Updated: October 12, 2018

Chelmsford conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Chelmsford

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay conveyancing solicitors in Chelmsford for the legal work associated with buying or selling a property.

Are Chelmsford conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Chelmsford work on a price per hour basis, and others on a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee') basis. Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee basis, with no hidden fees. Your quote sets out what you will be charged when your house or flat sale completes.

Are there any other costs in addition to conveyancing fees?

You will need to budget for 'disbursements', in addition to the legal fees.

Disbursements are fees, costs or taxes that your property solicitor will have to pay to third parties on behalf of their client, such as TT fees or Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

See: A guide to conveyancing fees, costs and disbursements

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Chelmsford cost?

Conveyancing solicitor fees in Chelmsford should not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. There may, however, be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, specific extra searches, e.g. a commons registration search, may be necessary and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

For a standard conveyancing transaction, what we quote is the fee you pay. With Quittance, there are no unexpected costs or surprises in the small print. 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 Chelmsford

The county town of Essex, Chelmsford is considered to be within the London commuter belt, yet its employment opportunities mean there are as many people commuting in to the town as those travelling to London.

It was granted city status in 2012 and has become one of the most desirable places to live in the south-east, with good amenities and surrounded by attractive countryside.

Almost two-thirds of the population live in detached or semi-detached homes, but a wide diversity of other properties are available, with new-build developments regularly coming on-stream.

Outside the city boundaries are the pretty villages of Springfield, Writtle and Great Baddow, with their wide range of properties and amenities attracting young families.

Conveyancing for purchasers

Purchase conveyancing will need the Chelmsford conveyancing solicitor to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such issues are defective property title (e.g. grant of reservation of rights) and the future saleability of the property.

The buyer's lawyer will feed the results of their enquiries back to the buyer and their mortgage lender, help with resolving any problems and confirm that the Land Registry's record of the property is updated.

This article discusses those residential property types that carry additional risk for homebuyers looking for conveyancing solicitors in Chelmsford.

Your Chelmsford conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

There are a wide range of mortgage providers, from a large lender such as TSB, to a niche mortgage lender like Aldermore Bank. Before you appoint a conveyancing solicitor in Chelmsford, it is very important that you make sure that they are approved by your chosen lender.

Your lawyer may be unable to act for your chosen lender, because some mortgage lenders will only work with a select group (often referred to as a 'panel') of law firms that meet stringent criteria.

In this case, the lender will probably need a second legal firm to carry out the legal work, and you will usually need to pay this alternative lawyer's fees. Resulting delays can jeopardise the whole purchase.

Failing to confirm the lender panel status of your property solicitor can mean significant delays.

Quittance Conveyancing can perform the conveyancing for all mortgage lenders.

Property Searches (Chelmsford Borough Council)

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') are submitted by Chelmsford conveyancing solicitors to help spot any wider issues that could undermine how much the property you are buying is worth.

Lenders almost always need property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') to be purchased. These include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchreveals issues like whether the adjoining road and pavement are publicly maintained
Environmental searchshows whether the surrounding environment is suitable for the purchaser
Drainage & Water searchconfirms who is responsible for the upkeep of the water pipes and drainage that serve the property.
Chancel repair liabilitysome Chelmsford property may still owe a liability to the local parish for repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this risk.

Additional searches, such as a more detailed flood report or a disadvantaged area search, may also be recommended subject to the outcome of the initial searches.

Purchasers can expect to wait roughly 6 weeks for searches provided by Chelmsford Borough Council, so faster personal searches will be preferred.

Checking planning status

The buyer's conveyancing solicitor will also obtain office copies from the Land Registry. This will help to reveal any issues, for example neighbours' rights of access or discrepancies with the filed plan.

Chelmsford Borough Council Council Tax

Chelmsford Borough Council calculate council tax on Chelmsford homes based on the number of occupants and the historic value of the property (as valued at 1 April 1991). E.g. for an average Band D property in Chelmsford, the amount due would be £1,688.

Conveyancing solicitors in Chelmsford will inform a purchaser of the home's council tax band after this is confirmed by the searches.

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 (25%) would reduce the tax due to £1,266.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or if the property is a 'granny annexe'.

Band Chelmsford Borough Council Tax (2018)
A £1,125
B £1,313
C £1,500
D £1,688
E £2,063
F £2,438
G £2,813
H £3,376

Could I be overpaying council tax?

