POSTED 30 October 2018 General

What are Conveyancing Disbursements?

Conveyancing disbursements are payments that you make through your solicitor or licensed conveyor to third party organisations as part of the house buying process. These include local authority searches, stamp duty and Land Registry fees.

When Do I Pay Conveyancing Disbursements?

Many of the payments are paid up front, however, some can be paid at the point of completion of a house purchase.

Payment for disbursements is normally collected from you by your solicitor. This arrangement is not only convenient for all parties involved but also satisfies the requirements of certain organisations that only accept payment through a solicitor.

How Much Does My Solicitor Get?

The cost of collecting and depositing disbursements should be covered by the legal fees that you originally agreed to pay your solicitor for work pertaining to the house purchase. Unless they explicitly state otherwise, they should not make any additional charge for carrying out disbursement payments.

What Disbursement Fees Do I Have to Pay?

There are a number of different fees, the ones that you need to pay differs depending on which side of the house sale you’re on.

In general, if you’re buying a house there are a few more fees to contend with than if you’re selling:

Local Search

  • Costs between £40 - £250
  • This payment is made to the local council where your property is located. A local search uncovers any potential issues in and around the immediate vicinity of your property.

Drainage and Water Search

  • Costs between £30 - £40
  • This fee is paid to the company that is responsible for the drainage and water supply in the area in which your property is located. It ensures that a home is connected to a fresh water and waste water supply.

Land Registry Transfer Fee

  • Costs between £20 - £910
  • This fee varies considerably depending on the price of a property. If you’re buying a property that costs less than £80,000 you can expect to pay only around £20. However, for those properties of £1,000,000 and above, the buyer will have to shell out close to £1,000.
  • Payment is made to Land Registry, the government agency responsible for maintaining information about properties, such as owners and mortgages.

Land Registry Search Fee

  • Costs between £4 - £8
  • Payment goes to Land Registry, who confirm the seller as the owner of the property.

Telegraphic Transfer Fee

  • Costs around £25 - £45 plus VAT
  • Payment goes to your bank. The fee covers the cost of transferring funds used to buy a property from your lender to the seller’s conveyancer.

Bankruptcy Search

  • Costs around £2 – £4
  • If you want to get a mortgage to purchase a property, your property lawyer will need to check that you have not been made bankrupt. This search will take place just before completion.

Stamp Duty

  • Variable Price
  • This is a tax that is paid for purchasing a property above £125,000, with some exemptions for first time buyers.

Conveyancing disbursements when selling

The disbursement costs when selling your property is usually much less compared to buying a property as you’ll only need to pay:

Land Registry Search

  • Costs between £4 - £8

This is to confirm that you’re the owner of the property that you’re selling.

Telegraphic Transfer

  • Costs around £25 - £45

This is the cost of transferring funds to pay off your existing mortgage.

Other disbursements 

Although the lists above cover the main conveyancing disbursements incurred when buying or selling a property, there are other disbursements that may come up depending on the property and the area. These disbursements include but are not limited to:

  • Coal and mining search
  • Flood risk report
  • Landlord's registration fee
  • Planning search
  • Environmental search 

There might be costs that come up during the buying process, so ensure you have money reserved in the case of any unexpected disbursements, any money not used by your conveyancer for a search should be refunded to you after the purchase is completed.