Buying or Selling a Property – We Don’t Hide Our Costs!


Every day we are contacted by potential clients who are selling, buying or re-mortgaging a property and looking for a quote for the legal work.

In the usual James Legal way, we ensure that our quote sets out everything that you will have to pay throughout a normal transaction including our legal fees, VAT and any disbursements such as search fees, Land Registry fees, bank charges, ID checks etc.  In addition to this, we email the quote, complete with breakdown of fees and expenses, to the potential client.  By providing a detailed breakdown this avoids any nasty surprises when it comes to the part everyone dreads… paying the bill!

We have been advised by some of our clients that when asking for quotes some legal service providers simply state their legal fees only and disbursements/extra costs are not mentioned. It only comes to light at the end of the transaction and those additional costs do all add up. Depending on your sale price/purchase price, the additional costs could be a big shock if not taken into account.

In addition to this, a gentleman called us and told us that he had received an extremely cheap quote which he was informed was ‘everything all in’.  We advised him to investigate further as it did seem very cheap and it came to light that the fees were substantially increased should any additional work be required i.e. paying off his mortgage or preparing a stamp duty land tax return.  In 99% of cases, this additional work is required and should be included in the standard legal fee.  The client soon realised that the initial quote didn’t look quite as cheap.

We therefore have come up with a few ‘top tips’ when you are obtaining a quote:-

  1.  Ask for a full and detailed breakdown of the quote, showing:
    • Legal Costs (the amount the law firm charges – this may vary depending on whether the property is freehold or leasehold and whether you have a Help To Buy product)
    • VAT (on legal costs)
    • Disbursements (these are fees laid out on your behalf by the law firm e.g. search fees), these disbursements should be itemised.  Disbursements for Land Registry and Stamp Duty fees may vary depending on the value of the Property.
  2. Ask if there are any possible extra charges, and if so, what they are.
  3. Ask specifically if they charge extra for removing an exsisting mortgage from a property or for filing a stamp duty land tax return.
  4. Ask for the quote to be sent to you in writing.
  5. Compare quotes  alongside each other.
  6. Consider the level of service you will get. Do you have one lawyer working on your file? Do you have their email, mobile and direct line numbers?
  7. Remember the saying: “Good service fast won’t be cheap. Good service cheap won’t be fast and fast service cheap won’t be good”.
  8. Ask questions if unsure – at James Legal we understand the process is stressful and we are here to help!

If you would like a detailed conveyancing quote please contact the Property Team at James Legal on 01482 225566

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