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How Much are Conveyancing Fees in 2020?

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

2nd Jan 2020 (Last updated on 23rd Nov 2020) 8 minute read

The average conveyancing fee for buying a house is £1,040 and the average conveyancing fee for selling a house is £1,000. This includes the costs of the solicitor's legal fee and the conveyancing disbursements when buying and selling a house at the average UK price of £239,196 (includes 20% VAT.)

These are estimates based on a sample of conveyancing costs that Compare My Move took from across the UK. True conveyancing costs will differ by property price, area, conveyancer or solicitor and complexity of service. 

The thought of high conveyancing costs can be daunting, and having a breakdown of what fees to expect can be helpful. We’ve put together this guide to help you familiarise yourself with the conveyancing costs involved with buying and selling a house.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Conveyancing Fees When Buying
  2. Conveyancing Fees When Selling
  3. Additional Conveyancing Costs
  4. What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?
  5. When Do I Pay Conveyancing Fees?
  6. Save on Conveyancing Costs

Conveyancing Fees When Buying

We've looked at the average conveyancing legal fee and disbursements for buying a UK house costing £239,196. 

Conveyancing disbursements are included in your total cost and are used to pay for third party services during the conveyancing process. Many are fixed in price such as Land Registry searches, and others are relative to your house price such as Stamp Duty. 

Below is a breakdown of conveyancing fees including disbursement costs for buying.

ItemConveyancing Cost

Conveyancing Search Package

£290

Transfer Ownership with Land Registry

£135

Anti-money Laundering Checks

£6

Bank Transfer Fee

£40

Stamp Duty

£0*

Legal Fee£569
Total Conveyancing Cost£1,040

*There is currently a Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax holiday until March 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Conveyancing Searches - £290

We found the conveyancing searches pack costs £290 across a sample of 50 conveyancers, though this can range from £250 to £450 and will vary by location. These searches will include local authority searches, environmental searches and drainage reports. Extra searches can add to the cost. For example, coal mining searches will add around £80.

Anti-money Laundering Checks - £6

This is a check carried out by your solicitor to ensure you're not money laundering. If you're a cash buyer or paying your deposit through a number of individual accounts, then your solicitor may be suspicious, but is a common disbursement regardless of your situation. 

Transferring Ownership With Land Registry - £135

Your conveyancer has to register the property in your name to transfer ownership. This is relative to your house price and if the property has already been registered. It will cost between £20 to £455 online, and between £40 and £910 by post. 

Bank Transfer Fee - £40

A bank transfer fee will be charged by the bank to transfer the sale price from your conveyancer to the seller's conveyancer. This can cost between £25 to £45, but we found the average fee was around £40 when including VAT.

Stamp Duty Land Tax - £0-2,115

The threshold for Stamp Duty and Land Transaction Tax has been increased to help buyers during the Coronavirus pandemic until March 2021. The tax will normally vary depending on the value of the property you’re buying and location. The average homebuyer will spend around £2,115 on Stamp Duty.

To find out more about how much Stamp Duty you’ll need to pay wherever you are in the UK, use our Stamp Duty Calculator

Conveyancing Fees for a Leasehold Property

There are a few extra costs you can expect when purchasing a leasehold property. Conveyancers will increase legal fees when dealing with a leasehold property because there's a large amount of added work involved. The sample of conveyancers we looked at added an average of £230 in legal costs for leasehold compared to freehold properties.

On top of this, there’s a range of extra disbursements faced by leaseholders. The cost of these disbursements do vary and are usually set out in your lease. We've compiled an average cost of the main leasehold disbursements you may face below. 

Leasehold DisbursementConveyancing Cost*

Landlord Sales Pack

£280

Notice of Transfer fee

£190

Notice of Charge fee

£140

Deed of Covenant

£280

Certificate of Compliance

£250

*True costs will vary, and will be set out in your lease agreement. We took an average from a sample of 50 conveyancers across the UK to provide an indicative cost.

Other Conveyancing Costs for Buying

You may face extra costs during the conveyancing process but they should be clearly outlined, though in some circumstances can come as a surprise if the upfront legal costs seem low. We’ve listed some common additional costs you may expect during the conveyancing process for buying a house.

Additional ServiceConveyancing Cost*

Help to Buy ISA

£60

Help to Buy Equity Loan

£300

Right to Buy

£230

Shared Ownership

£310

New Build

£290

Transfer of Equity

£530

Stamp Duty Return

£110

*These costs were taken as an average from a selection of 50 conveyancers from across the UK. The true costs will vary from conveyancer to conveyancer, but always ensure you understand fully the services you require.

