If you’ve reached the stage of wondering how much solicitors’ fees for buying a house are, then you are likely about to make an offer on a house or are browsing for a new home. This is a super exciting process but can also be very expensive. The purpose of this article is to make you aware of what you need to pay for and how a solicitor can make your life incredibly easier during the purchase process.
What Does a Solicitor Do in The Process of Buying a House?
When contemplating the fees associated with buying a house, you might consider going without a solicitor and handling the paperwork by yourself. This might seem like a simple solution but you will soon find yourself swamped with legalities and documents that you don’t know what to do with. To add to this, conveyancing fees are not the largest costs associated with the conveyancing process, there are plenty of other fees that legally have to be paid when buying a house that solicitors often bundle into one price which is what makes them appear to be so expensive.
Once instructed, your solicitor will be the person who is dedicated to handling your property exchange. They will provide legal aid along with each of the following services:
A Solicitor Will Play a Key Role in The Development of Your Contract
Without a conveyancing solicitor it would be up to you to handle the legal negotiations of the exchange contract. Without much legal knowledge and up against the seller and the seller’s solicitor, you will experience a very difficult negotiation for the legal proceedings of the purchase. A licensed solicitor can take this responsibility from you and make the entire process seem like a walk in the park.
A Solicitor Will Ensure the Information in Your Contract Is Correct
Conveyancing Solicitors are experts in the negotiation of exchange contracts. They provide priceless experience which can be invaluable for ensuring that everything is present and correct within your contract. You wouldn’t want to sign a legally binding contract that agrees the transfer of hundreds of thousands of pounds that you aren’t completely confident in.
A Solicitor Will Check That the Funds for the Purchase Are Available
After the exchange of contracts your solicitor will request a deposit for the property you are about to purchase. Upon completion, they will then request funds for the rest of the cost of the house. This can either come from a cash purchase or a mortgage lender. Your solicitor will ensure the safe and legal transference of funds between the buyer and the seller. They can also act as a legal witness to the exchange of funds.
Your solicitor will also be able to identify any issues with availability of funds so the problem can be resolved as soon as possible.
A Solicitor Confirms That a Sale Is Complete
After completion, this doesn’t necessarily mean the property exchange is entirely finished. There are certain legal proceedings that still need to occur. This includes payment for certain legal fees and the transference of deeds between the previous and new owners. Whilst you are moving in and settling into your new home, your solicitor is able to take care of this entire process for you. They will notify you once the process is complete before taking payment for their services.
The Different Types of Solicitor Fees for Buying Property
Now you understand the role that a solicitor plays in the purchase of a property, you might start to understand their value a little more. However, it is not until you have fully understood the break down of the associated legal costs that you are able to understand that solicitors are not the most expensive service within the house purchase process.
Below you will find a comprehensive summary of the solicitor’s fees that are required for buying a house.
Stamp duty can be considered a land and building transaction tax. The rate that you pay depends on the price of the property. Within the UK from the 30th October stamp duty rates will be as follows:
- For properties priced £125,000 (or £300,000 for first time buyers) – 0% stamp duty
- Properties priced £125,001 – £925,000 – 2% stamp duty
- For properties priced £925,001 – £1,500,000 – 10% stamp duty
There extra-legal fees included within solicitors’ fees that are called conveyancing disbursements. These fees cover certain services that your solicitor has carried out that are required for the conveyancing process.
The fees are collected by your solicitor but they do not keep the majority of the money, most of it is paid to third party firms to cover the cost of each of their checks and services.
- Bankruptcy Search: A check on your financial status and history is performed for your mortgage provider to ensure you are able to pay back the loan
- Land Registry Office Copies: To receive legal confirmation of transference of the property between seller and buyer a fee must be paid to the land registry.
- Electronic ID Verification: Identification checks must be completed to verify that you are who you say you are.
- Local Authority Searches: This covers a search into public records. The aim is to assess planning issues or complications that may occur when owning the property. The results of this are used in recommendation of further searches.
- Water and Drainage Search: This fee will cover the cost of ensuring the property is not susceptible to water damage
- Environmental Search: A search of historical and recent records of the land are assessed for any potential environmental contamination.
- Telegraphic Transfer Fee: If you require an electronic transfer of funds for your house move, a fee will need to be paid to complete the transaction.
- HMLR Final Search: One final check is completed for your property against the Land Registry before you transaction can be completed.
- Land Registry Charge: A fee is paid for the change of registration of a property. The cost of this will depend on the price of your purchased property
5 Tips to Avoid Paying Too Much for Solicitor Fees when Buying a Home
As you can see, there are a few different fees associated with the conveyancing process. These fees are present with or without the presence of a solicitor however. A solicitor does create an additional cost but that is due to the simplicity of the rest of the process that they create. Also, the associated fees are usually included in one fee, along with their services charge.
Choose the right solicitor
The conveyancing process is fairly complicated, yet one of the most important stages in buying a house. You want to ensure that it is done properly. By someone who is well-trained, has plenty of experience and cares about your case. This is why choosing the right solicitor is an incredibly important decision. You’ll often run into solicitors who charge over-priced services or are not dedicated to your case, judging whether they will be passionate about your case is difficult but something you should definitely spend some time finding out.
At MovingSorted.com our team of conveyancing solicitors are entirely focused on providing simple and straightforward conveyancing services. Unlike other law firms we are totally focused on the exchange of properties so you can be sure to have our full attention. Find out more information and receive your free quote today.
Take Advantage of Freebies
Often, solicitors may offer a free initial quotation. This typically won’t be particularly useful in completing the conveyancing process. But it does give you the opportunity to meet the solicitor who will handle your case and get to know the people and the company. This is the perfect opportunity to decide whether you are happy to work with the firm, or whether you’d rather move on to find someone more suited to your needs.
Go for Package Deals and Read the Fine Print
As mentioned above, there are plenty of fees and services that are accompanied with conveyancing solicitors. You’ll frequently find that solicitors offer all of these services in one packaged price. Ask them to break down what is included in that price. Make sure it is all relevant to your situation.
Set Reasonable Expectations
As soon as you instruct a solicitor, they start working for you. Before this happens, be aware of their fee structure and whether your budget accommodates this. Some solicitors offer ‘No Move, No Fee’ guarantees. This ensures that you only pay their fees once the sale is complete. However, this is not the case with all solicitors. Do some research about the company and decide what is best for you.
Are They Worth It?
When shopping around and comparing the costs of solicitor’s fees, you may find some variation in price. Sometimes if a solicitor costs a little bit more, this might be because they offer premium services. Alternatively, some have higher prices yet hide behind the premium price tag with unnecessary added extras to make money from you. Be sure of what you require and don’t always settle for the highest price just because they look the best.