Updated: October 12, 2018

Alton conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Alton

Conveyancing solicitor fees are paid to your Alton conveyancing solicitor for the legal work involved in moving home.

Do Alton conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Alton carry out the legal work on a fees per hour basis, whereas others work on a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). Our conveyancing solicitors work on a No Sale, No Fee basis, with no hidden fees. Your conveyancing quote explains what fees you will need to pay when your house or flat sale completes.

What are disbursements?

You will have to pay 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, such as Stamp Duty or ID checks.

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Alton cost?

Whilst conveyancing fees in Alton will usually match prices elsewhere in the UK, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. For example, additional region-specific searches, such as a flooding search, may be needed and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

For a standard home sale or purchase, the conveyancing fee we quote is the fee you pay. With Quittance Conveyancing, there are no hidden fees or surprises in the small print. To calculate your conveyancing fees, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance's conveyancing fees were considerably cheaper than the average solicitors' fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Alton

Caveat emptor, (Latin for "let the buyer beware"), was a fundamental principle of property law in England and Wales. The 2008 Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) have effectively abolished this rule, however, and it remains the responsibility of a homebuyer and their solicitor to investigate the house or flat they plan to buy.

A conveyancing solicitor in Alton will offer suggestions and advice once their enquiries are complete, find solutions to outstanding defects and other issues and register the new owner's title at the Land Registry.

This section considers the property types which may involve extra hazards for homebuyers searching for conveyancing solicitors in Alton.

Your Alton conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Property purchasers can choose from many lenders, from a less common lender like GE Money Home Lending, to a large lender such as Lloyds Bank. Before you appoint a conveyancing solicitor in Alton, whoever you choose, you must confirm that they can act in the interests of your lender.

Your conveyancer may be unable to act for your lender, because some banks and building societies will only accept a select list (referred to as a 'panel') of legal firms that meet stringent criteria.

Under these circumstances, the lender will need a second legal firm to act in their interests, and you will usually need to pay this second lawyer's costs. This can push back the completion date of the purchase.

Neglecting to check your conveyancing lawyer's lender panel status could result in significant delays.

Our conveyancing solicitors can carry out the legal work for all major and minor mortgage providers.

East Hampshire District Council searches

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') will be applied for by Alton conveyancing solicitors to identify any pertinent information that might possibly have an impact on the value of your house or flat.

Banks and building societies also expect residential property searches to be carried out. These include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchcovers the details of planning applications, decisions and the enforcement of breaches or violations.
Drainage & Water searchcovers the location of water pipes and drains, and reveals if the upkeep for these falls on the owner or local council.
Environmental searchexposes whether the land around the property (500m radius) has been affected by subsidence, flooding or has been identified as "contaminated land"
Chancel repair liabilitysome Alton property may still owe a liability to the local parish for repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this risk.

Your conveyancer will tell you if your chosen lender requires any additional searches, for example a Crossrail search or a commons registration search.

East Hampshire District Council has a usual delivery time of 8 weeks for Local Authority searches, so personal (as opposed to official) searches will be faster.

Checking planning status

Official Entries (or 'office copies') will also be ordered from the Land Registry by the conveyancing solicitor acting for the homebuyer. This will help to identify any planning issues. Examples of these include restrictions that limit alterations or discrepancies between the property boundaries and the title plan.

East Hampshire District Council Council Tax

Council tax is calculated by East Hampshire District Council on property value and the number of people living in the property. For instance a residential property in the East Hampshire District Council area in Band C would pay £1,466 per annum.

Conveyancing solicitors in Alton will inform the buyer of the property's tax band after this is confirmed by the searches.

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 (25%) would reduce the tax due to £1,100.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example a 10% discount for second homes or if the property is armed forces accommodation. The Valuation Office Agency assign council tax bandings for newly-built homes, and where the owner has requested a revaluation.

Band East Hampshire District Council Tax (2018)
A £1,100
B £1,283
C £1,466
D £1,650
E £2,016
F £2,383
G £2,749
H £3,299

Is your new home in the wrong band?

A homeowner can apply for their property to be reassessed. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
3rd Floor
Bridge House
1
Walnut Tree Close
Guildford
GU1 4AG
Surrey

Stamp Duty on Alton properties

When buying a home, Stamp Duty Land Tax will probably need to be paid if the property is valued at over £125,000.

