When buying a property, perhaps the worst thing that could possibly happen is finding out the seller was not the real owner after you have just paid them. In this situation, you might have been deceived into buying a house that was not under the seller's name, and you end up going home disappointed that you have just lost your life savings for absolutely no reason.
While the chances of this disaster happening may be slim, this is the kind risk many people face when purchasing homes without opting for conveyancing. Without a solicitor's help, they will have no idea what kind of risk they put themselves in, including being sold a home by a fake seller.
Another significant risk of purchasing a home without conveyancing is that you might pay too much for something you did not want. This also applies when selling a home where the situation might be reversed. If you sell a property without a solicitor, you might not get a fair price and charge the buyer too little.
With that being said, if you are interested in hiring a solicitor for conveyancing, there are two options you can opt for: traditional conveyancing and fixed-fee conveyancing. While both may achieve the same goal, they work quite differently.
We will highlight their differences below to help you decide which of the two options to go for.
In traditional conveyancing, you will typically pay the solicitor for every hour they spend on conveyancing. Along with this, they will also charge you a conveyancing fee for their services. Some will either charge you a flat fee, while others will charge you according to the value of the property you purchase.
The fees do not end there, as you will also have to pay for disbursement charges. A disbursement fee is a cost the solicitor sets for each of the conveyancing checks they will carry out. This can include title searches, clearance certificates, drainage diagrams, council building certificates, and many more. Each of these checks can cost you anywhere between a few pounds to a few hundred.
Note that you may not need some of these searches, as each location will have different requirements. Nevertheless, traditional conveyancing can be extremely taxing on your money, as costs and fees can quickly arise and accumulate.
As the name implies, fixed-fee conveyancing charges you a lump sum to cover all your needs. This means no surprise costs and fees along the way and that everything is paid for at the start.
In most cases, all of the solicitor's services are included in the lump-sum payment. This consists of the conveyancing fee, disbursement fees, and several other pertinent costs. This arrangement makes it extremely easy for you to budget accordingly, as you will know exactly how much you need to pay.
Traditional Conveyancing vs. Fixed-Fee Conveyancing
Simply put, the most significant difference between fixed-fee conveyancing and traditional conveyancing is that the former gives you a final amount from the get-go, whereas the final amount is only computed at the end for the latter.
When you consider how the two differ, it becomes clear that there is no real advantage that traditional conveyancing has over fixed-fee conveyancing. It does nothing more than complicate your plans and budget.
On the other hand, fixed-fee conveyancing gives you the same reliable service but with the added convenience and peace of mind of knowing how much you will spend right at the start.
Extra Fees in Fixed-Fee Conveyancing
That being said, there are extra fees that might still arise even with fixed-fee conveyancing. However, these are mostly minor costs that you should expect anyway. For example, you might have to pay extra for the cost of photocopying documents, making phone calls, and payment processing, as these are expenses that may not be included in the final lump sum.
If you are working with a reliable solicitor that provides fixed-fee conveyancing, the chances are that these costs will already be included in the total. However, keep in mind that it may not always be the case.
Looking for the Best Conveyancing Quote
Despite knowing that fixed-fee conveyancing is generally the better option, this does not mean you will automatically get the best quote with it. There are many solicitors out there, and you must know how to locate the best quote.
For the sake of simplicity, we will focus on fixed-fee conveyancing, as this service gives you a total sum for everything right away. The following guidelines will also apply to traditional conveyancing, albeit you will not know the total amount to pay until after conveyancing is complete.
When buying a property, the conveyancing process will include all the different checks and fees, such as environmental searches, priority searches, drainage searches, coal mining searches, land registration fees, and so on. This is to ensure no surprises when you finally purchase your home.
While the amount you will have to pay can vary from property to property, the final sum you receive from fixed-fee conveyancing should not change after it has been stated. That said, the fee will also depend on whether the property is a freehold property or leasehold. A freehold property means the owner and no other entity owns it, while a leasehold implies that the land the home is built on is owned by someone else.
As for selling a property, you will not have to go through too many checks, and the process is generally much cheaper. On that note, the basic fee for conveyancing will also depend on whether the property is a leasehold or a freehold. Also, you will have to pay for the cost of copying essential documents, such as that from The Land Registry, including a fee to transfer money if a mortgage is over a certain amount.
Other than what we have stated so far, there should not be any additional extra costs in the final sum you have to pay for.
If you are like any individual out there looking to enjoy a smooth and worry-free experience when purchasing a home, fixed-fee conveyancing is the way to go. Opting for this option means you do not have to wonder what fee you will have to pay next. It also means you can quickly plan and budget well ahead to cover for the conveyance fee and more.
That being said, the best way to ensure a pain-free process is to work with a reliable solicitor to provide you with your conveyancing needs. That way, you can be prepared with all the necessary documents, ensuring that you are paying or selling a property without the risk of potentially costly and complicated problems.
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