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Conveyancing in your area Q & A's

Profile photo of Lorraine Imhoff

By Lorraine Imhoff

Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 16/07/17

Successful conveyancing is as much about having a rounded understanding of the practicalities involved in buying and selling a property as it is about a thorough command of the legal process.

Below we feature some recent common questions asked by home movers.

Q.

We need a discount conveyancing quote. How do I get a quote?

A.

The lack of clarity surrounding this point catches out many buyers, and can leave them paying far more in conveyancing fees than they budgeted. Many firms promote 'the cheapest conveyancing quotes'. Unfortunately additional costs are often hiding in small print. Any costs needs to be fair and only come into force where your lawyer must perform additional tasks for you, which could not be anticipated at the start of the process. Get a quote using the Homeward Legal quote calculator for the property you are buying.

Q.

Is your solicitor team geared up for move fast on the conveyancing for property auction properties in UK?

A.

In fact we prepare legal packs for vendors and often work for buyers and sellers at auction. Solicitors tend to encourage bidders to decide on a lawyer before the property auction date to allow enough time for a detailed report.

Following the date of the auction, your conveyancing lawyer will be focused on conclude the auction conveyancing process in less than 28 days as required by the terms of sale.

Q.

Would getting a house survey be advisable if we are purchasing a property?

A.

It is firmly advised that all purchasers in the UK book an inspection. There are a range of defects that can affect a property. These can include cracked roof tiles. These will not be reported on by a solicitor.

Q.

Which environmental factors will affect land in the UK. Are they an issue?

A.

Many of contaminants can impact residential property in the UK. Contaminants including proposed erection of mobile masts will be considered as part of the environmental searches.

Q.

What are conveyancing searches in relation to?

A.

Conveyancing searches are a commonly-used bundle of queries carried out for the buyer. Buyers should be aware that, searches cover solely legal-related matters.

Q.

May the charges for my conveyancing conceal any hidden fees?

A.

No. Homeward Legal's solicitors never hide any hidden extra fees. You should be aware that some solicitors do not give accurate quotes, only estimates. The final bill you receive may be much more.

Q.

How does the solicitor discover whether a property is located in a conservation area?

A.

Conservation areas delineate areas designated by 'English Heritage' as being of historical or architectural value.

The objective is to maintain and preserve the original character of the area and this is achieved by empowering local councils to police what is and isn't allowed in terms of development and modifications to existing property. It can also mean other measures such as the prohibiting of estate agent's boards.

These restrictions can result in the buyer inheriting liability of unauthorised changes. An example might

be where a previous owner has installed PVC windows which are not in keeping with the area. The new owner would then be forced to replace the windows for acceptable ones and the cost will be borne by the new owner.

However, it is living in a conservation area is seen as a positive as there are significant benefits. For example buyers have the added certainty that a property (and the area in which it is situated) protected by conservation area status is more likely to be preserved and retain its value.

Your conveyancing solicitor will ask for proof of consent for any modifications made to the property and report to you before exchange of contracts.

Q.

Will the report on title compiled by the UK conveyancing solicitor investigate the cost of council tax on a Band C house prior to contracts are exchanged?

A.

Your property lawyer will contact the governing council to discover the latest council tax charges which will then be added to the report on title. Up-to-date rates for UK are set out in detail online at the local authority website.

Q.

Is it imprudent to take care of the legal conveyancing process without help.

A.

There is no reason why a seller shouldn't carry out the conveyancing on your own. In reality however, a solicitor takes care of a huge number of exercises such as chasing missing documents or interpreting management accounts some of which require a skilled professional.

In addition legal practices will take out insurance cover that protects you in the event of any failures on the part of the solicitor.

Q.

How much will my conveyancing searches in the UK cost?

A.

Searches vary in cost, depending on the specific searches which have been ordered and the local authority in which the property is located. Some lenders insist on 'official' local authority searches which may cost slightly more as they cannot be sourced through a personal search agent.

Homeward Legal show the full cost of searches as part of the conveyancing quote. These searches are disbursements meaning they are charged to the home buyer at cost.

Q.

I am buying a property in a disadvantaged area. Can I still claim Stamp Duty Relief?

A.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Relief was available for buyers of residential and mixed use residential property between 1st January 2010 and 5th April 2013 on property being sold for less than or equal to £150k Sadly the government abolished SDLT relied on 5/04 13 and there are currently no plans to reintroduce it. For more information see the HMRC website Update: As of the 2013/14 tax year, stamp duty relief for disadvantaged areas is no longer available.

Q.

What is SDLT and how is it calculated

A.

Editor note: Stamp duty information in this answer correct at time of writing (29/05/13). SDLT is subject to annual review, typically at the government's annual budget.

'SDLT' stands for 'Stamp Duty Land Tax' which is a tax payable to HMRC by a property buyer on all properties sold for £125,000 or above

SDLT is calculated as a percentage of the final purchase price according to the following brackets

  • £0 - £125,000 - 0%
  • £125,001 - £250,000 - 1%
  • £250,001 - £500,000 - 3%
  • £500,001 - £1 million - 4%
  • > £1m - £2m - 5%
  • > £2 m - 7%

Your conveyancing solicitor will submit the SDLT Return to HMRC on your behalf upon completion of your home purchase.

 

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