Conveyancing Fees When Selling

We've looked at the average conveyancing legal fee and disbursements for selling a UK house costing £239,196.

There are notably fewer disbursements for selling a house than buying. Below we’ve listed the common disbursements you’ll face during the conveyancing process for selling a house.

ItemConveyancing Cost

Anti-money Laundering Checks

£6

Bank Transfer Fee

£40

Title Deeds Copy

£6

Legal Fee£948*
Total Conveyancing Cost£1,000

*Please note, these are average costs and the conveyancing fees for selling will likely include extra costs if selling a leasehold property, making the legal fee more in line with buying. 

Bank Transfer Fee - £40

A bank transfer fee is a cost required when your conveyancer needs to transfer money. Whether it's to pay off your mortgage or paying the final sale funds to your account, this will be added to the cost. We found the average cost including VAT was £40 but can range between £25 and £45.

Anti-money Laundering Checks - £6

This is a check carried out by your solicitor to ensure you're not money laundering. If you're paying for your conveyancing fees through a number of individual accounts, then your solicitor may be suspicious. 

Title Deeds Copy - £6

Your conveyancer will need to obtain Land Registry documents to show that you are the official owner. The documents will consist of a property register and a plan of the property.

Find out more: What are conveyancing disbursements?

Additional Conveyancing Costs

We’ve covered the basic legal costs and disbursements involved in buying and selling a home, but there are a few circumstances that may incur extra costs. Conveyancing is usually a fixed fee, meaning you pay a set price for a set service. However, there are a few scenarios which will make the conveyancing process more complex, adding extra work for your conveyancer and extra costs for you. 

If the quote seems too cheap, then this likely won't cover the whole process of conveyancing costs. More often than not, the quote will show the conveyancer's basic fee and won’t include the cost of any disbursements or hidden costs.

It’s essential to read the small print and ask your verified conveyancer for the full itemised list of costs involved. Your quote breakdown should feature a full list of the disbursement services and how much they are. Ask if there are any additional or hidden costs that could be specific to your property, such as:

  • Solar Panel Documents - If you have solar panels at your new house, or are going to have some fitted, your conveyancer can charge between £100-£150 plus VAT to deal with the appropriate documents.
  • 5 Days Between Exchange and Completion - Some conveyancers might charge between £100 - £200 plus VAT if you complete 5 days after exchanging contracts.

What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?

Fixed fee conveyancing means that you'll have pre-agreed a price for the job. This shouldn't change throughout the process as the conveyancer is offering a fixed fee. Make sure that it's clear what their fixed fee is offering and if it covers the disbursements and not just the basic conveyancing fee. 

By using a conveyancer who offers a fixed fee, you'll be able to budget accordingly by knowing exactly how much it'll be. It's also important to see if the conveyancer is offering a 'no sale no fee' service. This means that if the sale was to fall through, you wouldn't be charged the legal fees. 

Fixed fee conveyancing is becoming increasingly popular, making it rare for conveyancers to charge at an hourly rate. Using a fixed fee service will work out cheaper as if any delays or issues were to delay the process, you wouldn't be charged per hour. 

When Do I Pay Conveyancing Fees?

If you’re buying a property, you'll have to pay for the conveyancing searches upfront as the relevant authority will require payment before they produce the search results. Additionally, you will have to pay fees to your conveyancer throughout the process and upon completion. Land Registry fees will have to be paid after completion.

If you’re selling your house, there’s a possibility you’ll have to pay a small upfront cost. The rest will be paid throughout the conveyancing process and on completion day

Although each conveyancer is different, you may be required to pay their legal fee upfront or at the end of the process. Always make sure you ask for a breakdown of the quote and find out about any hidden or additional fees that could crop up to avoid a surprise bill. 

Save on Conveyancing Costs

Now that you know what to expect when it comes to conveyancing fees, why not save time and effort finding a conveyancer? Compare My Move will connect you with up to 5 licensed conveyancers or conveyancing solicitors in your area, just fill out our quick and easy form below. If you're considering a house move, check out our average house removal costs guide so you know what to expect.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

Gareth Brooks

Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

Solicitor and Partner at RMNJ Solicitors, RMNJ Solicitors

With 19 years of experience in the residential conveyancing industry, Gareth Brooks is a partner and head of management for the conveyancing department at RMNJ Solicitors.