The legal part of selling a house might be one of the least interesting but also one of the most important. Solicitors play an essential role in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction, providing legal advice, preparing the necessary paperwork and liaising with various parties involved in the sale. It’s natural to wonder how much solicitors’ fees are when selling a house, as they can impact your overall costs. With that in mind, we’ve put this guide together featuring a comprehensive overview of solicitors’ fees and the factors that influence them.
What’s the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?
First, what’s the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor? The two are often confused with each other, which is understandable considering they do the same job regarding property sales.
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one party to another. At the same time, solicitors are qualified legal professionals who can handle various legal matters, with conveyancing just one aspect.
The key difference lies in their roles; conveyancers specialise solely in property transactions, whereas solicitors have broader legal expertise. While both can assist with property transfers, solicitors are better equipped to handle complex cases involving disputes or other legal issues beyond the scope of conveyancing.
Which one should I use?
It depends on your specific needs and the complexity of your property transaction. A complex sale that flashes up things like boundary disputes and restrictive covenants may be better suited to a solicitor. They can also provide legal advice beyond conveyancing matters, which can be beneficial if you encounter additional legal concerns during the property transaction.
With a solicitor, you get extensive knowledge and experience that helps you navigate complex transactions. Solicitors can also represent you in court if disputes arise, whereas conveyancers are limited to handling only the conveyancing process.
Ultimately, though, it comes down to your personal choice. A conveyancer will be more than fine if you anticipate a straightforward property transaction. There shouldn’t be a significant difference between the two for property sales.
Who is more expensive?
In general, solicitors tend to be more expensive than conveyancers due to their broader legal expertise and qualifications. Solicitors can handle a wide range of legal issues beyond conveyancing, and their fees often reflect this additional knowledge and experience. Conveyancers specialising solely in property transactions typically have lower overheads and offer more competitive fees.
Still, it’s worth comparing quotes from multiple providers, as fees can vary significantly between individual solicitors and conveyancers. Factors like location, reputation and complexity of the transaction can also influence their fees.
How much are solicitors’ fees for selling a house?
Again, solicitors’ fees for selling a house can vary significantly based on factors such as property value, location and whether or not it’s a straightforward translation. While providing an exact figure is tricky, here’s a general guideline for average solicitor fees when selling a house:
|Property Value||Average Solicitor Fee Selling Freehold||Average Solicitor Fee Selling Leasehold
|Up to £100,000||£820||£990|
These figures are approximate and may not reflect the exact fees charged by every solicitor. That’s why obtaining quotes from multiple solicitors for an accurate estimate of their fees is so important. Additionally, consider any disbursements and extra charges that may apply – such as Land Registry fees, local authority searches, and bank transfer fees – to get a comprehensive understanding of the overall cost.
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How are these fees calculated?
Solicitors’ fees for selling a house can be calculated based on different factors and fee structures. These typically include the following:
The value of the property being sold often influences the solicitors’ fees, with higher-priced properties requiring higher fees due to extensive paperwork and complex legal issues.
Freehold vs leasehold
Leasehold properties usually come with additional legal complexities due to the presence of a lease, which outlines the terms and conditions between the leaseholder and the freeholder. Consequently, solicitors may charge higher fees for leasehold homes than freehold properties.
Complexity of the transaction
Solicitors may charge more if there are unusual circumstances or complications in the property transaction, such as boundary disputes, shared ownership arrangements or restrictive covenants. These complex issues demand additional time and effort from the solicitor.
The geographic location of the solicitor can influence their fees, with solicitors in more affluent areas or large cities generally charging higher rates.
Solicitors may offer different fee structures for their services, such as fixed fees or hourly rates. Fixed fees are a single, agreed-upon price for the entire conveyancing process, while hourly rates are based on the time spent working on the transaction. The chosen fee structure affects the overall cost of the solicitor’s services.
Disbursements and additional charges
Solicitors’ fees may not include all the additional expenses incurred during the conveyancing process, such as Land Registry fees, local authority searches and bank transfer fees. These disbursements and any additional charges for specific tasks or services should be considered when calculating the overall cost of hiring a solicitor.
What is included in the solicitor fees when selling a house?
When selling a house, solicitor fees typically cover the legal work involved in the conveyancing process. This often includes:
- Drafting the contract. Preparing the legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the property sale, including property boundaries, fixtures and fittings and any special conditions.
- Obtaining title deeds. Requesting and reviewing the property’s title deeds to ensure the seller has the legal right to sell the property.
- Property information forms. Assisting the seller in completing the necessary property information forms, which disclose essential information about the property to the buyer.
