How Much are Conveyancing Fees in London


If you are planning a house move in Wandsworth, Clapham, Battersea, or Balham, you need to factor the cost of conveyancing into your budget. How much your conveyancing fees are will vary depending on the firm you use and the complexity of your house move.

It’s a good idea to start looking around for a conveyancer once you’ve decided to sell. You’ll need to instruct them as soon as an offer is accepted on your property or when you find a buyer.

Conveyancing costs are a mixture of basic legal fees and disbursements. To help you plan and choose a conveyancer, we explain more about the fees and what you should expect to pay.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring a property from seller to buyer. Your conveyancer will complete much of the work involved in the property transfer. They will liaise with your mortgage lender throughout the process, review all the legal documents and check the contract. They will also conduct the necessary local authority and environmental searches and register the property with the Land Registry.

Conveyancing fees vary because some property transactions are more complex than others and require more work for the solicitor. For example, more legal work will be involved if you purchase the property under shared ownership or another scheme. More legal work is also required for leasehold properties, so conveyancing fees will be higher.

What are conveyancing fees?

Conveyancing service fees come in two parts:

1. Legal fees

Legal fees are the basic costs you pay your solicitor or conveyancer for their time and expertise. The amount you are quoted can vary greatly, but be careful of quotes that sound too good to be true! It’s a competitive market, and sometimes firms give you a very low quote to get your business, adding items to the bill later.

2. Disbursements

Disbursements are all the necessary searches and other duties by third parties, which your conveyancing solicitor will organise on your behalf. These fees are usually fixed and will cost you the same, whichever conveyancer you opt for.

The principal disbursements you are likely to pay for your property purchase are:

Local authority searches – To check for listed building status, tree preservation orders, and planned road or rail links that could affect the property. You will also need to pay for drainage and environmental searches. Expect to pay between £150-£300. You can learn more about search costs in Wandsworth on the council website.

Transferring ownership – You must pay a fee to HM Land Registry to transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer. Expect to pay £200-£300.

Anti-money laundering checks –involve online checks of the buyer’s identity using certified ID. Expect to pay £20.

Title deeds from the Land Registry for sellers – This is the fee for the conveyancer to download the copies of the Title Register (deeds) and Title Plan (sketch of the boundaries). Cost: £7.

Property fraud checks – To establish that the seller’s conveyancer exists and that you’re not involved in property fraud – the fee is around £10.

Telegraphic transfer fees – Charged by a bank or building society to send sums larger than £60,000. Transfer fees can cost between £20 and £50.

Mortgaged property supplement fee – A mortgaged property supplement fee is applicable when buying property through a Help to Buy scheme. Expect to pay £220.

Stamp duty arrangement fee – A fee for arranging the stamp duty payment may be charged as a percentage of the stamp duty land tax or a flat fee. Expect to pay around £110.

Gifted deposits – If you receive a gifted deposit, more paperwork will be required to prove that the money is from a legitimate source. This typically costs £100.

Conveyancing costs for leasehold properties

If you buy or sell a leasehold property, conveyancing fees will be higher. This is because leasehold properties are generally more complex, and additional legal work is required around the agreement between the leaseholder and the landlord or property management company. The extra costs could range from £100 to £1,000.

The conveyancer will need to request a leasehold sale pack from the freeholder, which includes essential information such as service charges, ground rent, management company details, any pending works. Conveyancers will need to examine all the additional legal documents and check the terms for lease extensions, for example.

How much are average conveyancing fees in London?

Average conveyancing fees in London are higher than in most other areas of England. The conveyancing fees will be higher if you buy a house rather than selling, as more conveyancing work is involved.

These are the average conveyancing costs for both selling and buying a house in London:

Conveyancing fees to sell a house

If you are selling a house (and not buying), you’ll pay between £600 and £2,000 for a freehold property with a mortgage. Add up to £400 for leasehold. It will be slightly cheaper if you don’t have a mortgage.

The most expensive service will unlikely be necessary for a simple sale alone.

Conveyancing fees to buy a house

You will pay more legal fees to buy a freehold property with a mortgage (around £1,000 to £3,000). Again, you’ll pay up to £400 more for leasehold. And £100 less if you’re a cash buyer. Spending more on conveyancing when buying than selling is worthwhile to protect you from making an expensive mistake.

You will likely pay more if there’s anything complex or unusual about your purchase or your home.

How much are conveyancing fees to buy and sell together?

If you’re buying and selling at the same time it usually makes sense to use the same conveyancing solicitors for both. You will pay more than for buying or selling alone but generally less than the two amounts added together.

What is fixed fee conveyancing?

Fixed fee conveyancing means you will only pay the price quoted for legal fees with no extras. While your disbursements will be included in your original quote, they won’t be part of the fixed fee, as additional searches may be needed during the buying process.

What happens if my sale falls through?

Some solicitors may waive their basic fees if things go wrong, but this is at their discretion. Other conveyancers will quote on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis. This will apply to legal fees, not any disbursements incurred before the sale falls through. The benefit of this approach is that you won’t pay as much if the sale doesn’t happen, and your conveyancer has a definite incentive to ensure things work out. But you may pay more for this type of arrangement.

When do I pay conveyancing fees?

You will usually pay a deposit up-front and the balance on completion, but you may be asked to pay for searches as they happen.

Do I need a conveyancer to transfer equity?

Yes, you will likely need a conveyancer for the legal aspects of transferring equity in a property, for example, after a relationship breakdown. You may need to pay for a bankruptcy search, Land Registry search, identification search and transfer fees, and legal costs.

What’s the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

The main difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor is that solicitors are qualified lawyers providing various legal services. Conveyancers specialise in the legal aspects of property transactions but usually do not have the extensive legal knowledge of a solicitor. Conveyancers have lower fees than solicitors and tend to be more available for you to contact, as they are not attending court for other clients.

Do I have to hire a conveyancer?

It is possible to do your own conveyancing, and there is no legal reason why you can’t, but be aware that it takes time, and you need to know what you’re doing. You could pay more if you don’t do the correct searches. You won’t have negligence insurance, so you are personally liable for any mistakes.

How do I find a good conveyancing solicitor?

Get personal recommendations from people who have bought and sold in the area and check online reviews of conveyancing solicitors. According to the Law Society, you should check a solicitor is part of its Conveyancing Quality Scheme. For conveyancers, ensure they are registered with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

What are the other costs of selling a house?

As well as paying conveyancing fees, there will be several other costs to pay when selling a house, including:

Preparing your house for sale – Including repairs and re-decorating.

EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) – You must obtain this before putting the house on the market, and it will cost around £50 to £100.

Estate agent fees – The estate agent fee will usually be a percentage of the property sale price.

Mortgage charges include charges for porting your mortgage, early repayment charges, etc.

Capital Gains Tax – Second homes are subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

You do not pay stamp duty land tax when selling a house, but you will if you buy another property.

If you are considering a house move in South West London, we can advise you on everything to think about when buying or selling. Contact us today to talk about our services.