Residential Conveyancing Price and Service Information

OUR PEOPLE WHO REGULARLY CARRY OUT RESIDENTIAL CONVEYANCING WORK FOR INDIVIDUALS

Angela Shepherd is our residential conveyancing specialist, but Stephen Thorn and Samantha McAfee also undertake such work on a regular basis. They are all very experienced solicitors in this area of work; you can find further details of their training and experience in the “About Us” section of this website.

As part of our Law Society “Conveyancing Quality Scheme” accreditation we ask our residential conveyancing clients for their feedback. Recent replies have included the following comments:-

“Very comprehensive and professional service – will recommend highly in future. Thanks for everything!”

“Extremely satisfied. You could not have done more.”

“Excellent and courteous service.”

SALES AND PURCHASES

OUR CHARGES

Before you instruct us you will be given a “quote” for our bare profit costs figure before VAT, which will generally be in accordance with the following two tables.  For higher value properties we will work out a bespoke quote based on the charging rate of the solicitor doing the work (currently £240 per hour for Stephen and Samantha and £230 per hour for Angela) and the individual circumstances of the matter.

Sales


Property Price Band            
£

Freehold
£

Leasehold
£

Shared Ownership
£

0 - £100,000

550

650

750

100,001 – 200,000

600

700

800

200,001 – 250,000

650

750

850

250,001 – 300,000

700

800

900

300,001 – 400,000

750

850

950

400,001 – 500,000

850

950

1,050

500,001 – 750,000

950

1,050

1,150

750,001 – 1,000,000

1,050

1,150

1,250

Purchases

Please note that if you are buying with the help of a Right to Buy ISA, an additional £50 (plus VAT) per person will be added to cover the additional work required.


Property Price Band            
£

Freehold
£

Leasehold
£

Shared Ownership
£

0 - £100,000

650

750

850

100,001 – 200,000

700

800

900

200,001 – 250,000

750

850

950

250,001 – 300,000

800

900

1,000

300,001 – 400,000

850

950

1,050

400,001 – 500,000

950

1,050

1,150

500,001 – 750,000

1,050

1,150

1,250

750,001 – 1,000,000

1,150

1,250

1,350

This is the bare charge for our work to which VAT will be added (currently at 20%). It is intended to cover all the likely work that might normally be expected to arise including if there is a mortgage lender involved or a simple title indemnity policy required, and also basic advice regarding joint ownership; it would also make no difference whether or not the property is already registered at HM Land Registry. It is only in very exceptional circumstances that we might seek to increase the charge - you would be consulted in advance should this occur.

There are two further elements for which we may need to make a separate charge. First, if we have not acted for you previously and already undertaken this check then we will carry out an electronic identity verification check for which we make an additional charge of £12 including VAT per name checked. Secondly, if in the course of the matter we make a bank to bank transfer (for example to send money to the seller’s solicitors) we will make an additional charge for this of £30 including VAT per transfer.

We would need to add various expenses related to your matter which are payable to third parties – these are often known as “disbursements”. We handle the payment of these on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Due to a recent taxation case we are now having to add VAT to any such expenses where it has not already been charged if they are not pure expenses (such as HM Land Registry registration fees) but we are using the results of them in advising you.

With a sale the disbursements are generally minimal. If the property is registered at HM Land Registry then we would need to pay HM Land Registry fees of £3 each (to which we must add VAT) for copies of the Register Entries, Title Plan and any additional documents; typically this will come to £10.80 including the VAT.  A possible additional expense might be the premium on a title indemnity policy should a title defect be discovered; an example might be £50 to cover possible enforcement action as a result of a lack of Building Regulations Consent - which can include not having a FENSA certificate for recently installed windows. It is also customary for the solicitor to pay the bill of any estate agents acting for you out of the sale proceeds received at completion, and we must also deal with redeeming any mortgage - which will involve a bank transfer and therefore an additional charge of £30 including VAT as explained above.

With a purchase the disbursements will be greater as they will include search fees and HM Land Registry registration fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax (or Land Tax if the property is situated in Wales).

The standard searches we would advise in every case – and which any mortgage lender would require – are as follows:-

  • Local Authority Search: the costs vary from Authority to Authority depending on where the property is situated, but by way of example the total cost for one by City of York Council (including the VAT we have to add to the Local Land Charges element) is £132.00, whereas the cost of a similar search from Ryedale District Council (including all VAT) is £96.40. In certain unusual cases it may be necessary to ask additional questions for which there would be an additional charge.
  • Water and Drainage search – SafeMove provide this at £50.16 including VAT but other providers are available.
  • Environmental Search – SafeMove will also provide this at £58.80 including VAT but other providers are available.

