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Conveyancing in London Q & A's

Profile photo of Lorraine Imhoff

By

Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 24/07/17

Conveyancing and the London Property Market

At the time of writing (29/05/13), the London property market is continuing to buck the national trend with continued growth in asking prices.

The average price of a house in the capital is reckoned to be over £500,000. Camden, Westminster and Kensington, three of London’s largest Burroughs, have seen increases to the point where an average house will cost in excess of £1m.

As a result, property journalists continue to speculate bout a bubble set to burst, this being a standard headline month in month out for about 10 years. It may well be that a degree of artificiality underpins the market (as a whole) with the government backing lending to the tune of £130bn and along with other schemes such as ‘Help to Buy’.

However, being based in London and having years of intimate knowledge of the market, Homeward Legal’s ears are very close to the ground.

What is clear is that demand massively outstrips supply and current economic turmoil seems to be exacerbating this disparity.

The situation might change rapidly of course, but with over 500 London clients buying a month through Homeward Legal, we can (anecdotally) report continued home buyer bullishness.

Homeward Legal has a national focus with offices throughout the UK. Despite this we frequently advise clients that it is not necessary to visit your solicitor’s offices as the conveyancing process can usually be completed by phone post and email.

The one exception to that is London as the pace of the market and the peculiarities with dealing with local authorities, managing agents and high concentration of leasehold should necessitate choosing a lawyer with local knowledge.  Solicitors based outside London tend not to have enough exposure to the London Market to offer the best and most pragmatic advice.

With our headquarters based in London, Homeward Legal attracts a disproportionate number of London based clients. As a result we have an excellent working knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of buying and selling in London such as leasehold and short leases.

Q.

How do we find the cheapest London conveyancing quote?

A.

Both high-street and online solicitors offer theoretically 'the cheapest conveyancing quotes'. However extra fees will be included in the small print. Third party costs, termed disbursements, to be paid ought to be defined on the quote Any costs listed in terms and conditions should be fair and reasonable. Homeward Legal quotes offer a clear statement of your legal fees for a standard conveyancing transaction.

Q.

I need to exchange contracts on the conveyancing process on a leasehold flat within 6 weeks - are you fast solicitors in London ?

A.

We believe that our proactive CQS solicitors always take a highly active method to fulfilling the conveyancing work for clients We only allocate you to firm who attempt to communicate through the whole of the buyer and seller property chain . In addition Homeward Legals property lawyers are chosen because they implement speed focused land registry integrated and technology systems to complete on the property sale fast.

Q.

When is it appropriate to instruct a conveyancing solicitor?

A.

In the majority of situations, instructing as soon as possible is wise. Instructing a solicitor early for a sale can mean that documents can be prepared earlier, considerably accelerating the whole process, whereas if you are buying you can shave days off the process by having the details of your instructed solicitor ready when you make an offer.

Q.

Is homewardlegal.co.uk experienced enough to move fast on residential property auction conveyancing in London?

A.

The legal team are familiar with local and national auctions and regularly do the legal work for sellers at auction. Our specialist solicitors and conveyancers have in the past acted for countless bidders at national and local auctions that, amongst others, include Acuitus, Allsop (Commercial), Allsop (Residential), Auction House London, Award Property, Barnett Ross, Baxtons, Brendons Auctioneers, Countrywide Property Auctions and Drivers Norris.

Prudent buyers at auction always choose their chosen lawyer as ahead of time as possible for a thorough review of the auction legal pack well in advance of the day of the auction.

Immediately following the auction day itself your now prepared lawyer is thoroughly able to concentrate on briskly concluding the transaction in the limited time as usually required .

Q.

How can we calculate how much stamp duty we will have to pay on a flat we are buying for £?

A.

The Stamp Duty Land Tax which will be owed is calculated based on the valuation. It is £10,380 on a £346,000 house or flat.*

*This information correct as of January 2013

Q.

Will my new home be affected by the proposed HS2 route?

A.

It is fair to say that the final HS2 route across London is far from confirmed. Initial plans to knock down nearly 20 bridges have been abandoned in favour of an 8-10 mile tunnel.

If you are planning on buying in West London this should come as a welcome relief as this area was to be a particularly disrupted with an estimated 5 years of work, bringing potential misery to local inhabitants. Traffic in the area could have been particularly disrupted, with Hangar Lane being subject to a complete reconfiguration.

Controversy around the HS2 project continues, with some speculating it may never actually commence.

Either way, your solicitor will carry out searches that will reveal any potential impact that the route might have on your new home purchase.

Q.

Is there a risk that residential property built on a London ex-industrial site might be built on contaminated soil?

A.

Extensive measures are taken by local councils in and around London to identify and resolve soil contamination. Environmental search results will give details on known contaminants, including metals and others such as groundwater contaminants like hydrocarbons.

Q.

Please advise how to bypass paying stamp duty to HM Revenue?

A.

Stamp duty avoidance should be treated with extreme caution. These schemes are often uneconomical and , if the scheme fails, you may be charged a penalty of up to 100% of the stamp duty amount owed. There have been a range of legal initiatives, such as disadvantaged area relief. A conveyancing solicitor should confirm whether you are eligible.

 
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