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Conveyancing in Chatham Q & A's

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Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 11/07/17

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

By road: Chatham is served by the M2, A2 and A229. By rail: The nearest train station is Chatham. By air: Rochester Airport is 4 miles from Chatham, while London Biggin Hill Airport is 28 miles, and London City Airport is 32 miles.

Hospital: St. Bartholomew’s, New Road, Rochester-upon-Medway, ME1 1DS. Council: Medway Council (www.medway.gov.uk).

Attractions: Chatham Historic Dockyard, Buckmore Park, Darland Banks, Fort Amherst, Kent Life, and HMS Cavalier.


What will the overall charge for the legal aspects on the sale of a £639,000 Chatham property? We are trying to find low-cost conveyancing for our limited budget.

If an offer sounds too good, it probably is if the details are not transparent and fair. Unfortunately, there are many firms suggesting that what they offer is 'the cheapest conveyancing quotes', while additional costs are often hiding in small print. These extra costs are frequently not read by harried sellers and buyers. At Homeward Legal, we are different: We never hide any costs, and our quotes present a completely clear statement of your legal fees for a standard conveyancing transaction. Try our quote calculator, or call our team of conveyancing experts on 0800 038 6699 to discuss your needs.


How can we protect ourselves from getting gazumped when trying to purchase a semi-detached house in Chatham?

Gazumping is a term used to describe when an owner accepts a low offer, then reneges on it, choosing a better offer instead from another interested buyer. There is a real risk of this occurring even months into a sale, because offers are not binding until the exchange of contracts. To reduce the likelihood of being gazumped, you might want to consider instructing your solicitor early.

Talk to our team of conveyancing experts on 0800 038 6699 to obtain a fixed-fee quote, backed with our cast-iron ‘No Sale, No Fee’ guarantee.


We want to exchange contracts on the legal process for our Chatham maisonette rapidly. Are Homeward Legal fast conveyancers?

Homeward Legal has an extremely speed-focused approach to fulfilling the necessary legal work as fast as possible, assisted by the latest applications and systems which are fully integrated with other bodies such as HMRC and The Land Registry, guaranteeing swift conclusion of those elements of your move. With Homeward Legal, our lawyers endeavour to communicate as efficiently as possible from the beginning to the end of the property chain, using effective online and telephone methods to complete on the property sale fast.


How do we calculate the stamp duty, and how much we should pay on a £989,000 semi-detached house in Chatham?

The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rate that will be due will depend on the property's value (i.e. the price it was bought for). SDLT is currently triggered once the purchase price goes over £125,000. In the cited example, the duty owed would be a charge of £42,650 on the property bought for £989,950 (information retrieved on 15 February 2017). Note that the government’s budgeting and housing policies may change the rate or the trigger value. You might wish to use a stamp duty calculator like the one at www.stampdutycalculator.org.uk.


Are pre-completion searches disbursements or fees?

For some legal firms, it may not be clear in their proffered quotes whether an itemised charge is a fee or a disbursement. The costs for searches are disbursements and not fees, and this expense is passed on to the buyer at cost. At Homeward Legal, our straightforward approach to detailing the conveyancing quote makes the distinction completely clear. Call our skilled conveyancing team on 0800 038 6699 to arrange a fixed-fee quote, backed up by our ‘No Move, No Fee’ guarantee.


Apparently, lithium soil contamination may be an issue in Chatham. Please can you advise?

Chatham industrial or agricultural activity can likely cause soil contamination, in addition to any historical impact in the area. Metal contamination of soil in Chatham, such as you suggest, is more

likely to occur near waste-treatment sites. All issues of this nature will be highlighted in the report of title following the standard environmental searches in connection with the purchase of your Chatham house. Data on other contaminants, like groundwater contamination and disinfection by-products, will also be included in the search.


Which of the Chatham mortgage lender panels are you on?

Homeward Legal works alongside most of the lenders and mortgage brokers in the Chatham area. Lenders and mortgage specialists in Chatham include:

• Yorkshire Building Society, Pentagon Shopping Centre, 130-132 High Street, Chatham, ME4 4BY

• Kent Reliance Banking Services, 250 High Street, Chatham, ME4 4ET


Conveyancing searches are fine as far as they go, but when one considers climate change (e.g. the fact that last year was the second wettest year since records began), are they thorough enough to establish the evolving risk of flooding in Chatham?

When you instruct your conveyancing solicitor, they will initiate a set of standard searches. The environmental search includes the assessment of the risk of flooding in the location of your Chatham house. If the flood risk is deemed significant enough, a more in-depth search will be requested for an inexpensive cost (around £20). Property purchasers sometimes speak to a future neighbour for added assurance if they are still concerned about the level of risk.


What makes sale conveyancing work appear to be so drawn out?


Conveyancing will occasionally take more time than budgeted. We appreciate how disruptive they may be and aim to lessen the cost of these delays if it can be achieved. There are numerous reasons for delay, such as the time taken to return management information.


What is the council tax on a residential converted house in Chatham?


Usually a conveyancing report on title should provide the relevant Medway council tax band. Council tax rates for residents of Chatham are published on the Medway local authority site. On 24/02/2013 rates are:

  • Band A - £887.00
  • Band B - £1,034.00
  • Band C - £1,182.00
  • Band D - £1,330.00
  • Band E - £1,625.00
  • Band F - £1,921.00
  • Band G - £2,216.00
  • Band H - £2,660.00


What do we do to calculate stamp duty, how much should we pay on a £989000 home?


Stamp Duty depends on the purchase price of the house or flat. On a £989000 home, stamp duty will be £39560 (source: www.hmrc.gov.uk, 01/01/2013).


What can a Chatham property lawyer do if the building I hope to invest in is inside the boundary of a registered conservation area and has unapproved roof antenna added?


Your conveyancing solicitor should see whether the property is within a conservation area and whether any alterations have appropriate permissions from the local council.Should no authority consents be available your solicitor will inform you of all options e.g. getting an indemnity policy or getting retrospective approval from Medway local authority.


Could our conveyancing incorporate any hidden fees?


No. Our solicitors will never charge any additional costs for any reason. You should be aware that some conveyancers give 'quotes' which are in fact estimates, which they will not be required to adhere to.


Apparently, lithium (Li) soil contamination may be an issue in Chatham. Can you advise?


Chatham industrial or agricultural can cause soil contamination. Metal contamination of soil in Chatham is more likely to occur near waste treatment sites. Data on other contaminants, like groundwater contamination and disinfection by-products, will also be included in an environmental search.


The internet has abundant books giving details on doing the legal work yourself for example Which? Guide to Doing Your Own Conveyancing. Do we necessarily have to use conveyancing solicitor in Chatham ?


Should you want to attempt to do this you can conceivably take care of the legal and technical work without engaging a specialist conveyancer in Chatham. Fundamentally amateur lawyers are taking risks without appropriate cover that all solicitors firms must possess.