Updated: October 12, 2018

Oxford conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Oxford

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to your Oxford conveyancing solicitor for the legal work associated with moving home.

How are Oxford conveyancing fees calculated?

Our solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee basis with no hidden costs, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Oxford who work on an hourly-rate basis. Your quote sets out all fees and disbursements you will need to pay when your sale or purchase completes.

What are disbursements?

You must cover the cost of any 'disbursements', in addition to the solicitor's conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are the third-party costs that your conveyancer will pass on to you at the end of the conveyancing process. These include costs like identity verification checks or Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will conveyancing in Oxford cost in total?

While conveyancing fees in Oxford will usually match prices elsewhere in the UK, the disbursements required can vary. For example, specific extra searches, such as a Coal Authority search, may be necessary and council search fees will vary.

With Quittance Conveyancing, there are no hidden fees or nasty surprises. For a standard conveyancing transaction, the fees we quote are the fees you pay. To calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance delivered an excellent service at the lowest conveyancing fees we could find

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Oxford

Although best known for its university, Oxford has a thriving local economy that includes IT, science and car manufacturing, as well as publishing and printing. Popular suburbs include Jericho, Cowley and Summertown, where property prices are buoyant since the new Oxford Parkway station became the first new rail link to London in over a hundred years.

Away from the beautiful college buildings and dreaming spires, the city has Britain's oldest botanic garden, a haven of stone-walled peace, tucked away behind the high street. Oxford's environmental and planning policy has designated an area of green belt around the city to minimise convergence with Oxfordshire's villages.

Conveyancing for buyers

Recent changes to the law mean that a seller should disclose defects or disputes to the buyer.

It is, however, still the duty of a conveyancing solicitor in Oxford to investigate the property, so that they can report back in detail to the buyer and the lender, offer practical solutions and register the title in the new owner's name.

This article considers the aspects of the legal process for conveyancing solicitors in Oxford that require specialised skills.

Your Oxford conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before you select a Oxford conveyancing solicitor, you need to check that they are on the approved panel of your lender, whether you are taking out a mortgage from Bluestone Mortgages, Lloyds Bank or any other lender.

Your conveyancer may not be able to carry out the legal work on behalf of your lender, because some mortgage lenders are only happy to work with a selected list (their 'panel') of firms.

Should this be the case, the lender will probably need an alternative law firm to carry out the legal work, and you will be expected to pay this alternative lawyer's costs. This can mean the process takes much longer.

Delays can be caused by failing to confirm your solicitor's lender panel status.

Quittance Conveyancing can act for all lenders.

Residential Property Searches (Oxford City Council)

Property searches are questions submitted to public bodies by Oxford conveyancing solicitors to identify information and potential issues affecting your planned purchase.

Mortgagees almost always need searches to be carried out. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority (LA) search - includes the LLC1 and CON29 which includes whether there is a Tree Preservation Order at the property
  • Environmental search - exposes whether the land around the property (500m radius) has been affected by subsidence, flooding or has been identified as "contaminated land"
  • Drainage & Water search - describes water mains and sewers, and confirms if these are privately maintained
  • Chancel repair liability - there is a risk that some Oxford properties owe a liability to the local parish to pay for church repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this liability.

Your lawyer will tell you if your mortgage lender needs any additional searches, such as a more detailed flood report or a Forestry Commission search.

The approximate processing time for LA searches from Oxford City Council is 4 weeks, so quicker regulated searches will be advisable.

Ensuring planning permission is in place

The buyer's conveyancing solicitor will request an 'Official Copy of the Title Register' from the Land Registry. This will help to highlight any potential issues. These issues could include discrepancies with the filed plan or rights or restrictions on how the property may be used.

Oxford City Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a variety of factors that include the size and character of the home and the value of the property as determined by the VOA in 1991. E.g. for an average Tax Band D home in Oxford, the amount of council tax due would be £1,912.

Conveyancing solicitors in Oxford will inform a buyer of the property's band once they are themselves notified.

If the property is unoccupied for 2 years or more, an additional premium of 50% may be applied to the council tax. Single person discount reduces the tax due to 75% which would equal £1,434.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example a 10% discount for second homes (although this may change as the government has second home ownership in its sights) or where an occupation is prohibited by law such as a compulsory purchase order. More recently-constructed homes are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency and allocated a banding.

Band Oxford City Council Tax (2018)
A £1,275
B £1,487
C £1,700
D £1,912
E £2,337
F £2,762
G £3,187
H £3,825

Can I dispute my band?

Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
4400 Nash Court
John Smith Drive
Oxford
OX4 2RU
Oxfordshire

From April 2016 to March 2017, 10 council tax challenges were made, of which 10 were upheld and refunds awarded.

