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How Much are Conveyancing Costs in 2020?

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

2nd Jan 2020 (Last updated on 23rd Sep 2020) 13 minute read

How much should you pay for conveyancing? The average conveyancing fee when buying a freehold home is around £1,040, and the average conveyancing fee for selling a home is around £1,000. These are the legal fees associated with buying and selling the average UK home priced at £232,797, and include 20% VAT. 

These are estimates based on a sample of conveyancing fees from across the UK. True conveyancing costs will differ by property price, area, conveyancer and complexity of service. There will be additional disbursements on top of the legal fee when buying and selling your home.

Hiring conveyancing solicitors is vital when you’re either selling or buying a house. You’ll need a property conveyancer to pay the disbursements on your behalf throughout the selling and buying process.

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. What are Conveyancing Fees?
  2. What are the Average Conveyancing Fees?
  3. Solicitor Fees for Buying a House
  4. Leasehold Disbursements
  5. Conveyancing Fees for Selling a House
  6. When Do I Pay Conveyancing Fees?
  7. What to Watch Out for When Comparing Quotes
  8. What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?
  9. Additional Conveyancing Costs
  10. Save on Conveyancing Costs

What are Conveyancing Fees?

Conveyancing fees are made up of the legal fee you will pay your conveyancer for their service. It also includes the conveyancing disbursements that your conveyancer will pay on your behalf. The conveyancin process is different for buying and selling, so buyers can expect to pay more. 

The legal fee will be paid to your conveyancer for you using their service. Additionally, you'll have to pay disbursement fees for the transactions your conveyancer will do on your behalf. Most of the costs will be expected during the conveyancing process for buyers, but here are the main disbursement fees to consider:

  • Environmental Searches
  • Local Authority Searches
  • Land Registry Searches
  • Drainage Search
  • Bank Transfer Fee
  • Land Registry Registration Fee
  • Land Registry Document Fee
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax

If you're worried about the costs of buying a house, it is possible to do your own conveyancing. However, it's not as straightforward as hiring a professional. You will be responsible for arranging the conveyancing searches, sorting out Land Registry documents and arranging the completion date. 

If you want to save yourself time, effort, and stress, it's advised to hire a professional conveyancer. Get cheaper quotes by comparing the best conveyancing solicitors with Compare My Move.

What are the Average Conveyancing Fees?

The average conveyancing costs for buying a house is around £3,723, which includes £1,000 in conveyancing fees and £2,588 in disbursements. The disbursements are made up of £290 in search fees; £135 in Land Registry fees; £40 in transfer fees; £2 bankruptcy search, £6 land registry title deed search; and £2,115 in Stamp Duty.

The average conveyancing costs for selling a house is around £1,080, which includes £1,040 in conveyancing fees and a £40 transfer fee.

These are estimates based on an average house price of £230,776 (December 2018 UK House Price Index). Please note that this is just a guideline for an average cost. Conveyancing fees will vary depending on the value of your home and the conveyancer that you choose. It will cost more when you're buying a leasehold house.

You should use a moving house checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for all the costs of moving home. Also try our Stamp Duty calculator so you know what to expect. 

Are Conveyancing Costs Increasing?

Like with most things, conveyancing costs are constantly on the rise. However, according to The Law Society, conveyancing fees have risen slower than those charged by estate agents and surveyors. Their study found that in 2014, the average conveyancing cost had risen by 37% compared to the average in 2004 - during the same period, estate agent costs rose by 61% whilst surveyors’ fees rose by 51%. 

However, despite the increase in the average cost, conveyancing fees have decreased in the overall cost of moving house. In 2004, conveyancing represented 14% of the cost of moving house, but in 2014 it was only 12%, proving that it has not been increasing as rapidly as other factors involved with moving house.  

The latest Residential Conveyancing Consumer Research Report 2019 determined that “law firms and solicitors continue to be the preferred choice for conveyancing advice and experience”, showing disinterest in estate agents when it comes to conveyancing. It was also discovered that cost “is not the main choice criteria” but that “relevant qualifications are what a client looks for most in an advisor”.

Solicitor Fees for Buying a House

Compare My Move took sample costs from 50 licensed conveyancers across the UK to explore the legal costs behind buying a house.

Your conveyancer will charge a basic legal fee for the buying process, not including disbursement costs. An indication of legal costs are shown in the table below, followed by the additional disbursements. Conveyancing costs will be relative to your house price and the amount of work the solicitor has to do. Conveyancing fees will usually be fixed and should be explained and costed.

It should be noted that there's no one price for conveyancing fees and what you pay will vary depending on the conveyancer, how much the house is worth, and the location of property. Find out more about why leasehold conveyancing costs more in our freehold vs leasehold guide.

