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When we made our most recent house move (selling one house and buying another) we had to pay the solicitor's fees in advance of completion - the fees for searches etc. had to be paid upfront before the searches would be carried out, and the remaining fees for conveyancing etc. had to be paid before completion.

I'm curious to know if this was just our solicitor's practice or whether this is normal / common. Since many people bundle the fees associated with the move into the mortgage, how would that work (since the mortgage is not normally made available until completion)?

  • I don't know about the UK but in Australia it is usually taken out as a distribution (to the solicitor/conveyancor) at settlement. – Victor Apr 30 '13 at 8:03
  • OK, so if it was bundled up in the mortgage the fees would be taken out at completion rather than strictly before completion. That makes sense. – Vicky Apr 30 '13 at 8:08
  • adviceguide.org.uk/england/law_e/law_legal_system_e/… This could be of help. And contact the legal ombudsman if you feel being cheated or overcharged. – DumbCoder Apr 30 '13 at 15:44
  • @DumbCoder, the Australian situation did at least give me a way to see how it could work here, to have the fees bundled in the mortgage. And I definitely don't feel I was cheated or overcharged - everything was explained clearly to us and we were happy with the arrangement - just curious as to whether the arrangement we had is universal. – Vicky Apr 30 '13 at 15:58
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Based on my experience with previous UK house purchases: anything that would have incurred costs for the solicitors (e.g. search fees charged by third parties, Land Registry fees, etc) were needed up front. This actually took the form of a deposit towards all such expenses, with the remainder taken off the final bill.

All other funds (including solicitors' fees, stamp duty, rest of the deposit, etc.) had to be in the solicitors' account shortly (a day or two) before completion, so that once completion was complete, no further money was due.

In other words, your experience sounds similar to mine.

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