Does the Buyer or the Seller Pay Conveyancing Fees?

There are different fees associated with buying or selling a property, but one of the most common is the conveyancing fee. This is the fee charged by solicitors or conveyancers for their services in handling the legal aspects of the sale or purchase. Conveyancing fees also include any disbursements, which are third-party costs that the solicitor needs to pay on your behalf (e.g., fees for searches).

The conveyancing fees associated with this process are paid by either the buyer or the seller of a property. The party who instructs the solicitor or conveyancer will be responsible for paying the fees. It’s important to understand that these fees vary depending on several factors, including the type of property being sold and the location of the sale. Here’s a more detailed look at who pays conveyancing fees and when and how these fees are paid.

Conveyancing Fees When Buying

If you’re buying a property, you will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to act on your behalf. Once you have found a conveyancer or solicitor that you would like to instruct, they will provide you with a quote for their fees and disbursements. The fee charged by the conveyancer or solicitor will be based on the value of the property being purchased.

Legal Fees For Buyers

The legal fees associated with buying a property include:

  • The cost of the conveyancer or solicitor acting on your behalf: This fee is usually a percentage of the purchase price, with the exact amount depending on the property’s value or a flat fee.
  • Money transfers cost: When buying a property, your conveyancer will need to transfer the money for the purchase price to the seller’s conveyancer. This will usually cost between £30 and £50.
  • ID check fees: To prevent money laundering, your conveyancer will need to carry out ID checks on all parties involved in the transaction. This usually costs between £6 and £25 per person.

Disbursements For Buyers

In addition to the fees charged by the conveyancer or solicitor, a number of disbursements need to be paid. These include:

  • Land registry fees: This is the fee charged by the Land Registry to register the property in your name.
  • Local authority search fees: These are charged by the local authority to check for any planning permission or building regulation consent that may be needed.
  • Water and drainage search fees: These are charged by the water authority to check whether there are any issues with the water and drainage at the property.
  • Environmental search fees: This is to check for environmental issues that may affect the property, such as flooding.

These searches protect you as the buyer from any future unknown or unforeseen problems that could arise with the property. When it comes to paying these fees, the buyer is responsible for paying the solicitor or conveyancer. In some cases, however, the seller may agree to pay the fees on behalf of the buyer as part of the negotiation process. This is typically done to make the sale more attractive to potential buyers.

Conveyancing Fees When Selling

If you’re selling a property, you will also need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to act on your behalf. The solicitor helps you to draft the contract of sale and carries out all of the legal work associated with the sale. The conveyancing fees you pay when selling are typically lower as you don’t have to pay for searches to be carried out.

As a seller, you’ll pay for:

  • The cost of the conveyancer or solicitor acting on your behalf
  • ID checks on all parties involved in the transaction
  • The Land Registry fee to register the property in the buyer’s name and to obtain the title deeds
  • Money transfer costs

If you’re selling a leasehold property, there may be additional fees associated with the sale, such as the fee for obtaining a copy of the lease from the landlord. 

How and When Are Conveyancing Fees Paid? 

Conveyancing fees are usually paid once the sale has been completed and the property has been transferred into the buyer’s name. In some cases, however, you may pay the conveyancing fees in stages. For example, the buyer’s conveyancer may request a deposit from the buyer when they instruct them to act on their behalf. This deposit is typically 10% of the total conveyancing fees.

It’s also worth noting that some solicitors or conveyancers may charge an upfront fee when you instruct them to act on your behalf. This is a fixed fee that covers the cost of carrying out the initial work, such as the ID checks and drafting the contract of sale.

Conclusion

Conveyancing fees are the charges you pay to a solicitor or conveyancer for their legal work in relation to buying or selling a property. The fees vary depending on the work that needs to be carried out and can be paid in stages or as a single payment. Both buyers and sellers are responsible for paying their conveyancing fees. Ask your conveyancing solicitor for a breakdown of their fees before instructing them to act on your behalf during a property transaction.