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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: 23/05/17

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.

As a result of the worrying amount of flooding in the UK in April 2012 we are concerned that conveyancing and environmental searches might not be sufficient?

A.

Conveyancing searches applied for by the UK conveyancer should also include a far more detailed search (Landmark) if required.

If you are still nervous you could contact a local resident.

Q.

How do I hold off paying SDLT?

A.

Homeward Legal do not recommend any form of stamp duty reduction scheme, as such schemes are often uneconomical and can be very unlikely to succeed. There have been a number of official schemes, such as for first-time buyers.

Q.

When should I book the removal company?

A.

Many people are tempted to leave this until the last minute for the understandable reason that they may not be absolutely sure of their completion date. They may even be 'jittery' about whether completion is going to happen at all. As some removals companies charge a non refundable deposit or cancellation fee, home movers are often tempted to leave this to the last minute.

However, movers can end up in with difficulties finding an available removals company at the last minute and may end up spending more money due to having less choice.

Best advice is to identify a company early, negotiate a best price and ensure that there is no cancellation fee or, at the very least, this fee is not applicable with reasonable cancellation notice.

Q.

Is top-soil in the UK contaminated by lead?

A.

Effort is made on a local and national level to remediate top-soil contamination. Land may also be contaminated by other sources, including groundwater contaminants like household chemicals and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs).

Q.

The owner looks to have fitted cladding on the property in the UK which might possibly infringe local conservation area criteria

A.

Your instructed conveyancing solicitor to check if the property is located within a conservation area, and if so, whether any alterations have appropriate consents from the local authority.

In the absence of any consents, your solicitor will advise you of the alternatives which include getting retrospective permission from the planning authority or indemnity insurance.

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.

Q.

Conveyancers in the UK apply for official searches if instructed by a purchase client - which particular searches?

A.

If you are obtaining a mortgage, your lender will mandate a solicitor to get obtain a Local Authority Search (possibly an official search although some accept personal searches), an environmental search:, and perhaps specific local searches, like a Coal and Brine.

Q.

We are taking out a mortgage with the Royal Bank of Scotland, what do I need to check?

A.

Recently, a number of lenders have reduced the number of firms on their approved panel, potentially creating higher conveyancing costs for buyers. We, however, can act on behalf of most mortgage lenders.

Q.

If we plan to buy in a local parish, will it be necessary to get a chancel search?

A.

Wherever you are buying in the UK, the solicitor instructed to handle the transaction might recommend that a chancel search be ordered. In some areas of the UK, chancel repair may be apportioned on new owners of a property where Parochial Church Councils have not imposed the same liability on the last owners. It is not safe to rely on the historical behaviour of the parish council alone as a guide.

Q.

What length of time may should I allow for the legal work when selling a residential property in England?

A.

For most residential property, the number of weeks required to sell or purchase a residence can vary. This is according to a number of issues affecting the property which may include cases where a property has a mortgage. Our conveyancers ensure your sale, purchase or remortgage receives communicative and proactive service, resulting in the fastest possible outcome.

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.

 

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