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Buying or selling a property: who’s involved

It's time to get acquainted

Loosen up your purse strings! Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which we highly doubt as you’re here on our site) you have probably been told by now that buying and selling your home is an expensive pursuit, and one that should be handled with care and attention. If you’re a person who is particularly price conscious, it’s important to remember that cheap doesn’t always mean best, and if due diligence isn’t done right, it can cost you even more money in the long-run. To help, we’ve put together a handy who’s involved guide to help you choose wisely when embarking on your search for the ideal property professionals.

1. Estate Agents

The traditional way to sell a house is to use a local estate agent. For many, this is still the best way, however it does incur significant costs. With the advent of the Internet, there are now a number of different possibilities to consider. Some of the lowest cost suppliers will be operating solely online and by not having a local office, they will have low overheads and can potentially offer a lower cost service. Some of the higher cost suppliers will operate from a local office and hence their costs will be higher. It might be that they will be more focused and may have a higher probability of obtaining a quick sale for a good price.  Good news if you’re buying a home and not selling up, estate agents won’t charge prospective buyers for using their services.

Property Surveyor
Property Surveyor

2. Conveyancers/solicitors

The cost of conveyancing for a typical property will be somewhere between £500 and £1500 for a purchase and sale (less for a single transaction).  It breaks down essentially into two parts; what you pay the conveyancer (or solicitor) and what you pay in the way of disbursements (payments to third parties, paid on your behalf).  

  • Conveyancer’s basic fee to sell a property £250 to £1000
  • Conveyancer’s basic fee to buy a property £250 to £1000
  • Conveyancer’s extra fees for leasehold £50 to £200
  • Land Registry office report copies approximately £5
  • Land Registry fee if you are selling, approximately £50 to £500
  • Local Authority searches if you are buying, approximately £100 to £200

For some situations further disbursements may be applicable

  • Mortgage money transfer fee approximately £30
  • Chancel repair liability search
  • Drainage search
  • Environmental searches
  • Location specific local searches (mining etc)

Typical cost:  Between £500 and £1500

3.  Mortgage brokers/Mortgage provider

Most mortgages for a family home would be provided by a Bank or a Building Society. Before choosing a provider it is well worth shopping around and speaking to as many people as possible. You can approach all your local High Street Banks and Building Societies directly and find out what they offer. This may or may not be as straight forward as you would expect.  Keep in mind that Banks and Building Societies will tell you about the products that they offer but they will not give you any advice about what is available in the market.

The other possibility is to consider using the services of a mortgage broker who hopefully will be able to assess your situation and then match you up with a provider offering a deal that is likely to best meet your circumstances. Please be aware that some mortgage brokers operate on a commission basis and if a mortgage is completed by them they will claim a fee for the cost of running their business. This commision fee is usually paid by the mortgage provider. This should be straightforward but different mortgages will attract different fees for the broker.  Alternatively some mortgage brokers may just charge you directly for the advice.  Either way, you will need to clarify this with the broker.

4. Surveyor

A full Building Survey on an average house will cost the order of £300 to £600. It will usually be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Surveyor will normally look at the complete property and give a detailed opinion regarding the state of the building. This is probably now the most popular type of report. It is particularly suitable for older properties or properties which have had major alterations over the years or properties which appear to have problems that need further investigation.

Homebuyer Report or RICS Condition Report (previously called a 'Homebuyer Survey and Valuation')
A Homebuyer Report on an average house will cost in the order of £200 to £400. It will be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and is licensed to do this work. The Surveyor will normally look at the complete property and give an opinion as to whether or not the house is value for money to the purchaser. A Homebuyer Report is usually suitable if the house is of modern straight forward construction and has not had any major alterations carried out.

A Valuation only survey on an average house will cost the order of £150 to £300. It will usually be carried out by a Chartered General Practice Surveyor. This type of survey is usually done for the benefit of the mortgage lender.

Typical cost:  Dependent on survey or surveys chosen above

5. Miscellaneous property professionals

We hate to break it to you. Post-move, there’s still going to be a lot to consider. You may need to hire a removal service to help you move from home to home smoothly.  If you are going to extend your house, or build a new house, you may need to discuss your requirements with an Architect, Architectural Designer or a Surveyor or a Structural Engineer.  They will identify optimum designs to meet your requirements and also any other requirements for planning permission applications and building regulations. Special permissions may also be required if the property is an Historic Building.  For a makeover you might need an Interior Designer.

Again, if you have a problem in your current home, such as a crack in a wall, an unhealthy tree, a sagging roof, a leaning chimney, blocked drains, or old electrical wiring, you will need to find a specialist, who can give you professional help and advice.

Typical cost:  Infinite. Dependent on requirements