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Conveyancing in Devon Q & A's

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By

Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 15/01/18

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

By road: Devon is served by the M5, A30, A38, A39, A361, A377, A386, A388, and A396. By rail: The largest train stations in Devon are Barnstaple, Cranbrook, Dartmouth, Devonport, Exeter St. Thomas, Exmouth, Honiton, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, and Torquay. By air: The most accessible airport from Devon is Exeter Airport (31 miles away from Okehampton).

Hospitals (representative): Royal Devon & Exeter, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW West Devon District, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, EX31 4JB Torbay and South Devon, Lowes Bridge, Torquay, TQ2 7AA Derriford, Derriford Road, Crownhill, Plymouth, PL6 8DH Mount Stuart, St. Vincent’s Road, Torquay, TQ1 4UP Brixham Community, Greenswood Road, Brixham, TQ5 9PT Exmouth, Claremont Grove, Exmouth, EX8 2JN Bideford Community, Abbotsham Road, Bideford, EX39 3AG Totnes Community, Coronation Road, Totnes, TQ9 5GH Tiverton and District, Kennedy Way, Tiverton, EX16 6NT Dartmouth & Kingswear Community, South Embankment, Mansion House Street, Dartmouth, TQ6 9BD Newton Abbot Community, West Golds Road, Newton Abbot, TQ12 2TS

Council: Devon County (www.devon.gov.uk).

Attractions: Buckfast Abbey, Crealy Great Adventure Parks, Exmoor, Exeter Cathedral, Dartmoor, Lundy, Plymouth Sound, Dartmoor Zoological Park, Pennywell Farm, Berry Pomeroy Castle, National Marine Aquarium, Okehampton Castle, Smeaton’s Tower, Castle Drogo, Jurassic Coast, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exmoor Zoo, Saltram House, and Northernhay Gardens.

Q.

When in the conveyancing process is it appropriate to appoint a solicitor to act for us in a house purchase in Devon?

In simple terms, the faster you instruct your solicitor, the better, because there are several tasks that can be carried out immediately. Timely appointment of a solicitor for a sale means that documents can be prepared earlier, considerably accelerating the whole process. And, if you are buying, you will have the details of your Devon solicitor ready for when you make an offer. 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.

Should I be worried about gazumping if I’m buying a property in an attractive area of Devon?

Gazumping is a term describing when, following acceptance, an offer is later rejected by the seller, in preference of a better offer from another interested party. Although being gazumped is less common in a declining market, there will always be a chance. Instructing a property solicitor early on in the process, and even before acceptance of an offer, is a key first step to reducing this risk.

Q.

Does the 'fixtures and fittings' form include things like sink-plugs and electric sockets?

As a general rule of thumb, fixtures are items affixed to the walls, ceilings or floors (for example, built-in kitchen units, light fittings, etc.), while fittings are those items which can be moved (such as carpets, rugs and curtains). Note that the ‘fixtures and fittings’ form should also cover any plants that are going to be removed from the garden. Property-buyers are frequently confused by the lack of detail regarding fixtures and fittings, what is staying and what is being removed by the sellers. Completion and agreement of a ‘fixtures and fittings’ form is unfortunately often left to the last minute, when a dispute may jeopardise the transaction.

Q.

What particular search enquiries will my property solicitor apply for when instructed on a Devon building?

Normal legal protocol will be to get the following: a Local Authority Search, a Drainage and Water Search, an Environment Search, a Tin Mining Search, and a China Clay Search. In addition, there may be specific searches (for example, Chancel Search).

Q.

How long should I expect it to take my conveyancing solicitor to conduct all of the legal work on a maisonette we are intending to purchase in Devon?

Getting contracts exchanged can take anywhere from around a month up to three months. The duration of the tasks can be affected any number of things, such as the efficiency of the sellers’ lawyer, or the turnaround of searches. At Homeward Legal, our speed-focused and proactive lawyers work hard at removing obstacles and accelerating the process without compromising on service. Give our friendly team a call on 0800 038 6699 for your fixed-fee quote, supported by our ‘No Completion, No Fee’ guarantee.

