Property Selling Guide

What’s the difference between estate agency and conveyancing?


Estate agency is the process of marketing your property for sale and negotiating the sale of your property. Estate agents can be solicitors and they can also be non-solicitors.

Conveyancing is the legal process for transferring ownership of the property from one person to another and has to be done by a solicitor. If you are selling a property and buying another one, there will be two conveyancing fees as they are two separate transactions and they don’t necessarily happen at the exact same time.

How do I get a quote?

Most solicitor/estate agents will be prepared to provide you with a written breakdown of the cost of selling your property. They just need a few details to enable them to provide you with the most accurate quote, particularly when it comes to the conveyancing/legal part of the process.

There are quite a few governmental charges involved in selling a property and these vary depending on, for example, whether you have a mortgage on the property. Once that information has been received, you will be sent a quote by email, usually the same day.

What’s in the quote?

The quote from a solicitor/estate agent will contain a breakdown of the following:

  • The estate agency fee;
  • The legal/conveyancing fee;
  • The cost of marketing and advertising materials for the property (for example Solicitors’ Property Centre costs, For Sale Boards and property brochures);
  • Governmental and other third party charges relating to the legal/conveyancing work;
  • VAT on some of the above elements.

The fees for selling your house vary dramatically from one solicitor or estate agent to another. You don’t want any nasty surprises when you finally sell your property, so getting a full breakdown of costs in advance helps you to avoid getting a shock at the end.

The quote should be an accurate reflection of what you end up paying. However, the more detail that you get at the outset about fee levels and what you are likely to be charged for throughout the process, the more likely you are to end up paying what you expect.

Sometimes exceptional circumstances will dictate that, particularly at the conveyancing stage, extra charges or fees are required for matters that don’t usually occur in the course of a conveyancing transaction. At the estate agency stage of the process when you are marketing your property, you might want additional advertising after a few weeks or to order additional brochures/schedules which will incur a cost. However, this should all be laid-out in the quote and Terms of Business/Contract that you are sent.

How much am I likely to pay for estate agency and solicitor services?

Fees vary wildly between solicitor/estate agents. Traditionally, estate agents charge an estate agency commission/fee based on a percentage of the selling price. Other agents, like MOV8, charge no commission and instead charge a fixed estate agency fee. The percentage commission that agents charge are typically between 0.7% and 1.5% plus VAT. The conveyancing fees can also vary quite dramatically, but most firms charge a flat fee rather than charging by the hour.

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