We’ve just sold my late mother’s house. It was totally painless – as it should have been, given that the chain was very short and her house in good condition in a desirable area. The estate agent, sensible to the fact that there is hardly a shortage in estate agents in the area and aware that it would be an easy sale, willingly cut their fee – although of course it was still a four figure sum with VAT on top. Given that they were unusually helpful, keeping us informed the whole time and a steady stream of would-be buyers over the threshold, we (my brother and I) willingly paid up. The solicitor’s bill was also in four figures although really, it was difficult to see how much work it really took given that we had all the deeds, documents and information to hand on the property. I do rather wish we’d done our own conveyancing but that’s probably a bit too much to contemplate – although we managed probate easily enough.
Anyway, I guess the solicitors’ bill was fair. But there was one charge which really annoyed me. We had to pay £96 for telegraphic transfers - £48 for two transactions, one putting the money into my account, the other to my brother’s. I’m sorry, but that is a huge sum of money for what is surely little more than pressing a button on a computer. I’m sure solicitors would say it’s more complicated than that – and that they are passing on fees from their bank. But whoever is responsible, it seems a huge sum to me. I suppose that no-one queries these charges as they are only a tiny proportion of the costs of buying and selling a home. But then, I’m a tightwad. And it annoys me.