What Are The Solicitor’s Fees For Selling A House?

What Are The Solicitor’s Fees For Selling A House?
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Buying a home is said to be one of life’s most stressful experiences, but while the process is easier for a home seller, there are still issues to deal with and there are solicitor’s fees to pay for selling your house.

Whether you’re selling a flat or a large detached property, you will still need to pay these fees.

And it’s essential that this work is done by professionals, and you should hire a solicitor or a specialist conveyancing firm to do this work on your behalf.

Fortunately, conveyancing is a competitive part of the home buying and selling process, so if you shop around you can often find a good deal. This is what we did when we sold our house, so we’ll be going into what solicitor’s fees for selling a house we had to pay shortly…

Solicitor’s fees for selling a house at a glance

FeesPrice RangeComments
Conveyancing Fees (Freehold)£800 - £1,600Most solicitors/conveyancers will charge a fixed fee for these standard charges. They include the standard services. However, they will depend on the value of the house you sell.
Conveyancing Fees (Leasehold)£900 - £1,800Standard charges that include standard services. The higher the value of the property you sell the higher the fees.
Anti Laundering Checks£5These checks are required and will be done by every solicitor or conveyancer.
Bank Transfer Fees£25 - £45These fees need to be paid to the bank for transferring the money to you or your mortgage lender. It will vary depending on which bank is used.
Mortgaged Property Supplement Fee£220This fee only needs to be paid if you have a mortgage on the property you sell.
Copy Of Title Rgister£6This is needed so that the solicitor has proof that you own the house you are selling.
Extra Costs£100 - £1,000Depending on the circumstances, there might be extra costs, such as for indemnity insurance or shared ownership.

Solicitor’s fees explained in detail

It is unusual to be charged a fixed fee by solicitors.

As with everything when it comes to buying and selling homes, how much you pay a solicitor when selling a house will vary.

It will depend on the value of the house you are selling, but also on how complicated a sale it is. There will also be a price difference between selling a leasehold or freehold property.

On average, you can expect to pay between £1,000 and £2,800 for selling a freehold property. The average solicitor’s fees for selling a leasehold property are between £1,200 and £3,000. [All prices correct in January 2024]

The solicitor or conveyancer costs consist of the following parts:

Legal fees

These are the fees that will cover the work that needs to be done as part of the conveyancing process. Most solicitors and conveyancers charge a fixed fee for these services, although some might charge per hour.

The fees depend on the value of the property you sell: the higher the value, the higher the fees. The legal fees include all the standard services necessary for the conveyancing process. These include:

  • The transfer of deeds
  • Title deeds
  • The sale agreement
  • Deal with buyer enquiries
  • The property information form
  • The draft contract of sale
  • Contract signing
  • The exchange of contracts
  • They will receive the deposit
  • Take care of the money transfer for you

On average, you can expect to pay between £800 and £1,600 in legal fees for selling a freehold property. For a leasehold property these legal fees will range from £900 to £1,800.

There is also a difference in price between the services of a solicitor and a conveyancer. Conveyancer will handle the conveyancing process, while solicitors do the same but will also provide legal advice.

So using a conveyancer will be cheaper and for an uncomplicated sale, this might be all that is needed. There are also online conveyancing firms you can use and which are cheaper, but you will need to ensure that all the paperwork is done correctly.

We personally have always used a conveyancing solicitor because we wanted to get the legal advice as well. It’s a question of money but also of preference. We feel that using an experienced solicitor will give us peace of mind and reduce the stress levels.

Disbursements

fake money

These are costs that occur during the conveyancing process and are charged by third parties. The solicitor or conveyancer will pay them on your behalf and invoice you for the costs.

They include costs for a copy of the title register to prove that you own your house. The fees are charged by Land Registry. Bank transfers and money laundering checks also incur costs.

If you still have a mortgage to repay, there are further charges that might come up. Some of these disbursements might be included in the legal fees with some solicitors.

It’s difficult to say how much these disbursements will be because they depend on the individual circumstances of the sale. But on average you should expect between £51 and £300.

