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What is No Sale No Fee Conveyancing?

Adele MacGregor

Written by

18th Jan 2021 (Last updated on 30th Mar 2021) 7 minute read

“No Sale No Fee Conveyancing” is a sales agreement from a conveyancer which means if the sale or purchase of the property falls through, you won’t have to pay their legal fees. 

Be aware that this does not mean that you will not incur any costs if the sale fails to complete. Any costs from third parties incurred on your behalf, for example for searches and surveys, will need to be paid to your conveyancer regardless of the outcome of the sale.

Compare My Move work with financial and property experts to bring you the most up to date information on what it means to use No Sale No Fee Conveyancers. Below, we explore what No Sale No Fee means for the buyer and seller, the costs involved and the advantages and disadvantages of using this type of conveyancing service.

This article will cover the following:
  1. How Does No Sale No Fee Conveyancing Work?
  2. Which Companies Offer No Sale No Fee?
  3. How Much Is No Sale No Fee Conveyancing?
  4. What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of No Sale No Fee?
  5. Is No Sale No Fee Worth It?
  6. What Could Cause a Sale to Fall Through?
  7. Learn More About Conveyancing

How Does No Sale No Fee Conveyancing Work?

Also referred to as “no completion, no fee” or “no move, no fee”, this type of conveyancing service protects the buyer or seller from potential financial loss in the event that the sale falls through prior to completion. This can give you peace of mind if the financial loss of paying for conveyancing despite no sale is a considerable concern. For example, if money is tight or if you have a low budget. 

Without “No Sale, No Fee”, you will be required to pay the full legal fees for the conveyancing process, even if the transaction fails to complete. For many homebuyers, this can be a large financial loss, leaving you nothing to show for several hundreds of pounds spent on legal fees. 

However, it is important to note that “no fee” is not strictly accurate as you will incur some fees if your conveyancer has already made payments to third parties on your behalf, such as for surveys, searches and to the Land Registry. It is only the basic fee for the time spent dealing with a case that is included in a conveyancer’s “No Sale, No Fee” offer. You may also be required to pay a deposit upfront.

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Which Companies Offer No Sale No Fee?

Although not all conveyancers will offer a No Sale No Fee service, many trusted conveyancers will offer this as an option for clients. Some well-known firms offer No Sale No Fee Conveyancing and you may also find that an independent or local conveyancer may also be able to offer you this service. 

When choosing a conveyancer, it is worth noting that it is at the solicitor’s discretion whether or not they want to take your case on a “No Sale, No Fee” basis. As a result of the 1995 Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), if the solicitor does not wish to take your case (if it is clear there is a high chance of the sale falling through, for example) they can refuse to go ahead with the legal work on your behalf. 

How Much Is No Sale No Fee Conveyancing?

Costs for any type of conveyancing will depend on the cost of the property, the area and the conveyancing firm that you choose to work with. In some cases, you may find that the fees for No Sale, No Fee conveyancing is higher than “traditional” conveyancing. So that firms can offer this service, fees will be higher across the board so that they can recoup lost earnings from uncompleted sales. This could mean an extra 15% cost to a customer who pays for this service following a completed sale. They may also charge a deposit upfront. 

According to our estimates (based on a sample of Conveyancing costs across the UK), the average conveyancing fees for buying a house is £1,040. The average cost of conveyancing for selling currently sits at £1,000. 

As we have stated above, the “no fee” element of the arrangement only applies to the time spent dealing with your purchase or sale. You will still be required to foot the bill for payments made to third parties for searches and information sourced on your behalf. 

Fees for local authority searches, which are organised by your conveyancer, will vary from location to location as the local authority is responsible for setting its own fees. On average these can cost anywhere between £50-£250 and would be charged to you even if the sale of the property collapsed. 

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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of No Sale No Fee?

The obvious advantage of No Sale No Fee is that if the sale falls through, you are not at risk of losing hundreds of pounds on legal fees. However, there are many other factors to consider when using this type of conveyancing service. Below we’ve set out the advantages and disadvantages of using No Sale No Fee when buying or selling a property.

AdvantagesDisadvantages 

You are not at risk of losing money if the sale falls through 

No Sale, No Fee conveyancing can potentially come with higher fees attached than traditional conveyancing services.

Your chosen conveyancer will have an incentive to keep the sale on track and moving as they will lose their fee if the sale is not completed. 

You will need to be aware of upfront deposits, hidden costs and fees that may be added that are not included under the “main” fee. These could be charged regardless of the outcome of the sale. 

Some property solicitors may allow you to move the deposit paid on the failed sale to your next transaction.

You will still incur fees for anything the conveyancer has organised on your behalf such as Environmental searches. 

Is No Sale No Fee Worth It?

Depending on your financial situation and personal circumstance, No Sale No Fee can either be of benefit or it can put you at more of a disadvantage. 

With ongoing uncertainty as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic and Brexit, there is the concern that sales are more likely to fall through. If this is a concern for you and the loss of funds for a full conveyancing service could hit you especially hard, “No Sale, No Fee” might be worth considering.

However, the protection offered by No Sale No Fee against losing money on legal fees should the sale fall through is offset against the higher cost of this type of conveyancing service. If and when the sale is completed, you could be faced with a higher bill than if you had used a traditional conveyancing service.

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What Could Cause a Sale to Fall Through?

In 2019, one in four (24.42%) of house sales in England and Wales fell through before completion according to figures released by Quick Move Now. Below, we review some of the more common reasons why a transaction may fail to complete. 

Property Chain Break

A break in the property chain is one of the most common reasons for a sale to fall through. A property chain forms when a line of buyers and sellers are linked together as their property transactions depend on one another. For example, someone buying and selling a house will be waiting for the sale to complete on their house, prior to completion on the house they are looking to buy. 

This can lead to a long line of buying and selling and any delays in this chain can impact every other transaction. If a sale falls through, this can also have a domino effect on the buyers and sellers linked with that transaction. 

Buyer or Seller Changed Their Mind

Sometimes a buyer will simply change their mind on a property purchase. This can be influenced by financial factors, changes in circumstances or a change of priorities. Sellers may also change their mind about selling their property. This could be because they have decided to remain in their current home, or they may pull out of the sale if the process is moving too slowly. 

Problem Identified in a Survey

Buyers may also pull out a property transaction if their homebuyer or building survey reveals a serious concern or potential issue. Issues on the land could include a Japanese knotweed infestation, subsidence evidence of contaminated land. Within the home itself, anything from structural issues to damp and woodworm could make a buyer change their mind about proceeding with the purchase.

Gazumping

Gazumping occurs when a seller has accepted an offer and later accepts a higher offer from another buyer. This is legal in England and Wales although the law is different in Scotland. Gazumping can happen at any point during the buying process up until exchange of contracts. This includes after enlisting the services of a conveyancer. 

Difficulty Securing a Mortgage

Even if a buyer has a Mortgage in Principle when making an offer on a property, this does not guarantee a mortgage from the lender. If a buyer’s financial circumstances change, they can be refused or have difficulty obtaining a mortgage (for example, if they are on a zero-hour contract). This can delay the sale and even cause it to collapse completely. 

Learn More About Conveyancing

This is part of our conveyancing guide. In our next article, we take a look at conveyancing options online. To learn more read what is online conveyancing.

Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.