01638 576478

Your Conveyancing Quote Explained

Legal Costs

Most people today will shop around for a competitive conveyancing quote and many will use the internet to do this. It can be complicated comparing one quote against another as there is no official format for conveyancing quotes. At CMS we strive to make your conveyancing quote as transparent as possible.

CMS provide you with three quotes to compare from solicitors chosen from our panel.  Your CMS quote includes all known disbursements and come with a ‘no-hidden extras’ guarantee.

Your CMS quote consists of:-

Conveyancing Fee:

This is the amount the solicitor will charge for carrying out your conveyancing. In other words it is the cost of their labour, their staff and their overheads.

At CMS the conveyancing fee includes dealing with your conveyancing from beginning to completion and includes:-

  • Acting for your mortgage lender
  • Completion and submission of your Stamp Duty Land Transaction return (SDLT form)
  • Petty Disbursements (Phone calls, letters, copying, postages)
  • Solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance
  • File archiving
  • No completion, no conveyancing fee payable
  • No hidden extras guarantee
  • No additional charge for Buy to Let
  • No additional charge for Right to Buy
  • No additional charge for expedition

Telegraphic Transfer Fee:

Where the solicitor has to send money on your behalf by same day bank transfer, i.e. to repay a mortgage or send purchase money to the seller’s solicitor a fee is charged for this service.

Your CMS conveyancing quote includes standard bank transfer charges i.e. one on a sale or re mortgage to redeem your mortgage and one on a purchase to send the purchase money on to the seller’s solicitor.

If you have more than one mortgage to repay additional charges will apply.


The word ‘disbursement’ means to pay a sum of money to a third party.  So when a solicitor includes disbursements on your bill it simply means that they have made payments to third parties such as the Government and Search Agencies on your behalf.


Your conveyancing quote from CMS includes VAT at the current rate which is 20%.

Stamp Duty – Applies to purchases and some transfers of equity

Stamp duty is a tax payable to the Government and applies to house purchases costing more than £125,000.  Stamp Duty also applies where you are transferring a property or a share of a property and the value of the share is in excess of the £125,000 tax band.

If you are gifting or transferring a share in a property we can advise you whether stamp duty is payable simply call us on 01638 576478 or e mail Sharon@cms-uk.co.uk.

Your purchase conveyancing quote from CMS includes the correct amount of stamp duty for your transaction.

Stamp Duty at a Glance Guide:

Property Value                                 Stamp Duty %

0 – 125,000                                       0%

125,0001 – 250,000                         2%

250,0001 – 925,000                         5%

925,001- 1,500,000                          10%

1,500,001 +                                       12%

Stamp Duty is only paid on the portion of the price that falls within the rates set out above, i.e. if you were buying a property for £250,000 you would pay nothing on the first £125,000 and then 2% on the remaining £125,000 – so your stamp duty would be £2,500.

Your CMS purchase quote includes the correct stamp duty for your transaction using the purchase price you input for your quote.

There is also a Government Stamp Duty Calculator that you can use: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/sdlt/land-and-property.htm

H M Land Registry Fees – Applies to purchases, re mortgages and transfer of equity

The Land Register holds the details of 24 million sets of deeds (titles) in England & Wales. Anyone who buys a property in England & Wales must register their details and that of any mortgage or loan with the Land Registry.

The Land Registry fees for purchase, re-mortgage and transfer of equity are calculated on a sliding scale depending on the purchase price or the value of the re-mortgage or transfer of equity.

Your CMS purchase/re-mortgage/ transfer of equity quote will include the correct Land Registry fee for your transaction using the purchase price or re-mortgage amount input with your quote.

For Transfer of equity calculation of the Land Registry fee can be complex. Please call us on 01638 576478 or e mail Sharon@cms-uk.co.uk

H M Land Registry Official Copy Entries – Applies to sales, re mortgages and transfer of equity

Official Copy Entries are up to date copies of the deeds and information held by the Land Registry in relation to a property.  Every property has its own ‘Title Number’ to identify it. The Official Copy Entries document who owns the property, what mortgages, loans or financial charges are registered and whether the property is affected by any legal obligations, rights of way, and easements for light, water and drainage.

When a property is being sold, re-mortgaged or a transfer of equity is taking place your solicitor must obtain Official Copy Entries from the Land Registry.

