Updated: October 12, 2018

Cambridge conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Cambridge

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to conveyancing solicitors in Cambridge for the legal work associated with moving home.

Do Cambridge conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Cambridge carry out the legal work on a cost per hour basis, while other property lawyers will work for a fixed fee (known as 'No Move, No Fee'). Our solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee basis, with no hidden fees. Your conveyancing quote will set out exactly what you will need to pay when your sale or purchase completes.

What are disbursements?

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

Disbursements are fees, costs or taxes that your property solicitor will have to pay to third parties on behalf of their client. These include costs like Stamp Duty or managing agent information.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees and disbursements

How much will the total Cambridge solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Though conveyancing fees in Cambridge will be the same as anywhere else in the country, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, council search fees will vary and specific extra searches, e.g. a commons registration search, may be necessary.

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

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Cambridge

Described as a 'boom town for the brainy' and a 'honey-coloured hotspot' Cambridge is listed in Country Life magazine's top 10. One of Britain's most loved cities and prevented from sprawling by its surrounding green belt, Cambridge boasts a wide range of social, cultural and leisure activities.

Cambridge has also been named the best city in England to work in - and is a prime spot for high-tech companies to locate. This enhanced quality of life is reflected in property prices also makes Cambridge one of the UK's most expensive cities in which to live. Figures indicate that Cambridge has experienced the fastest increase in average property prices of any UK local authority in 2017.

Conveyancing for home buyers

Caveat emptor, (Latin for "let the buyer beware"), was a key part of property law in England and Wales. After the introduction of the Consumer Trading Regulations (CPR), this rule no longer applies. However, the buyer still will need to carry out due diligence on a planned purchase.

A conveyancing solicitor in Cambridge will offer suggestions and advice once their enquiries are complete, offer pragmatic solutions and confirm that the legal title passes to the new owner.

The following section gives advice to assist homebuyers who need conveyancing solicitors in Cambridge.

Your Cambridge conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Regardless of whether your mortgage is with a major lender like Sainsbury's Bank or a less common lender such as Scottish Widows, before you choose a Cambridge conveyancing solicitor it is very important that you make sure that they are on the approved panel of your lender.

Your solicitor may not be able to carry out the legal work on behalf of your lender, because some mortgage lenders are only prepared to work with a selected list (known as a 'lender panel') of firms that meet strict selection criteria.

If this is the case, the lender will likely require an alternative law firm to complete the legal work, and you will be expected to pay this second solicitor's costs. This means the transaction could be delayed.

Serious delays can result from failing to check your property solicitor's lender panel status.

Quittance Conveyancing can perform the conveyancing for all lenders.

Residential Property Searches (Cambridge City Council)

Searches are applied for by Cambridge conveyancing solicitors to help identify issues that could possibly affect how much your property will be worth. They include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchincludes a list of planning decisions that could affect the property
Environmental searchcovers environmental issues within 500m of the property, including flooding, mining subsidence and the proximity of landfill and contaminated land sites.
Drainage & Water searchidentifies whether the owner or local authority must pay for the maintenance of water mains and sewers
Chancel repair liabilitydescribes the insurance to protect against any liability to the local parish for repairs.

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

Cambridge City Council has an estimated delivery time of 5 weeks for Local Authority searches. Your conveyancer will recommend using a faster search agent.

Checking planning permission status

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will get official entries from HM Land Registry. This will help to highlight any potential issues. Examples of these include restrictive covenants governing the use of the property or errors on the title plan.

Cambridge City Council Council Tax

The amount of council tax a homeowner in Cambridge will pay to Cambridge City Council will depend on the property's value and the number of residents. For example, for an average Band C house in Cambridge, the tax would be £1,519.

A conveyancing solicitor in Cambridge will inform the buyer of the property's 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 £1,139.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example if the property is uninhabited (for the first 60 days) or if the property is armed forces accommodation.

Band Cambridge City Council Tax (2018)
A £1,139
B £1,329
C £1,519
D £1,709
E £2,089
F £2,469
G £2,848
H £3,418

Can I appeal against my band?

It is possible to challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 0 council tax challenges were made, of which 0 were upheld and the tax was reduced. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Rd
Cambridge
CB2 8DU
Cambridgeshire

Stamp Duty on Cambridge properties

SDLT is paid to HMRC by completing an SDLT1 form. The form is lengthy and complex.