Q.

With respect to the major flooding in September 2012 of the West Country, are the conveyancing searches thorough enough?

Flood-risk searches are conducted by your solicitor for your house in Devon as part of the standard bundle of conveyancing searches. Part of the data returned from the environmental search will be the historical information regarding flooding in the area of your planned property purchase. If the risk level is deemed significant, a far more thorough flood search can be ordered. If you are still nervous, you could attempt to contact a neighbour.

Q.

Is a mining search paid to the conveyancer?

Disbursements and fees ought to be stated clearly and separately on a conveyancing quote. The mining search charge is a disbursement and not a fee, and is passed on to the buyer at cost. At Homeward Legal, our quotes are transparent and make the distinction very clear between fees and disbursements.

Q.

What factors help with guaranteeing a fast conveyancing process in our move to a Devon property?

It is well-known that finding a proactive, diligent and experienced solicitor is the key to fast conveyancing. Consider the following when researching your legal representation:

  • Are phone, fax and email their preferred methods of contact?
  • Do they offer 'instant' online quotes?
  • Do they work on a 'no sale, no fee' basis?

Homeward Legal provides this and so much more. 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.

Will your conveyancing solicitor in Devon apply for personal or official searches on my property purchase?

A.

Your lawyer will inform you as to the ideal type of search, depending on things like mortgage lender requirements. If personal searches are used the conveyancer may consider a search agent wit local experience for example Landmark Information Group Limited, 5-7 Abbey Court, Sowton Industrial Estate, Eagle Way, Exeter, Devon, EX2 7HY Tel: 0844 844 9966 Fax: 0844 844 9980

Q.

When in the conveyancing process is it appropriate to get a solicitor to act for us?

A.

In simple terms, the faster you instruct the better, as there are several tasks that can be carried out immediately. Early instruction of a solicitor for a sale can mean that documents can be prepared earlier, considerably accelerating the whole process, whereas if you are buying you will the details of your Devon solicitor ready when you make an offer.

Q.

Is a mining search paid to the conveyancer?

A.

Disbursements and fees ought to be stated on a quote. This charge is a disbursement not a fee, and is passed on to the buyer at cost.

Q.

The vendor has unfortunately fitted unbecoming window frames to the property which I think might exclude Horrabridge conservation area criteria.

A.

Your instructed property solicitor will ascertain if the property is within a conservation area and whether any alterations have the appropriate consent from the local planning authority.

Q.

Does our solicitor in Devon inform me about the amount to be paid of council tax for a Band B building prior to exchange of contracts?

A.

The conveyancer will consult with the council to ask about the currently applicable council tax rates, which will then be set out in the title report.

Correct rates for Devon are published online at the Teignbridge local authority site. As of 02 October 2012 the rates are:

  • Band A - £1,031.00
  • Band B - £1,203.00
  • Band C - £1,375.00
  • Band D - £1,547.00
  • Band E - £1,891.00
  • Band F - £2,235.00
  • Band G - £2,579.00
  • Band H - £3,094.00

Q.

How can my property solicitor in Devon advise on the risk and history of possible flooding in the Devon area on a buy to let property we are hoping to buy?

A.

The lawyer will conduct property conveyancing searches that will include Devon flood risk area data. Additionally the Devon conveyancing solicitor will sometimes recommend an inexpensive additional in-depth local Devon flood risk search.

Q.

Do we need a chancel search if we plan to buy in the parish of South Molton, near Devon?

A.

Regardless of the Devon parish you are buying in, the conveyancing lawyer could advise that a chancel search be ordered. Through some parish councils have chosen to impose chancel repairs on the current owners of affected property, it cannot be guaranteed that a parish where dues have not recently been paid will continue to be free from liability. In the event that chancel liability may apply, your solicitor might recommend insurance rather than pulling out of the purchase.