Stamp Duty on Oxford properties

The normal process is for the conveyancing solicitor to complete the SDLT administration. Buyers can complete the SDLT1 themselves but it is not recommended due to the complexity of the form and because there may be penalties for underpayment.

If you are buying a house in England,Wales or Northern Ireland then Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable on properties over £125k. In Scotland, the threshold is £145k.

Quittance is able to administer the Stamp Duty Land Tax process faster and more efficiently than ever, using integrated online systems.

See examples for average Oxford properties:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £506,360 £15,318.00
Average price (detached) £979,768 £41,726.80
Average new build £388,812 £9,440.60

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Oxford

In November 2017, it was announced that first-time buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty on homes below £300k. Since 1st April 2016, buyers of second homes are subject to an SDLT surcharge of 3%, even if the property is not let out. Therefore, if a homeowner in Oxford bought a second home for the average price of £506,360 the SDLT would be £40,508.80.

Conveyancing solicitors in Oxford will ensure the right amount is calculated.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Oxford

New build site

The potential risks of owning a leasehold property should be of serious concern for leasehold home buyers. The many potential problems awaiting the unsuspecting buyer can include exponential ground rents and costly and undisclosed major works.

Inaccurate leasehold advice, from a lawyer who has only ever handled freehold transactions, can have serious consequences.

If you intend to buy a property with a lease, a good conveyancing solicitor in Oxford will consider potential leasehold issues, e.g. :

  • reviewing the lease itself (some leases are over 100 years old)
  • managing agent or landlord enquiries
  • any recent demands for service charges and ground rent
  • share of freehold complexity
  • residents' memoranda and articles of association

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property with our leasehold conveyancing solicitors.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Oxford?

House being built

The average sale price of Oxford new build properties is £150,000. 1 brand new homes have been bought in Oxford in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Oxford needs to be conscious of regional issues and the added complexities of new build, e.g. handling withdrawal under the Consumer Code for Housebuilders and handling reservation fees.

Our expert new build team provide an expert appraisal of the legal title of the property, and in particular concerns ranging from the home's subsequent resaleability to an assessment of other risks, such as regional infrastructure development.

Conservation areas in Oxford

If you are purchasing a house in a conservation area in Oxford, the property must not breach any conservation area building controls. Called Article 4 directions, these constraints may include:

  • Limits on roof terraces
  • Restrictions on dormer windows
  • Needing consent to alter doors and guttering

The local authority can order any non-compliant alterations to a property to be changed or removed, such as replacing uPVC windows with traditional wooden frames.

Marston, Temple Cowley and St Clement's and Iffley Road are among the conservation areas in Oxford. Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the property you are buying is located in one of Oxford's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Oxford

The legal side of a sale of a house or flat is generally simpler than for a purchase. During the sale of a house or flat, the obligation is solely on the buyer to ensure that the property they are purchasing is not legally defective.

Conversely, with a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Oxford acting for the existing owner need only answer the purchaser's enquiries.

Why do sales fall through?

Obstacles, like a boundary dispute or not having full title, can easily slow or frustrate your move.

Don't ignore the issue, hoping the issue will fix itself - get professional advice, face the issues head on, and find a solution as soon as you can.

Further reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Leasehold

The legal work for a leasehold property is significantly more involved than it is for a freehold home.

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in Oxford must carry out extra work, including obtaining an up-to-date service charge statement or a copy of the lease.

It is highly recommended that you contact a property lawyer with leasehold experience as soon as possible to reduce delays.

What if you are already acting for the other side?

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules prevent the same conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale. However, conveyancers who are regulated by the CLC, can act for both parties.

If you are buying or selling a house or flat in Oxford, and we are carrying out the legal work for the other side, you could contact a local Oxford conveyancing solicitor firm to handle your legal work.

Local Oxford conveyancing solicitor directory

  • HMG Law LLP, 126 High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4DG
  • Withy King LLP, North Bailey House, New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2EA
  • Challenor Gardiner, 29 New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2DH
  • Ferguson Bricknell, Chester House, George Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2AY
  • Reeds Solicitors Ltd, 1 Cambridge Terrace, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1RR

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Oxford

Although people consider remortgaging for a range of reasons, people will generally remortgage a home to secure a better rate of interest.

You can benefit from a lower rate sooner by using a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Oxford, working to reduce the processing time of the legal work. With the future of interest rates uncertain, fast conveyancing can be a contributing factor to getting on to the rate you want.

The property lawyer handling the remortgage should also be able to act for your chosen mortgage lender. Our conveyancers are on all major UK lenders' panels. So no matter whether you are switching to an interest-only mortgage with Barclays Bank or to a capped-rate mortgage with the Manchester Building Society, we can help.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert

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