Updated: October 12, 2018

Birkenhead conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Birkenhead

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to conveyancing solicitors in Birkenhead for handling the legal work for your move.

Are Birkenhead conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Birkenhead carry out the legal work on a cost per hour basis. Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee basis, with no hidden costs. Your quote will set out what you will pay when your sale or purchase goes through.

Are there any other costs?

You must cover the cost of any 'disbursements', in addition to the legal fees.

Disbursements are fees, costs or taxes the conveyancing solicitor will have to pay to other organisations as part of the house-buying and selling process, such as identity verification checks or property searches.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will conveyancing in Birkenhead cost in total?

Though conveyancing fees in Birkenhead will be the same as anywhere else in the UK, there can be variation in the disbursements required. For example, council search fees will vary and specific extra searches, such as a historic mining search, may be necessary.

For a standard conveyancing transaction, what we quote is the fee you pay. There are no hidden costs or nasty surprises with Quittance Conveyancing. Work out the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing calculator: Click here

Quittance's conveyancing fees were substantially lower than the average solicitors' fees, and their service was first-rate

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Birkenhead

Birkenhead lies on the Wirral, across the Mersey from Liverpool, and is connected to the latter by the Kingsway and Queensway tunnels and the famous Mersey ferry.

Shipbuilding remains an important part of the local economy, with contracts to supply parts for aircraft carriers and a royal research ship, The Sir David Attenborough, underway.

In February 2018, Wirral council confirmed a partnership with a private development company to form the new Wirral Growth Company, developing land across the borough and helping to create thousands of new jobs. As one of the project's priority areas, Birkenhead will see its market and town centre redeveloped.

Conveyancing for purchasers

There is now an obligation on a seller to disclose any property defects or disputes.

That said, it remains the responsibility of a conveyancing solicitor in Birkenhead to investigate the property, and deliver their report on title to the purchaser, offer pragmatic solutions and confirm that the legal title passes to the new owner.

The content below examines those residential property types that may be of interest to buyers who need conveyancing solicitors in Birkenhead.

Your Birkenhead conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether you are obtaining a mortgage from the Ecology Building Society, the HSBC or any other lender, before instructing a Birkenhead conveyancing solicitor it is vital that you check that they can represent your mortgage lender.

Your conveyancer may be unable to act for your mortgage lender, because some lenders only accept a selected list (their 'panel') of legal practices that have achieved certain benchmarks.

In this case, the lender will likely need a different legal firm to complete the legal work, and you will then have to cover this alternate solicitor's costs. Adding another solicitor to the process can delay the whole purchase.

Failing to confirm the lender panel membership of your property solicitor could mean serious delays.

Quittance Conveyancing are on the panel of all lenders.

Residential Property Searches (Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council)

Property searches are carried out by Birkenhead conveyancing solicitors to unearth any broader issues that might potentially impact how much your house or flat will be worth. They include:

  • Local Authority search - planning and development details from Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council records
  • Drainage & Water search - confirms who is responsible for the upkeep of the water pipes and drainage that serve the property.
  • Environmental search - environmental issues that could adversely affect the property
  • Chancel repair liability - some Birkenhead property may still owe a liability to the local parish for repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this risk.

More specific searches, such as a highways authority search or a ground stability report, may also be recommended in the standard search results.

Homebuyers should expect to wait roughly 4 weeks for searches delivered by Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council, so your conveyancer will recommend using a faster search agent.

Planning searches

The buyer's conveyancing solicitor will apply for the Title Register from the Land Registry, helping to identify potential planning issues. Examples of these include limits on the development of the property or discrepancies with the filed plan.

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council Tax

Wirral Metropolitan Borough calculate council tax on Birkenhead homes based on the number of occupants and the historic value of the property (as valued at 1 April 1991). For example, for an average Valuation Band D residential property in Birkenhead, the council tax payable would be £1,734 per year.

Birkenhead conveyancing solicitors will inform a purchaser of the property's tax band once they are made aware.

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 £1,300.

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

Band Wirral Metropolitan Borough Tax (2018)
A £1,156
B £1,348
C £1,541
D £1,734
E £2,119
F £2,504
G £2,890
H £3,467

Can I challenge my council tax band?

To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Liverpool
L20 7HS
Merseyside

A homeowner can challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 80 council tax challenges were made, and 40 saw a subsequent reduction.

