Updated: October 12, 2018

Cornwall conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Cornwall

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay your Cornwall conveyancing solicitor for the legal work associated with moving home.

Are Cornwall conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

We work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis with no hidden extras, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Cornwall who will work on a price per hour basis. Your quote sets out exactly what you will need to pay when your sale or purchase completes.

Are there any other costs in addition to conveyancing fees?

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, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax or identity verification checks.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will conveyancing in Cornwall cost in total?

Cornwall conveyancing solicitor fees will not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. However, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. For example, 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, the fees we quote are the fees you pay. There are no hidden costs or surprises to be paid with Quittance. To calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance's conveyancing fees were considerably cheaper than the Estate Agent's recommended solicitor's fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Cornwall

Caveat emptor, meaning 'let the buyer beware', was a fundamental principle of English property law. Following recent changes in the law, this maxim no longer applies. However, it remains the duty of a buyer's legal representative to investigate the house or flat they plan to buy.

A conveyancing solicitor in Cornwall will give advice after making their enquiries, find solutions to outstanding defects and other issues and register the new owner's title at the Land Registry.

The following section discusses the kinds of residential property which could be of concern to buyers who need conveyancing solicitors in Cornwall.

Your Cornwall conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether you are taking out a mortgage from the HSBC, Paratus AMC or any other lender, before selecting a Cornwall conveyancing solicitor it is critical that you make sure that they are approved by your lender.

A lot of banks and building societies will only accept a restricted group of law firms that match certain criteria. If your solicitor is unable to act for your lender, the lender will require an alternative law firm to complete the legal work.

The home buyer will then have to cover this alternative lawyer's fees, and weeks could be added to the conveyancing process.

Setbacks can result from failing to confirm your conveyancing lawyer's lender panel status.

Quittance Conveyancing can perform the conveyancing for all lenders.

Property Searches (Cornwall Council)

Residential property searches will be applied for by Cornwall conveyancing solicitors to expose any broader issues that could impact how much the property you are buying is worth. They include:

Local Authority (LA) searchincludes a list of planning decisions that could affect the property
Environmental searchenvironmental issues that could adversely affect the property
Drainage & Water searchcovers the location of water pipes and drains, and reveals if the upkeep for these falls on the owner or local council.
Chancel repair liabilitythere is a risk that some Cornwall properties owe a liability to the local parish to pay for church repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this liability.

You will be made aware if your mortgage lender insists on any more searches, e.g. a radon gas search or a Forestry Commission search.

Property purchasers could experience a delay of roughly 8 weeks for LA searches ordered from Cornwall Council, so your conveyancer will recommend using a faster search agent.

Planning permissions

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will source the Title Register from the Land Registry, helping to identify planning issues, such as restrictive covenants governing the use of the property or outbuildings missing from the title plan.

Cornwall Council Council Tax

The amount of council tax a homeowner in Cornwall will pay to Cornwall Council will depend on the property's value and the number of residents. For instance a house in the Cornwall Council area in Band C would pay £1,575 per annum.

Conveyancing solicitors in Cornwall will inform a purchaser 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 (25%) would reduce the tax due to £1,182.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or structural changes or where the property (land) is a boat mooring or caravan pitch. Newer properties are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and allocated a council tax banding.

Band Cornwall Council Tax (2018)
A £1,182
B £1,378
C £1,575
D £1,772
E £2,166
F £2,560
G £2,954
H £3,545

Is it possible to reduce my council tax band?

The Valuation Office Agency should reassess a property's band on request. Councils prefer that this be done within six months of buying a property. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Penhaligon House
Trinity St
St. Austell
PL25 5FA

Stamp Duty on Cornwall properties

SDLT works in a similar fashion to income tax insofar as a buyer will pay progressively more tax for a higher-value residential property. Doing the SDLT1 form in order to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax is a daunting prospect for a layperson.

HMRC rejections are avoided using the latest state-of-the-art case management system.

