What are Conveyancing Disbursements?
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Conveyancing disbursements are paid to third parties by your conveyancing solicitor.
Conveyancing disbursements are payments that your conveyancing solicitor will make to third parties on your behalf as part of the process of buying/selling your home. They are separate to the fee charged by your conveyancer for their professional services.
Are disbursements the same for buyer and seller?
No! The disbursements payable are much more for the buyer.
What are disbursements in solicitors fees?
The payments falling due as disbursements will include:-
- Land Registry – to register the new owner(s)
- Stamp Duty Land Tax – if your purchase leave you liable to SDLT
- Search fees – including local search, enviro search, and water & drainage search
- Management Pack – if the property is leasehold, the seller may have to provide a ‘management pack’ which is a summary of things like work done on the property, service charges and so on. It is provided by the managing agent of the leasehold property (usually flats)
What disbursements does the seller pay?
The seller will have very few disbursements. Their solicitor will provide the buyer’s solicitor with something known as the contract pack. This will include copies of the Land Registry entries showing the title of the property.
Unless the property is leasehold, that’s really it for the seller. If the property is leasehold (and is therefore managed by a management company) they may have to buy and provide to the buyer a ‘leasehold management pack’. The managing companies will often charge several hundred pounds for these.
What disbursements does the buyer pay?
It is ‘buyer beware’ for conveyancing, so the buyer’s solicitor needs to investigate the ‘title’ to the property properly before you exchange contracts. This will include doing searches. The cost of these will depend on various things including where you are in the country. Search fees will be largely the same whatever conveyancing solicitor you use. They tend to be anything from £200-£400.
As the buyer, you may also be liable to Stamp Duty Land Tax. Check our guides on SDLT.
Lastly, once you have completed, the buyer’s solicitor will need to register you as the new owner(s) at the Land Registry (HMLR).
Is the conveyancer’s fee a disbursement?
The conveyancer’s fee is for their professional services. Strictly, disbursements are payments made to third parties on your behalf, although there may be disbursements due to your conveyancer too. In particular, they may charge a fee for transferring any balance of funds to you on completion by CHAPS banking system. BEWARE – when you compare conveyancing fees some conveyancers will advertise a cheap conveyancing fee as the headline, but then there may be hidden costs within the disbursements section which are in fact payable to them. So, check the ‘bottom line’ of any quotes to be sure you are comparing like for like in any conveyancing quotes that you get.
Disbursements are more for the buyer than the seller and will include search fees.
Does my solicitor pay the estate agent?
Oddly, yes, the seller’s solicitor will typically pay the estate agent on behalf of the seller when completion takes place. This is an historical anomaly as of course, the seller contracts the estate agent themselves directly, and long before the conveyancing solicitors are involved. The estate agent’s fee is not really considered to be a conveyancing disbursement even though the solicitor will pay this on your behalf.
Does my solicitor pay the survey fee?
No. You contract your surveyor directly and pay them directly for your survey (not via your solicitor).
When are conveyancing disbursements paid?
The buyer’s solicitor will ask you for ‘payment on account’ of disbursements at the outset of the conveyancing process – in particular the search fees and Land Registry fee. Stamp Duty is paid on or after completion and your solicitor will detail this in your ‘completion statement’.
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