Conveyancing in your area Q & A’s
Successful conveyancing is as much about having a rounded understanding of the practicalities involved in buying and selling a property as it is about possessing a thorough command of the legal process.
Below, we feature some common questions recently asked by home-movers.
The lack of clarity surrounding this point catches many buyers out, and can leave them paying far more in conveyancing fees than they had allowed for in their budget. Many conveyancing firms promote what they call 'the cheapest conveyancing quotes'. Unfortunately, there are often additional costs hiding in the small print of their terms and conditions.
Any costs for conveyancing need to be fair and only come into force where your lawyer has to perform these additional tasks for you, provided they could not be anticipated at the start of the process; in these instances, Homeward Legal includes all foreseeable costs in their standard conveyancing offering as part of the fixed-fee conveyancing.
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The local authority search is a set of enquiries made of the local authority's records by your conveyancing solicitor. These relate specifically to the planning and building control records, roads and highways, local development plans, and other aspects of local authority control that might impact your property in some way. It is worth noting, however, that the search only relates to the property you are thinking of buying, and will not report on any records affecting neighbouring or nearby properties.
The local authority search focuses on the subject property only; so, as an example, it would not reveal planning applications relating to other properties or land in the area around your prospective building. A separate search, known as a 'Plan’ or ‘Planning Search', would be needed to extend the search to include neighbouring properties and any adjoining land.
The local authority search is a key part of the conveyancing protocol because the information is generally highly relevant to the purchaser’s interests. Mortgage lenders will also insist on this search being carried out, unfortunately at the expense of the buyer (although Homeward Legal can act on the behalf of most lenders and advisers so that they do not pass on their legal costs to you)!
However, if you are a cash-buyer, it is up to you whether you choose to have this search carried out, and you should inform your solicitor if this is the case at the time of appointing them.
Want to see how this looks on one of our quotes? Try our online calculator, or call us now on 0800 038 6699.
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 a price that was less than or equal to £150,000. Unfortunately, the government abolished SDLT relief at the beginning of the 2013/14 tax year, and there are currently no plans to reintroduce it.
Your solicitor should also be able to advise if there are any other government schemes in place (such as ‘Help to Buy’) to assist with your purchase, and whether you are eligible to take advantage of any that are running. In particular, for first-time buyers, the stamp duty threshold has been raised to £300,000.
If you are looking for ways of cutting costs, there is no better way of doing it than choosing one of the best solicitors in the country with Homeward Legal. Give us a call on 0800 038 6699 to get your conveyancing started and your move moving.
Whether you are buying or selling, the earlier you can appoint your conveyancer, the better, because the legal work can start very early in the process. Promptly instructing a solicitor can reduce any chance of the other side pulling out, and will also mean that you are ready to push forward with an offer as soon as you find a property that you want to buy.
With Homeward Legal’s no-completion protection, you shouldn’t be worried about mounting legal costs by instructing your legal firm early. The fixed-fee terms that we offer at Homeward Legal also mean that you will only have to pay the stated amount (plus any agreed additional disbursements) if your transaction is successful.
Why not try our online calculator for your fixed-fee quote? Or, if you’re ready to get started, instruct your Homeward Legal solicitor by calling our property experts on 0800 038 6699.
It is strongly recommended that all prospective purchasers book an inspection of the property they are intending to buy. There is a wide range of defects that can affect a property, from cracked roof tiles to the suspected existence of asbestos, from unsupported chimney stacks to wet rot in the cellar. These will not be reported on by a solicitor, as it is not part of the legal remit.
In addition, a survey will identify any the structural issues so that you can budget for remedial and upkeep works if necessary. Local builders and your RCIS surveyor can provide detailed advice on what you should consider, and whether it is worth renegotiating the asking price to help pay for any major works post-purchase.
'SDLT' stands for 'Stamp Duty Land Tax', and it is a tax payable to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by a property-buyer on all properties bought for £125,000 and above. Note that if the property being purchased is a buy-to-let, or a second home, then, as of April 2016, each value band has been increased by 3%.
The current levels of SDLT have been in place since December 2014 and are calculated as a percentage of the final purchase price according to the following brackets:
- £0 - £125,000 - 0% (3% for buy-to-let, or second homes)
- £125,001 - £250,000 - 2% (5%)
- £250,001 - £925,000 - 5% (8%)
- £925,001 - £1.5 million - 10% (13%)
- £1.5 million - 12% (15%)
The tax owed is not a flat rate but is calculated as the purchase price moves up through the bands. So, for example, if you buy a house for £950,000, the first £125,000 will not incur any tax, the next £125,000 will be taxed at 2%, the next £675,000 at 5%, and the remaining £25,000 at 10%:
First £125,000 = £0
Next £125,000 = £2,500
Next £675,000 = £33,750
Final £25,000 = £2,500
Total = £38,750
Your conveyancing solicitor will submit the SDLT Return to HMRC on your behalf upon completion of your home purchase, at the same time as registering the change of ownership with the Land Registry.
