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What are Disbursements? Conveyancing Disbursements Explained

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1st Mar 2019 (Last updated on 2nd Apr 2020) 4 minute read

Conveyancing disbursements are fees that your conveyancer will have to pay on your behalf to third-party services. They include conveyancing searches and stamp duty. Most of the time, conveyancing disbursements won’t appear in your quote, which is why it’s always important to ask for a breakdown of the costs involved.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about conveyancing disbursements, from disbursements when selling and buying a house to things to be aware of with specific ones.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What Does Disbursement Mean?
  2. What are Disbursements When Buying a House?
  3. What are Disbursements When Selling a House?
  4. When Do I Pay Conveyancing Disbursements?
  5. Conveyancing Disbursements
  6. Save on Your Conveyancing with Compare My Move

What Does Disbursement Mean?

Conveyancing disbursements are payments that you make to your conveyancer for third-party services. Your conveyancer will pay for the services on your behalf. Conveyancing fees will be made up of part legal fees for your conveyancer and part disbursements for the additional services your conveyancer has to carry out.

You will need to pay disbursements for both buying and selling a house, although you won’t have to pay as many for selling. Be wary of a conveyancing quote that looks too cheap, they likely haven't included the costs of disbursements in their quote.

What are Disbursements When Buying a House?

There will be more disbursement fees for when you’re buying a house than selling a house. We will cover the disbursements when buying a house, from local authority searches to stamp duty. It's important to factor in these costs for buying a house.

1. Property Searches - £250-£450

You can usually buy a property search package made up of local authority search, water and drainage search and environmental search.

2. Local Authority Search 

A local authority search is one of the main conveyancing searches when buying a house. The local authority search will tell you vital information on the area around the house, such as if the property is a listed building or if it's located in a conservation or tree preservation area.

3. Water and Drainage Search 

You will need a water and drainage search when buying a house. The water and drainage search will be able to tell you if the property is connected to the public water and sewer system and how the house is charged for water services.

4. Environmental Search 

Environmental searches are a vital part of the conveyancing searches for buying a house. They will be able to tell whether the land around the house has an environmental risk or not. The environmental search will highlight if the land is contaminated underneath or surrounding the house.  

5. Stamp Duty - 0-12% 

Stamp Duty will have to be paid when buying a house. First-time buyers who are purchasing a house up to the value of £300,000 will be exempt from paying Stamp Duty.

6. Land Registry Search - £30

Your conveyancing solicitor will need to carry out searches with the Land Registry to prove that the seller is the legal owner of the property. They will need to check the Land Registry for the title register and title plan.

7. Bankruptcy Search - £2-4

Your mortgage lender may require a bankruptcy search to be carried out to check that you haven't been bankrupt in the last 5 years. This is to make sure you will be able to pay back your mortgage repayments.

The prices shown are usually fixed, but can vary depending on location, your situation and other factors.

What are Disbursements When Selling a House?

You won’t have to pay as many disbursements when you’re selling a house as you would with buying a house. Here we will cover the disbursements needed to be paid for selling your house.

1. Land Registry Search - £30

Your conveyancer will need to obtain Land Registry copies to prove that you are the official owner of the house. They will have to search for the title register and title plan.

2. Telegraphic Transfer Fee - £25-£45

When selling your house, you will need to pay your conveyancer to sort out the telegraphic transfer fee to pay off your existing mortgage.

The prices shown are usually fixed, but can vary depending on location, your situation and other factors.

When Do I Pay Conveyancing Disbursements?

With conveyancing searches, the council will usually require payment as soon as the searches have been ordered. You should expect to pay some fees upfront, throughout and at the end of your conveyancing process. But you should ensure that, at the beginning, you’ve been told the full quote with a breakdown of the costs, so you know what to expect and budget for.

Conveyancing Disbursements

In some circumstances, you may have to pay for additional disbursements such as a chancel repair liability search or coal and other mining searches. But these are quite rare.

Sometimes your conveyancer will quote you only their legal fee at the beginning of the process, not including the costs of disbursements. Many people will fall for this, ending up with a surprise bill at the end of their conveyancing.

You should always ask for a full quote upfront and a breakdown of the fees and disbursements in case your conveyancer is over-charging you.

Save on Your Conveyancing with Compare My Move

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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.