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Solicitor Fees for Selling a House

What are the Solicitor Fees for Selling a House?

  • Legal fees

Solicitor fees for selling a house can range from around £200-1,000 plus VAT, depending on a number of factors (e.g., the cost of the property and the complexity of the transaction, etc).

CMS quotes are very competitive for sales transactions.

  • Early repayment charge

Usually fixed and discounted variable rate mortgage lenders impose a charge if you repay the loan early. The charge can be as high as 1-4% of the outstanding loan.

  • Exit fee

Another charge levied by mortgage lenders, this time when you finish paying off your mortgage or switch your mortgage to another lender. The fee may be as high as £300 in some cases.

  • Indemnity insurance

An indemnity policy is a type of insurance taken out to deal with a defect in the title of the property being sold (e.g., a restrictive covenant or a missing document of title). As a way to complete the transaction, but also satisfy the buyer, your solicitor may suggest you take out an indemnity policy, which will pay the buyer if the defect becomes a problem. All such policies require that their existence not be disclosed to third parties.

  •  Telegraphic Transfer Fee

A fee solicitors charge when a CHAPS transfer is required for one of a number of purposes, e.g. to pay off a mortgage to send monies to the seller’s solicitor or to transfer the net proceeds from a sale to the your bank account.

The total of the amount above would be the Solicitor Fees for Selling a House

Basic steps in Freehold Sale Conveyancing (for selling a house)  

  • Obtaining Instructions

Firstly the solicitor will need to obtain your written instructions. Also you will be asked to complete the Sellers Property Information Form, the Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form (together known as the protocol forms) and a disclosable Overriding Interests Form.  A sum of money will be requested to cover the costs of disbursements (expenses) – this will be £6.00, which will cover the cost of the Official Copies which will be needed for all transactions.

  • Obtaining Official Copies

These will be requested from the Land Registry.

  • Checking the Official Copies

This will involve checking that the property address matches that of the property being sold, that the names of the proprietors match those of the clients, whether there are any restrictions on sale and that the financial charges actually registered match those which your client will have advised . It is important to note any second charges to protect secured loans as many clients will not realise such a charge has been registered.

  • Preparing the Sale Contract Package

The sale contract package should include the draft contract itself, the Official Copies, copies of any other title documents, the originals of the Sellers Property Information Form and Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form.

Copies of any guarantees, planning permissions etc which the clients may have supplied.   At this point of a sale conveyancing transaction the solicitor will write to the holders of any charges over the property to request preliminary Redemption Statements for budgeting purposes. A new figure will usually need to be obtained once the completion date is known, which will not be for several weeks, however obtaining a figure at this stage will avoid any surprises following exchange of contracts. The title deeds would also now be requested.

  • Dealing with Pre-Contract Enquiries

Once the buyer’s conveyancer has received the sale contract package he will usually wish to raise some pre-contract enquiries. According to the National Conveyancing Protocol these should be limited to enquiries on the title, and matters that could not reasonably be dealt with by the buyer’s own inspections and surveys.  They may also raise pre-contract enquiries based on information received from any other source such as the results of the conveyancing searches or the estate agent’s particulars.  The seller’s conveyancer should check the seller’s replies for instances where he may be accepting a liability for something he should not.   Following the introduction of the Land Registration (Amendment) Rules 2008, which came into effect on 10th November 2008, it is necessary for any party to the transaction (including any lenders whose mortgages are being discharged by DS1/3 as opposed to END) to be identified – that means that if they are not represented by a conveyancer they must provide a completed form ID1 (for individuals) or ID2 (for corporate bodies). That form must be submitted to the land registry along with the application for registration the purchaser’s solicitor will require it prior to exchange of contracts.

  • Exchanging of Conveyancing Contracts

Once the pre-contract enquiries have been dealt with, the seller has signed the contract, and provisional redemption figures have been obtained for all mortgages secured on the property, the seller’s conveyancer is ready to exchange contracts. Exchange is the point at which the contract becomes binding on all parties.

  • Mortgage Redemption Statements

Immediately following exchange an up to date redemption statement will be applied for. Completion should not take place unless an up to date statement is received. At the least the entire sale proceeds should be retained by the seller’s solicitors until the redemption statement is received.

  • Sale Conveyancing Completion Statement 

The seller’s conveyancer will prepare for his client a completion statement, which should show all the in comings and outgoings for the transaction, and the bottom line should be the balance due to the client. This will allow the client to see a breakdown of how the balance to him has been calculated and allow him chance to query any figures, for example if he believes the mortgage redemption figure to be wrong, or the estate agent’s fee (which it is usual for the seller’s conveyancer to pay on the seller’s behalf, though there is no obligation to do so).

The completion statement will also be a useful checklist for the conveyancer since it will list all the items that have to be paid from the sale proceeds and will tell him exactly how much to transfer to his client.

  • Conveyancing Property Transfer Deed

Once contracts are exchanged, the seller’s conveyancer would prepare the file for completion. Firstly he would arrange for the seller to sign the Transfer Deed . This is prepared by the buyer’s conveyancer as a draft, traditionally following exchange but these days usually beforehand, and it must be approved by the seller’s conveyancer. If after exchange the buyer’s solicitors have still not supplied a draft deed then the seller’s conveyancer must ensure that this is done or else draft their own. Completion should not take place without a signed transfer deed.

  • Replies to Requisitions on Title

If not already done, then following exchange of contracts the buyer’s conveyancer will raise with the seller’s conveyancer “Requisitions on Title “. This is a standard set of questions, the most important of which are asking for confirmation of what deeds will be provided on completion, a request for undertakings to repay all charges secured on the property, and a request for the bank details for the payment of the purchase monies.

  • Completion of the Sale

On the day of completion, the buyer’s conveyancer will transfer the purchase monies by CHAPS/telegraphic transfer to the seller’s conveyancer’s account. The latest time for completion of the sale will be fixed in the contract, but effectively completion takes place when the funds are received by the seller’s conveyancer and when the seller has vacated and delivered the keys to the estate agent (or to anywhere else that is agreed between buyer and seller). On receipt of funds, the seller’s conveyancer would telephone the estate agents to authorise them to release the keys to the buyer, the buyer’s conveyancer so that he can inform his client, and of course the seller. He would then ensure that the mortgage is repaid on the day of completion and that he submits a form DS1 to the lender for sealing, unless the lender uses END (in which case they will lodge evidence of discharge of their charge electronically.

  • Post Completion

The seller’s conveyancer would ensure that the discharge document/s are obtained from the lenders in respect of any financial charges paid off on completion, and that these are forwarded to the buyer’s conveyancer. Once this is done the seller’s conveyancer will normally archive his file.

End of Solicitor Fees for Selling a House