As well as the legal costs involved in buying or selling a property there are the so-called “disbursements”. These are sums paid out by the solicitor to third parties and vary depending on whether you are buying or selling a property. These fees will remain constant from solicitor to solicitor and in most cases they are unavoidable. This is a brief summary of the fees that you are likely to incur (we have ignored minor disbursements amounting to less than £5):
Selling a Property
- Your solicitor will need to obtain the title deeds from the lender. The charge for this is often added on to the cost of redeeming your mortgage and is most commonly around £25.
- If funds need to be transferred by “telegraphic transfer” there will be a charge by the bank in the region of £25. When selling a property this will be the transfer of the proceeds of the sale in to your account. To avoid this charge you could request a cheque from the solicitor but you should calculate the loss of interest while the cheque clears against the cost of the transfer.
- Your solicitor will request your estate agent’s account once contracts have been exchanged and will normally settle this from the proceeds of the sale once completion has taken place. This will normally be a percentage of the sale price and should have been agreed between you and your estate agent prior to you instructing them.
- If you are selling a Leasehold property the buyer’s solicitor will require information from the managing agent. This may be in the form of a management pack but some managing agents charge per enquiry. Costs will be in the region of £150 to £300.
- It is the seller’s obligation to provide “office copies” of the title to the purchaser’s solicitor. These documents are provided by the Land Registry and the fee is currently about £5.
Buying a Property
If you are taking out a mortgage on the property that you are buying your solicitor will normally act for the lender as well.
- Your solicitor will carry out Local Authority (and possibly drainage and environmental) searches on your behalf. The cost of these searches varies between areas but is likely to be in the general region of £150 to £250.
- Stamp Duty is usually the largest disbursement as it is based on a percentage of the value of the property (rates as of 1 st January 2007):
Purchase price Rate of Stamp Duty
Up to £125,000 0%
£125,001 – £250,000 1%
£250,001 – £500,000 3%
£500,001 or more 4%
- Once you have bought a property it will need to be registered at HM Land Registry. There are scale fees for such registrations which vary depending on the value of the property (Fees as of 1 st January 2007):
Value or amount (£) Fee
0-50,000 £ 40
50,001-80,000 £ 60
1,000,001 and over £750
- Your solicitor will instruct a HMLR priority search so that your property can be registered as soon as possible after completion. The cost of this is approximately £8.
- If funds need to be transferred by “telegraphic transfer” there will be a charge by the bank in the region of £25.
- If you are buying a leasehold property a payment may be required to register you as the new owner with the freeholder.
Following the planned introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) in June 2007 the seller will be required to provide the Local Authority and drainage searches and the Management Pack to a prospective purchaser.