Home buyers spend around £5,000 on unexpected legal fees

Published by Hannah Nemeth on 08 November 2018.
Last updated on 09 November 2018

Home buyers in the UK typically spend £5,500 on solicitor’s unexpected fees, according to new research from a digital conveyancer.

When You Move polled 2,000 homeowners in October and found thatthey had typically spent £5,500 on unexpected fees.Thousands of potential homeowners wrongly think they can’t get a mortgage

While those aged 55-plus spent only £2,691, on average, on unexpected legal fees and 18- to 34-year-old were not much worse off, spending £2,821, the worst hit age group were the 35- to 54-year-olds, who typically spent a whopping £9,498.

Some 58% of those polled felt ‘trapped’ when they moved by legal bills of between £1,000 and £4,000, while 14% were left with fees of between £5,000 and £10,000 – this represents homeowners who were unable to pull out by the time they found out about the unexpected fees.

Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) felt their solicitor wasn’t transparent about their conveyancing fees. A similar number (28%) said that had they been aware of all the costs associated with buying a home prior to hiring a solicitor, they would have pulled out of their property purchase.

One in five (20%) home buyers had to turn to friends and family to cover the cost of unexpected fees

Sally Roden, a primary school teacher from West Ham in east London, is a first-time buyer of a new-build property. She found that a number of survey fees the solicitor revealed late in the day were never made clear, costing her £800. 

“There was also misleading information from the developer, which stated that, due to it being a new-build, we wouldn’t have to pay for as many surveys which evidently was not true,” Sally says. Meanwhile, legal fees were not as quoted. “We were quoted £800, but this ultimately came in at £2,200.”

Sally also had to pay unexpectedly for local searches as the developer had built on ground of historical value, which cost an extra £1,000, as well as unexpected valuation fees of £1,000. Other unexpected fees were an electronic transfer fee of £150 and a fee for wet signature/original documents of £300.

Other fees that home buyers can unexpectedly face water and drainage searches, chancel repair liability, etc.

“The developer gave us a list of three conveyancers to approach; we will not be taking a developer’s or estate agent’s recommendations again,” she adds.

The good news is that from December 2018, all regulated law firms will be required to publish information on prices they charge for their services. For a quick way to find out costs, When You Move has launched QuickQuote, which provides a breakdown of costs at the beginning of the solicitor selection process.

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It looks like they had Sally

It looks like they had Sally marked out as a mug. Searches that the builder had already done? historical value? it seem that they just conjured up a new charge each time! The developer will have got paid for referring you, its rife in that business, known as 'the drink'.