Updated: October 12, 2018

Cambridgeshire conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Cambridgeshire

Conveyancing solicitor fees will be paid to your Cambridgeshire conveyancing solicitor for the legal work for a home sale or purchase.

How are Cambridgeshire conveyancing fees calculated?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Cambridgeshire will work on a fees per hour basis. Some solicitors will complete the work on a fixed 'No Move, No Fee' basis. Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a guaranteed fixed conveyancing fee basis, with no hidden costs. Your quote will explain exactly what you will need to pay when your sale or purchase goes through.

Are there any other costs?

You will have to pay any 'disbursements', on top of the conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are the costs and expenses a solicitor needs to pay out on behalf of a client. These include costs like office copies or property searches.

See: A guide to conveyancing fees, costs and disbursements

How much will conveyancing in Cambridgeshire cost in total?

Conveyancing solicitor fees in Cambridgeshire should be the same as anywhere else in the UK. There may, however, be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, council search fees will vary and additional region-specific searches, such as transport searches, may be needed.

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

Quittance's fees were cheaper - less than half the Estate Agent's recommended solicitor's fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Cambridgeshire

Situated on the edge of the Fens, low-lying Cambridgeshire is part of the region known as East Anglia. It includes the historic county of Huntingdonshire, the Isle of Ely and the Soke of Peterborough. The city of Cambridge, with its prestigious university, is the county town.

The city of Cambridge is protected by greenbelt meaning that people moving to the area will be able to enjoy rural Cambridgeshire for years to come.

In 2011 a UK-wide survey carried out by the Halifax revealed South Cambridgeshire as the county with the highest quality of life. A combination of high salaries, good health and life expectancy and low rainfall make the most desirable area to live in rural Britain.

Conveyancing for purchasers

Under recent changes to English and Welsh property law, a seller must now disclose issues concerning their property to the buyer.

It is, however, still the duty of a conveyancing solicitor in Cambridgeshire to investigate the property, so that they can report back to the purchaser and the mortgage lender (if applicable), offer practical solutions and confirm that the legal title passes to the new owner.

The content below sets out useful advice for buyers searching for conveyancing solicitors in Cambridgeshire.

Your Cambridgeshire conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before you choose a conveyancing solicitor in Cambridgeshire, you need to check that they can act for your chosen lender, whether you are obtaining a mortgage from the Holmesdale Building Society, Bradford & Bingley or any other lender.

Many mortgage lenders will only work with a select panel of solicitors or licensed conveyancers that meet stringent standards. If a conveyancer is unable to act for your chosen lender, the lender will require a different legal firm to complete the legal work.

The home buyer will be expected to pay this alternative solicitor's costs and the conveyancing process could take much longer.

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

Our solicitors can carry out the legal work for all major and minor lenders.

Searches (Cambridge City Council)

Property searches will be applied for by Cambridgeshire conveyancing solicitors to identify problems that might possibly affect how much your property will be worth.

Lenders also usually require property searches to be obtained. These include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchincludes a list of planning decisions that could affect the property
Drainage & Water searchidentifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
Environmental searchidentifies nearby landfill and contaminated land sites (within 500 metres), and if there has been any historic flooding or mining subsidence.
Chancel repair liabilitydescribes the insurance to protect against any liability owed by Cambridgeshire properties for local parish repairs.

You will be notified if your mortgage lender requires any further searches, such as an HS2 search or an energy search.

The approximate delivery time for LA searches ordered from Cambridge City Council is 5 weeks. Your solicitor will instead apply for personal searches, which are usually faster.

Planning documents

Office copies will also be ordered from HMLR by the conveyancing solicitor acting for the purchaser. This will help to identify any potential issues, such as errors on the title plan or restrictions that limit alterations.

Cambridge City Council Council Tax

Cambridge City Council calculate your council tax based on a number of criteria which include the location of the property and the assessed value of the property in April 1991. For instance a home in the Cambridge City Council area in Band B would pay £1,329 per annum.

A conveyancing solicitor in Cambridgeshire will inform the buyer of the property's band once 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 £997.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, e.g. a 10% discount for second homes or for spouses of students who are not British. A house or flat constructed after 1991 is allocated a band by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

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 dispute my council tax rate?

A homeowner can challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 0 council tax challenges were made, and 0 saw a reduction. To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Eastbrook
Shaftesbury Rd
Cambridge
CB2 8DU
Cambridgeshire

Stamp Duty on Cambridgeshire properties

SDLT works in a similar fashion to income tax insofar as a buyer will pay progressively more tax for a higher-value home. Given the complexity of the SDLT1 tax return form, only the fearless would attempt to complete and file this with HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue) without a conveyancing solicitor's help.