If a house is purchased for £125k or less, no Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable. Above this, most homebuyers will need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Quittance's investment in the latest online case management system means that HMRC filing complications are a thing of the past.

The following table illustrates stamp duty examples for properties in Cambridge:

  Average sale price (2017) SDLT
Average price £523,065 £16,153.25
Average price (detached) £863,642 £33,182.10
Average new build £564,928 £18,246.40

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Cambridge

In 11/17, the Chancellor announced that first-time buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty on homes below £300k. Homeowners must pay a higher rate of SDLT for the purchase of a second home. Following the example above, if a homeowner bought a second home in Cambridge for the average price of £523,065 the SDLT would be £41,845.20.

Conveyancing solicitors in Cambridge will confirm the correct calculation is made.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Cambridge

New build site

The pitfalls associated with buying a leasehold property are of serious concern for leasehold property purchasers. The many potential problems lying in wait for an uninformed buyer can include:

  • freeholds sold without first refusal to leaseholders
  • incomplete management company accounts
  • sub-letting restrictions
  • increasing ground rents
Bad or incomplete leasehold advice, from an inexperienced property lawyer, could have costly, long-term consequences.

If you are planning to buy a house or flat with a lease, a experienced conveyancing solicitor in Cambridge will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, for example :

  • sometimes ancient and arcane lease documents
  • managing agent or landlord enquiries
  • service charges and whether they have been collected
  • alterations since the lease was granted
  • residents? management company

Make sure that you are aware of all the potential issues and costs associated with the lease thanks to our leasehold conveyancing solicitor team.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Cambridge?

Building site

The average sale price of a new build home in Cambridge is £461,000. 5 brand new homes have been bought in Cambridge in 2018 so far.

The legal side of acquiring a new build can be more complex than any other type of conveyancing. To avoid potential problems a conveyancing solicitor in Cambridge needs to be conscious of local Cambridge considerations and must check numerous things, including handling the uncertainties of buying off plan and ensuring that the contract is in the buyer's favour.

Our highly qualified new build team are experts in meeting short developer deadlines and representing buyers to achieve the best outcome.

Cambridgeshire conservation areas

When acting for the buyer of a home in Cambridge, a conveyancing solicitor will check if the home is in one of Cambridge's conservation areas. If it is, the property is affected by constraints. Called Article 4 directions, these constraints can include:

  • Restrictions on the addition of a porch
  • Possible restrictions on joinery colour choices
  • Restrictions on extensions even if within Permitted Development rights

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.

Cambridge conservation areas include Storey's Way, Conduit Head Road and Brooklands Avenue. Quittance's conveyancing solicitors will address whether the home you plan to buy is located in a conservation area in Cambridge.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Cambridge

The legal side of a property sale is less difficult than for a purchase. With a purchase, the responsibility is on the buyer to satisfy themselves that the property they are buying does not have any legal issues.

Conversely, with a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Cambridge acting for the vendor for the most part just answer questions set by the buyer's conveyancing solicitor.

What could put your property sale at risk?

Common obstacles, like missing planning permission or a historical dispute with a freeholder, can hinder the sale conveyancing process if not handled appropriately.

It is best not to procrastinate and hope the buyer's solicitor won't notice. Instead, you should seek out professional help and work to resolve it as early as possible.

Useful reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Leasehold flats

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat (houses are rarely leasehold) is much more protracted than for a freehold property.

Conveyancing solicitors in Cambridge must usually carry out further legal work, which could include sourcing a copy of the lease, through to a copy of the service charge budget for the current year (and any anticipated payments on account).

Estate agents are right to recommend that sellers contact a solicitor as soon as possible to help mitigate (often inevitable) leasehold delays.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction?

A conveyancer who is regulated by the CLC can act for both parties. However, SRA rules restrict a single conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale.

If you are buying or selling a home in Cambridge, and a Quittance conveyancer is doing the legal work for the other side, you may wish to contact a property solicitor firm in Cambridge to carry out your conveyancing.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Cambridge

Securing a lower rate is the main reason that people remortgage. There are other reasons, for example releasing equity, or getting onto a longer fixed-rate term.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Cambridge will complete the conveyancing quickly, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With the base rate set at 0.5% (May 2018) and the future of interest rates unclear, fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in getting onto your new rate as quickly as possible.

To confirm that the lender's interests are protected, the property lawyer handling your remortgage will act for both you and the new lender.

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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