There are other searches which may be needed depending on where the property is situated, such as a Coal or Brine search to check for mining subsidence in certain areas. You may also wish to have an additional detailed Flood Search (although the Environmental Search will provide basic information about flood risk) or a Planning Search to check for development in the area surrounding the property. We would seek to explore these questions with you and give you the costs for any such searches before you instruct us.

It might be that the seller refuses to pay for a title indemnity policy; if this is required by your mortgage lender then it would still have to be obtained at your expense.

There will also be certain pre-completion searches applicable to purchases:-

  • With registered properties there will be an HM Land Registry pre-completion search for £3.60 (including the VAT which we have to add to it)
  • With unregistered properties there will be a Land Registry Index Map search for £4.80 and Land Charges searches of £2.40 per name (both figures including the VAT which we have to add to them)
  • Where clients are buying with a mortgage there will be Bankruptcy-Only searches of £2.40 per name (including the VAT which we have to add to it). These search may also need to be done against the names of any people who are giving you money to use towards your purchase – “donors of gifted deposits”. 

The HM Land Registry registration fee payable will depend on the price of the property and also whether or not it is already registered; the Land Registry fees calculator at   http://landregistry.data.gov.uk/fees-calculator.html gives further details. No VAT needs to be added by us to these fees as they are pure disbursements.

You can calculate the Stamp Duty Land Tax by using HMRC's website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority's website here.. If you are a first time buyer you may be entitled to Stamp Duty Land Tax relief, but if you already own or have an interest in another property then there may be a surcharge.

If the property is leasehold or shared ownership then there will be additional disbursements. Typically when selling such a property a “Seller’s Leasehold Information Pack” will have to be obtained from the landlord/management company who can charge fees running into hundreds of pounds for this. Also bear in mind that any ground rent and service charge will continue to be payable by you up until completion and will be apportioned between you and your buyer accordingly. We will be able to confirm the apportioned figures once the completion date has been agreed.

When buying such a property there are likely to be a series of fees payable to the landlord/management company, typically as follows:-

  • Notice of change of ownership fee.
  • Notice of mortgage fee (if the property is being bought by you with a mortgage).
  • Deed of covenant fees.
  • Fee for Certificate of Compliance with HM Land Registry restriction.

Similar fees can apply with a property which is itself freehold but is on an estate with common areas managed by a management company.

All these charges depend on the terms of the individual lease and other title paperwork, and details of them may not be immediately available at the outset of the matter, but if instructed we would do our best to find out what they are at an early stage so that you are aware of them and can budget for them. However you should allow for the total of such fees possibly running into some hundreds of pounds.

You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge will apply throughout your ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as this we receive this information. The seller will remain liable for this up until completion; once the date of completion is known the charges will be apportioned accordingly – so if the seller has already paid some of this in advance they may be due a reimbursement by you at completion for the part that comes within your time of ownership.

A worked example of total costs for a typical purchase of freehold with a mortgage

To give you an idea of how all this works out, the total bill for a couple who are new clients to the firm of a registered freehold house in York for £250,000 with a mortgage and paying Stamp Duty Land Tax without any relief or surcharge would be as follows:-

  • Drivers costs for our services £750 plus VAT £150
  • Additional charge for electronic identity verification (incl. VAT) £24
  • Additional charge for the bank transfer of the purchase money to the sellers’ solicitors (incl. VAT) £30
  • Local Authority Search fee (incl. VAT) £132
  • Water and drainage search (incl. VAT) £50.16
  • Environmental Search (incl. VAT) £58.80
  • Land Registry pre-completion search (incl. VAT) £3.60
  • Bankruptcy-Only searches (incl. VAT) of £4.80
  • Land Registry registration fee £135
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax £2,500

Grand total £3,838.36

Before you confirm your instructions to us you will be given in writing a full itemisation of the likely costs and expenses tailored to the individual circumstances of your purchase and/or sale which will be definitive rather than the general guidance we are giving here.

HOW LONG WILL MY SALE/PURCHASE TAKE?

PURCHASES

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 8 to 10 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a first time buyer purchasing a new build property with a mortgage agreed with the lender in principle, it could take 4 to 6 weeks to exchange of contracts – although you may have to wait for the property to be physically finished before you can complete your purchase. If you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer and generally months rather than weeks. In such a situation additional charges would apply.

