The basis of charging needs to be identified. Solicitors will usually charge their time in 15 minute blocks per 15 minutes or part-of. What this means is that if they do something on your case that takes a minute they will charge you 15 minutes worth of time.
If their charge rate is say £60 per hour which is the rate of a junior solicitor your cost ledger gets charged with £15 costs. If the solicitor is more senior they could be charged out at £200 an hour which sees your job card being debited by £50 just for sticking a stamp on a letter to you or making a telephone call on your behalf that was engaged on dialling.
Take this advice and do not agree to a charge rate basis for your conveyancing fees. Ask for a fixed price quotation and make sure they have a pledge to stick to the quoted costs.
Another trick they use is to add margin to sundry cost items like TT fees or photocopying. TT fees (the transfer fees for rapid transfer of your funds on completion day) may only actually be £10 but they’ll possibly bang these up to £30. Similarly, they may only have actually made copies of 5 sheets of paper and you end up paying £15 for the privilege. Outrageous!
Another reason that costs are high is they could be positioned in premier locations where rents and rates are high and they may be having to pay high salaries to get the best people and may also have to carry lots of admin staff to run the show. Partners with Maseratis on lease and mistresses flats to pay rent on all adds up to needing to charge a whack on the fees to keep the money circulating so hence your big bill!
In addition, have you gone direct to the solicitor for a quote or did you go through a middle person such as an estate agent or mortgage broker. These middle people rely heavily on what is known as referral revenue where they get a commission or kickback for referring you to their practice so you may be paying a few hundred more than you should to unwittingly pay for some sleazy estate agent to have a good night out at the casino next friday.
Another reason that they charge so much is that they may not actually know what to charge and they are actually basing their fee on time incurred in doing the work. Your sleepy family solicitor just probably charges £950 plus vat because that’s the standard fee they charge everybody and have done so for past 3 years! No science here just habit…
Good modern solicitor practices should have a decent interactive website where you can go onto their site and get a no-obligation online quote from them. Disregard any crappy firms that don’t have a website as generally they are as tight as a gorilla’s handshake and don’t see the importance of upping their profile to the public – regardless of how efficient and professional they may be.
If you think your solicitor is charging you too much check out this website .