For most people, buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase they’ll make in a lifetime. And into the bargain, it’s not just the cost of the property – although that’s by far the main expense! – but the money additionally required for things like stamp duty, conveyancing and surveys which all help to create such a large bill.
You can actually cut your costs considerably however, as long as you’re prepared to do your homework and we present 3 tips here corresponding to 3 aspects of the conveyancing process which so many buyers spend more money than they should on.
1. Don’t feel you have to instruct your estate agent’s preferred solicitor
It’s understandable to feel that the solicitor your estate agent recommends is a good option to choose; after all, you’ll have already spent time around the agent, and presumably they’d only recommend a good one?
Although this choice might work out, you should know that it’s likely that the agent will receive perhaps as much as £500 in commission just for introducing you to that solicitor.
From an ethical perspective as well, it’s arguably less than satisfactory to instruct a solicitor introduced to you by an estate agent, because the latter professional is clearly acting on behalf of the seller’s side already.
Ideally you should carefully search, particularly online, to find a great value conveyancing solicitor’s quote and it’s advisable to select one which involves fixed fees and a no sale no fee guarantee, just in case your conveyancing falls through.
Be careful of estimates which masquerade as quotes (with multiple hidden ‘extras’ buried in the terms and conditions) and see if you can get any personal recommendations.
Check online reviews very carefully and we’d recommend calling any solicitor firm up, just to see how quickly they respond to this form of communication, after all, you may have a desperate need to call your solicitor during your conveyancing process, and you want to know that you’ll get through to them without undue delay.
Finally, it doesn’t matter whether you choose to instruct a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer, what’s most important is that they’re experienced, efficient and answer any queries you have satisfactorily and quickly.
2. Make sure you get at least 3 survey quotes
Survey costs vary depending on the size and selling price of a property. A HomeBuyer Report starts from around £480 INC VAT and a Building Survey from around £600 INC VAT.
Prices vary considerably from surveyor to surveyor, and especially in different parts of England. The best advice is to shop around and speak to 3 surveyors and inspect their online reviews to make sure you get some background on the type of service you are going to receive.
NB Don’t be tempted to choose a HomeBuyer Report rather than a Building Survey to save money. Your property will be best suited to one or the other of these, depending on factors like how modern your property it is, how large it is and whether it has been refurbished.
Don’t worry too much about what the right survey for your property is, though, as any reasonable surveyor will advise you about this and explain their decision before you choose to go ahead.
2. Don’t overpay on your conveyancing searches
If you’re buying a property with a mortgage, your lender will you to get a minimum of 4 property searches to find out about any issues affecting the land the dwelling is located on.
Many conveyancing solicitor firms order these searches on your behalf but there’s nothing to stop you ordering them yourself from a search provider. You can sometimes save £100 or more by doing this, which is what many conveyancing solicitor firms commonly add on top of the actual price of the searches.
Although buying a house is never likely to become a cheap exercise (!) you should at least ensure that you don’t overpay in the 3 areas we’ve discussed above. You’ll thank yourself when you’re having your first cuppa in your new home!