Conveyancing costs: Let’s break it down
Buying a property is an expensive business but what does the money go on? We’re here to show you what you’re paying for and why.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
This is often the heftiest amount you will have to pay (with the exception of the property itself!) This is a mandatory Government charge and everyone with a property over a certain price has to pay it before they can complete their property purchase.
The amount of Stamp Duty payable is dependent on the price of the property:
|Property price||Stamp Duty|
|£125,000 or below||No stamp duty|
|£125,001 - £250,000
|1% of the property price|
|£250,001 - £500,000
|3% of the property price|
|£500,001 - £1million
|4% of the property price|
|£1million - £2million
|5% of the property price|
|7% of the property price|
There is a lot of confusion about property surveys. Many homebuyers are under the misconception that the lender conducts a survey on the property. In reality the lender only conducts a valuation – often little more than a cursory glance from outside the property. This will not pick up on any fundamental issues with the property and could therefore leave you financially exposed later on.
There are three levels of survey the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offer. These are:
- RICS Home Condition Report which will highlight any urgent defects
- RICS HomeBuyer Report which advises on defects that may affect the value of the property and ongoing maintenance advice
- RICS Building Survey which is the most comprehensive survey as it gives you a detailed structural report and an in depth analysis of the property’s condition. This type of survey is essential for larger or older properties or if you are planning on undertaking major renovation work.
Typically an RICS Home Condition Report is the least expensive survey. However, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. If you are buying a property we recommend you have at least a HomeBuyer Report.
A survey can cost between £100 - £1000 depending on the type of survey you have and the size of your property. While it is not mandatory to have a survey it often pays in the long run. In fact on average buyers who commission a survey are able to reduce the price they pay by £2000.
Searches are an essential part of buying a property as they unlock key information about a property that, on first glance, isn’t always obvious.
There are two standard searches:
- Local Authority Search which checks things like planning permission and its proximity to rail/tube lines
- Water and Drain Search which highlights the proximity to public sewers and if there is a sewer running through the boundaries of the property.
There are also a number of additional searches which can provide vital information such as:
- Environmental Search
- Mining Search
- Commons Registration
- Land Charges
- Index Map Search
- Chancel Repair Liability.
Search costs will form part of your solicitor or conveyancer’s bill. Some solicitors will charge on a search by search basis. This can end up being very expensive and they are often not included in the original quote. We, however, have an all-inclusive search fee which covers the cost for every search you need.
When you’re buying a property it’s only natural that you shop around for a solicitor. Chances are you’ll see a range of prices. Be careful not to be swayed by the headline price though; many solicitors do not give a full quote upfront e.g. they won’t include the cost of searches or Stamp Duty.
This will obviously make them appear much cheaper. However these costs are unavoidable so we think it’s better to make you fully aware of them so you can budget accordingly. That’s why we give you an all-inclusive quote from the very beginning.
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It’s also important to make sure the solicitor you choose has the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation. If they don’t there’s a good chance they won’t be on your mortgage lender’s panel. This means the lender will have to appoint its own solicitor and charge you for the privilege!