You will see that some words on this page are in italics. These words and phrases are, to some extent, “legal jargon” and we have provided a separate Glossary of Conveyancing Terms, which we hope you will refer to and find helpful.
What are the solicitor’s costs for buying and selling properties?
You will want to make sure that you know what the cost will be, so that you can budget and have funds available at the appropriate time.
If you are thinking about buying, selling or leasing a Property, ask for a fee quote to give you an idea of the costs.
Every Property is slightly different and solicitors have a different way of working out their fees. Whenever you are asking for an estimate, try to give as much information as possible, as this will affect the solicitor’s fee.
If you can give full information it is less likely that you will be faced with “hidden” costs when you come to pay the bill.
Useful information to provide, if you are asking for a fee quote:
- The likely price range.
- Whether or not there is a Mortgage involved.
- The location of the Property.
- Whether you are buying from a builder.
When are the payments to your solicitor made?
If you are selling, the usual procedure is that the solicitor’s fee will be deducted from the sale price before sending the balance of funds to you.
If you are buying, your solicitor will ask for the fees and outlays (i.e. amounts that are paid out by your solicitor to other people/organisations) at the same time as your contribution to the purchase price. This is usually 1 or 2 days before the date of the purchase.
If you are buying from a builder, there will probably be a deposit payable shortly after the Offer is issued, which could be several months before the house is ready for occupation. Deposits may also be payable in commercial transactions.
What are the outlays?
Most Purchasers will pay:
- Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (which replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax).
- Land Register fee for registering the title.
- Land Register fee for registering the Mortgage deed.
- Probably also bank charges to transfer the funds from your solicitor to the Seller’s solicitor by telegraphic transfer.
A Seller should expect to pay for the costs of:
- A Plans Report.
- A Legal Report.
- Property Enquiry Certificate.
- Contaminated Land Report.
- Advance Notice.
- If the Seller has a Mortgage, registering the Discharge at the Land Register and bank charges for transferring funds to the Mortgage lender to repay the Mortgage
How can I work out what the outlays are going to be?
Some of the costs paid to other organisations depend on the value of the Property and your personal circumstances. Others depend on who has been asked to provide the various reports.
If you are a purchaser, here is an indication of the outlays you can expect.
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.
Revenue Scotland has an online calculator on their website.
For a residential Property
If the purchase price is up to £145,000 there is no tax payable.
That part of the price between £145,000 and £250,000 is charged at 2%.
That part of the price between £250,000 and £325,000 is charged at 5%.
That part of the price between £325,000 and £750,000 is charged at 10%.
That part of the price over £750,000 is charged at 12%.
This means that if you are buying a house at £300,000, you pay LBTT of £4,600:
First £145,000 – no charge = 0
Next £105,000 (£250,000 minus £145,000) at 2% = £2100
Final £50,000 (£300,000 minus £250,000) at 5% = £2500
If the Purchaser is a company, or the Purchaser already has an ownership interest in a residential Property there may also be Additional Dwelling Supplement to pay. This additional Tax is charged at 3% on the purchase price, including situations where the purchase price is less than £145,000.
Land Register fee for registering the title of a Purchaser.
This is also based on scale. The first part of it is:
If the price is under £50,000 the fee is £60.00.
If the price is between £50,000 and £100,000 the fee is £120.00.
If the price is between £100,000 and £150,000 the fee is £240.00.
If the price is between £150,000 and £200,000 the fee is £360.00.
If the price is between £200,000 and £300,000 the fee is £480.00.
If the price is between £300,000 and £500,000 the fee is £600.00.
The Land Register fee for registering a Mortgage deed
This is £60.00.
The level of these will depend on which bank the solicitor uses. Usually, the bank charges are between £15.00 and £30.00.
If you are a Seller, here is an indication of the outlays you can expect.
The Seller’s costs are more variable because these – to a greater extent – depend on which organisation provides the reports.
This is not needed for every sale. It costs £66.00, if it is obtained from the Land Register.
There are other providers, who have different charges, although very similar.
This can be obtained from the Land Register and also other providers.
Each of them have their own cost and this is usually between £40.00 and £50.00. Usually, an update is needed just prior to settlement and that cost is usually between £20.00 and £30.00.
Property Enquiry Certificate
This can be obtained from the Local Authority, but also other providers, who each give slightly different information. The cost is usually between £80.00 and £130.00.
