What are disbursements when buying a house?

There are lots of words and phrases you’ll hear when buying or selling a house that may be unfamiliar. ‘Disbursements’ is likely to be one of those words.

If you’re in the process of buying or selling a property and are wondering “what are disbursements?”, this guide will explain what they are, what they cover and how much they’re likely to cost you.

Disbursements costs when buying a house

In this guide

  1. What does the word ‘disbursement’ mean?
  2. What disbursements will I need to pay for when buying a house?
  3. How much will disbursements cost me?
  4. When will I need to pay for the disbursements?

What does the word ‘disbursement’ mean?

A disbursement is a payment from a fund that has been created for a specific purpose. When you’re buying or selling a property, disbursements cover the payments your solicitor will need to pay to a third party on your behalf.

What disbursements will I need to pay for when buying a house?

Your solicitor will need to make several payments when handling the conveyancing process for your property purchase.

These may include:

Property searches

When you buy a house, your solicitor will conduct a number of ‘searches’ on your behalf. These searches are in place to protect you and inform you about any potential risks. Searches will include:

Local authority searches

Local authority searches will research the property’s planning history and any highways issues.

Environmental searches

Environmental searches will explore any flood risk, local subsidence, risk of hazardous gas in the area (such as radon), and details of any landfill sites nearby.

Water and drainage searches

Water and drainage searches will check whether the property is connected to mains water/sewage, and whether any public drains or sewers run underneath the property. If anything is found, it may have an impact on work you have done at the property and any plans you have to extend your new home.

Land registry searches

Searches with land registry will check that the person selling the property is the registered owner and has the right to sell it.

Land registry registration fee

Land registry charge a registration fee to change owner details. Once the sale has completed, your solicitor will change the registered owner details from the previous owner to you. This will show on public record that you officially own the property.

Land registry priority search fee

A land registry priority search will protect you during the sale process. It means no-one else will be able to claim ownership of the property before you’re able to register as the new owner.

Stamp duty land tax submission fee

When you purchase a property, you are required to pay stamp duty land tax. Your solicitor will fill out the paperwork and make the payment on your behalf, but it remains your responsibility to make sure it is paid, so it’s important to ensure you receive confirmation paperwork.

A stamp duty land tax submission fee is the fee you pay your solicitor to complete the paperwork and process the payment.

Stamp duty land tax

The amount of stamp duty land tax you need to pay will depend on the purchase price and your personal circumstances. First-time buyers pay less stamp duty and owners of multiple properties will be required to pay more.

Online payment fee

This will cover the cost of a secure online money transfer when purchasing your property

ID verification

As part of the required anti-fraud checks, your solicitor will be required to verify your identity. This will usually do this through an online ID verification service that will require a small fee.

How much will disbursements cost me?

Disbursement fees will vary depending on the property purchase price, but you can use the below estimates as a guide:

  • Property searches – £330
  • Land registry registration fee – this will depend on your property purchase price (please see table below)
  • Land registry priority search fee – £20 + VAT
  • Stamp duty land tax submission fee – £10 + VAT
  • Stamp duty land tax – you can calculate the stamp duty payable by using the government’s stamp duty land tax calculator
  • Online payment fee – £30-£50 per payment
  • Online ID verification – £15 per person

Land registry registration fee costs

Value of propertyFee (if paid online)
£0 – £80,000£20
£80,001 – £100,000£40
£100,001 – £200,000£100
£200,001 – £500,000£150
£500,001 – £1,000,000£295
£1,000,001 +£500

When will I need to pay for the disbursements?

You will need to pay some disbursements, such as property search fees, at the start of the conveyancing process. You can pay others, such as stamp duty, closer to sale completion. Your solicitor will be able to give you a breakdown of disbursements and when they require each payment.

Other property guides you may find useful:

How much do conveyancing fees cost

The cost of moving house

Buying a house – everything you need to know

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Beth Lane

Beth Lane

As an integral part of the marketing team, Beth is responsible for creating Quick Move Now’s external communications and dealing with national and regional press enquiries.

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