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In part 1 of this educational series on the quotes, estimates, and fees involved in conveyancing, we talked about the different agreement structures between client and solicitor. We also discussed the different fees that might show up in a quote or breakdown. In this article, we are going to outline some more of these fees to help you predict how much money you’ll need to actually proceed, just to confirm the accuracy of your conveyancing calculations.

With no further ado, here are some other fees that can come up in your solicitor’s quote or estimate:

9 - Land Registry Searches

Land Registry Searches include the Title Register and Title Plan search. The former confirms that the seller is the legal owner of the property and that their ownership is not disputed by any other party. This search will also reveal other issues in the ownership.

The Title Plan, on the other hand, verifies the boundaries of the property and land included in the title. It might also outline any shared responsibilities (such as walls) referred to in the deeds.

These searches will cost £3 each upon ordering from the Land Registry. Additional supporting documents may also incur additional costs if needed.

10 - Searches

More often than not, the Search step in the conveyancing process is the most time-consuming one. At this point, your solicitor will forward enquiries to local authorities and managing bodies to reveal issues or requirements on the property. Some of the searches that your solicitor needs to enact are:

  • The local authority search. This is the most important one, as it will reveal any information held by the local authorities about the property. This might include planning permission and restrictions. It will also reveal who is responsible for maintaining roads and paths adjacent to the property. This can take anywhere from one to six weeks and may cost anywhere from £70 to £400.

  • The environmental search. This is designed to establish whether the property you’re interested in is built on or near contaminated land or water, or situated on an old landfill site. It also reveals if there is a risk of flooding on the property. Most lenders require this search to be conducted before sending out an offer for a mortgage. This is necessary for protecting the interests of the homebuyer, who may find themselves in ownership of a home they cannot sell.

  • Water authority searches. This will provide information on the property’s water source and if there are any public drains on the property. This is especially important for buyers who intend to do building work in the future.

  • The chancel repair search. This will establish if the buyer will be liable for the cost of repairs to the local parish church. In a few uncommon cases, the church can still insist that a property owner is liable for repairs even if liability has not been established. The search itself is inexpensive, but the Chancel repair fees might be larger than expected. In some cases, buyers opt for Chancel repair insurance, which costs around £30.

Most lawyers offer a search package in their quotes, but there are cases where additional searches may be required. Depending on the terms of your agreement, you may need to pay some additional search fees. In some cases, solicitors offer a free second set of searches if the purchase does not proceed.

If you are purchasing the property without a mortgage, you might not need to carry out searches. Consult your solicitor if this is the case, as not all conveyancing calculators account for this.

11 - Case Management Fee

This fee often appears as a contribution to the management of internal IT systems and cloud-based access. More often than not, this is included in the legal fee, but other firms prefer to include this in the greater breakdown. Charges may vary from £0 to £29.

12 - HM Land Registry Registration

This disbursement is made to the government office that manages ownership of property in England and Wales. When a property enters the conveyancing process, the Land Registry charges a fee to update the register. This fee depends on the purchase price as tabulated below:

Purchase Price

Registered by Post

Registered Online

£80,000 and under

£40

£20

£80,001–100,000

£80

£40

£100,001–200,000

£190

£95

£200,001–500,000

£270

£135

£500,001–£1M

£540

£270

£1 million and above

£910

£455

If the property is a new build, £15 is added on top of the fees. Ensure that the solicitor you hire chooses the online registration, as this is cheaper and more efficient. If they still register by post, that should be cause for suspicion; either they are inefficient or overcharging.

13 - The Mortgage Fee

If there is still a mortgage on the property being sold, the solicitor will charge a fee for handling the redemption of the mortgage and releasing the lender’s charge over the property. In some cases, this is included in the legal fee. It also usually ranges from £20 to £125.

14 - Office Copies

Your solicitor will need to obtain the Official Copy of Register or Title or office copies for short. These will serve as proof that the seller is actually the owner of the property and any third-party interests. Office Copies may also encompass any additional titles that contain rights, restrictions, and other covenants about the use of the property.

Ordered online, this should cost about £3; by post, it is £7. All the other documents might add up, which can bring the total cost of Office Copies well over £100.

15 - Anti-Money Laundering Checks

This is an optional fee required by some solicitors to verify that you are not laundering dirty money. It is most often required when buyers pay through cash or deposit through multiple individual accounts. In some cases, your solicitor will require it regardless of the circumstances since it only costs £6.

16 - Stamp Duty Land Tax

This is a tax imposed by the government on the trading of land and properties with a value over a certain amount. This tax must be remitted within30 days of the completion date of the purchase, with different values for residential, non-residential, and mixed-use.

On average, a homebuyer can expect to pay around £2,115 on Stamp Duty. Luckily for homebuyers, the Stamp Duty threshold was raised to £125,000 to help ease the weight on the market.

Final thoughts

When a property changes hands, it involves a long and drawn-out process with a lot of complex legal obstacles and plenty of fees ranging from just a few pounds to a few thousand. By understanding the complexities of it, however, you reduce the risk of wasting money and wasting time. Whether you are buying or selling, you might find yourself closer to your desired result.

There you have it: the conclusion of our two-part guide to the various conveyancing fees and steps. Hopefully, you’ve learned a thing or two about the process. Get your quote from our Conveyancing Calculator now to get this process going.

 

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