A breakdown of Solicitor Fees can be found below:

Property ValueAvg Freehold Cost*Avg Leasehold Cost*
Up to £100,000£860£1,030
£100,001 to £200,000£930£1,110
£200,001 to £300,000£1,040£1,230
£300,001 to £400,000£1,120£1,310
£400,001 to £500,000£1,200£1,390
£500,001 to £600,000£1,410£1,560
£600,001 to £700,000£1,440£1,630
£700,001 to £800,000£1,670£1,850
£800,001 to £900,000£1,810£2,010
£900,001 to £1,000,000£1,900£2,100

*We took a sample of fees from 50 licensed conveyancers across the UK to find these averages, but this is just an indication of costs. Fees will greatly vary depending on your situation and conveyancer.

Disbursement Costs when Buying a House

These are the extra costs paid by your solicitor to third parties on your behalf. They are called disbursements. Many are fixed price such as Land Registry searches, and others are relative to your house price such as Stamp Duty. We used the average UK house price of £230,000 to work out these average disbursements.

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.

Land Registry Documents - £6

Your conveyancer has to prove that the seller is the legal owner of the house. To do this, they must obtain the official documents from the Land Registry.

Land Registry Registration - £135

Your conveyancer has to register you as the new owner of the property by applying to the Land Registry to transfer ownership. This is relative to your house price, and will cost between £20 to £455 online, and between £40 and £910 by post. The transfer of ownership for a £230,000 house will cost £135.

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 £35, but we found the average fee was around £40 when including VAT.

Stamp Duty Land Tax - £2,115

Stamp Duty will vary depending on the value of the property you’re buying. The average homebuyer (£230,000) will spend around £2,115 on Stamp Duty. Cost will be different if paying the Wales Land Transaction Tax. If you're a first-time buyer buying a property under £300,000, then you are exempt from paying stamp duty.

Property Purchase PriceStamp Duty RatePayable Amount
Up to £125,0000%£0
£125,000 - £250,0002%£0 - £2,500
£250,000 - £925,0005%£2,500 - £36,250
£925,000 - £1,500,00010%£36,250-£93,750

Leasehold Disbursements

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 are 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 DisbursementCost*
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.

Conveyancing Fees for Selling a House

Here’s our breakdown of conveyancing fees for selling a house. There’s not as many conveyancing fees for selling as there are for buying a house. Below is an average conveyancing fee for selling a house, followed by the other disbursements. It should be noted that there's no one price for selling conveyancing fees. The price you pay will vary depending on the conveyancer, how much your house is worth, and the location of property.

Solicitor Fees for Selling a House (VAT included)

Property ValueAvg Freehold Cost*Avg Leasehold Cost*
Up to £100,000£820£990
£100,001 to £200,000£880£1,050
£200,001 to £300,000£1,000£1,170
£300,001 to £400,000£1,090£1,260
£400,001 to £500,000£1,160£1,340
£500,001 to £600,000£1,330£1,490
£600,001 to £700,000£1,390£1,550
£700,001 to £800,000£1,600£1,770
£800,001 to £900,000£1,730£1,880
£900,001 to £1,000,000£1,840£2,000

*We took a sample of fees from 50 licensed conveyancers across the UK to find these averages, but this is just an indication of costs. Fees will greatly vary depending on your situation and conveyancer.

Disbursement Costs when Selling a House

Land Registry Documents - £6 

Obtaining official Land Registry documents will prove that you're the legal owner of the house you’re selling.

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.

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. 

What to Watch Out for When Comparing Quotes

Every conveyancing solicitor will have their own fee scale and so it can sometimes be difficult working out which is right for you. It’s important to shop around and to take notes of any recommendations made to you. Most conveyancers will base their fees on how much your property is worth and how complex it’ll be to complete the process. There will also be additional searches that are necessary but one that will add to the cost. 

To help you better compare conveyancing costs, it would be wise to ask for a full breakdown of the fees. You need to know what you’re paying for and why so that there are no unexpected costs added on. Make sure that the costs are all justified as some conveyancing solicitors may add an extra fee for something that should already be included in the overall cost. 

To avoid any potential issues, it would be wise to look for a fixed fee conveyancer as what is quoted at the start will be the final price. If you’re ever unsure of any fees or added extras, don’t be afraid to ask or read the fine print. You need to know exactly what you’ll be paying for, so make sure there’s no confusion before accepting a conveyancing quote.

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. 

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:

  • Leasehold Property - If you're selling or buying a leasehold property, your conveyancer will charge more as this transaction is more time consuming. This usually costs an extra £100 – £200 plus VAT.
  • 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. 

Common Extra Costs

These extra costs should be clearly outlined, though in some circumstances can come as a surprise if the upfront legal costs seem low. For example, the vast majority of conveyancers we researched included the cost of filing a Stamp Duty return in their upfront legal costs. However, some had it as an optional service, thereby acting as an added cost for the majority of homebuyers.

Additional ServiceExtra 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.

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. 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.