2nd February 2018

The costs of buying a house

The costs of buying a house

The costs of buying a house…

Buying a house is likely the most expensive purchase you will make and there are many costs involved, a number of which are linked to the conveyancing process.

If you understand what these fees are when buying a house, you will be better prepared and be able to make sure you have all of the funds available.

Legal costs when buying a house

The legal costs for different conveyancing firms can vary considerably, so when buying a house it is likely that you will contact different firms for quotes for comparison.

When obtaining a quote, you need to make sure that it is fully transparent, so that there are no hidden costs when buying a house. Not all firms will include all of the costs involved in their initial quote.

When buying a house, it is wise to ask what is actually included and request a full breakdown of fees to be aware of any additional costs that could be added a later date.

The conveyancer’s fees when buying a house

The actual legal fees for the conveyancing firm when buying a house will vary depending on a few factors including:

  • The value of the property you are buying
  • Is the property Leasehold or Freehold?
  • Is the property a New Build or shared ownership?
  • Are you taking advantage of any government Help to Buy scheme or saving accounts?

This is because the amount of information and complexity of the work involved when buying a house will vary, and more complex matters will require substantial additional time to process and check.

The fee charged will cover the conveyancer handling your matter from beginning to end when buying a house, and will usually be a fixed fee rather than an hourly rate.

Search fees when buying a house

When you are buying a house, your conveyancer will carry out a number of searches: this can also vary depending on where you are buying a house. For instance, it may be necessary to carry out a coal mining search in many regions, or an underground search if you are buying a house in London.

If you are obtaining a mortgage for buying a house, these searches will not be optional as it is a requirement of Mortgage Lenders to fully check the title to the property you are buying.

The main two searches that are carried out when buying a house are the Local Authority Search and the Water and Drainage Search:

  • The Local Authority Search will reveal, amongst other things, if any planning permissions have been granted, if building regulations have been complied with at the property, and if the road is maintained by the Local Authority.
    The fee for this search will vary from Council to Council and can range from approximately £90.00 to £200.00.
  • The Water and Drainage Search confirms whether or not the property is connected for both foul and surface water drainage, whether there are any drains in the boundaries or vicinity of the property, and if the property you are buying has a water meter.
    The fee for this search is in the region of £50 – £60.

If it is revealed that other searches are required when buying a house, your conveyancer will discuss this with you and any additional fees involved at the time.

Land Registry Fees when buying a house

Prior to completion of buying a house, you conveyancer will carry out an Official Search with Priority. This protects your purchase and ensures that, in between completion of your purchase and the registration of your title being completed, no one else can register anything against the property. The cost of this is usually £3.

If you are getting a mortgage for buying a house, your conveyancer will also carry out a bankruptcy search against your name to ensure that there are no adverse entries registered against your name which would affect your ability to take out a mortgage. The cost of this search is £2 per name.

Finally on completion of your purchase, your conveyancer will register you as proprietor of your new property at the Land Registry and the Land Registry charge a fee for this. The fee is dependent on the value of your property and can range from £20 up to £910

Telegraphic Transfer Fee

Due to money laundering legislation when you are buying a house, all the funds must pass through your conveyancing firm.

In order to move funds quickly on the day of completion, they must be sent via Telegraphic Transfer. The firm you use will be charged by their Bank for doing this and the fee can differ from bank to bank.

At Burnetts we pass this cost on to you without making any profit, however other firms may charge a higher fee.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax payable on the purchase of your property.

When buying a house for £40,000 or above, we must complete a Land Transaction Return on your behalf and make any necessary payments.

The rules around Stamp Duty Land Tax, how much to pay and if it is payable, can be complex when buying a house. There is an online calculator provided by the HMRC for you to check exactly what you will need to pay for buying a house.

Please note some firms may make additional charges for the completion of your Land Transaction Return, but at Burnetts we do not charge anything extra for carrying out this service on your behalf when buying a house.

Other Fees when buying a house

When buying a house there are other fees that may be payable depending on the individual purchase.

You may wish to hold the title to the property in specific shares and require a Trust Deed to be made, or if you are buying a house that is subject to Ground Rent, you may have to pay a Notice of Assignment Fee to the management company. These are just a few things that can happen when buying a house. Your conveyancer will discuss these with you before buying a house and explain the fees involved.

Some conveyancing firms will make extra charges for certain checks that need to be carried out when buying a house, for instance ID verification. Make sure that when you obtain a conveyancing quote that you ask if they make any extra charges!

Online Calculator

When buying a house, a good way to give yourself an accurate quotation is to use Burnetts’ online Conveyancing Calculator. This will include all the mandatory searches, Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty as well as our fees.

When buying a house always be aware of quotes that look to good to be true as usually they are! Always make sure that you do your research and use a firm that provides you with a full and detailed quote.

For more information on buying a house, contact Kathryn Hill and our Residential Conveyancing team here.