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Ulidia

Solicitor Fees Re Northern Irish House Purchase

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Hi all

Looking for opinions on something.

In 2006, I purchased a house in Northern Ireland (sold it in early 2008 but that's another story) and I never received a solicitor's bill. It's five years ago now so I cannot recall the exact details but the solicitor had made a number of very basic mistakes through the process, with the result that I threatened to report him to the Law Society and I presumed that, given he'd realised that he made mistakes, had decided not to invoice me.

Anyway, move the clock forward 5 years and I've now received the invoice, together with a covering letter stating, "We are closing off old files and note that we have not yet furnished you with an invoice in this matter." That's all fine and, despite the length of time that has transpired, I'm happy to pay a reasonable amount for the work.

However, the total amount seems very high to me for a £195,000 house purchase, esp. as I had previously bought some houses and recall much lower amounts. If it's a reasonable amount, I will pay it but would appreciate views of others here, in particular any who have completed house purchases in NI over recent years.

The invoice, in total, is for £2,726.25 and broken down by:

- Professional fee to cover all our work in connection with the purchase: £1,950

- VAT @ 17.5%: £341.25

- Paid land registry fees: £385

- Paid postage & petty outlay: £50

As I said, if that's the going rate, then I'll glady pay it but seems on high side to me and would appreciate other views?

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Professional fees for buying a house are usually £500-600. They then charge you additional costs for getting the likes of building control certificates, land registry maps etc but this doesnt come to too much.

Say £700-800 for buying it, and again £600-700 for selling it (as they should already have the documents from buying it). Don't pay it and report them to the law society with a list of errors thy made. If they messed up your purchase,chances are they have done it for numerous others. A £200k purchase is not something that should be approached in a haphazard way

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Hi all

Looking for opinions on something.

In 2006, I purchased a house in Northern Ireland (sold it in early 2008 but that's another story) and I never received a solicitor's bill. It's five years ago now so I cannot recall the exact details but the solicitor had made a number of very basic mistakes through the process, with the result that I threatened to report him to the Law Society and I presumed that, given he'd realised that he made mistakes, had decided not to invoice me.

Anyway, move the clock forward 5 years and I've now received the invoice, together with a covering letter stating, "We are closing off old files and note that we have not yet furnished you with an invoice in this matter." That's all fine and, despite the length of time that has transpired, I'm happy to pay a reasonable amount for the work.

However, the total amount seems very high to me for a £195,000 house purchase, esp. as I had previously bought some houses and recall much lower amounts. If it's a reasonable amount, I will pay it but would appreciate views of others here, in particular any who have completed house purchases in NI over recent years.

The invoice, in total, is for £2,726.25 and broken down by:

- Professional fee to cover all our work in connection with the purchase: £1,950

- VAT @ 17.5%: £341.25

- Paid land registry fees: £385

- Paid postage & petty outlay: £50

As I said, if that's the going rate, then I'll glady pay it but seems on high side to me and would appreciate other views?

Setting aside the issues you had with him this seems expensive (1% + vat for his time) Recently been quoted between 0.5-0.6% for this service from a couple of firms. I also used a solicitor around 5 years ago and he charged 0.75% for his fee.

Try the attached link http://www.nicssa.co.uk/membershipPlusLegal2.aspx which gives a quote showing all the costs involved. This shows an approx total fee (inc land reg etc) of between £840 - £930 on a £195k sale. I would prefer to use a solicitor i know so would be prepared to pay more than this but it's good to use for a baseline.

I would probably call them and try to negotiate on the price, but would be well armed with my facts and figures first.

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Looks like a 1% fee with a few add ons, including VAT.

I'm no expert but 1% is prob the going rate and I was quoted something similar as a guide or rule of thumb. Perhaps they have lost the specific actions/costs and are winging it with a cover all 1%. You could ask for a breakdown, further down the line, if you intend to engage.

Ring another solicitor and ask them what they'd charge.

As they left it for 5 yrs, I wouldn't be in any hurry to pay - especially given your initial dissatisfaction. Poor show all round from the solicitor.

Perhaps make a 'full and final' offer or pay in installments if you decide to proceed, following advice. CAB (or new/other solicitor) may be able to advise re legitimacy/validity of timeframe - ie delay in presenting invoice.

Good luck.

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The UK has the cheapest conveyancing in Europe, in France you will pay approx 10% fees & taxes, the fees are 2-3%. Germany & Switzerland are a lot more than 1% as well.

You should always ask for an estimate before giving instructions. 1% is almost certainly the standard fee, some will undercut however. It's one of those things, I am not sure the cheapest legal advice is always the best.

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1% is most definitely not standard now. 0.5 Is closer to the mark. However it would have been 5 years ago. Looks like the debt it about to hit the magic 6 year mark so I can see why they are chasing it. The law society are useless. Saying that they do deal with billing issues, with transparency being key to solicitor billing.

Edited by 2buyornot2buy

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Perhaps make a 'full and final' offer or pay in installments if you decide to proceed, following advice. CAB (or new/other solicitor) may be able to advise re legitimacy/validity of timeframe - ie delay in presenting invoice.

Good luck.

+1

I would not just ignore the letter. The statute of limitations gives the solicitor 6 years to chase up your debt to him. Since the solicitor is still within this window, they are entitled to seek full recompense from you.

At very least, you should be able to negotiate some sort of payment plan. If he botched the job, then quite frankly, I would request a meeting with him and let him know you were unhappy with the level of service that he provided and that you would like a reduction in his fee. Also, I am amazed that you've only just found out his charges at this stage. Someone may correct me if I'm wrong here, but when I bought my house, my solicitor told me that he was bound to provide a written statement of his fee prior to the sale being completed.

Edited by NuBrit

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+1

I would not just ignore the letter. The statute of limitations gives the solicitor 6 years to chase up your debt to him. Since the solicitor is still within this window, they are entitled to seek full recompense from you.

At very least, you should be able to negotiate some sort of payment plan. If he botched the job, then quite frankly, I would request a meeting with him and let him know you were unhappy with the level of service that he provided and that you would like a reduction in his fee. Also, I am amazed that you've only just found out his charges at this stage. Someone may correct me if I'm wrong here, but when I bought my house, my solicitor told me that he was bound to provide a written statement of his fee prior to the sale being completed.

You are quite right. Solicitors are required to provide a fact sheet detailing a full cost breakdown and also a leaflet with bills stating how to complain to the law society if you are unhappy. Billing is about the only thing they are semi-accountable for. I would approach the solicitor in question first. If you get nowhere I would go to the law society.

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You are quite right. Solicitors are required to provide a fact sheet detailing a full cost breakdown and also a leaflet with bills stating how to complain to the law society if you are unhappy. Billing is about the only thing they are semi-accountable for. I would approach the solicitor in question first. If you get nowhere I would go to the law society.

This is correct, the billing breakdown and the complaints procedure etc was one of the the first things we received recently from the solicitor

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  • 343 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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