Stamp Duty on Birkenhead properties

Completing the SDLT1 form yourself is confusing and not for the wary.

If you are buying a property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland then you will usually need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Quittance Conveyancing ensure that the critical SDLT1 form is completed accurately and without delay.

See table below for stamp duty examples for homes in Birkenhead:

  Average sale price (2018 to date) Stamp Duty
Average price £99,121 £0.00
Average price (detached) £161,874 £737.48
Average new build £115,248 £0.00

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Birkenhead

Relief is available on home purchases below £300,000 for first-time buyers with reduced rates up to £500,000. If you own another residence you will be subject to an SDLT surcharge of 3%. So if a second home was bought for £99,121 then the SDLT total will be £2,973.62.

Birkenhead conveyancing solicitors will confirm the correct amount is calculated.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Birkenhead

New build site

The potential risks associated with purchasing a leasehold flat in the UK are well documented. Numerous legal complications could be awaiting an uninformed buyer, including:

  • exponential ground rents
  • undisclosed major works
  • excessive freehold premiums
Bad or incomplete leasehold advice, from an inexperienced conveyancing solicitor, can have costly, long-term consequences.

A experienced conveyancing solicitor in Birkenhead will consider potential leasehold issues, for example flats with varying lease terms, annual statements of account and budgets for service charges and reviewing the lease itself.

Ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase - Call Quittance Conveyancing's leasehold conveyancing solicitor team today on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Birkenhead?

Building site

Based on Her Majesty's Land Registry information, 2 brand new properties have been bought in Birkenhead in 2018 so far. The average value of Birkenhead new build property is £115,248.

The legal work for acquiring a new build property can be more involved than any other type of conveyancing. To avoid potential problems a conveyancing solicitor in Birkenhead must be conscious of local considerations and needs to check a range of issues, like handling reservation fees and verifying rights of easements.

Our new build conveyancing team are experts in new build purchases and meeting short developer deadlines.

Conservation areas

Whether you are buying a period cottage or an Edwardian house, if the house is in a conservation area, your plans to develop the house may not be permitted by Wirral Metropolitan Borough.

Referred to as Article 4 directions, these conditions can include a wide range of constraints from restrictions on the display of advertisements, to restrictions on the addition of boundary walls.

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 Birkenhead's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Birkenhead

The legal process for a sale of a house or flat is less difficult than for a property purchase. During the sale of a house or flat, caveat-emptor' means that the onus is solely on the buyer to determine whether the title of the property they are buying is not legally defective.

In contrast, for a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Birkenhead acting for the current owner need only respond to enquiries made on behalf of the buyer.

What could put a property sale at risk?

Obstacles, like not having a building regulations completion certificate or not having permission for alterations when in a conservation area, can actually derail the conveyancing process if ignored.

You shouldn't ignore this and hope any such problems will go away - seek out professional help instead, face the issues head on, and find a solution as early as possible.

Further reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Leasehold flats

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat (houses are rarely leasehold) is quite a lot more involved in comparison with a freehold house.

Birkenhead conveyancing solicitors must usually carry out further legal work, including obtaining the latest service charge accounts, through to insurance premium details accounts.

It is highly recommended that the vendor contact a solicitor as early in the process as possible, and potentially before marketing the property, to reduce delays associated with leasehold property. Waiting for a long-overdue managing agent response is the most common reason for a leasehold sale to fall through.

What if you are acting for the other side?

A conveyancer regulated by the CLC can act for both the buyer and the seller. However, SRA rules ban a single conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale.

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

Local Birkenhead conveyancing solicitor directory

  • H J Walker Sibia, 59 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 5AT
  • Hillyer McKeown LLP, 1 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 6AU
  • RMNJ Solicitors, 63 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 5JF
  • A Halsall & Co, 17 Brandon Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 5HN
  • Brunswicks Law Limited, 24 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 6AY

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Birkenhead

By far the most common reason people remortgage is to get a lower interest rate. Other reasons to switch lenders or mortgage deals include releasing funds to help pay for home improvements, or switching from interest-only to repayment.

Homeowners can benefit from a lower rate faster by using a more efficient conveyancing solicitor in Birkenhead, shortening the time the conveyancing takes. With rate rises anticipated, fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in getting onto your new rate as quickly as possible.

A property lawyer will act for both you and the mortgage lender, in order to ensure that the new interest in the property is registered correctly and the lender's interests are safeguarded.

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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