How much will I be charged for legal fees?
For most people their home is their most valuable asset and so, when it comes to the sale or purchase of that property you will want to know exactly how much the process is going to cost and that there are no hidden expenses.
Housing stock in England and Wales can be varied and diverse in type and character, ranging from freehold houses, leasehold flats, new-build estate houses, and listed buildings dating back hundreds of years. On top of this, there are a wide range of options available to you to fund the purchase and ownership of a property.
This diversity means we cannot give you an exact estimate of the cost for us to help you until we have full details of your transaction. For this reason, we will always give you an individual cost estimate at the outset tailored to you and your circumstances.
We will advise you as soon as possible if we discover any complications that could have an impact on our original fee estimate, and so we can discuss how they may impact on your transaction before additional charges are incurred.
Below is an estimate of our fees, exclusive of VAT and disbursements, for a straightforward transaction with a sale price of up to £250,000:
For a freehold sale, £850
For a freehold purchase, £950
For a leasehold sale, £1,000
For a leasehold purchase, £1,250
The fees referred to above are indicative and intended as a guide as to the level of fees we expect to charge on an ‘average’ transaction with a value up to £250,000. These fee indications also assume the property, title and circumstances giving rise to the transaction are free from material defects that could complicate the sale and require more time to be spent to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.
Our fees cover all of the work we will carry out for you to complete your transaction, including liaising with HM Land Registry for registration, and with HMRC to submit your Stamp Duty Land Tax Return. Any costs payable to third parties are excluded and payable separately.
The work we expect will be necessary to complete your transaction (and which is included in our fee estimate) will normally include the following:-
- Liaising with you to take your instructions so that we understand the circumstances of your transaction and your intentions and goals, as well as giving any initial advice.
- Advice on the content of the sales contract, transfer deed or lease (where relevant).
- Carrying out those searches you and we agree are either necessary or advisable in the circumstances.
- Raising enquiries on a purchase or taking your instructions to enable us to reply to enquiries on a sale.
- On your purchase, preparing a report on title for you summarising the due diligence we have carried out on your behalf (unless we report verbally direct to you).
- Liaising with you to arrange the signing of all necessary documents, and arrangements necessary to repay any mortgages, draw down mortgage monies and remitting any sale proceeds.
There are certain activities or items of work that are sometimes necessary where the circumstances require, and for which we would charge additional fees. Below is an example of some of those circumstances and the level of additional charges that we estimate for that additional work:
- Where the transaction involves a new-build home either in the process of being built or which is less than 10 years old. Additional charge of £500 plus VAT.
- Where the property is not registered at HM Land Registry. Additional charge of £300 plus VAT.
- Where you require a simply form of declaration of trust to be drafted to document your individual interests/shares in the property. Additional charge of £250 plus VAT. If your trust arrangements or needs are particularly complex, we may need to refer you to a specialist trust/estates solicitor.
- Where you are purchasing a property with a Government Help to Buy equity loan. Additional charge of £200 plus VAT.
- Where part of the money you have saved is held in a Help to Buy or Lifetime ISA that requires this firm to request the funds from the lender. Additional charge of £50 plus VAT.
- Where we are required to investigate the availability and suitability of an indemnity insurance policy to protect against a particular risk. Additional charges at the hourly rate of the fee earner advising on your matter.
Payments to third parties:
During the course of your transaction we will be required to make payments to third parties in the usual course of our business. These are often referred to as ‘disbursements’.
On a purchase, those disbursements will usually include:
- Obtaining conveyancing searches from a third-party search provider. The normal searches we recommend on a purchase include a local authority search, drainage and water search, chancel repair search, and a combined homebuyers search. These searches cost around £300, which we require at the outset. Sometimes the circumstances of your purchase may mean we recommend additional searches but, we will let you know whether that is the case and the additional cost of those searches.
- Land Registration fee. When you have completed your purchase we will be required to register you as the new owner at HM Land Registry, for which a fee is payable. You may wish to visit the HM Land Registry website for details of their fees: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hm-land-registry-registration-services-fees
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). SDLT is payable in most circumstances on the purchase of a residential property. You can calculate the amount of SDLT payable using the HMRC online calculator: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro
- Before completion, we will carry out HM Land Registry pre-completion searches, to include a priority search (£3 per Land Registry title), and bankruptcy searches (£2 per individual).
- On a leasehold purchase there can be charges payable to the landlord, the landlord’s managing agents or other associated charges for obtaining information and notifying them of completion of the transfer. The amount of those disbursements will only become known during the course of the transaction.
On a sale, the disbursements we expect to incur will include:
- Official Copy documents from HM Land Registry to evidence your ownership of the Property. The cost of these documents will depend on how many documents we are required to download and the complexity of your legal title. In most cases, this will be between £6 and £15, but can be more.
- Estate agent fees. Most estate agents expect to be paid their commission from the proceeds of sale and, in the ordinary course of business, we expect you to instruct us to pay those commission fees directly to the estate agent by electronic bank transfer from the proceeds of sale.
- On a leasehold sale, we may have to download a pack of information from the landlord that is required by the buyer to evidence that the freehold and common parts are being managed pursuant to the lease, and that all necessary service charge, ground rent and other charges for the Property are paid up to date. The amount of those information packs will depend on the particular landlord/lease, and we will only discover exactly how much is payable once we have contacted your landlord for their fee or charges estimate.
On any transaction, sale or purchase, we may be required to electronically transfer money on your behalf by the Clearing House Automated Payment system (CHAPS). CHAPS is a sterling same-day payment system used in those circumstances when we are required to pay large amounts of money so that it reaches its recipient on the same day of transfer. Examples of when we may make a CHAPS payment includes on the day of completion when transmitting purchase monies to a seller’s solicitor, when paying money to your mortgage lender to redeem the mortgage on completion, or when sending you the net proceeds of your sale.
We charge £25 plus VAT for each CHAPS transfer.
So that we can give you a detailed fee estimate, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or, otherwise, please call 01392 823811 and ask to speak to a member of our residential property team.
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