What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?
Fixed Fee Conveyancing is where a pre-agreed price is set for the legal service being given. The price quoted at the start should then be the price you pay at the end of the process.
The term ‘fixed fee’ relates to the price of the legal services offered. However, the fixed element of the quote rarely includes conveyancing disbursements as it’s difficult to assess precisely which searches are required before the transaction starts.
Fixed fee conveyancing, often called fixed price conveyancing or fixed rate conveyancing, is common throughout the UK. However, some conveyancing solicitors still use an hourly rate service. It’s important to make this distinction when comparing conveyancing solicitors so you can budget accordingly.
What is a Fixed Fee Solicitor?
Fixed fee solicitors and conveyancers offer legal services on a fixed fee basis as an alternative to an hourly rate. This means that the quote presented at the start of the process is what you're expected to pay.
Customers often prefer fixed-rate services as it allows them to budget for the expected costs. Otherwise, if you have an estimated amount, you may encounter hidden fees.
A fixed fee conveyancer will be responsible for the legal process of buying and selling property. They will guide you through the transaction and explain any legal jargon. Some of their tasks will include drafting the contract, arranging conveyancing searches and liaising with third parties.
To learn more, read what is a conveyancer and what do they do?
Hourly Rate vs Fixed Price Conveyancing
In the UK, the majority of conveyancers now offer fixed-price conveyancing services. It's becoming more and more unusual to see solicitors take on conveyancing cases at an hourly rate. However, it's still vital you shop around before choosing a conveyancing solicitor.
Some will still charge hourly rates and will include fees for any documents or phone calls that are required. These may be added as additional costs further down the line, surprising you. This is why fixed fee conveyancing is recommended, to avoid any hidden costs.
When comparing conveyancing quotes, make sure you have the quote presented to you in writing so you can thoroughly read the breakdown of all fees included.
If you later decide you have chosen the wrong option or are simply unhappy with your conveyancer's service, you do have the option of changing solicitors.
How Much Should a Conveyancer Cost?
The average conveyancing costs for buying a house are £1,040 and £1,000 for selling a house.
These are the costs for the UK average house price between £200,000 and £300,000. If the property you’re buying or selling is more or less expensive, then your conveyancing fees will vary.
If you want an estimated cost, you can use our Conveyancing Fees Calculator. This will allow you to budget accordingly.
Fixed Conveyancing Fees
Fixed fee conveyancing costs will vary depending on the value of the property, the expected time to undertake the legal work and the services you require. Some legal firms also include an additional fee for photocopying and processing paperwork.
However, your fixed fee conveyancing quote will comprise:
- Conveyancing solicitor's legal fee
- An estimate for third-party services such as searches
It's important to note that buying a property results in more disbursements and searches which means the fixed price conveyancing quote will include more elements. Some of these additional factors include an environmental search, Local Authority Search, stamp duty land tax fees and a bankruptcy search.
Compare My Move work with some fixed fee conveyancing solicitors that can help with the sale or purchase of a property. Always ask your conveyancing solicitor upfront for a full breakdown of your quote and what it includes.
Pros and Cons of Fixed Fee Conveyancing
|Budgeting is easier as you should have a pre-agreed price||Unclear communication with your solicitor can lead to misunderstandings|
|Higher level of certainty as you're aware of what you're paying||Not all agreements will be the same to ensure the solicitor makes a profit|
|Transparent services||Surprise charges can occur|
|Reduces the risk of encountering engrossment fees|
No Sale No Fee Guarantee
Different to fixed fee conveyancing, “no sale no fee conveyancing” is a sales agreement from a conveyancer. This means if the sale or purchase of the property falls through, you won’t have to pay their legal fees.
You might still have to pay costs to cover the searches or any other third party services used. Always confirm with your conveyancing solicitor if they offer a no sale no fee guarantee as well as fixed price conveyancing.
To learn more, read no sale no fee conveyancing.
Avoiding the Risk of Being Overcharged
Using a fixed fee service can help reduce your conveyancing costs. To ensure you’re not overcharged, you should:
- Carefully read the quote offered to you and ensure it includes the conveyancer's legal fee and disbursements.
- Read each individual item on the quote and don’t be afraid to query any element you are not sure about.
- When comparing quotes, you should be told what services you’re receiving and how much you should be paying. Nothing should be hidden from you. Any lack of transparency should be seen as a red flag.
- Carefully read the Terms and Conditions so you're not surprised by any hidden costs. If the writing indicates they may charge you for something, question it.