What is a Good Conveyancing Estimate?

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There are a number of factors to consider when looking for a conveyancing estimate, but the most important one for many people is cost.
After all, moving home is expensive enough without adding unnecessary outgoings by paying over the odds for your conveyancer. So what then is a good conveyancing estimate?
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If you scour the internet you'll find firms of solicitors and conveyancers purporting to offer conveyancing from as little as £100. So is this the sort of conveyancing estimate you should be looking for? You should actually be a little wary of these ultra-cheap deals. In reality, when various “supplements” are added, such as an additional fee if you have a mortgage or will be taking a mortgage, or an additional fee for completing the stamp duty land tax return, they can turn out to be substantially more expensive. Don't disregard them, just make sure you investigate.

Comparing Conveyancing Fee Estimates

When comparing one conveyancing estimate with another, you need to strip away the disbursements, the costs paid to third parties on your behalf such as land registration fees and search fees. The best way to do this is to ask for a quote that does not include disbursements. As some firms automatically include disbursements in their conveyancing estimate while others don't, stripping them away will enable you to compare them on an equal footing.

What is a Good Conveyancing Estimate?

Obviously there is a link between price and quality, so the answer to the question “what is a good conveyancing estimate?” really depends on what level of service you need. If the transaction is very basic, sale the sale or purchase of a registered freehold property with no serious title issues and with complex ownership arrangements or any particularly important deadlines, which accounts for the majority of transactions, then a good conveyancing estimate is probably around £250 to £350. Any more than this is a little over the odds. If you happen to be in London then you should consider using a nationwide conveyancer based in another part of the contract since as with just about anything, London based solicitors are more expensive due to higher rents and staff salaries.

If your transaction is more complex then you should ideally look for a conveyancer whom you are confident is going to be sufficiently experienced to deal with it efficiently. Whilst there are many such conveyancers working for the nationwide budget firms, they can be hit and miss and you will probably be better off on the high street. In this case a conveyancing estimate of £400 to £600 is reasonable.

No Exchange, No Fee and Fixed Fee Conveyancing Estimate

These days it's not just the budget firms that offer fixed fee conveyancing, most high street firms who do a lot of conveyancing work will also. You should therefore avoid any conveyancing estimate where the solicitor charges on the basis of time spent on the case (known as time recording) as this is likely to be more expensive.

Remember that any conveyancing estimate can increase during the transaction if unexpected issues come to light, though your conveyancer should always discuss these with you first.

Try to make sure that the conveyancing estimate is on a “no exchange, no fee” basis so that if the transaction does not proceed you will not be charged fees (you will still lose the cost of any searches carried out or other disbursements). Remember to check the terms carefully to see if there are any clauses which allow your conveyancer to charge you if, say, you cause the transaction to not proceed.

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