Buying a home will likely be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, and one of the most complex. It’s essential to understand all the costs involved with buying a house, to make sure you can budget effectively. But it can be complicated, with Stamp Duty and a range of charges to pay, including solicitors’ fees.
To help you better understand the costs that come with buying a house, here we’ll look specifically at solicitors. We’ll cover what they do, how to hire them, and what solicitor fees you can expect to pay.
WHAT DO SOLICITORS DO WHEN BUYING A HOUSE?
Solicitors provide help and services throughout the homebuying process, usually from the moment you make an offer on a home. You can expect a solicitor to:
Draw up a draft contract when you make an initial offer on a house.
Negotiate the details of the contract.
Check the property’s title deeds to ensure the seller has legal ownership and to verify the property's boundaries.
Raise queries with the seller’s solicitors.
Perform legal property searches, like local authority and Land Registry searches.
Advise on fees and charges, and make sure they get paid, like Stamp Duty Land Tax.
Finalise the contract and exchange it with the seller’s solicitors.
Make sure all the necessary documentation is in place, and that the funds are transferred, to complete the purchase.
Liaise with the mortgage lender to ensure all the requirements for the loan are met and that the funds are disbursed appropriately.
Offer overall legal advice and oversight.
In summary, once you put an offer in a property, your solicitor will guide you through the process and ensure you can buy the home you want.
WHAT DOES CONVEYANCING MEAN?
You’ll likely hear the term conveyancing used during the home search and buying process. Simply, conveyancing is the name for the legal process of transferring a home’s ownership from the seller to the buyer.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONVEYANCER AND A SOLICITOR?
Conveyancersare legal professionals who can conduct all the aspects of conveyancing (the legal side of buying a home).
Solicitorsare more widely trained legal professionals, who can act as a conveyancer, but they also have a greater knowledge of the law.
Conveyancers tend to be less expensive than solicitors, and can be a suitable choice for more straightforward property purchases and for experienced buyers. A solicitor will usually be more expensive, but can offer more legal guidance – they can help with more complicated purchases and advise on a range of issues, like the tax implications of buying a house.
WHAT DO SOLICITORS CHARGE FOR WHEN BUYING A HOME?
The cost will vary by the solicitor and in line with the details of the property, but solicitors’ fees for a house purchase typically include:
General legal fees: The costs paid for the solicitor's time, expertise, and the legal work required for the property purchase, like drawing up and negotiating contracts. On average, this ranges from around £850 to £2,500 depending on the value of the property and the complexity of the sale.
Search fees: The cost paid for conducting property searches, such as local authority searches, environmental searches, and drainage and water searches. The total cost for this tends to vary between £350 to £600.
Land Registry fees: The cost of transferring the property registration from the seller's name to yours. This currently ranges from £20 to £1,105 depending on the value of the property.
Disbursements: These are a variety of small fees your solicitor will charge you throughout the buying process, like the costs of bankruptcy checks and mortgage handling fees. Disbursements usually amount to around £100, but can be higher for more complex purchases.
HOW MUCH ARE SOLICITORS' FEES FOR BUYING A HOUSE?
The total amount you’re charged by your solicitor when buying a house will depend upon:
Your solicitor’s rates
The value of the property
The amount of work involved
The complexity of the sale
On average, you can typically expect to pay between £1,500 and £4,000 in solicitors’ fees when buying a home. When contacting solicitors, feel free to ask for a quote.
HOW TO HIRE A SOLICITOR TO HELP YOU BUY A HOUSE?
Choosing the right solicitor, one with experience in conveyancing and with a good reputation, is critical. A good solicitor can be an invaluable help when it comes to buying a home. To find a good conveyancing solicitor, you can:
Ask your mortgage broker or Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) for their recommendations.
Ask friends and family for any recommendations.
Ask the estate agent to recommend a solicitor. But be aware that they may recommend one they have an existing relationship with and that they may receive a commission from, meaning their advice won’t be entirely impartial.
Search online for recommendations from people who’ve used solicitors. Even if you’re recommended a solicitor by someone you trust, it’s a good idea to search for reviews online.
Ask for quotes from a range of solicitors.
Ask plenty of questions about their experience, the services they provide, and their fees. Not only for the information, but also to get a feel for how responsive, communicative, and professional they are.
Understanding solicitors' fees when buying a house is crucial for budgeting and for making informed decisions. And whilst solicitors’ costs may seem expensive – particularly during a time when every penny counts – having a skilled solicitor by your side can help you navigate the complexities of buying a house and ensure a smooth and legally sound transaction. Solicitors' fees are an investment in the peace of mind that comes with knowing your house purchase is in capable hands.
At Wain Homes, we’re on hand to help you through every stage of the home buying process. Get in touch with us today to discover our brand-new homes located across the UK.
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