Updated: October 12, 2018

Berkshire conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Berkshire

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

Do Berkshire conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Berkshire carry out the legal work on a price per hour basis, whereas others work on a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). We work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis, with no nasty surprises in the small print. Your conveyancing quote explains what fees you will need to pay when your sale or purchase goes through.

Are there any other costs?

In addition to the solicitor's conveyancing fees you will also have to pay for 'disbursements'.

Disbursements are the costs incurred by the solicitor on your behalf. These include costs like telegraphic transfer fees or bankruptcy checks.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees and disbursements

How much will conveyancing in Berkshire cost in total?

Although conveyancing fees in Berkshire will be the same as anywhere else in the UK, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, additional region-specific searches, such as a mining search, may be needed and council search fees will vary.

There are no hidden costs or nasty surprises with Quittance Conveyancing. 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 fees were cheaper - less than half the Estate Agent's recommended solicitor's fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Berkshire

The historic county of Berkshire includes the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham. It has no separate county council.

Lying to the west of Greater London and south of Oxfordshire, much of Berkshire is rural, with well-wooded areas around Windsor Great Park and Bracknell and the hilly area of Berkshire Downs to the west of the county. Easy access to central London by train from all towns adds to Berkshire's appeal as an attractive place to live and work.

Conveyancing for buyers

The legal work for a home purchase will require the conveyancing solicitor in Berkshire to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such issues are a defective title (e.g. missing rights) and proximity to mining works affecting the future saleability of the property.

The purchaser's solicitor will feed the results of their enquiries back to the purchaser, solve outstanding issues and ensure that the full legal ownership is transferred.

This section of the article provides useful information for buyers looking for conveyancing solicitors in Berkshire.

Your Berkshire conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before instructing a Berkshire conveyancing solicitor, it is vital that you check that they are on the approved panel of your mortgage lender, whether you are obtaining a mortgage from the Earl Shilton Building Society, Birmingham Midshires or any other lender.

Many mortgage lenders are only prepared to work with a restricted list (called a 'lender panel') of legal firms that have achieved certain benchmarks. If your solicitor can't act for your mortgage lender, the lender will need a second solicitor firm to carry out the legal work.

The buyer will usually need to pay this alternate solicitor's costs, and the conveyancing process can take much longer.

Serious delays can be caused by failing to confirm your lawyer's lender panel status.

Our solicitors can act on behalf of all lenders.

Searches (West Berkshire Council)

Searches are submitted by Berkshire conveyancing solicitors in order to identify planning, development and environmental issues that could affect how much the property you intend to buy will be worth. They include:

  • Local Authority search - exposes issues like road schemes that could affect the property
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
  • Environmental search - exposes whether the land around the property (500m radius) has been affected by subsidence, flooding or has been identified as "contaminated land"
  • 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.

You will be notified if your chosen lender needs any further searches, e.g. a highways search or a Forestry Commission search.

Homebuyers should anticipate a wait of roughly 7 weeks for searches supplied by West Berkshire Council. Your conveyancer will alternatively recommend using a faster search agent.

Planning documents

Office copies will also be obtained by your conveyancing solicitor, assisting with the identification of planning issues. These issues could include outbuildings lying outside the boundary or limits on the development of the property.

West Berkshire Council Council Tax

Council tax is calculated by West Berkshire Council on property value and the number of people living in the property. For instance the occupier of a Band C property in the West Berkshire Council area would pay annual council tax of £1,576.

A conveyancing solicitor in Berkshire will inform the buyer of the property's band as soon as they are made aware.

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. unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or where the property was left empty by a bankrupt person.

Band West Berkshire Council Tax (2018)
A £1,182
B £1,379
C £1,576
D £1,773
E £2,167
F £2,561
G £2,954
H £3,545

Are you paying more than you should?

To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Kings Wharf
20-30 Kings Rd
Reading
RG1 3ER
Berkshire

From April 2016 to March 2017, 30 council tax challenges were made. 10 resulted in a reduction.

Stamp Duty on Berkshire properties

The normal process is for the conveyancing solicitor to complete the Stamp Duty Land Tax administration. Buyers can complete the SDLT1 themselves but it is not recommended due to the complexity of the form.

