Disbursements and conveyancing fees: the difference


When buying a house, there are many fees and disbursements. A disbursement is an expense belonging to you that your conveyancer pays to a third party for additional services or for a statutory required action. It is later added to the final bill.
Here is a look at some common fees and disbursements.


Legal fees

Costs vary among conveyancing solicitors. Fees starting at £400 take into account the property’s value and the cost of remortgaging if applicable.

Other legal fees include telegraphic transfer (from £40) and a mortgage administration fee (from £100). Expenses also apply if the property is a leasehold, a new build, bought via a right-to-buy scheme, or a second home.



By law, your solicitor has to find out information about your prospective property. This means investigating its land, water supply, drainage, the environment and any planning applications. Searches start at £199.

Local search indemnity insurance

If you don’t need a mortgage, a full local search might not be necessary. Your solicitor might suggest that you buy local search indemnity insurance.

Bankruptcy search fee

This checks that the buyer is not bankrupt or about to become bankrupt (from £3).

ID check

You need to supply two types of ID to your conveyancer, and these are usually your passport and driving licence (from £10).

Title Register

The Land Registry allocates a unique number to your property (from £6).

Reputable firms charging conveyancing fees include https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/news/conveyancing/conveyancing-costs-explained-3371. Meanwhile, Which? investigates using a conveyancer at https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/conveyancing-ag3rw2q052kz.

Land Registry fee

Every property transaction must be registered at the Land Registry. A fee costing £20 to £70 is paid to the Registry to update your property’s records.

Land Registry pre-completion

Pre-completion searches are a useful precaution. They are carried out by the solicitor before the sale becomes legally binding (roughly £3).

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Your conveyancer needs to calculate this complex tax, and the cost depends on the property’s value.

Landlord’s notice fee

With leasehold properties, you must pay the freeholder to register yourself as the new owner.

Ground rent/service charge

If you are buying a leasehold property with service charges and/or ground rent, the amount that you have to pay in advance will be determined by the seller and your solicitor.