To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
London House
New London Rd
Chelmsford
CM2 0QL
Essex

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) should reassess a property's band on request. Councils prefer that this be done within six months of buying a property.

Stamp Duty on Chelmsford properties

The current Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold is £125k.

Delays and penalties await those who mishandle the stamp duty administration process.

The vast majority of people will have their conveyancing solicitor complete the SDLT1 return on their behalf.

With Quittance you have the peace of mind that the SDLT1 return is completed correctly and quickly when your purchase completes.

This table sets out stamp duty for typical property in Chelmsford:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £377,043 £8,852.15
Average price (detached) £567,222 £18,361.10
Average new build £505,153 £15,257.65
Following the autumn budget statement, second home buyers have had to pay a 3% SDLT surcharge. Following the example above, if a homeowner bought a second home in Chelmsford for the average price of £377,043 the SDLT would be £30,163.44.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Chelmsford

Since 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300,000.

Conveyancing solicitors in Chelmsford should confirm the right amount is calculated.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Chelmsford

New build site

The risks of buying a leasehold property remain of serious concern. Numerous legal issues could be awaiting the unsuspecting buyer, including overpriced managing agent packs and unreasonable ground rents.

Serious financial ramifications can result from an inexperienced conveyancer's bad leasehold advice.

A specialist conveyancing solicitor in Chelmsford will consider potential leasehold issues, e.g. dealing with landlords, reviewing the lease and flats with varying lease terms.

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase - Get in touch with our leasehold conveyancing solicitors today on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Chelmsford?

House under construction

The average purchase price of new build homes in Chelmsford is £444,692. 7 brand new properties have been bought in Chelmsford in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Chelmsford must be mindful of both local considerations and the complications associated with new build, such as checking that any contracts allow for future 'common parts' maintenance and squaring developer incentives with lenders.

Our new build conveyancing department will provide an expert assessment of the property's legal status, and in particular issues like problematic leasehold terms and possible freehold acquisition traps.

Conservation areas

Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the house you are intending to buy is in one of Chelmsford's conservation areas. If it is, the home is affected by building controls. These conditions, called Article 4 Directions, could 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 previous owner carried out the alterations.

Chelmsford conservation areas include Boreham - Church Road, Chelmsford - Springfield Green and Springfield Green. Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the property you are buying is located in one of Chelmsford's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Chelmsford

The legal process for a house sale usually requires less work than when buying. With a purchase, the onus is solely on the buyer to make sure that the home they are buying is legally sound.

In contrast, for a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Chelmsford acting for the current owner need only respond to the buyer's solicitor's questions.

How to give yourself the best chances of success

Common issues, like restrictive covenants, have the capacity to jeopardise your home move.

It is usually a good idea that sellers address such issues immediately.

Recommended reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Sale conveyancing for a leasehold property

The legal work for a leasehold property is significantly more time-consuming in comparison with a freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Chelmsford will also perform extra work, including obtaining all relevant freeholder information, through to details of the length of leases of other flats in the block.

So as to resolve any leasehold-related issues sooner, it is highly recommended that the vendor contact a property lawyer as soon as is practicable.

What if you are already acting for the other side?

A conveyancer regulated by the CLC can act for both the buyer and the seller. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict the same conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale.

You could instruct a property solicitor firm in Chelmsford to carry out your legal work, if we are acting for the other side.

Local Chelmsford conveyancing solicitor directory

  • Atlantic Solicitors Ltd, Vision Co-working Spaces, Saxon House, 27 Duke Steet, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1HT
  • Backhouse Solicitors Ltd, 71 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1JU
  • Ellisons, Saxon House, 27 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1HT
  • Essex Legal Services Limited, Seax House, Victoria Road South, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QH
  • Hs Legal Solicitors Ltd, 4th Floor, Victoria House, Victoria Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1JR

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Chelmsford

The main reason people remortgage their home is to get a better interest rate. There are also other reasons to think about remortgaging, including switching from interest-only to repayment, or releasing capital.

Homeowners would typically benefit from a lower rate sooner with a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Chelmsford, working to shorten the processing time of the legal work. With the base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can play a key role in securing your preferred rate.

In order to certify that the parties' interests are protected, a property lawyer 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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