Updated: October 12, 2018

Bedfordshire conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Bedfordshire

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay to conveyancing solicitors in Bedfordshire for the legal work involved in moving home.

Do Bedfordshire conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Bedfordshire will work on a fees per hour basis. Some conveyancers will complete the work for a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). Our conveyancing solicitors work on a No Sale, No Fee basis, with no unexpected, additional costs. Your conveyancing quote will explain exactly what you will need to pay when your sale or purchase completes.

Are there any other costs?

On top of the conveyancing fees you will also have to cover any 'disbursements'.

Disbursements are the costs and expenses a solicitor needs to pay out on behalf of a client. These include costs like managing agent fees or local authority searches.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees

How much will conveyancing in Bedfordshire cost in total?

Bedfordshire conveyancing fees should be the same as anywhere else in the UK. However, the costs of certain disbursements can vary. For example, council search fees will vary and specific extra searches, such as a mining search, may be necessary.

With Quittance, there are no hidden costs or nasty surprises. For standard conveyancing transactions, the fees we quote are the fees you pay. Calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing fees calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Bedfordshire

The county of Bedfordshire includes the three unitary authorities of Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, and Luton. The two main towns are Luton and the smaller, county town, Bedford. The countryside includes the Chiltern Hills, Marston Vale and the Downs, with attractive villages such as Woburn and Harrold being named in the Sunday Times 120 best British villages in 2013.

Numerous paths and cycleways make walking and cycling easy and this, coupled with excellent indoor and outdoor sporting facilities make Bedfordshire an ideal place to bring up a family.

Conveyancing for purchasers

The legal work for a property purchase needs the conveyancing solicitor in Bedfordshire to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such issues are defective property title and historic flooding affecting the mortgageability of the home.

The property lawyer will feed the results of their enquiries back to the purchaser, solve outstanding issues and ensure that the change of ownership is registered at the Land Registry.

This article sets out advice for people who need conveyancing solicitors in Bedfordshire for a purchase.

Your Bedfordshire conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before you choose a Bedfordshire conveyancing solicitor, you need to check that they are on the approved solicitor panel of your chosen lender, whether you are taking out a mortgage from the Co-operative Bank, Paragon or any other lender.

Your conveyancer may be unable to act for your chosen lender, because some lenders only accept a restricted group of legal firms that pass strict selection criteria.

If this is the case, the lender will require a second firm to complete the legal work, and you will then have to cover this alternative solicitor's costs. Handling paperwork and correspondence with this additional party can delay the process.

Failing to check your property lawyer's lender panel status could jeopardise the sale.

Quittance Conveyancing are on the panel of all banks and building societies.

Searches (Bedford Borough Council)

Residential property searches are questions submitted to a number of authorities by Bedfordshire conveyancing solicitors to provide information about the home you want to buy.

Mortgage lenders typically also require certain searches to be carried out. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority search - includes a list of planning decisions that could affect the property
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies the location of sewers and water mains, and will confirm whether these are maintained by the local council.
  • Environmental search - shows whether the surrounding environment is suitable for the purchaser
  • Chancel repair liability - involves the potential liability owed by the owners of certain property to pay for local parish church repairs. Insurance can be arranged to cover this risk.

Buyers will be informed if your chosen lender needs any further searches, such as a tin mining search or a disadvantaged area search.

Homebuyers should expect to wait approximately 10 weeks for searches obtained from Bedford Borough Council, so your conveyancer will instead use a quicker local search agent.

Ensuring planning permission is in place

Official Entries (or 'office copies') will also be obtained by your conveyancing solicitor. This will help to identify any potential issues. These issues could include discrepancies with the filed plan or rights or restrictions on how the property may be used.

Bedford Borough Council Council Tax

Council tax is calculated by Bedford Borough Council on property value and the number of people living in the property. The occupier of a property in Valuation Band C, for example, would owe annual council tax of £1,576.

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

If the property is unoccupied for over 24 months, the owner will pay 150% of the relevant rate. Single person discount reduces the tax due to 75%, which would equal £1,182.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, e.g. where the home is empty or unfurnished for a maximum of 60 days or if the property is a 'granny annexe'. The Valuation Office Agency calculate council tax bands for newly-constructed property, and where the owner has requested a revaluation.

Band Bedford Borough Council Tax (2018)
A £1,182
B £1,379
C £1,576
D £1,773
E £2,167
F £2,561
G £2,955
H £3,546

Could I be overpaying council tax?

To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Northgate House
59-77 Sheep St

It is possible to challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 40 council tax challenges were made, and 20 were approved and the tax was reduced.

