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Are Conveyancers cheaper than Solicitors

Anyone buying or selling a property in the UK will most likely need to hire a conveyancer or a solicitor. The conveyancer or solicitor will handle the whole process, including dealing with complex legal documents and keeping them safe, etc. Because the duties carried out by a conveyancer or a solicitor are essentially the same, many individuals get confused as to who they should hire. When deciding who they should hire, many individuals consider cost as an important factor.

Conveyancers or Solicitors which are cheaper

Are conveyancers cheaper than solicitors, yes normally.

Conveyancers are usually cheaper than solicitors. Conveyancers simply handle the process of conveyancing, which is; transferring legal ownership of property. Solicitors, on the other hand, do not only handle the process of conveyancing but also deal with complex legal issues that may later arise, provide specialized legal advice and other full range of legal services. This is one of the reasons why the fees for a solicitor is higher.

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SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CONVEYANCERS AND SOLICITORS

One important similarity between a conveyancer and a solicitor is that both are regulated and insured. Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority while conveyancers are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. Furthermore, both will handle the process of conveyancing in the same way and the duties are essentially the same, for example;

  1. Providing legal advice to the concerned individual involved in the property transaction
  1. Conducting searches of the relevant property, its surrounding area, local authority, etc.
  1. Making contracts
  2. Keeping relevant legal documents safe
  3. Keeping funds safe and transferring them to the relevant party when required

COST OF HIRING A CONVEYANCER

The cost of hiring a conveyancer largely depends upon the following factors:

  • The value of the home
  • The current market rates
  • Whether the property being bought is a freehold property or leasehold property
  • The conveyancer one has chosen

There are two categories of fees to consider; standard fees and disbursements. The standard fee is to be paid to the conveyancer for his/her services and it is usually around £1,000 – £1,500. Disbursement fee has been discussed in detail below.

COST OF HIRING A SOLICITOR

Again, there are two categories of fees to consider; standard fees and disbursements (discussed below). For the standard fee, solicitors in the UK have the option of charging their clients in different ways. They can either charge the client on an hourly basis, have a fixed fee or can charge a percentage of the property’s value.

 

The fee of a solicitor depends upon the amount of work required. For example, some solicitors may charge more if complex legal issues have arisen. The value and location of the property is another relevant factor that may affect the standard fees.

The table shows an estimate of the standard legal fee charged by solicitors and includes value-added tax:

PURCHASE PRICE / VALUE OF THE PROPERTY ESTIMATE SOLICITOR FEE FOR LEASEHOLD PROPERTY ESTIMATE SOLICITOR FEE FOR FREEHOLD PROPERTY
Up to £100,000 £950 – £1,050 £800 – £900
£100,001 to £200,000 £1,000 – £1,200 £800 – £950
£200,001 to £300,000 £1,100 – £1,300 £900 – £1,050
£300,001 to £400,000 £1,300 – £1,400 £1,050 – £1,150
£400,001 to £500,000 £1,300 – £1,500 £1,150 – £1,250
£500,001 to £600,000 £1,400 – £1,600 £1,250 – £1,450
£600,001 to £700,000 £1,500 – £1,700 £1,350 – £1,500
£700,001 to £800,000 £1,700 – £1,900 £1,500 – £1,700
£800,001 to £900,000 £1,800 – £2,100 £1,700 – £1,900
£900,001 to £1,000,000 £2,000 – £2,200 £1,800 – £2,000

It is important to keep in mind that the fees mentioned above are an estimate and just an indication of costs. The fees may vary greatly depending upon the solicitor himself/herself and the kind of services acquired.

An advantage of hiring a solicitor is that he/she has extensive legal knowledge in other relevant areas as opposed to a conveyancer. Furthermore, a solicitor will be equipped to deal with several legal issues if any should arise (for example, selling a small part of the property that belongs to a larger estate or selling a property that has more than one owner, etc.). A disadvantage, on the other hand, is that solicitors have higher fees compared to a conveyancer. Hence, if the transaction is simple and there are no chances of any legal issue arising, then hiring a conveyancer seems like a better idea. Moreover, a conveyancer will probably be more focused compared to a solicitor as the latter may have other clients and duties to prioritize.

DISBURSEMENT FEES

Disbursement fees are usually associated with expenses incurred throughout the process of buying or selling the property by the conveyancer or solicitor on behalf of the relevant individual. These expenses may be incurred by both the solicitor and conveyancer. Following are some of the relevant examples:

 

  1. Search Fees:

The cost is around £250 – £350. It is most relevant when buying a house and involves the conveyancer or solicitor conducting searches with regards to:

  • water and drainage search of the property
  • local authority or local council searches (specifically any rules or laws that may affect the process)
  • a title deed search in the land registry
  • bankruptcy search
  • an environmental search of the property

 

  1. Land Registry Fees for Registration:

This cost is relevant to a purchaser of the property. It involves the conveyancer/solicitor registering the purchaser as a new owner of the property on the land registry. The amount of fees to be paid depends on the value of the house. The conveyancer/solicitor can pay the fees electronically or by post (although it is recommended that the former option be used considering the lower rates). Following are the land registry rates:

 

PURCHASE PRICE / VALUE OF THE PROPERTY POSTAL FEES ELECTRONIC FEES
£0 – £80,000 £40 £20
£80,001 – £100,000 £80 £40
£100,001 – £200,000 £190 £95
£200,001 – £500,000 £270 £135
£500,001 – £1,000,000 £540 £270
£1,000,001 and above £910 £455

 

  1. Land Registry Fees for Documents:

This cost is relevant to both the seller and the purchaser of the property. These documents shall prove who the owner of the property is. The cost is usually around £6.

  1. Stamp Duty:

This is a tax paid to the government (HM Revenue & Customs) for buying a property. Just like the land registry fees, stamp duty is relevant to a purchaser of the property and the amount to be paid depends upon the following factors:

  • value of the property
  • where the property is located
  • whether the purchaser is buying a property for the first time or the second time.

If the purchaser is buying a property for the first time in England, the following rates apply:

PURCHASE PRICE / VALUE OF THE PROPERTY STAMP DUTY RATE APPLICABLE
£0 – £500,000 0%
£500,000 – £925,000 5%
£925,000 – £1,500,000 10%
£1,500,001 and above 12%

If the purchaser is buying a property for the second time in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the following rates apply:

 

PURCHASE PRICE / VALUE OF THE PROPERTY STAMP DUTY RATE APPLICABLE
£0 – £500,000 3%
£500,000 – £925,000 8%
£925,000 – £1,500,000 13%
£1,500,001 and above 15%

 

If the purchaser is buying a property for the first time in Scotland, the following rates apply:

 

PURCHASE PRICE / VALUE OF THE PROPERTY STAMP DUTY RATE APPLICABLE
£0 – £250,000 0%
£25,001 – £325,000 5%
£325,001 – £750,000 10%
£750,001 and above 12%

 

If the purchaser is buying a property for the second time in Scotland, the following rates apply:

 

PURCHASE PRICE / VALUE OF THE PROPERTY STAMP DUTY RATE APPLICABLE
£0 – £250,000 4%
£25,001 – £325,000 9%
£325,001 – £750,000 14%
£750,001 and above 16%

 

  1. Transfer Fees:

This is the fees with regards to the transferring of funds. This cost is relevant to both purchasers and sellers of property. The cost is usually around £25 – £40.

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