Conveyancing Fees Outpaced by Estate Agents Charges

The Law Society Gazette has recently reported that the cost of Conveyancing for a house purchase has risen less than fees charged by estate agents and surveyors in the past decade.  Not a title that would come as a surprise to most in the legal profession, although it is interesting to examine the facts contained in the surveys’ findings, which support the suspicions of most in the legal profession.

The average cost of a purchase conveyance was said to be £1419 in 2014, and this amounted to 12% of the total outlay in house buying charges.  These figures were compiled in a study by Post Office Money and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.  They represented an increase of 37% compared to 2004, when the average Conveyancing purchase fees were £1039.  Looking at these figures in isolation may paint a positive picture, and perhaps help to alleviate some of the self pity one may have felt following a glance at the article heading.  However, putting things in context, it is evident that this rate of increase was significantly less than the other home moving costs.

At a glance:-

  • The average stamp duty rose 87% to £3,620 in 2014
  • Estate agents fees rose 61% to £5,214 surveyors fees rose 51% to £607
  • Only removal costs, which rose 21% from £855 to £1034 during the same period, increased at a slower rate.

That the survey concludes that estate agents fees now equate to 44% of the total Conveyancing costs will no doubt be the main gripe, which is perhaps intimated by the title of the article.  Whilst I am a firm believer that a good estate agent is an essential tool in helping a transaction go through smoothly, there are of course those agents that can have the opposite effect.  The fact that there may be no difference in what these two types of agents will be paid highlights further the frustration for Conveyancers.  With the increase in panel and other referral arrangements – which we are continually assured has been concluded to have no effect on consumers (?!) – the gap between Conveyancing and estate agents fees is only likely to widen.   This merely highlights the challenge facing all Conveyancers in trying to operate a profitable Conveyancing department, in an industry which is becoming more commoditised but retains the demand for top class levels of customer service.

We here at B Legal are fully aware of this challenge and tackle it head on, using a structure which streamlines all processes involved in a conveyancing transaction, with clear and open lines of communication throughout.  We aim to deliver an exceptional service at a fair price, and if clients feel that they are being looked after throughout the transaction then levels of satisfaction can be upheld irrespective of the percentage of the costs when compared to other house moving charges. It is only hoped that providing a service that clients value will enable us to move closer to a level of fees commensurate with other parties involved in the process!”