Part of the conveyancing process is the exchange of a drafted contract; that stipulates all the information you prior discussed with the seller, let’s say, or with his solicitor. The draft is sent to both parties, to get verified and make any amendments necessary. Due to its “draft” status, the transaction paperwork can move back and forward between the parties for a long time, until all terms are agreed on. The final form of the transaction deed is called engrossment.
The engrossment fee originates from the old times when the deeds and contracts were done by hand, written with pen on paper. With every alteration, the draft had to be re-written so that you would pay an engrossment fee for the solicitors time and the office supplies. The last copy was supposed to be written on good quality paper, for durability purpose, which would justify a higher engrossment fee.
Nowadays, the legal transaction drafts are done on the computer so that every alteration can be made without too much of an effort. This aspect does not justify the fee engrossment, but the very basic act of drafting the deed and making the amendments entitles the solicitor to add the cost. Some firm laws offer law conveyancing quotes, but add disbursements fees, sometimes without so much as a notice. Read and question all the terms before choosing any solicitor, so you do not end up paying any hidden costs.
When you buy a new-build or converted property, usually there is an engrossment fee, covering the more detailed and complicated paperwork a new or changed purpose building requires. You are paying the developer for taking care of the legal paperwork, and it is different, depending on the developer. Even if the deed transaction simplified in the current era, there’s still a chance you might have to pay an engrossment fee when you are conveyancing a leasehold property or a flat. If you decide to use the solicitor recommended by your lender, there are higher chances for the lawyer to add an engrossment fee.
To avoid paying an engrossment fee, read all the solicitor’s terms and ask details about the engrossment fee and what it actually includes or choose a fixed conveyancing rate, which includes disbursements, so there are fewer chances for you to pay any hidden fees at the end of the conveyancing process.