The Average Legal Fees for Buying a House
If you’re buying for the first time, the legal paperwork required to buy a home can often be a little baffling. Relax. We’ll take you through all the steps, and remember, with Keepmoat Homes your Sales Executive is always on hand to answer any questions you have.
From the solicitor cost for buying a house to other average legal fees, our guide breaks down all the legal costs involved with getting on the property ladder.
Do I need to have a solicitor when buying a home?
If you’re buying or selling a home, you would normally appoint a solicitor or licensed conveyor to oversee the legal aspects. While a solicitor is not a legal requirement when buying a house, having your legal documents correct is – and getting this right is an incredibly time-consuming and complex process unless you’re a trained professional. Therefore, we’d always recommend having a solicitor in place to help with your move.
Your solicitor is a home buying expert and the best person to guide you through the entire house buying process from a legal perspective. They’ll handle all the legal paperwork and understand the process back to front, making them a great asset for any queries you have throughout the buying process.
And, if you need a hand finding a solicitor for your move, your Sales team will have a list of independent ones that come recommended by previous Keepmoat Homes homebuyers.
Solicitor cost for buying a house: What's included?
There are a number of things your solicitor will be responsible for when you buy a house. These include:
Infographic showing the ways your solicitor will help you through the home buying process
- Searches. Your mortgage lender needs a great deal of information about your new property before they’ll agree to lend you money. Your solicitor is responsible for these searches.
- Contracts. Your solicitor will draw up and check your home contracts.
- Completion. Your solicitor is the one who transfers your funds and registers you as homeowners on the Land Registry.
- The process. As well as the more specific legal aspects, your solicitor also has a thorough understanding of the home buying process as a whole, making them ideally placed to offer advice and information if you’re unsure of anything.
Legal fees when buying a house: Terminology
There can be a lot confusing terminology to get to grips with when buying a house. From a legal perspective, here are the terms you need to know…
This involves legally transferring the home’s ownership from us to you. The conveyancing process starts when you reserve your home and ends when you’ve got the keys. A solicitor will handle all aspects of the conveyancing for you.
As your mortgage provider is generally loaning you the majority of the money for your new home, they’ll want to know that it’s a safe risk to lend against. For example, are there plans for a motorway in your area or is it at risk of flooding? Your solicitor can examine and request reports on:
- Planning status
- Energy Performance Certificates
- Access, including right of way
- Court judgements against the seller
- Building control issues
Not to be confused with your moving-in day, when you exchange contracts with us, you’re entering into a legally binding contract to buy the property. If your home is still under construction, when you exchange contracts, we’ll give you as much detail as we can regarding completion and possible moving-in dates. Your solicitor will draft and prepare documents for signature, including transfer documents, mortgage deeds and stamp duty land tax return forms.
The day you’ve been waiting for. This is when everything goes through. The money is transferred, and we hand the keys over to your new home.
How much does a solicitor cost?
Aside from your deposit and mortgage, there are a number of costs involved in the process of buying a house – you can check out our Cost of Buying a House guide for a full breakdown of them all. One such cost is to your solicitor, to cover the legal aspects of buying your home. You will usually see these solicitors' costs referred to as ‘conveyancing fees’.
Average solicitors’ fees for buying a house can differ depending on the location, price and type of property you are buying. These fees are broken down into standard legal fees and ‘disbursements’, which include local searches.
While some solicitors charge a flat fee for conveyancing, others will often charge a percentage of your property value. On average, your standard solicitor legal fees when buying a house fall between £500 and £1,500, plus 20% for VAT. Disbursements can cost up to £300.
When you pay your solicitor, you’re paying the direct fee plus an additional amount to cover their time and costs. As we’ve mentioned, fees can vary due to a number of factors relating to both your property and the solicitor, so it’s well worth shopping around and requesting quotes to find a great deal. If you would like a hand, just speak to your Keepmoat sales adviser who will be more than happy to supply a list of recommended solicitors.
Do you have to pay solicitors fees upfront when buying a house?
This all depends on your solicitor. Some solicitors prefer to be paid throughout the process for any costs that occur, while others may require an upfront fee before they begin working for you. In most cases, this upfront fee is 10% of the total fees, the rest of which will be paid once the house sale is completed.
Why buy new?
There are lots of advantages to buying a Keepmoat home, and we’re not just talking about the obvious things, like the fact that everything is new. There are lots of hidden benefits too.
Find out more