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What is an Engrossment Fee?

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

20th Jan 2021 (Last updated on 25th Aug 2022) 3 minute read

An engrossment fee is what the seller's conveyancer charges for producing the legal document that will transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer. It should be included in the list of conveyancing fees required.

An example of this type of fee would be acquiring the lease when purchasing a flat or leasehold house. It is also common when the seller is a developer or housebuilding company and the property is being sold for the first time.

This article will cover the following:
  1. How Much Does an Engrossment Fee Cost?
  2. When is an Engrossment Fee Paid?
  3. Why Were Engrossment Fees Introduced?
  4. Do You Have to Pay an Engrossment Fee?
  5. How Can You Save on Your Conveyancing Costs?

How Much Does an Engrossment Fee Cost?

The average cost of an engrossment fee is £150-£250, but this will vary depending on the developer.

The developer’s or freeholder’s conveyancer will prepare and supply the legal documentation for signature. This then results in an extra charge for the buyer.

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When is an Engrossment Fee Paid?

When purchasing a new-build home, you will essentially be paying the developer for handling the legal paperwork. This is why the price of the engrossment fee can vary depending on the developer you’re working with.

If you choose the conveyancer your mortgage lender or estate agent recommended the chances of an added engrossment fee increases. Before choosing a conveyancer, you should read their terms and agreements and ask as many questions as possible. Enquire about their prices and ask if they will be including an engrossment fee and why.

Agreeing to a fixed fee conveyancing service will lessen the chances of any hidden fees.

Why Were Engrossment Fees Introduced?

Some of the documents used in the conveyancing process will require the creation of a draft transfer or Lease. This draft will be sent to the conveyancer representing the other party involved in the transaction.

It will then be checked and rechecked multiple times with both conveyancers potentially making a number of amendments. Eventually, the wording will be agreed upon and the draft will be finalised. This then means the document will be ‘engrossed’ ready for signature.

In the past, this involved a substantial amount of typing, editing and paperwork. Due to these added expenses, solicitors would include an engrossment fee.

Some people believe that an engrossment fee is no longer justified as everything is now completed electronically and takes much less time. Whilst engrossment fees do still occur, they are not a legal requirement.

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Do You Have to Pay an Engrossment Fee?

You can object to paying the engrossment fee but you may not be successful in removing it. It's often made a condition of the sale contract and so you will have to object before the exchange of contracts. If you sign and exchange the contract with the engrossment fee included, you will have to pay it.

This is also true when hiring a conveyancer. You should be made aware of any engrossment fees before choosing a conveyancer and before signing any contracts. If you find an engrossment fee within their Terms and Conditions, ask further questions before objecting.

How Can You Save on Your Conveyancing Costs?

Whether you're purchasing a leasehold or freehold property, you'll always encounter conveyancing fees, even if they don't include an engrossment fee. It's worth getting a fixed fee quote when comparing conveyancers to ensure you're not faced with any hidden fees at the end of the transaction.

Don't forget to shop around and compare quotes to keep your conveyancing costs down. Make sure you work with a verified and experienced solicitor to ensure the legal work is completed accurately and to the correct standards, saving you money in the long run.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

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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