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What are Conveyancing Disbursements?

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

1st Mar 2019 (Last updated on 25th Aug 2022) 3 minute read

Conveyancing disbursements are fees that your conveyancer will have to pay on your behalf for third-party services, such as conveyancing searches and Stamp Duty.

Disbursements should be clearly set out in the quote issued by your conveyancing solicitor. They should be listed alongside the conveyancer’s legal fees.

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

This article will cover the following:
  1. Disbursements For Buying a House
  2. Disbursements For Selling a House
  3. When Do I Pay Conveyancing Disbursements?
  4. Learn More About Conveyancing

Disbursements For Buying a House

You may require additional disbursements depending on the complexity of the conveyancing case or if you’re buying a leasehold or help to buy property. These should be listed in your conveyancing fees.

The main conveyancing disbursements are listed below and should be listed in your conveyancing quote.

1. Local Authority Search

A Local Authority Search is one of the main conveyancing searches when buying a house and will be ordered at the start of the conveyancing process. The Local Authority Search will tell you vital information about the property, such as whether it's located in a conservation or tree preservation area.

You can get a conveyancing search package made up of Local Authority, Environmental and Water and Drainage searches for around £250-£450.

To learn more, read Local Authority Search.

2. Environmental Search

Environmental searches are another search in the conveyancing search pack and will provide risk assessments on certain environmental factors that may affect the property.

To learn more, read Environmental Search.

3. Water and Drainage Search

You will also 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 supply.

4. Stamp Duty Land Tax - 0-12%

Stamp Duty will have to be paid within 14 days of buying a house. As of October 1st 2021, Stamp Duty rates returned to the normal threshold of £125,000.

To learn more, check out our Stamp Duty Calculator.

5. HM Land Registry Fees - £3

Your conveyancer will need to carry out a Land Registry search after the exchange of contracts to check that the property register has not changed since the contract paperwork was issued by the seller’s Conveyancer.

6. Chancel Liability Search – £20-£100

If you live near a church, you might have to pay for the upkeep. Your conveyancer can order a Chancel Liability Search which ranges from £20-£100 plus VAT.

To learn more, read Chancel Liability Search.

7. Bankruptcy Search - £2

Your bank will charge you to send the deposit money to the seller’s solicitor.

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

Disbursements For 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 when selling.

1. Land Registry Document Fee - £6

Your conveyancer will need to obtain Land Registry documents to show that you are the official owner. The documents will consist of a property register and a plan of the property.

2. Bank Transfer Fee - £25-£45

When selling your house, your conveyancer will pay off your existing mortgage on the completion of the sale. They will also need to transfer any net proceeds of sale due to you. The Bank Transfer Fee will be charged to process such payments.

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

When Do I Pay Conveyancing Disbursements?

Some disbursements might be payable during the transaction and others at the end such as legal fees and Stamp Duty. The role of your conveyancer will be to confirm when and how much is to be paid.

With conveyancing searches, the relevant authorities require payment before they begin the searches, so you should expect to pay for these disbursements upfront.

Learn More About Conveyancing

This article is part of our what is conveyancing guide. Next, we take a look at conveyancing fees. To learn more read how much are conveyancing fees?

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Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

Gareth Brooks

Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

Solicitor and Partner, 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.

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