Note, too, that, from 1 April 2018, the Welsh government abandoned SDLT and introduced the Land Transaction Tax (LTT), which operates on a very similar basis, although the trigger threshold is currently set at £180,000.
Editor note: Stamp duty information retrieved on 13 September 2019. SDLT is subject to annual review and potential change, typically as part of the government's annual budget.
New owners will often be frustrated with the lack of formality around what fixtures and fittings should be included in a sale, and indeed what should be included under each term. Sometimes this list isn't ‘firmed up' until the transaction nears completion, and it can also form post-offer negotiations, causing potential delays.
However, to avoid confusion, an approximate list will need to be agreed by the buyer and seller prior to offer. The seller will note these in the formal conveyancing form known as the 'FFF' (or 'Fixtures and Fittings Form'), which confirms in detail what will be sold with the property, and which formally becomes part of the contract of sale.
Your Homeward Legal solicitor will, in the first instance, talk you through the conveyancing process and what’s expected of you including the filling in of various forms. Homeward Legal is really your best option for the conveyancing, so give us a call on 0800 038 6699 to get started.
Conveyancing searches are a common bundle of queries carried out for the buyer, with respect to the specific property they are purchasing. The most common searches are Local Authority, Drainage and Water, Chancel Liability, and Environmental, although circumstances may dictate that further searches (e.g. Brine, or Coal- or Tin-Mining) may be required, particularly if you are financing the purchase with a mortgage. In these circumstances, your solicitor will advise and discuss the need to order these additional searches, as well as providing the cost of these disbursements.
Buyers should be aware that searches cover solely legal-related matters. If you want to know about the structural integrity of the property, you are strongly advised to commission a survey with an RCIS chartered surveyor.
Over recent years, a number of lenders have reduced the number of legal firms they have on their approved panel. The upshot of this is that they potentially create higher conveyancing costs for buyers as the lender’s legal costs for establishing the mortgage are passed on.
At Homeward Legal, however, we can act on behalf of most mortgage lenders, thereby ensuring you are always in control of your legal bill and will always know what you are paying. This makes us your optimal choice for conveyancing. Why not give us a ring now on 0800 038 6699 to get your solicitor assigned today?
Many contaminants can impact residential property. These need not be restricted to chemical or mineral pollutants either, since investigations into contamination also include proposed erection of mobile masts, or the proximity of electricity pylons.
Where the property has been built on former industrial or agricultural land, consideration will be given to any known pollution that exists in the topsoil or in the vicinity. All aspects of the environmental impact to the property will be considered as part of the environmental searches and reported in the conveyancer’s report on title for the property.
No. Homeward Legal's solicitors never hide any extra fees from you, because this is not a good way of working for us or for you.
You should be aware, however, that some solicitors do not give accurate quotes, only estimates, often putting standard conveyancing fees in the small print, possibly to make the headline offer seem far more attractive. The final bill you receive may then be much more than you budgeted as a result; but, with us at Homeward Legal, what you see is what you get, and you will always be in control of your legal bill, which is reinforced with our No-Completion Protection.
Want to see what we mean? Try our online calculator, or call us on 0800 038 6699.
When acting for a purchaser, a property lawyer will carry out an environmental search, which will identify if the property is on a known floodplain.
Whether the house or flat is in one of these locations or not doesn't necessarily mean that it has flooded in the past, or will be flooded in the future, because the basic environmental search only assesses the general risk. Furthermore, the information returned in the search cannot factor in the existence and effectiveness of flood defences, such as the Thames Barrier.
If a potential risk is identified and is deemed significant, your lawyer may recommend a further, more detailed search (from a specialist company such as Homecheck or Landmark), which will be charged as a third party fee. Please speak to your solicitor if you have any concerns about the flood-risk with respect to your property.
See a sample Homecheck Flood Report.
Now’s the time to get your move moving with one of the best solicitors available with Homeward Legal. Try our online calculator for your fixed-fee quote, protected by our No-Completion Protection, or, if you want to talk to one of our friendly experts, call us on 0800 038 6699.