- Land Registry documents. Obtaining and checking the official Land Registry documents so the property has accurate details.
- Answering buyers’ enquiries. Responding to any enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitor, which may include clarifications on the property information forms or other legal aspects of the property sale.
- Preparing the transfer deed. Drafting the legal document that transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.
- Mortgage redemption. Liaising with the seller’s mortgage lender to obtain a mortgage redemption statement and ensuring that the mortgage is paid off upon completion.
- Exchange of contracts. Facilitating the exchange of contracts between the buyer and seller, which legally commits both parties to the property sale.
- Managing the finalisation of the property sale, including the transfer of funds between the buyer and seller and the payment of any outstanding mortgage.
- Post-completion matters. Registering the property transfer with the Land Registry and providing confirmation to the seller once this has been completed.
Remember that all services may vary depending on the specific solicitor and the complexity of the property sale. Be sure to check what solicitor services include before instructing anyone to manage the legal side of the property sale.
Are solicitor fees cheaper for sellers or buyers?
Solicitor fees are generally similar for buyers and sellers, as both parties require legal assistance during the conveyancing process. Buyers, however, may incur slightly higher fees due to additional tasks like conducting searches and dealing with mortgage lenders. These extra steps are not required for sellers.
Do I need a solicitor to sell my house?
While it’s not a legal requirement to hire a solicitor when selling your house, it’s strongly recommended due to the complexity of the conveyancing process. A solicitor can help draft contracts, manage legal documents and liaise with the buyer’s legal representative.
Their expertise will increase the chances of a smooth and legally compliant transaction, protecting your interests and minimising potential issues. Attempting to sell your house without a solicitor can end in costly mistakes or delays, making their assistance invaluable.
One way to get around paying any fees (including solicitors fee) when selling property is to sell your home to Property Rescue. We will pay all the solicitors fees, so you don’t have to pay a penny.
When do I pay solicitors’ fees?
Solicitors’ fees for selling a house are typically paid upon completion of the property sale. Once the transaction is finalised, the funds are transferred from the buyer to the seller. The solicitor will then deduct their fees, along with any disbursements and additional charges from the sale proceeds.
In some cases, solicitors may require an upfront payment or a portion of their fees to cover initial costs, such as obtaining property documents, with the remaining balance due upon completion. Discuss the payment schedule with your solicitor before engaging their services to avoid any surprises.
Will I be charged solicitor fees if the sale doesn’t go through?
That all depends on the specific agreement with your solicitor and their fee structure. Some solicitors operate on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis, meaning you won’t have to pay their fees if the transaction falls through. You may, however, still be responsible for disbursements and additional charges that the solicitor has already incurred on your behalf, such as search fees or Land Registry fees.
Other solicitors may charge an hourly rate or a partial fee based on the work completed up to the point when the sale fails. It’s worth discussing and understanding the fee structure and payment terms with your solicitor before engaging their services to avoid unexpected costs if the sale doesn’t go through.
What should I look for in a solicitor? Plus, how to find the best ones
Look for a solicitor with experience in conveyancing and handling property transactions similar to yours. This will ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate any complexities that may arise.
Check if the solicitor is a member of professional organisations, such as the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. This indicates that they meet high professional standards.
Effective communication is vital in any property transaction. Choose a solicitor who is responsive, easy to contact and keeps you updated throughout the process.
A good solicitor should provide clear information about their fees, including any disbursements and additional charges. Make sure you understand the fee structure and payment terms upfront.
Recommendations and reviews
Seek recommendations from friends or family who have had positive experiences with solicitors. Additionally, read online reviews to gauge the experiences of other clients.
While not always necessary, a solicitor with local knowledge can be advantageous, especially if there are unique legal or planning issues specific to the area. It’s not uncommon for solicitors with local knowledge to work faster as they have a better understanding of the neighbourhood.
Make sure the solicitor has the capacity to handle your case promptly, as delays can have financial consequences and create additional stress.
Since you’ll be working closely with your solicitor during the conveyancing process, having a good working relationship with them is essential. Choose someone you feel comfortable with and can trust.
How to make the buyer pay your solicitors fees
It’s understandable that sellers would want to save on solicitors’ fees. But a reliable, experienced solicitor can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and successful property sale. By balancing quality service with affordable fees, you can enjoy a seamless and stress-free experience while selling your home
But, did you know that if you decide to sell to Property Rescue we will pay your solicitors fees for you?
Snag yourself a fuss-free sale with no solicitors fees (or any other fees for that matter). Just fill in this free 15-second form and we’ll send you a free, no-obligation quote for your home.