Your CMS quote includes the cost of obtaining one set of Official Copy Entries.

Upon a sale of a property the contract is drawn up using details from the Official Copy Entries and copies of the Official Copy Entries are sent to the buyer’s solicitor along with the contract.

On a re-mortgage the Official Copy Entries are checked by your solicitor on behalf of the new lender.

On a Transfer of Equity the Official Copy Entries are used to draft the Transfer Deed.

H M Land Registry Search – Applies to purchases, re mortgages and transfer of equity

When you are buying a property or re-mortgaging your solicitor will need to carry out a Land Registry search.  This search serves two purposes.  It will reveal any changes since the Official Copy Entries were obtained and it also protects the interest of the buyer/mortgage company for 14 days. This search is usually done at exchange of contracts and the 14 day protection period should allow sufficient time for your purchase/the new mortgage to be registered.  Further searches can be done to extend the priority period.

This search is important because it stops anyone registering a legal interest in the property after you have contracted to buy it.

Your CMS purchase/ re mortgage quote includes the cost of the H M Land Registry Search.

Conveyancing Searches – Applies to purchases and some re-mortgages

Part of your solicitor’s job when dealing with your purchase is to find out whether there are any restrictions or obligations on the property that would affect its value or your peaceful enjoyment of it. It is not part of a solicitor’s job to physically inspect the property; instead they rely upon information from various authorities to build up a complete legal picture of the property.  Part of that information comes from H M Land Registry and part comes from other authorities such as the water authority, the local council, the coal authority etc.

There are many searches that can be carried out and which are necessary will depend upon the location of the property. It is part of your solicitor’s expertise to know the correct searches to carry out for your particular purchase.

Some solicitors will send their searches direct to the authority concerned whilst others will use a search agency to do the searches.  There is no ‘fixed cost’ for authority searches and so the cost of searches varies depending on where you are in the country.

CMS use a search agency to carry out searches as it enables us to quote a ‘fixed price’ for the searches wherever the property is located in England and Wales.

Here is a list of the more common conveyancing searches and an explanation of what they do:

  • Local Authority Search – CON29 and LLC1

The local authority search comprises of a set of questions that are asked of the Local Authority and sometimes the County Council. The search is submitted together with a plan of the property.

These questions include:

    • Planning and Building Regulations which affect the property. Includes listed building information, conservation area, tree preservation orders
    • Roads – who owns the road outside the property and who is responsible for its upkeep.  Whether the property is affected by any public rights of way or bridleways
    • Whether the land is required for compulsory purchase or road works, details of drainage agreements, nearby road schemes, nearby railway schemes, traffic schemes
    • Outstanding notices – i.e. notice to complete works, notice of breach of planning or building regulations, contravention of building regulations
    • Contaminated land information
    • Radon Gas information
    • Road Proposals
    • Advertisements schemes
    • Parks and Countryside schemes
    • Pipelines or Gas lines
    • Houses in Multiple Occupation
    • Noise abatement
    • Urban Development orders
    • Enterprise zones
    • Environmental issues
    • Commons land register
  • Water Authority Search – Con 29DW

The Con 29DW is submitted to the local water authority along with a plan of the property. The standard questions ask:

    • Whether the property has mains water and drainage
    • What happens to surface water
    • Who is liable for the upkeep and maintenance of the drainage/sewage system
    • Whether there are any agreements in place for the Water Authority to adopt a private drainage system
    • Is there a public sewer within the boundary of the property
    • What is the basis for charging for the water supply to the property
    • Whether there is a Septic Tank serving the property
    • Has any building been erected over the drains
    • The route of the public drains/sewers
  • Environmental Search

An environmental search is submitted to one of the environmental agencies providing this information such as the Landmark Information Group.  There are many types of environmental search but typically they will provide answers to the following questions:

  • Is the area subject to flooding
  • What is the risk of subsidence
  • Is the area affected by Radon gas
  • Is the property in a Coal Mining area
  • Are there landfill or waste processing sites in the area
  • An analysis of what planning use the area has been put to historically i.e. residential, commercial, industrial
  • Risk of pollution

All of the above searches are included in your CMS purchase conveyancing quote because they are required by all mortgage lenders. If you are not obtaining a mortgage the searches are optional

  • Chancel repair liability search and Chancel repair liability insurance

The chancel is the space around the altar in a church.  Since the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century landowners have been responsible for repairs to a local parish church.  It is the responsibility of the local parish to register for this but not all have done so.  A chancel repair liability search will check whether any such liability has been registered which affects the property to be bought. Chancel repair liability insurance is designed to protect the land owner against any claims for chancel repair.

