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Conveyancing in Surrey Q & A's

Profile photo of Lorraine Imhoff

By

Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 19/10/17

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

By road: Surrey is served by the M3, M23, M25, A3, A23, A24, A25, A31, A217, A232, A240 and A286. By rail: Representative train stations in Surrey are Cobham and Stoke d’Abernon, Dorking, East Grinstead, Epsom, Farnham, Guildford, Reigate, Staines, Sutton and Woking. By air: Using Guildford as a representative Surrey town, there are nine accessible airports from Surrey with approximate distances in miles: TAG London Farnborough Airport (15), London Heathrow Airport (22), London Heliport (28), London Gatwick Airport (34), Northolt Jet Centre (35), Brighton Airport (37), London Biggin Hill Airport (39), and Elstree Aerodrome and Wycombe Air Park (both 41 miles).

Hospitals (selection): Royal Surrey County, Egerton Road, Guildford, GU2 7XX Woking Community, Heathside, Woking, GU22 7HS Farnham, Hale Road, Farnham, GU9 9QL Dorking Community, Horsham Road, Dorking, RH4 2AA St. Helier, Wrythe Lane, Sutton, Carshalton, SM5 1AA Queen Victoria, Holtye Road, East Grinstead, RH19 3DZ Epsom, Dorking Road, Epsom, KT18 7EG East Surrey, Canada Avenue, Redhill, RH1 5RH Ashford, London Road, Stanwell, Ashford, TW15 3AA Conham Day Surgery, 168 Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1HT

Council: Surrey County Council (www.surreycc.gov.uk).

Attractions: RHS Garden Wisley, Virginia Water Lake, Runnymede, Devil’s Punch Bowl, Hatchlands Park, Brooklands Museum, British Wildlife Centre, Thorpe Park, Oakhurst Cottage, Winkworth Arboretum, and Guildford Cathedral and Castle.

Q.

When in the moving process is it appropriate to appoint a conveyancing solicitor for house-purchase in Surrey?

In the vast majority of cases, the sooner you appoint a solicitor the better. Prompt instruction of a conveyancing firm to act for you on your Surrey transaction can reduce any chance of your sale or purchase aborting. Try Homeward Legal’s quote calculator, or call our team of experts on 0800 038 6699 to obtain your fixed-fee quote matched with our ‘No Move, No Fee’ guarantee.

Q.

As our move to Surrey is an expensive business, we need to cut costs where possible. We’ve heard about schemes to avoid paying stamp duty, but how do we go about taking advantage of them?

Stamp duty avoidance schemes are very risky and uneconomic. Homeward Legal therefore strongly advises that you don’t get involved with any of them. If the scheme fails, you could be liable for a financial penalty of up to 100% of the stamp duty, plus the amount of the outstanding duty, which could run into thousands of pounds. The government occasionally runs legitimate schemes to assist home-buyers (such as relief for first-time purchasers). Your solicitor will be able to tell you if any such schemes are in operation, and, if so, whether you are eligible.

Q.

We are intending to move from our semi-detached home near Surrey to a bigger house in Oxfordshire. When is the best time to appoint a home-removal company?

It is very tempting to appoint all the firms and people involved in your move early on in the process. While appointing a solicitor early is key to a smooth and swift transaction, the opposite is largely true with removals firms. Because your move date is not fixed until the exchange of contracts, to pencil in a date for removals prior to that is risky, since they may charge you a rearrangement fee.

Q.

How much do conveyancing searches cost in Surrey?

The cost of conveyancing searches varies significantly. For example, they might be subject to the types of searches your lender requires, if you are obtaining a mortgage to assist with your purchase. Searches are disbursements and, as such, will be charged at cost.

Q.

How long should we plan for conveyancing to take in buying an apartment in Surrey?

The length of time needed to transfer a home is not wholly predictable. The duration is based on a number of factors, such as whether the property being bought or sold is leasehold, as well as any reluctance along the chain to respond to questions quickly. Our solicitors at Homeward Legal work hard to ensure every client receives a fast and efficient service. Give our experts a call on 0800 038 6699 to find out more and to receive your fixed-fee conveyancing quote.

Q.

Given that the Met Office regularly warns of worsening weather and more intense rainfall around the country, are the searches thorough enough to report sufficient detail about the flood risk in the Surrey area?

Environmental searches handled by a solicitor in Surrey should also include a more specialist flood search, if the initial findings highlight a significant flood-risk. If you are still apprehensive, you could try calling on a future neighbour to understand the history of any flooding in the area.

Q.

Is a retention fee a disbursement or a fee?

Comparing conveyancing quotes is often challenging, given the various definitions different firms use to describe the same thing. This cost is a fee and not a disbursement. As such, it should be included in a conveyancing quote and not be charged as an extra cost. Homeward Legal’s quotes make the distinction clear between fees and disbursements (charges by third parties passed on to you at cost), so you know what you are paying. Call our team on 0800 038 6699 for a fixed-fee quote, where you’ll be able to see the fees and disbursements laid out.

Q.

Should I get a building survey for our property purchase in Surrey?

At Homeward Legal, we suggest that Surrey buyers book a home-surveyor. There can be a range of defects that can negatively affect a building, which will not be addressed during a property valuation, such as failed double-glazing or cracked roof tiles.

Q.

Is a retention fee a disbursement or a fee?

A.

Comparing conveyancing quotes is often challenging, given the various definitions different firms use to describe the same thing. This cost is a fee not a disbursement. It should be included in a conveyancing quote.

Q.

Can you confirm how to hold off paying for SDLT?

A.

Stamp duty must be paid on purchases sold for more than 125,000 pounds. Homeward Legal do not advise property buyers get involved with any form of stamp duty mitigation. Such schemes are highly expensive and can be very unlikely to succeed.

Q.

What conservation areas are there in Surrey?

A.

Buyers in Surrey should be aware of numerous local conservation areas. Brooklands, Ewell Village and Epsom Town Centre are among the conservation areas in Surrey. Living in a conservation area can mean preservation of an area's historic charm, but the restrictions can result in the buyer inheriting liability of unauthorised changes. A lawyer will discuss the relevant responsibilities you would be taking on by purchasing in a conservation area.

Q.

Lawyers in Surrey apply for a variety of property conveyancing searches when they are instructed to act for a purchase client - what actual searches?

A.

When you are getting a mortgage the mortgage lender expects a solicitor to get at least the following Local Authority Search, Drainage Search and Environment Search and, depending on certain criteria, less common searches such as Bankruptcy Search (K16).

Q.

Halifax Loans is going to be our mortgage lender, what will I need to know?

A.

When arranging a mortgage to purchase a property, the lender will require legal work to be carried out. Some lenders have opted to reduce the size of their 'solicitor panel'. For property purchasers, this can result in significantly increased conveyancing costs. Homeward Legal are able to act for the majority of CML-approved lenders, keeping buyers' legal costs to a minimum.

Q.

We need to complete this freehold residence purchase as soon as possible, how do we organise fast legal work in Surrey?

A.

Contacting a proactive and experienced conveyancing solicitor is the key to a fast transaction. Furthermore, there are numerous things you as the buyer can also do, including, organising your finances, including arranging a mortgage, promptly answering your conveyancing solicitor's questions (by email if possible) and calling or emailing your conveyancing solicitor, and chase them if you suspect any delays.

Q.

In what ways does the Surrey property solicitor investigate the risk and history of flooding in the Surrey region for a Regency building we intend to purchase?

A.

A lawyer applies for official property environmental searches that will include Surrey historical flood risk information.