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?
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.
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
There are both positives and negatives when using a fixed fee conveyancing service. We’ve outlined a few important points to help you make an informed decision before finding the right conveyancer.
|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||Surprise charges can occur|
|Transparent services||Not all agreements will be the same to ensure the solicitor makes a profit|
|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. It's important not to forget that the quote should include both the legal fee and the disbursements.
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.
- If there is a lack of transparency, then consider this a red flag. 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.
- As tedious as it may seem, it’s important to look at the Terms and Conditions so you're not surprised by hidden costs. If the writing indicates they may charge you for something, question it.