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Conveyancing in Berkshire Q & A's

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Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 18/01/18

Transport and public service information if you’re buying or selling residential property in Berkshire -

By road: Berkshire is served by the M4, M25, M40, A4, A34, A338, A339, A404 and A417. By rail: The largest train stations in Berkshire are Ascot, Bracknell, Hungerford, Langley, Maidenhead, Newbury, Reading, Reading West, Sandhurst, Slough, Twyford, and Windsor and Eton Central. By air: Using Berkshire’s county town of Reading as the starting point, the closest airports are Blackbushe Airport (16 miles), Wycombe Air Park (19), TAG London Farnborough Airport (20), London Heathrow Airport (27), Northolt Jet Centre (33), London Oxford Airport (34), Elstree Aerodrome (46), and Southampton Airport (47 miles).

Hospitals (representative): Royal Berkshire, Craven Road, Reading, RG1 5AN West Berkshire Community, London Road, Benham Hill, Thatcham, RG18 3AS St. Mark’s, St. Mark’s Road, Maidenhead, SL6 6DU Wexham Park, Wexham Street, Wexham, Slough, SL2 4HL King Edward, St. Leonards Road, Windsor, SL4 3DP

Council: West Berkshire (www.westberks.gov.uk).

Attractions: Windsor Castle, Living Rainforest, Legoland, Forbury Gardens, Beale Park, St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Heritage Centre, Museum of Berkshire Aviation, Windsor Great Park, Cliveden, Ascot Racecourse, Frogmore House, Shaw House, Donnington Castle, Runnymede, and Ray Mill Island.

Q.

I have a quote from you for our move to Berkshire, but might we end up paying any extra fees when the transaction completes?

No. Homeward Legal will not charge any additional fees for any reason. A Homeward Legal conveyancing quote is an honest and accurate price for the legal costs for your transaction. For the best and clearest quote, why not try our quote calculator? Or, if you want to talk to someone, you could call our expert team on 0800 038 6699.

Q.

Please suggest how we can hold off paying stamp duty for the purchase of a detached house in Berkshire?

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is generally due on houses bought for over £125,000. Although the duty can be quite high and worryingly steep, we at Homeward Legal firmly advise against any form of stamp duty mitigation scheme, as such schemes are often uneconomical and unreliable. The HMRC can review any SDLT mitigation scheme up to six years after your completion, and you might be liable to pay a penalty of up to 100% of the outstanding duty in addition to that remaining duty, which could mean a bill that runs into tens of thousands of pounds.

Q.

I have to complete the conveyancing on a share of a Berkshire freehold flat inside two months, so are Homeward Legal’s solicitors fast?

Homeward Legal adopts a highly take-charge approach to carrying out legal work to suit a client’s timeframe. Homeward Legal’s panel of solicitors’ methods are different from other firms because we use the latest fast-response systems. Critically, we give you an expert solicitor incentivised to communicate through every part of the buyer and seller property chain, thus completing your transaction within our target of six weeks.

Q.

We are buying in Berkshire, but are there any conservation areas?

There are a number of conservation areas located in Berkshire. Colnbrook, St. Bernard's School, Slough, and St. Mary's Church, Slough are among them. The local authority (West Berkshire Council) will be able to offer more information about the local conservation areas, and the solicitor handling your purchase will discuss the relevant responsibilities you would be taking on by purchasing in one of them.

Q.

We are buying a new-build house on an ex-industrial site in Berkshire. Is the top-soil likely to be contaminated by waste minerals and metals like uranium?

Government legislation exists to control pollution, waste, and water and chemical contamination. There are local and national bodies, which are empowered to continuously review the situation where such contaminants are concerned. For your purchase, though, your solicitor will order environmental searches as part of the standard conveyancing bundle. The results of these searches will be detailed in the report on title.

Q.

For fast conveyancing on the purchase of a £789,000 property, how can we speed up our transaction?

For really fast conveyancing, it is essential to appoint an experienced and diligent conveyancing solicitor as early as you can in the transaction. When researching a solicitors’ firm to use, you should consider the following:

  • Which communication methods do they use? Days can be wasted waiting for letters in the post, which could be emailed or faxed
  • Do they offer a 'No Completion, No Fee' guarantee?
  • Was there a delay delivering a quote?

