Conveyancing quotes can be especially confusing for homeowners who aren’t aware of what they include. However, they aren’t that complicated and once you understand them completely you’ll be in a better position to find the best conveyancing quote. When instructing a conveyancing solicitor, you should be provided with a quote that includes two main parts: the basic fee and a list of disbursements.
The basic fee is the solicitor’s initial fee that accounts for their time and knowledge, and varies significantly depending on the reputation of the firm you’re dealing with and the method used to calculate payment. One of three methods is traditionally used. Some charge you a fixed fee, but this is becoming rare. Others charge a per hour figure, which should be avoided at all costs: any delays in the conveyancing process and you could find yourself whacked with a huge bill. The most common method is a sliding scale based on the value of the property in question.
If you are selling a leasehold property your basic fee is likely to be around f40-f250 higher. Your conveyancing solicitor should ask if the property you’re selling is freehold or leasehold.
Disbursements are charged in addition to the basic fee and are fixed costs incurred by the solicitor which are then passed directly onto you. The conveyancing process includes a number of checks and formalities which incur small to medium sized charges which must be paid for by you. Your solicitor will total up all these disbursements, add them to the basic fee and provide you with an invoice for this total.
The quantity of disbursements will depend on the house you’re trying to sell or buy but some will be included in all conveyancing cases. Here are a few of the more common ones:
Bankruptcy search – if you’re applying for a mortgage, your lender will need confirmation you haven’t recently been declared bankrupt to help ensure you won’t default on your payments.
Land registry office copies – this is a formality search to confirm the seller actually owns the property you are trying to buy. Since conveyancing is a legal process that transfers ownership it is important to ensure all aspects of the process are legally permissible.
Environmental search – this checks for ground contamination in the area immediately surrounding your property. Since you would own this land you may be responsible for it even though you did not actually cause it.