In part this also depends on how many people are in the chain; if your seller has no related purchase of a home they wish to move into, and you have no related sale that needs to be co-ordinated with your purchase, then things can move very much more quickly than if more people are involved. However problems with a property can come to light and take time to resolve, and events such as illness or job loss can suddenly have an impact and people’s planned holidays may also need to be taken into account.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below are the typical key stages:-

  • Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice.
  • Checking finances are in place to fund your purchase.
  • If you have a mortgage lender with separate solicitors, making contact with them.
  • Receiving and assessing the draft contract and other documents supplied by the seller’s solicitor.
  • Carrying out searches.
  • Making any necessary enquiries of the seller's solicitor.
  • Giving you advice on all documents and information received.
  • Going through the conditions of your mortgage offer with you.
  • Obtaining your signature to the contract, transfer, Stamp Duty Land Tax “Land Transaction Return”, any mortgage and any other documentation.
  • Agreeing the completion date. (This is the date on which your purchase takes place and you receive the keys.)
  • Receiving deposit money from you and ensuring buildings insurance is in place.
  • Exchanging contracts and notifying you that this has happened.
  • Arranging for all monies needed to be received from the lender and from you.
  • Carrying out the pre-completion searches.
  • Completing the purchase.
  • Dealing with the submission of the Land Transaction Return and paying any Stamp Duty Land Tax.
  • Dealing with the application for registration of your ownership of the property at HM Land Registry.
  • With leasehold/shared ownership properties, dealing with various matters required by the Landlord/Management Company.

SALES

How long it will take from your accepting the buyer’s offer until the sale is “completed” (the day by which you must vacate the property) will depend on a number of factors. The average process (assuming no untoward problems) takes between 8 to 10 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower. In part this depends on how many people are in the chain; if your buyer has no related sale of a home they currently own and has finance in place and you have no related purchase then things can move very much more quickly than if more people are involved. However problems with a property can come to light and take time to resolve, and events such as illness or job loss can suddenly have an impact and people’s planned holidays may also need to be taken into account.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the sale of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below are the typical key stages:-

  • Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice.
  • Obtaining and considering documentation relating to the title of the property and in respect of work undertaken at the property.
  • Preparing the contract and preparing/obtaining the other documentation to submit to your buyer’s solicitor.
  • Contacting any landlord or mortgage lender involved regarding their requirements.
  • Responding to enquiries made by your buyer’s solicitor.
  • Obtaining your signature to the contract, transfer, and any other documentation.
  • Agreeing the completion date. (This is the date on which your sale takes place and by which you must move out.)
  • Exchanging contracts and notifying you that this has happened.
  • Completing the sale.
  • Dealing with the redemption of any mortgage you have on the property.
  • Paying any estate agents who have acted for you in the sale of the property.
  • Accounting to you for any net sale proceeds.

REMORTGAGES OR STAND-ALONE MORTGAGES WITHOUT AN ASSOCIATED PURCHASE OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES FOR INDIVIDUALS (BUT NOT HOME EQUITY RELEASES)

OUR CHARGES

It usually works out to be more cost effective to have the new lender do this work in-house, but from time to time we act for clients who are looking to mortgage a residential property that already belongs to them or to change their mortgage lender. However we do not do any Home Equity Release or “lifetime mortgage” work.

Before you instruct us you will be given a “quote” for our bare profit costs figure before VAT, which will generally be in accordance with the following table. For higher value properties we will work out a bespoke quote based on the charging rate of the solicitor doing the work (currently £240 per hour for Stephen and Samantha and £230 per hour for Angela) and the individual circumstances of the matter.


Property Value Band            
£

Freehold
£

Leasehold
£

0 - £100,000

325

425

100,001 – 200,000

350

450

200,001 – 250,000

375

475

250,001 – 300,000

400

500

300,001 – 400,000

425

525

400,001 – 500,000

475

575

500,001 – 750,000

525

625

750,001 – 1,000,000

575

675

This is the bare charge for our work to which VAT will be added (currently at 20%). It is intended to cover all the likely work that might normally be expected to arise including if there is a simple title indemnity policy required; it would also make no difference whether or not the property is already registered at HM Land Registry. It is only in very exceptional circumstances that we might seek to increase the charge - you would be consulted in advance should this occur.

There are two further elements for which we may need to make a separate charge. First, if we have not acted for you previously and already undertaken this check then we will carry out an electronic identity verification check for which we make an additional charge of £12 including VAT per name checked. Secondly, if in the course of the matter we make a bank to bank transfer (for example paying off the mortgage of a lender who is being replaced or sending you any balance money due to you) we will make an additional charge for this of £30 including VAT per transfer.

We would need to add various expenses related to your matter which are payable to third parties – these are often known as “disbursements”. We handle the payment of these on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Due to a recent taxation case we are now having to add VAT to any such expenses where it has not already been charged if they are not pure expenses (such as HM Land Registry registration fees) but we are using the results of them in advising you.

The sort of disbursements you could expect are as follows:-

Relating to the title:-

  • If the property is registered at HM Land Registry then we would need to pay HM Land Registry fees of £3 each (to which we must add VAT) for copies of the Register Entries, Title Plan and any additional documents; typically this will come to £10.80 including the VAT.
  • A possible additional expense might be the premium on a title indemnity policy should a title defect be discovered; an example might be £50 to cover possible enforcement action as a result of a lack of Building Regulations Consent - which can include not having a FENSA certificate for recently installed windows.