At Homeward Legal, because we offer a fixed-fee quote, matched with our 'No Completion, No Fee' guarantee, appointing a solicitor early in the process will not cost you any more than instructing one later. Our solicitors are chosen because of their proactive methods of working and their use of state-of-the-art conveyancing systems to allow a speedier completion of your move. Call our expert team on 0800 038 6699 to find out more.

Q.

How will the property solicitor advise us on the potential risk of a flood around Berkshire?

A key part of the legal due diligence procedure of purchasing a property involves your conveyancer conducting environmental searches that provide specific information on the subject of the historical flood-risk in Berkshire. If the level of risk is deemed significant, your solicitor may advise getting a more in-depth flood-risk search (like the one at Landmark). This is a disbursement and will be passed on to you at cost.

Q.

How long should I expect my solicitor to take to conduct the conveyancing on the top floor of an Edwardian house in Berkshire?

The conveyancing process can take anywhere between one and three months. The length of time can be hampered by a number of factors, such as the speed of the seller's conveyancing solicitor, or the turnaround of searches. Our highly-motivated and -proactive solicitors are notably results-orientated, with a view to exchanging as rapidly as possible. To discuss your needs and to obtain your free, fixed-fee, 'No Completion, No Fee'-guaranteed quote, contact our team on 0800 038 6699.

Q.

Is it recommended to get searches for chancel liability? We are purchasing in Berkshire.

A.

The judgement in a landmark case 10 years ago reaffirmed that 'lay rectors' of property must contribute towards church repairs. A number of sources are used to identify liability, including maps of Berkshire's parish boundaries.

Q.

How is Stamp Duty Land Tax determined, and how much should it be on a £923000 property?

A.

Stamp Duty will rely on the purchase price. It is £36920 on a £923000 property.

Q.

For fast conveyancing on the purchase of a £ 789,000 property, how could we speed up our transaction?

A.

As is widely reported, fast conveyancing is essential to is to use a experienced conveyancing solicitor. You should consider:

  • Which communication methods do they use? Days can be wasted waiting for letters in the post which could be emailed or faxed.
  • Which communication methods do they use? Days can be wasted waiting for letters in the post which could be emailed or faxed.
  • Was there a delay delivering a quote?

Q.

We are going to buy a unique investment flat in the middle of a Berkshire conservation area, where does one find more details in relation to the state of upkeep?

A.

Conservation areas are designated by the local authority (Reading) who are responsible for conservation area concerns from building materials used to the prohibition of poorly maintained roads. English Heritage have assembled records of the state of repair of conservation areas in Berkshire and across England.

Q.

How is Berkshire contaminated land investigated when buying a house?

A.

Residential property can be contaminated by many natural causes. Contaminants including local waste transfer sites or overhead transmission lines will be reported on in environmental search results. Hermitage Farm, Bradley Court Road, Berkshire, RG18 9XZcould be a local cause of land contamination in Berkshire.

Q.

Which local authority is responsible for Berkshire?

  • Berkshire intersects with the following local authorities: Bracknell Forest Borough Council, Easthampstead House, Town Square, Bracknell, RG12 1AQ, Call: 01344 352 000
  • Bristol City Council, The Council House, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR, Call: 0117 922 2000
  • Hart District Council, Civic Offices, Harlington Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 4AE, Call: 01252 622 122
  • London Borough of Hillingdon Council, Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1UW, Call: 01895 250111
  • Reading Borough Council, Civic Centre, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7AE, Call: 0118 937 3737
  • Slough Borough Council, Landmark Place, High Street, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 1JL, Call: 01753 475 111
  • West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury, West Berkshire, RG14 5LD, Call: 01635 42400
  • West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury, West Berkshire, RG14 5LD, Call: 01635 42401
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough Council, Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1RF, Call: 01628 683 800
  • Wokingham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1BN, Call: 0118 974 6000
  • Wycombe District Council, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP11 1BB, Call: 01494 461 000
Q.

The estate agent we are using in Berkshire has put forward a lawyer. Is it a good idea to instruct them?

A.

Your agent will often endorse one or more conveyancing firms. However, if the agent is paid a fee by the solicitor, some agents choose the conveyancer who pays out the highest referral fee, not a firm with local expertise and a solid reputation.