02:28, January 10 307 0 theguardian.com

2019-01-10 02:28:20
Ask the experts: homebuying  Do legal fees apply if a house sale falls through?

Q My daughter is in the process of buying a house, but has not yet exchanged contracts. However, she is thinking of pulling out of the purchase because the surveyor’s report says the property will need a lot of repairs as well as the removal and disposal of asbestos found in the structure of the garage walls. If she does pull out, will she have to pay her solicitor for the work done so far? This is the quote that my daughter received from her solicitor back in October:

Fee in relation to your £330,000 leasehold purchase would be a fixed fee of £1,160 plus VAT plus £75 plus VAT for completion of the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and a fee of £25 plus VAT per bank transfer that we make. The anticipated costs associated with your purchase would be;

£30 plus VAT for electronic conveyancing;

Stamp Duty Land Tax as set out in the attached client registration form;

£135 payable to the Land Registry for registering you as owner of the property at the Land Registry. Please note that this fee will double if the property is a new build;

£500 which we will request from you on account of identity checks required against you in order for us to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering legislation and property searches. NB searches in the Local Area usually cost around £375 and any credit will be applied against your bill on completion.


A The fact that your daughter has not yet exchanged contracts means that she has not yet paid a deposit to the seller of the property, so she is not at risk of losing that money if she does pull out of the purchase.

She would not have to pay all the fees detailed in the solicitor’s quote as all but the last £500 for identity checks and property searches – assuming that these have already been done – won’t apply if she pulls out. However, her solicitor may make a charge for informing the seller’s solicitor of her decision not to go through with the purchase.

She will also have to pay for the surveyor’s report, although it may be possible for her to recoup her costs. It has been known for an estate agent to arrange for the surveyor’s report to be sold to the next prospective purchaser of the property, if one is found relatively quickly so that the report is still up to date.


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