Additional costs

Depending on the complexity of the sales, there might also be additional costs, such as indemnity insurance if you have an extension that was built without planning permission.

If you have to remortgage or are porting your mortgage you will have to pay additional costs too, which the solicitor will pay on your behalf and then invoice you.

It’s hard to estimate how high these additional costs might be, but they could range from £100 to £1,000.

As you can see, solicitor’s fees for selling a house can be quite hefty, especially if your home has a high value. But selling a house is cheaper than buying one when it comes to legal costs. That’s because there is more work involved for the solicitor during the buying process.

When we bought our current home in 2021 we paid the following fees:

  • Conveyancing For Sale = £1,542
  • Conveyancing For Purchase = £2,118
  • Legal Search Pack = £350
  • Land Registry Fees = £141
  • Anti-Money Laundering Checks = £24
  • Other Admin Fees = £13

Grand Total (Buying & Selling) = £4,188

If we had just been selling, the fees would have amounted to around £1,600.

That means we paid much more to buy our new property than we did to sell our old one. That’s mostly down to the extra work involved when buying as our solicitor had to check everything was in order with the new house before we could proceed.

Get a conveyancing solicitor quote:

But do you need a solicitor to sell a house?

Given the price tag, you might wonder if you need to engage a solicitor when selling a house. Well, the answer is yes and no. While it’s legally possible to do your own conveyancing, it isn’t advisable.

The conveyancing process is a legal process and needs to be done correctly to avoid any issues. To ensure everything is done properly, you need either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to deal with the transaction.

It’s important that you don’t use the same solicitor as the homebuyer, even though they may recommend this to reduce costs because solicitors are not allowed to represent both parties. You could, however, use the same legal firm.

And while it may be tempting for a seller to save money and undertake the conveyancing process for themselves, this really is a complicated process that needs to be carried out thoroughly by professionals. So unless you are a qualified solicitor with time on your hands, don’t do it.

The conveyancing can take up to three months for it to be completed, and a small mistake made by you could jeopardise the entire transaction.

When we bought our first home it was a very simple transaction. As first-time buyers we weren’t in a chain, and as the sellers had already moved out, they weren’t in a chain either. As a result, the conveyancing only took 8 weeks.

However, whenever we have moved and there’s been a chain involved, the process has taken anything from 12 to 20 weeks! That reflects the high solicitor fees you pay – there’s a lot of work involved!

The amount of work is also why we would never recommend DIY conveyancing. Put simply, most people will find it overwhelming and difficult. Given buying or selling a property is the biggest financial transactions you’re likely to make, it makes sense to pay good money for an expert who will ensure you’re protected legally.

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Solicitors will charge for any work undertaken

A solicitor will start working as soon as you hire him, so if the house sale falls through, you will be presented a bill to pay.

Solicitor’s fees for selling a house could potentially be quite high, so you might wonder if there is such a thing as no sale, no fee option. Or will solicitors charge if the house sale falls through?

Unlike estate agents, who might offer this option, a solicitor won’t. Since a solicitor is engaged to carry out work and will have started the process, then it’s likely you will be charged for their time and effort regardless of whether your sale transaction completes.

You will certainly be handed a bill for the cost of disbursements and other regulatory fees they have racked up.

That’s not the case for the estate agent, who only gets paid once the transaction is complete, and they collect their commission from the sale.

It’s likely you will not have to pay the full agreed amount to a solicitor because they will not have completed all the relevant work. If they have, then yes, you will need to pay for the solicitor’s bill, even though your house transaction has fallen through.

This is also the point to highlight that you will have signed a legal and binding contract with the conveyancing solicitor, known as the terms of business with an estimate of the fees and what would happen if a house purchase did not complete.

Depending on when the house sale falls through, the solicitor may have done lots of work on your behalf and claim this amount, or they may charge you 70% to 80% of the fees that were originally quoted.

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Companies offering cheap conveyancing fees for selling your house

When searching online for a firm offering ‘conveyancing fees, selling only’ then you’ll find lots of specialist firms wanting to help.

