken from the fees page of 46 Conveyancers from across the UK. 20% VAT is included.
Our Conveyancing Fees Calculator offers an estimated cost, allowing you to budget accordingly.
Disbursement Fees for Buying a House
You’ll have to pay conveyancing disbursements on top of the legal fees. These are services your conveyancer will order. These disbursements include thorough checks to ensure that you are a suitable buyer for the property.
These service charges can vary due to the purchase price and whether the property is a second home among other factors. Here are some conveyancing fees to keep in mind:
Property searches - £290
Your conveyancer will need to order property searches. This includes Local Authority Search, Environmental Search and Water and Drainage Search. They’re usually offered as part of a search pack costing between £250-£450.
Anti-money laundering checks - £5
Anti-money laundering checks are required so the solicitor knows where your money is coming from. This is a common disbursement and will be carried out at the beginning of the process.
Bank transfer fee - £40
The bank will charge you a bank transfer fee to send sums of money over £60,000. Our research shows this can cost between £25-£45 but averages at £40.
Mortgage property supplement fee - £220
If you’re buying with a mortgage, you’ll need to pay a mortgage property supplement fee as it requires more work for your solicitor.
SDLT Return - Varies
You’ll need to let HMRC know about your property purchase within 14 days of completion. This is done by submitting the relevant Stamp Duty Land Tax forms to HMRC. You’ll have to do this even if you fall below the Stamp Duty threshold.
Land Registry Charges
Your solicitor will have to register the property in your name to transfer ownership. This is relative to the property price and whether or not the property has already been registered. The average cost is between £20 to £500 online, and between £45 and £1,105 by post.
|Paying by Post
£1,000,001 and over
Costs taken from gov.uk
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) must be paid when buying a property worth over £250,000 in England and Northern Ireland.
In Scotland, SDLT was replaced by Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and applied to properties worth over £175,000.
In Wales, SDLT was renamed Land Transaction Tax and applied to properties worth over £225,000.
For first-time buyers, this threshold increases to £425,000 in England and Northern Ireland. In Scotland and Wales, the threshold remains unchanged.
The total Stamp Duty you will pay depends on the property price and location. Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to receive an accurate estimate of how much you'll need to pay.
How Can You Keep Your Solicitor Conveyancing Fees Down?
The best way to keep your conveyancing fees down is by carrying out research before making your final decision. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Fixed Fee Conveyancing
Fixed fee conveyancing means that your conveyancer will charge you a fixed rate for their services. It is also known as flat fee conveyancing. These will help to minimise your fees, especially if your case is complex such as leasehold properties.
Choosing an hourly rate conveyancer can seem appealing as the upfront costs may seem lower. However, if your case is complicated, you may find your overall costs add up and you could be paying well above the fixed fee average.
No Sale No Fee Guarantee
No sale no fee means you won't have to pay legal fees if the transaction falls through before the exchange of contracts. Keep in mind that any money spent on disbursements and other third-party charges is not likely to be refunded.
Extra Fees to Expect when Buying your House
There may be extra solicitor fees or hidden costs to face, depending on the services you require. Below are the most common extra conveyancing fees:
Help to Buy ISA Fee
Help to Buy Equity Loan Supplement Fee
£100 - £200
Share of Freehold
Solicitor Fees for Buying Leasehold
Buying a leasehold property comes with extra paperwork for your solicitor. These are the most common solicitor fees for buying a leasehold home:
Landlord Sales Pack
Notice of Transfer fee
Notice of Charge fee
Deed of Covenant
Certificate of Compliance
Engrossment Fee (typically when purchasing flats or new-builds)
£120-£180 but will vary depending on the developer or leaseholder
Leasehold Property Supplement Fee
Leasehold Management Information Pack
Do you Need a Solicitor to Buy a House?
Hiring a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor is not a legal requirement. However, it is highly recommended as taking on the conveyancing yourself is a difficult task if you don’t have the appropriate experience.
If you’re not familiar with the conveyancing process, you could make a costly mistake. A solicitor or conveyancer will take care of the legal side of your purchase.
When do you Pay Solicitor Fees when Buying a House?
Your solicitor will ask for a deposit as an upfront payment or a ‘payment on account’ at the start of the process. This is usually to pay for the conveyancing searches so your solicitor can order these right away. This means you can expect to pay between £250 and £450 at the beginning of the process.
The rest of the solicitor fees will be paid at the end of the process. Stamp Duty needs to be paid within 14 days of completion, but your solicitor will add this to your bill as they do this on your behalf.
Read more on When Do I Pay Solicitor’s Fees When Buying a House?
Who Pays Solicitor Fees when a Sale Falls Through?
Some solicitors offer a no sale no fee guarantee. This means that if the sale falls through before the exchange of contracts, you will not be liable to pay the solicitor’s legal fees.
However, keep in mind that you will have to pay for third-party disbursements once they are ordered. Any money spent on disbursements, such as searches, up until this point cannot be recouped.
How Do You Find the Right Conveyancer or Solicitor?
There are steps you can take to find the best conveyancer that fits your criteria. Not every conveyancer or solicitor has experience with certain cases such as Help to Buy schemes or leasehold properties. Therefore, it’s best to carry out thorough research before making your final decision.
Here are the best ways to find the right conveyancer or solicitor for your needs:
Using comparison sites is a great way to find a conveyancer that suits your needs. Compare My Move connects customers with up to 6 conveyancers that operate in the local area. Simply fill in our comparison form to compare conveyancing quotes and save up to 70% on your conveyancing fees.
Our conveyancing partners have passed our strict verification process. Part of this process requires firms to be regulated by a respected regulatory body to ensure high-quality service. They can be members of one of the following:
- Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
- Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
- Law Society of Scotland (LSS)
- Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI)
- Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)
You can ask friends and family for recommendations if they have recently hired a conveyancer. Always check that the conveyancer has plenty of experience.
You can also ask your estate agent for recommendations. However, bear in mind that they may receive a commission or referral fee. Therefore, they may not have your best interest in mind.