This table sets out Stamp Duty Land Tax for typical property in Cornwall:

  Average selling price (2017) SDLT
Average price £254,857 £2,742.85
Average price (detached) £344,025 £7,201.25
Average new build £232,252 £2,145.04
Following a change in April 2016, a higher rate of 3% is applied for purchases of additional property. E.g. if a second home was bought for £254,857 then the SDLT including the surcharge would be £20,388.56. .

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Cornwall

As from November 2017, first-time buyers will not have to pay any stamp duty if the purchase price is below £300k.

Conveyancing solicitors in Cornwall should ensure their client pays the right amount.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Cornwall

New build site

The potential risks of purchasing a leasehold flat in the UK are generally well known. Unreasonable ground rents, marriage value issues and incomplete management company accounts are only some of the frequent complications awaiting the unsuspecting buyer.

Misguided leasehold advice, from an inexperienced lawyer, could have serious financial implications.

If you are planning to purchase a leasehold home, a good conveyancing solicitor in Cornwall will consider possible leasehold issues, e.g. sinking funds, possible service charge shortfalls and reviewing the lease itself (leases can be 10's or even 100's of years old).

Ensure that you are aware of all the potential issues and costs associated with the lease with our leasehold conveyancing solicitors.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Cornwall?

New build building site

The average cost of new build properties in Cornwall is £227,039, according to HMLR. 56 brand new homes have been bought in Cornwall in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Cornwall must be mindful of Cornwall-specific factors and the extra complexities of new build, like ensuring compliance with planning regulations and handling equity loan schemes.

Our specialist team of new build conveyancers deliver an expert assessment of the property's legal status, with a close eye on factors ranging from unfair leasehold conditions to an assessment of other risks, such as regional infrastructure plans (e.g. HS2).

Conservation areas in Cornwall

Whether you are looking for a rural setting or Georgian architecture, buying in a conservation area should mean that the street's character will not drastically alter. However, conservation area building controls will affect your property.

These restrictions may include:

  • Limits on the use of non-traditional building materials
  • A ban on uPVC window frames
  • Restrictions on outbuildings and extensions

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

Cornwall conservation areas include Week St Mary, Tuckingmill and Henwood. Your conveyancing solicitor will address whether your planned purchase is located one of Cornwall's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Cornwall

The conveyancing process on a sale of a home is generally simpler than for a property purchase. When a house or flat changes hands, the responsibility lies entirely with the buyer to ensure that the home they are buying does not have any legal issues.

When selling, conveyancing solicitors in Cornwall acting for the vendor effectively just answer the buyer's solicitor's formal enquiries.

What could jeopardise your home sale?

Hurdles, like having a defective lease or not being connected to the main sewers, have the potential to frustrate a sale if not dealt with promptly.

Don't bury your head as it is the buyer's solicitor's job to spot problems - a better course of action will be to seek out professional help and deal with it at the earliest stage.

Useful reading:

Read more conveyancing advice for sellers.

Leasehold conveyancing for a sale

The conveyancing process for a leasehold property is quite a lot more difficult than for a freehold property.

Cornwall conveyancing solicitors will also need to carry out additional work. This can involve obtaining management company information, through to a copy of the buildings insurance for the common parts.

To help mitigate the delays involved in selling a leasehold property, it is recommended that the seller instruct a lawyer as soon as possible.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for the buyer and the seller of the same house?

SRA rules ban the same solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale and purchase. A CLC-regulated conveyancer, however, can act for both parties.

You may want to instruct a property solicitor firm in Cornwall to carry out your legal work, if we are doing the legal work for the other side.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Cornwall

Whilst there are many reasons to consider remortgaging, people generally remortgage to get a better interest rate.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Cornwall can reduce the remortgage processing time, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With the Bank of England base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018) and rate rises anticipated, fast conveyancing can be a key consideration when securing your preferred rate.

In order to ensure that the mortgage provider's interests are protected, a property lawyer will act for both you and your 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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