However, you will really need to check the small print to ensure that there are no hidden charges or costs that you will have to pay in conveyancing fees when selling your home.

That’s because some conveyancers or websites may charge for things that should really be covered in the basic sales fee as they add these as extras on their invoice or categorise them under disbursements.

This means that they will essentially offer a cheap conveyancing service for selling a home, but bump up their fees with so-called disbursements, whereas a more trustworthy conveyancing firm will make clear these charges when they take you on as a client.

There are conveyancing comparison websites available, and if you want to agree to a conveyancing fee without any extras, then this is known as a fixed fee conveyancing service.

You can find websites that compare conveyancing prices.

There are a number of issues that affect the fees being charged when selling a property and these include:

  • Property tenure: Whether your property is freehold or a leasehold property may have an impact on the costs being quoted;
  • Shared ownership schemes: Should there be a shared ownership scheme involved in your house sale, then this may push up the charges to deal with the complexities involved and also the additional paperwork;
  • Mortgage redemption: Some solicitors may charge extra fees should there be a mortgage settlement involved when selling your house.

If any of these apply to your house sale, you might want to check if a fixed fee conveyancing service will include fees for them or if you have to pay extra.

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Legal fees for selling a house vs buying a house

We told you how much we paid for our solicitor when we sold our last home and bought the current one. You might have noticed the fee for buying was higher. Why is that?

We paid about £1,600 in solicitor fees for selling our property, but around £2,600 for buying. The extra £1,000 covered all the additional searches that needed to be done as well as much more of our solicitor’s time going over documents and search results and raising enquiries.

Put simply, there is more work involved for the solicitor when you buy property than when you sell it. These additional legal duties for buying a house are vital, and it’s important that you seek confirmation from a solicitor as to how much they will charge in writing before they begin work.

This means it’s really important to find the right conveyancing solicitor at the right price.

Selling a house in Scotland

The conveyancing process in Scotland is a bit different, so make sure you know all the details.

The system of buying and selling property in Scotland works differently from the rest of the UK. Once an offer has been accepted and all conditions have been agreed on, a “concluding missive” will be issued. From this point onwards, there exists a legally binding contract between the seller and the buyer.

The other big difference between selling a home in England and Scotland is the Home Report put together by a chartered surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and paid for by the seller.

This was launched in December 2008 and the home seller must provide a home report to a potential buyer consisting of three separate documents:

  • The energy performance certificate (EPC) for the house
  • A single survey
  • The property questionnaire

Home sellers in Scotland will need a licensed conveyancer or solicitor to carry out the relevant legal work. Solicitor’s fees for selling a house in Scotland are similar to those in England.

However, you have to add the costs for the Home Report, which could cost between £600 and £800.

Stamp duty when selling a house

One of the few fees that the home seller is not liable for when selling a home in England is that for stamp duty. This is the responsibility of the home buyer and not the seller.

If the property is worth less than £250,000, then there’s no stamp duty to pay and for homes worth more than that, then there’s a tiered structure on how much is needed to pay.

And, as in England, the seller will not have to pay the Scottish equivalent of Stamp Duty – which is the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, known as LBTT.

Our top tips for solicitor’s fees for selling a house

To sum up, these top tips will prove helpful when searching for solicitor’s fees to sell a house, and they include:

  • Choose the right solicitor for a stress-free and successful transaction
  • Be wary of any conveyancing firm offering a too cheap price
  • Or is too expensive
  • You don’t have to use a solicitor or conveyancer recommended by your estate agent
  • Always, always shop around for the best deal

Authors

  • Steve Lumley

    Steve Lumley has years of experience writing about property. His output has covered everything from property investment, news for landlords and student tenants to articles on how to run a successful portfolio and starting out as a property investor. He has also written several books on the subject.

    View all posts
  • Paul James

    Paul James, is a marketing expert with a passion for property. As well as being a property investor, Paul has also worked within the marketing departments of some of the UK’s leading estate agents. Paul is the founder of Property Road.

    View all posts
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