If this is obtained, the cost is around £40.00 to £50.00, although some providers of a Property Enquiry Certificate will include this as an ‘extra’ for as little as £10.00.
This charge is payable to the Land Register and is a set £10.00.
This fee is payable to the Land Register and is a set £60.00 for each Mortgage being discharged.
If a Mortgage is being repaid, the charge depends on the solicitor’s bank and it is usually between £15.00 and £30.00.
There may be other costs which are not apparent when a fee quote is being provided or at the beginning of your transaction.
Usually, these are payable by the Seller and could include, for example:
- the cost of obtaining a new plan, if necessary, or
- copies of Title Deeds from the Land Register.
Note that any additional costs may be because Land Register – and other – requirements have changed several times over the years. It’s not necessarily because proper care was not taken by at the time you bought your Property.
It is unusual for a Purchaser to have any additional costs but, if the Property is being purchased from a builder or a Local Authority, some of the reports which are normally obtained by a Seller are paid for by the Purchaser.
The lists given above are not exhaustive and there can be other circumstances and other costs included for example, if the Purchaser or Seller is a company, a Company Search may be appropriate.
Your Solicitor’s Fee
The fee that your solicitor will charge depends on a number of factors. These include:
- the value of the Property,
- which Land Register system the Property is currently registered under,
- whether or not a lender is involved,
- whether there are other complexities, e.g. a private water supply or private access route, discrepancies regarding the Title Deed plan or problems with unauthorised alterations.
Usually, if you have asked for a fee quote in connection with a specific Property, your solicitor will be able to make a reasonable guess at any possible complications. They will use the information you have provided – as well as local knowledge they have gained from dealing with other nearby properties – to provide a fee quotation which is tailored to you and the Property. Of course, this assumes you are instructing a solicitor who is in the same locality as the property in question and so will have that local knowledge.
Even for a low value Property without complications, you should budget for a fee of at least £800.00 (inclusive of VAT). As a very rough guide, we would think that the fee for an average Property in the Moray area is around £1,200.00.
Beware of hidden costs
If you have been given a fee quotation, remember to ask whether additional charges are possible and in what circumstances.
For example, ask if you will be charged an additional fee if the Property which you are buying or selling is currently on the Sasines Register (in Moray, if the last sale was before 2004) rather than the Land Register map based system. If you are selling, ask whether bank charges will be deducted if money is being sent to you.
Don’t be fooled into accepting an attractive headline cost and find that your bill has suddenly increased because you were not told of the likelihood of, for example, bank charges.
However, remember that some of the costs, especially for a Seller, may not be predictable at the outset.
Ask if any part of the process is not covered in the Conveyancing fee. Is there an additional fee for checking your ID documents for Money Laundering? – or preparing a Land & Building Transaction Tax Return?
You should also be told if one of the possible complications will affect the solicitor’s fee and, if so, by how much.
Mortgage Set Up Costs
If you are buying, please bear in mind that there could also be other costs payable to your lender.
The amount will depend on the lender and what type of Mortgage you are being offered. Typically, a lender will have an application fee and a valuation fee. You should check with your lender or Mortgage broker what the fees are likely to be and if there are circumstances where that fee would vary.
Even the same lender may have different fee levels, depending on the type of Mortgage being offered.
The lender’s fees are likely to be payable at the time of your Mortgage application and we suggest that you budget between £500.00 and £1,000.00 for this.
There are often additional charges which the lender will add to the Mortgage, which means that you repay that fee over a number of years as part of the Mortgage payments. This could include a transfer fee, being the fee that is deducted from the Mortgage funds at the time the funds are being transferred into the solicitor’s Bank account. Most lenders do make a charge for this – an average seems to be around £30.00. Your solicitor will take this into account when they are working out the exact amount needed from you and, for this reason, often it is not possible to give you an exact figure until the Mortgage papers are with your solicitor.
A Mortgage could also include a cashback to assist you towards the costs of your purchase and often the cashback is paid to the solicitor along with the Mortgage funds.
How we can help
If you have any questions regarding anything on this page or anything to do with conveyancing costs in general, please get in touch with us. All enquiries are free and without obligation. We’re keen to make the information provided here as comprehensive as possible, so questions about anything at all in this important area are most welcome.