Stamp Duty on Bedfordshire properties

SDLT is a percentage of the purchase price of a property paid by the buyer to HMRC. It is due on properties bought for over £125k. Completing the SDLT1 form yourself is difficult and not for the inexperienced.

Quittance Conveyancing's integrated conveyancing case management system are fully integrated with HMRC's online SDLT filing systems.

The following table illustrates SDLT examples for properties in Bedfordshire:

  Average sale price (2017) SDLT
Average price £301,650 £5,082.50
Average price (detached) £491,611 £14,580.55
Average new build £386,445 £9,322.25

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Bedfordshire

Since the budget announcement in 11/17, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300k with reduced rates up to £500,000. Following the autumn budget statement, second home buyers have had to pay a 3% stamp duty surcharge. So if a second home was bought for £301,650 then the SDLT total will be £24,132.00.

Conveyancing solicitors in Bedfordshire will confirm their client pays the right amount.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Bedfordshire

New build site

Purchasing a leasehold house or flat can be complex, compared to purchasing a freehold property. The many potential traps awaiting the unsuspecting purchaser can include:

  • ground rent multipliers
  • unfair clauses in the lease
  • overpriced managing agent packs
  • absent freeholders
Serious financial ramifications can result from a solicitor's erroneous leasehold advice.

If you intend to purchase a leasehold home, a good conveyancing solicitor in Bedfordshire will address aspects of leasehold, such as any recent demands for service charges and ground rent, flats in the same block with disparity between their leases and reviewing correspondence between the freeholder and leaseholder.

Make sure that you are aware of all the potential issues and costs associated with the lease with Quittance Conveyancing's leasehold conveyancing solicitors.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Bedfordshire?

New build site

Based on local data compiled by HMLR, the average value of new build property in Bedfordshire is £386,445. 805 new build houses and flats were purchased in Bedfordshire last year.

The legal side of purchasing a new build property can be more complex than any other type of conveyancing. To avoid potential problems a Bedfordshire conveyancing solicitor needs to be aware of local Bedfordshire factors and needs to consider a range of factors, e.g. investigating developer incentives and administering Help to Buy purchases.

Our team of new build conveyancers deliver a specialist assessment of the legal title of the house or apartment, and in particular factors ranging from the home's future marketability to an assessment of other risks, such as future local development.

Conservation areas in Bedfordshire

Whether you are intending to buy a period country house or a Georgian town house, if the house is in an officially designated conservation area, any planned alterations to the house may not be permitted by Bedford Borough Council.

These restrictions, referred to as Article 4 Directions, can include:

  • A prohibition on the removal of front boundary walls
  • Restrictions preventing the installation of VELUX windows
  • Restrictions on side or two-storey 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.

Your conveyancing solicitor will address whether your planned purchase is located one of Bedfordshire's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Bedfordshire

The legal process for a house sale is simpler than for a purchase. The buyer's solicitor carries out due diligence into the property. Conveyancing solicitors in Bedfordshire acting for the vendor simply gathers information relating to the property and answers the buyer's questions .

What could put the sale process at risk?

A property will frequently have any number of legal issues (for example being in an area threatened by local development) that might threaten the completion of the conveyancing process.

Don't bury your head and hope any such problems will go away. Get advice, face the issues head on, and find a solution promptly.

Useful reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Selling a leasehold property

The legal work for a leasehold property is a great deal more protracted compared to a freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Bedfordshire must usually carry out further legal work, which could include applying for service charge accounts, through to finding out if there are any payment arrears.

To help mitigate the delays involved in selling a leasehold property, it is strongly advised that the seller instruct a conveyancer as soon as an estate agent is chosen.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for the buyer and the vendor of the same home?

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict the same solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale and purchase. A CLC-regulated conveyancer, however, can act for both parties.

If you are buying or selling a Bedfordshire property, and one of our conveyancing solicitors is doing the legal work for the other side, you can contact a property solicitor firm in Bedfordshire to handle your legal work.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Bedfordshire

Saving money on a better rate of interest is usually the main reason why people change lenders. There are other reasons, for example moving from a tracker to a fixed-rate, or releasing funds to help kids get on the property ladder.

You will typically be able to benefit from a better rate earlier with a more efficient conveyancing solicitor in Bedfordshire. With the Bank of England base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in securing the rate you want.

It is vital that the property lawyer undertaking the legal work can act on behalf of your preferred bank or building society. Quittance Conveyancing are on the panel for all major UK lenders, so no matter whether you are changing to a cashback mortgage with Barclays Bank or to a joint mortgage with Birmingham Midshires, we can assist.

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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