The threshold for Stamp Duty Land Tax for a home is £125,000.

Quittance Conveyancing's investment in the latest state-of-the-art case management system means that HMRC filing complications and objections are a thing of the past.

The following table illustrates Stamp Duty Land Tax examples for typical properties in Berkshire:

  Average sale price (2017) SDLT
Average price £346,544 £7,327.20
Average price (detached) £564,566 £18,228.30
Average new build £364,684 £8,234.20
Following the recent budget statement, second home buyers must pay an SDLT surcharge of 3%. Following the example above, if a homeowner bought a second home in Berkshire for the average price of £346,544 the SDLT would be £27,723.52.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Berkshire

For first-time buyers, stamp duty is only payable on purchases over £300,000.

Conveyancing solicitors in Berkshire will ensure an accurate calculation is made.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Berkshire

New build site

Purchasing a leasehold home if you don't know what you are getting into is risky. The many potential traps lying in wait for the unsuspecting purchaser can include:

  • doubling ground rents
  • incomplete management company accounts
  • excessive freehold premiums
Serious financial ramifications can result from a solicitor's misguided leasehold advice.

If you are planning to purchase a property with a lease, a experienced conveyancing solicitor in Berkshire will consider potential leasehold issues, such as service charges and whether they have been collected, sinking funds and dealing with landlords.

Our leasehold conveyancing solicitors will ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Berkshire?

Building site

According to data gathered by Her Majesty's Land Registry, 167 new build homes were purchased in Berkshire last year. The average cost of Berkshire new builds is £364,684.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Berkshire must be aware of both local Berkshire issues as well as new build-specific issues, including handling equity loan schemes and confirming building regulation compliance.

Our new build conveyancing team are specialists in representing buyers to achieve the best outcome and working to developer exchange timeframes.

Conservation areas in Berkshire

Whether you are a fan of Edwardian, Victorian or Tudor-style architecture, moving into a conservation area will usually mean that the local character is unlikely to drastically change. However, conservation area conditions will affect your property.

These building controls, referred to as Article 4 Directions, can include:

  • A prohibition on the removal of chimneys
  • Restrictions on hard standings at the front of the property
  • A prohibition on side or two-storey extensions

If a property is in breach, you could be required by law (as the new owner) to pay for returning the property to a compliant state, even if the changes were made by the previous owner.

Your Quittance conveyancing solicitor will confirm if the property you are purchasing is located in a conservation area in Berkshire.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Berkshire

The legal process for a house sale is more straightforward than when buying. When a house or flat changes hands, caveat-emptor' means that the onus lies with the purchaser to determine whether the title of the property they are buying can be mortgaged and is free from legal issues.

With a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Berkshire acting for the existing owner just answer questions set by the buyer's conveyancing solicitor.

Factors that could delay or endanger the sale of your property

Obstacles, like being in an area threatened by local development, can seriously endanger your home move if they are ignored.

It is better not to hide from the issue and hope any such problems will go away. Get advice and tackle it at the earliest stage.

Further reading:

Read more conveyancing advice for sellers.

Leasehold flats

The conveyancing process for a leasehold property is significantly more complicated than it is for a freehold home.

Leasehold complexity involves additional tasks on the part of conveyancing solicitors in Berkshire, including collating an up-to-date service charge statement or any documentation relating to forfeiture proceedings.

To reduce leasehold-related delays, it is highly recommended that the seller instruct a lawyer as soon as an estate agent is chosen.

What if Quittance is already acting for the other side?

SRA regulations prevent a single conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale and purchase. However, a conveyancer who is regulated by the CLC, can act for both sides.

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

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Berkshire

Although people consider remortgaging for a range of reasons, homeowners will usually remortgage their home to get a more attractive interest rate.

An efficient conveyancing solicitor in Berkshire can reduce the remortgage processing time, meaning you move to your lower rate sooner. With the future of interest rates uncertain, fast conveyancing can be a contributing factor to securing the rate you want.

To confirm that the mortgage provider's interests are protected, the property lawyer will act for both you and the mortgage provider.

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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