Delays and penalties await those who mishandle the stamp duty administration process.

The vast majority of people will have their conveyancing solicitor complete the SDLT1 return on their behalf.

Our post-completion conveyancing team use case management system to ensure the SDLT1 tax return is submitted to HM Revenue & Customs as quickly as possible.

See examples for average Alton properties:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £447,469 £12,373.45
Average price (detached) £631,739 £21,586.95
Average new build £509,813 £15,490.65
Higher rates of SDLT apply to buyers of second home in the form of a 3% surcharge. Therefore, if a homeowner in Alton bought a second property for the average price of £447,469 the SDLT would be £35,797.52.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Alton

Since the budget announcement in 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300,000 with relief up to £500,000 in some areas.

Conveyancing solicitors in Alton should ensure their client pays the right amount.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Alton

New build site

It can be costly to purchase a leasehold property if you don't know what you are getting into. The many potential problems lying in wait for an uninformed buyer include:

  • increasing ground rents
  • leases with fewer than 80 years to run
  • unpaid service charges by the existing leaseholder
  • reversionary interests
Inaccurate leasehold advice, from a lawyer with little specialist experience, could lead to serious consequences.

If you intend to buy a house or flat with a lease, a good conveyancing solicitor in Alton will consider possible leasehold issues, e.g. :

  • checking the lease itself
  • service charges and whether they have been collected
  • dealing with landlords
  • unexpired lease terms
  • compliance with means of escape (where relevant)

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

Buying a 'New Build' property in Alton?

New build building site

12 newly-constructed homes have been bought in Alton in 2018 so far, according to Her Majesty's Land Registry. The average sale price of Alton new build property is £446,333.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Alton will need to be aware of local Alton factors and the specific issues associated with new build, such as confirming Section 38 agreements and handling reservation fees.

With Quittance Conveyancing, you will get an impartial assessment of the legal title of the house or flat, scrutinising contract concerns like problematic leasehold terms and possible freehold acquisition traps.

Conservation areas in Hampshire

When acting for the purchaser of a property in Alton, a conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the property is in a conservation area in Alton. If it is, the home could be affected by specific restrictions. These restrictions, referred to as Article 4 Directions, could include:

  • Limits on the use of non-traditional building materials
  • A ban on uPVC window frames
  • Restrictions on outbuildings and extensions

The new owner could be ordered to pay for necessary changes to bring a property in line with current regulations, even if the changes were made by the previous owner.

Quittance's conveyancing solicitors will address whether the home you plan to buy is located in a conservation area in Alton.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Alton

The legal work involved in a sale of a home usually requires less work than when buying. When a house or flat changes hands, the principle of 'buyer beware' means that the onus lies with the purchaser to verify that the legal title of the property is legally sound and meets their mortgage lender's criteria.

In contrast, for a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Alton acting for the person selling need only respond to any enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor.

What could go wrong?

A house or flat will often come with legal issues (such as chancel repair liability or a dispute with a neighbour) that might frustrate the conveyancing process for several weeks.

In general, you should handle such issues as soon as they come to light.

Recommended reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Leasehold conveyancing for a sale

Conveyancing for a leasehold property is significantly more technical than it is for a freehold home.

Alton conveyancing solicitors will also carry out additional work, and this could include contacting the landlord for a comprehensive pack of information, through to details of historical insurance claims.

To speed up the leasehold conveyancing process, it is recommended that the vendor contacts a conveyancer with leasehold experience as early in the process as possible, potentially before putting the property on the market,.

What if you are already acting for the other side?

CLC-regulated conveyancers can act for both sides. However, SRA rules restrict a single conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a house sale.

You could instruct a property solicitor firm in Alton to carry out your legal work, if a Quittance solicitor is acting for the other side.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Alton

People remortgage their home for all sorts of reasons, for example consolidating loan repayments, or fixing the mortgage on a new discounted rate. By far the most common reason, however, is to get a lower interest rate.

Homeowners will typically be able to benefit from a lower rate faster with a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Alton. They will work to shorten the processing time of the legal work. With the future of interest rates uncertain, fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in getting the mortgage rate you want.

So that they can make sure that the lender's investment is secured, a property lawyer will act for both you and your new bank or building society.

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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