Quittance Conveyancing use smart case management systems to ensure that mistakes are not made on the SDLT process.

See Stamp Duty Land Tax examples for homes in Cambridgeshire:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £336,265 £6,813.25
Average price (detached) £419,805 £10,990.25
Average new build £412,213 £10,610.65

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Cambridgeshire

In 2017, the Chancellor announced that first-time buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty on properties below £300,000. Following the autumn statement, second home buyers have had to pay a 3% surcharge. Following the example above, if a homeowner bought a second property in Cambridgeshire for the average price of £336,265 the SDLT would be £26,901.20.

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

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Cambridgeshire

New build site

It can be risky to purchase a leasehold house or flat if you are unaware of the implications. The many potential complications lying in wait for an uninformed purchaser could include:

  • reversionary interests
  • unreasonable lease extension premiums
  • increasing ground rents
Severe consequences can result from a less-experienced conveyancing solicitor's misguided leasehold advice.

A competent conveyancing solicitor in Cambridgeshire will consider possible leasehold issues, e.g. :

  • reviewing the lease itself (some documents can be centuries old)
  • possible service charge shortfalls
  • dealing with landlords
  • missing building regs and planning

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property with Quittance Conveyancing's leasehold conveyancing solicitor team.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Cambridgeshire?

New build building site

Based on local data sourced by the Land Registry, the average price for Cambridgeshire new build properties is £305,601. 46 newly-constructed homes have been bought in Cambridgeshire in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Cambridgeshire will need to be familiar with both local considerations and new build's added complexities, such as advising on mortgage offer flexibility for delayed completion, working to builders' exchange timelines and working with warranty providers, including NHBC Buildmark, LABC New Home Warranty and Build Assure.

With our new build team, you will get an independent view of the legal title of the house or flat, with close attention paid to issues ranging from unfair leasehold conditions to likely freehold acquisition traps.

Conservation areas in Cambridgeshire

Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the property you are buying is in a conservation area in Cambridgeshire. If it is, the property could be affected by certain restrictions. Referred to as Article 4 directions, these building controls may include:

  • Restrictions on replacing roof tiles
  • General restrictions governing the use of non-traditional materials
  • Limits 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 confirm whether the property you are buying is located in one of Cambridgeshire's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Cambridgeshire

Conveyancing for a house sale is generally simpler than for a purchase. With a purchase, the principle of 'buyer beware' means that the onus lies entirely with the buyer to verify that the property is mortgageable and free from legal issues.

On the other side of the transaction, conveyancing solicitors in Cambridgeshire acting for the vendor only need to answer the buyer's solicitor's questions.

What could go wrong?

A property will frequently have potential complications (e.g. tree preservation orders) that can frustrate your home move.

Property experts almost always advise that vendors tackle any such problems head on.

Recommended reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Leasehold conveyancing for a sale

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat (houses are rarely leasehold) is significantly more complex than it is for a freehold home.

Leasehold complexity involves additional work on the part of conveyancing solicitors in Cambridgeshire, including getting an up-to-date service charge statement, through to a copy of any notices served on the leaseholder.

It is highly recommended that the seller instructs a leasehold-specialist conveyancer as soon as an estate agent is chosen to ensure any legal complexity is correctly handled.

What if Quittance is acting for the other side?

SRA rules restrict the same conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale and purchase. Conveyancers who are regulated by the CLC, however, can act for both the buyer and the seller.

If you are buying or selling a property in Cambridgeshire, and a Quittance solicitor is doing the legal work for the other side, you could contact a property solicitor firm in Cambridgeshire to carry out your legal work.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Cambridgeshire

Reducing monthly repayments by finding a lower rate is primarily why homeowners decide to switch lenders. There are other reasons, for example getting onto a longer fixed-rate term, or wanting to borrow more.

Homeowners should be able to enjoy a better rate earlier with a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Cambridgeshire, minimising the time taken to complete the conveyancing. With the base rate set at 0.5% (May 2018) and future interest rate changes hard to predict, fast conveyancing can be a key consideration when securing the rate you want.

It is key that the property lawyer handling your remortgage can act for your preferred bank or building society. Our conveyancers are on all major lenders' panels. So no matter whether you are changing to a lifetime tracker mortgage with the Bank of Scotland or to a two-year discount with the Chelsea Building Society, our remortgage team 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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