As with a purchase, certain searches may be needed, as follows:-

  • Local Authority Search: the costs vary from Authority to Authority depending on where the property is situated, but by way of example the total cost for one by City of York Council (including the VAT we have to add to the Local Land Charges element) is £132.00, whereas the cost of a similar search from Ryedale District Council (including all VAT) is £96.40. In certain unusual cases it may be necessary to ask additional questions for which there would be an additional charge.
  • Water and Drainage search – SafeMove provide this at £50.16 including VAT but other providers are available.
  • Environmental Search – SafeMove will also provide this at £58.80 including VAT but other providers are available.
  • There are other searches which may be needed depending on where the property is situated, such as a Coal or Brine search to check for mining subsidence in certain areas.
  • However some lenders are prepared to dispense with such searches if instead a policy to cover the risk of not doing them is obtained; the premiums for this can be very much cheaper.

There will also be certain pre-completion searches applicable in all cases:-

  • With registered properties there will be an HM Land Registry pre-completion search for £3.60 (including the VAT which we have to add to it)
  • With unregistered properties there will be a Land Registry Index Map search for £4.80 and Land Charges searches of £2.40 per name (both figures including the VAT which we have to add to them)
  • There will be Bankruptcy-Only searches of £2.40 per borrower name (including the VAT which we have to add to it)

The HM Land Registry registration fee payable will depend on the value of the property and also whether or not it is already registered; the Land Registry fees calculator at http://landregistry.data.gov.uk/fees-calculator.html gives further details. No VAT needs to be added by us to these fees as they are pure disbursements.

If the property is leasehold then there will be additional disbursements. All these charges depend on the terms of the individual lease and other title paperwork, and details of them may not be immediately available at the outset of the matter but if instructed we would do our best to find out what they are at an early stage so that you are aware of them and can budget for them. However you should allow for the total of such fees possibly running into some hundreds of pounds.

A worked example of total costs for a typical remortgage of a freehold house in York worth £250,000

To give you an idea of how all this works out, the total bill for a couple (who are new clients to the firm) for the remortgage (replacing a single lender with a single lender) of a registered freehold house in York valued at £250,000 where full searches are required (but no title indemnity policies) would be as follows:-

  • Drivers costs for our services £375 plus VAT £75
  • Additional charge for electronic identity verification (incl. VAT) £24
  • HM Land Registry fees for copy documents (incl. VAT) £10.80
  • Additional charge for the bank transfer of the mortgage redemption money to the former lender (incl. VAT) £30
  • Local Authority Search fee (incl. VAT) £132
  • Water and drainage search (incl. VAT) £50.16
  • Environmental Search (incl. VAT) £58.80
  • Land Registry pre-completion search (incl. VAT) £3.60
  • Bankruptcy-Only searches (incl. VAT) £4.80
  • Land Registry registration fee £40

Grand total £804.16

Before you confirm your instructions to us you will be given in writing a full itemisation of the likely costs and expenses tailored to the individual circumstances of your mortgage/remortgage which will be definitive rather than the general guidance we are giving here.

HOW LONG WILL MY MORTGAGE/REMORTGAGE TAKE?

How long it will take from the mortgage being agreed in principle to being completed will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 3 to 4 weeks depending on the time taken for your mortgage offer to be issued. If there are reasons why you wish to complete the remortgage on or after a certain date (for example to avoid an early redemption penalty on your existing mortgage or to co-ordinate mortgage payments with your pay day) then please let us know.

As there is no chain involved and no moving house, things can move a lot more quickly than with a sale or purchase. (However if you are looking to mortgage a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, and generally months rather than weeks. In such a situation additional charges would apply.) Of course if title defects are discovered which need to resolved this can slow matters down, particularly if third parties have to be involved; again additional charges may apply particularly if additional documentation needs to be drawn up. However many of such issues can be resolved relatively quickly and easily by use of  a simple title indemnity policy in which case the only additional cost to you would be the premium.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the mortgage/remortgage of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below are the typical key stages:-

  • Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice.
  • Receiving and assessing the mortgage offer.
  • Obtaining a redemption statement from any existing mortgage lender.
  • Investigating title including carrying out searches (where applicable) and other enquiries.
  • Going through the conditions of your mortgage offer with you.
  • Ensuring buildings insurance cover acceptable to the new lender will be in place.
  • Obtaining your signature to the mortgage deed and any other documentation.
  • Reporting on title to the new lender and applying for the mortgage advance.
  • Carrying out the pre-completion searches.
  • Completing the new mortgage.
  • Redeeming any previous mortgage.
  • Sending any money left over to you.
  • Dealing with the application for registration of the new mortgage at HM Land Registry – to include first registration of the property if applicable.
  • If the property is leasehold, serving notice of the mortgage on the landlord/management company/managing agents as appropriate.
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