Fixed fee v hourly rate conveyancing: the pros and cons

It can be stressful buying a property, from finding your ideal home and having an offer accepted, to dealing with solicitors and surveyors. In the UK, many licensed conveyancers will offer fixed prices for their conveyancing services. However, there are still a handful of solicitors or conveyancers that offer their services with hourly rates. It is important to know the differences between the two. In our guide, we take a look at the difference between fixed fee and hourly rate conveyancing.

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Why do you need a Conveyancer?

When buying (or selling) a property, a conveyancer is responsible for the entire legal process. A solicitor or licensed conveyancer will need to be hired once you have made an offer on a property, or when you have had your offer accepted.

What is the difference between a Solicitor and a Licensed Conveyancer?

To avoid conflict of interests, solicitors are prohibited to act on behalf of both the seller and the buyer, as defined by the (SRA) Solicitors Regulation Authority. For added peace of mind and protection, your chosen solicitor must be regulated by either the CLC, LSNI, LSS or SRA.

In contrast and subject to certain conditions, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) allows conveyancers to represent both the buyer and the seller. Sometimes this can have many advantages, enabling a quicker and more efficient process.

Conveyancers are responsible for transferring the title and ensuring that their clients are familiar and fully understand their legal obligations, when buying and selling property. They are also responsible for ensuring that their clients rights are protected, and that the overall process of buying and selling property runs smoothly, including drafting contracts, arranging conveyancing searches, and dealing with third parties.

What is Fixed Fee Conveyancing?

Fixed fee, also known as fixed price or fixed cost conveyancing, is when a pre-agreed price is set for legal advice.This means that the quote you receive from the solicitor or licensed conveyancer is inclusive, and will not have any hidden extras. If you choose this route, ensure that any quotes you receive include a breakdown of the service, so that you know exactly what you are getting for your money. Companies such as Sam Conveyancing can help with the entire fixed fee process.

What is Hourly Rate Conveyancing?

As we previously mentioned, some conveyancers still charge hourly rates. Be careful if choosing this method, as conveyancers can charge for any documents produced and phone calls made on your behalf. There may even be other fees that you were not expecting. It is advisable to avoid these hidden costs, by selecting a fixed fee conveyancing service instead of a conveyancer who charges by the hour.

What is a reasonable cost for a Conveyancer?

If you were to purchase a house which cost between £200,000 and £300,000, on average, conveyancing would range from £1,000 to £1,300. Selling a house is usually a little cheaper, with the average cost at around the £1,100 mark. It must be remembered that if the property was cheaper or more expensive, the conveyancing fees would vary accordingly. Likewise, those that buy to sell on, would have to consider both rates.

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Do remember that legal fees, fixed or hourly, do not include additional disbursements such as the cost of local searches, surveys and registration fees.