Chancel repair search and chancel repair liability insurance are not included in the CMS quote because they do not apply to every property.  Your solicitor will advise you whether a search or insurance should be sought.

  • Bankruptcy Search – Form K16

A bankruptcy search is required where a property is being purchased, re-mortgaged or equity being transferred on a property which is subject to a mortgage. The search is done by the solicitor on behalf of the lender and will reveal any bankruptcy or pending bankruptcy orders against the borrower.

The cost of a bankruptcy search is included in the CMS purchase and re mortgage quotes.

  • Mining Search – Coal, Brine, Tin, Chalk, Clay, Gypsum, Limestone

Depending upon where the property is a mining search may be necessary.  Many properties have been built over mines and this can affect the stability of the property.  It may also mean that the mining authorities have certain rights over the property.

Your solicitor will investigate and advise you as to whether a mining search is required.

Your CMS quote does not cover the cost of any mining search as they do not apply to all properties.

  • Commons land search

The local council keep a register of Commons Land and Village Greens.  If land is designated as Commons Land or a Village Green then the public have certain rights over it. The local authority search referred to above will indicate if the property or part of it is affected.

Your solicitor will advise you whether a Commons land search is required.

Your CMS purchase quote does not include a Commons Land search as it does not apply to all property.

  • Index Map search

The index map contains details of all land that is registered or being registered at the Land Registry. It can provide a Title number for the property if the property is not being found under the address or description at the Land Registry.  If no title number is found it means that the property or land has never been registered at the Land Registry.

CMS do not include an index map search in your purchase quote as they do not apply to every property.

  • Other Searches and investigations

There are other types of search available and whether these are required will depend upon your solicitor’s investigations and the location of the property. Property can be affected by many issues such as flooding, railways, roads, wind farms, compulsory purchase and your solicitor will use their expertise to find out whether any additional searches are required.

With CMS if additional searches are needed then you will only be asked to pay the cost of the search and no additional charge is made for carrying out the search.

Disbursements – continued

ID and Anti-money Laundering checks

Your solicitor is legally obliged to check your identity and to check that money laundering is not taking place.

The CMS quote includes the cost of your ID check.


Search Insurance policy

Most lenders will not require full conveyancing searches for a re-mortgage and in that case search insurance is carried out instead.

Some lenders, particularly niche lenders will insist on full searches even on a re-mortgage.

Your CMS re-mortgage includes the cost of re-mortgage search insurance.

Leasehold and Shared Ownership properties

There are often fees to pay to Landlords or Managing Agents when you buy, sell, re-mortgage or transfer a leasehold or shared ownership property.

Currently there is no fixed fee that Landlords/Managing agents can charge and many of them take advantage of this and charge excessive amounts to provide information.

If you are buying or re-mortgaging a leasehold or shared ownership property then your solicitor will read the lease to find out what the Landlord/Managing agents requirements are for new owners.  This will often involve service of a Notice of Assignment – for which the Landlord/Managing Agent will charge a fee for registering.  Sometimes a separate Deed of Covenant is also required where the new buyer has to covenant (legally promise) to abide by the terms of the lease.  Typically, the Landlord/Managing Agent will charge to provide the Deed of Covenant and to register it.

If you are selling or re-mortgaging a leasehold property then the buyer or new lender will require full management information such as service charge accounts, ground rent receipts, details of work to be carried out at the property etc.  This is requested of the Landlord/Managing agent using a standard form and they will charge for completing this form and sending the required information.

New-Build properties

When you buy a new-build property the developer will usually provide the transfer deed – because they have to ensure that all the owners on the development enter into the same legal obligations as to planning, upkeep of any common parts of the development, covenants to fence and maintain.  The developer’s solicitor will make a charge for providing this document.  There is no set fee for this.  Your solicitor will find out how much the charge is once they receive the contract pack from the developer’s solicitor