No Sale, No Fee Conveyancing | Homeowners Hub (Conveyancing)

No Sale, No Fee Conveyancing No Sale, No Fee Conveyancing

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What is No Sale, No Fee Conveyancing?

‘No sale, no fee’ conveyancing is where you’re only charged once the house sale is 100% complete.

In theory, this means that if the sale was to fall through for whatever reason, you won’t be charged a penny.

It’s seemingly a good choice to make, especially when it’s often reported that 1 in 3 house sales falls through.

Working with a ‘no sale, no fee’ conveyancer limits the risk of losing money in such scenarios.

Some also argue that it incentivises conveyancers to work harder, as they will only get paid once the sale goes through.

If Your House is Not Sold, There Are No Fees

How Does No Sale, No Fee Conveyancing Work?

Although conveyancing fees have increasingly become more competitive, paying between £800 and £1,500 is still a lot of money to fork out – especially if the transaction doesn’t happen.

For this reason, ‘no sale, no fee’ conveyancing makes a lot of sense…

The Catch

You may still be liable for some fees as a charge for the time up to the point at which the sale falls through.

How much will be at the conveyancer’s discretion, but it’s likely to be aligned with the proportion of work undertaken (as a percentage).

If you’re buying, for example, and the conveyancer has instructed searches and received contracts from the seller, then about 20% to 30% of the work has been done.

If the conveyancer has responded to enquiries and is preparing for exchange, at least 80% of the work has been completed (and you could get charged accordingly).

You May Be Charged for Conveyancing Depending on the Amount of Work Completed

Other ‘no sale, no fee’ conveyancers will charge a higher fee to counterbalance the risks they take with offering this type of service.

Don’t forget you would also have to pay for disbursements such as searches, not to mention the property survey/valuation.

If you’re thinking about moving forward with such an offering, it’s certainly worth looking at the small print.  We’ve seen conveyancers out there adding on hidden extras, often at an extortionate hourly rate.

What A ‘No Sale, No Fee’ Conveyancer Would Want to Know

Conveyancers will want to have a decent degree of certainty that the sale will go ahead.

Like any other business, they have overheads to pay and don’t want to waste time and resources.

For example, rather oddly, we’ve seen buyers who have no real intention of moving forward with the sale still instruct conveyancers only to then pull out inexplicably.

Similarly, sellers suddenly get cold feet or have a change of circumstances and whimsically decide to keep hold of the property.

Nonetheless, most conveyancers would appreciate that there’s an element of risk of fall through (see the next section).

They may, therefore, ask some fairly basic questions before they move forward with the case.  These may include:

  • Is there a mortgage application in principle (AIP) in place?
  • Has the buyer’s deposit funds been verified?
  • How many dependent parties are there in the sale (i.e. is there a complex chain)?
  • Who is the estate agency managing the sale?
  • Has ownership been checked at HM Land Registry?
  • Have the appropriate Anti Money Laundering (AML) checks been done?
  • Are there any special conditions of sale?
Memorandum of SaleOur own Memorandum of Sale template contains a breakdown of the details sale we send conveyancers to help them get to grip with the details.

Note that conveyancers would be unlikely to ask questions regard sales value and physical aspects of the property.

They are more interested in the legitimacy of the sale and whether both parties are genuine and serious.

What A 'No Sale, No Fee' Conveyancer Would Want to Know

Other Conditions

Some conveyancers may offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ service on the basis that, should the sale fall through, you will use them on the next transaction.

Although nothing is usually signed for, this will somewhat guarantee that they will eventually get paid for their efforts.

There may also be a specific time limit to which they’ll be willing to keep the offer going and/or a limit to the number of times the case can be transferred.

Other conveyancers (especially the popular ones) may require some kind of deposit to demonstrate your commitment to using them.

Why Could a House Sale Fall Through?

It’s an unfortunate situation when it does happen, but here are some of the reasons why a house sale could collapse:

  • There’s a complex chain – i.e. there are multiple property sales which are all dependent on one another.  All it takes is for a single issue to appear in one sale and all the others become affected;
  • Either the buyer or seller (or sometimes both) delays communicating with conveyancers.  This results in the sale going ‘stale’ and falling apart;
  • The buyer or seller simply gets cold feet and withdraws from the sale.  Or perhaps they’ve found a different property that they prefer;
  • The conveyancers are slow to exchange information and progress the sale;
  • Slow interactions between the estate agent and the buyer’s or seller’s conveyancers.  One or both of the parties subsequently loses interest;
  • The mortgage survey downvalues the property and the seller decides to pull out (rather than renegotiate);
  • A negative homebuyer / structural survey report prompts the buyer to halt the sale (if the seller isn’t willing to negotiate);
  • Sometimes related to the survey report, the buyer’s mortgage deal falls through meaning the sale cannot proceed;
  • The buyer ‘gazunders’ the sale – i.e. decides to drop the price (often at the last minute) – causing the seller to pull out;
  • We’ve also seen situations where an independent buyer gazumps the sale (offers more after an initial sales price is agreed).  Tempted by the higher price, the seller pulls out of the sale.  But then the new ‘buyer’ starts to play games and everything falls apart;
  • The buyer cannot get the deposit funds together in time.  Although the estate agent should check this prior to taking it off the market, there’s no guarantee;
  • The buyer has an unfortunate change of circumstances such as losing a job or falling ill.

Why Could a House Sale Fall Through?

How to Find No Sale, No Fee Conveyancers

No sale, no fee conveyancers have grown considerably over the last decade or so – especially with increased competitivity in the industry.

You can usually find this type of conveyancer via a simple Google search.  Try:

  • no sale, no fee conveyancers near me
  • no move, no fee conveyancers near me
  • no completion, no fee conveyancers near me
  • no purchase, no fee conveyancers near me

Alternatively, albeit less explicitly, some of the traditional and high street conveyancers may offer this service.  It’s usually a case of simply asking.

Typically, ‘no sale, no fee’ conveyancers are more likely to operate online, often on the growing number of comparison sites.

Regardless of the conveyancer you choose, we’d always suggest checking out their reviews and feedback from previous clients.

Also, check out our suggested questions to ask the conveyancer.

Residential Abortive Transaction Insurance (RATI)

On a final note, if you’ve found a conveyancer you really like and they don’t offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ service, you may want to consider taking out an insurance policy.

Not only do they cover your conveyancing service charges, but – if you’re buying – you can also claim back on disbursements, survey or valuation reports, mortgage arrangement fees amongst other costs.

Ask the conveyancer about the best policy to go for.