Updated: October 12, 2018

County Durham conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in County Durham

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the charges you pay your County Durham conveyancing solicitor for the legal work involved in moving home.

Are County Durham conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Some conveyancing solicitors in County Durham work on a fees per hour basis, while other property lawyers will work for a fixed fee (known as 'No Move, No Fee'). We work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee conveyancing basis, with no hidden costs. Your conveyancing quote will explain exactly what you will be charged when your house or flat sale completes.

Are there any other costs?

In addition to conveyancing solicitor fees you will also have to cover any 'disbursements'.

Disbursements are the third-party costs that your conveyancer will pass on to you at the end of the conveyancing process, such as Land Registry fees or identity verification checks.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees

How much will the total conveyancing fees in County Durham cost?

County Durham conveyancing fees should not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. However, the costs of certain disbursements can vary. For example, additional region-specific searches, such as a historic mining search, may be needed and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

With Quittance Conveyancing, there are no unexpected costs or surprises in the small print. For a standard sale or purchase, the fees we quote are the fees you pay. Calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing fees calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in County Durham

The legal work for a home purchase will need the County Durham conveyancing solicitor to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such factors can range from technical problems relating to the property title to solar panel leases affecting the mortgageability of the home.

The conveyancer will feed the results of their enquiries back to the buyer and their mortgage lender, help with resolving any problems and ensure the title is transferred to the new owner.

This part of the article discusses those residential property types that carry additional risk for people who need conveyancing solicitors in County Durham for a purchase.

Your County Durham conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before appointing a conveyancing solicitor in County Durham, it is very important that you make sure that they are on the approved solicitor panel of your chosen lender, whether you are getting a mortgage from Accord Mortgages, Allied Irish Bank or any other lender.

Your solicitor may not be able to carry out the legal work on behalf of your chosen lender, because some mortgage lenders are only prepared to work with a restricted list (called a 'lender panel') of legal firms.

If that is the case, the lender will probably require a different firm to complete the legal work, and you will then have to cover this substitute solicitor's costs. Resulting delays can jeopardise the whole purchase.

Failing to confirm your solicitor's lender panel status could mean serious delays.

Quittance Conveyancing can perform the conveyancing for all banks and building societies.

Conveyancing Searches (Durham County Council)

Searches will be applied for by County Durham conveyancing solicitors to identify any significant issues that might impact how much your home will be worth. They include:

Local Authority (LA) searchcontains information about the property and surrounding area held by Durham County Council
Environmental searchidentifies nearby landfill and contaminated land sites (within 500 metres), and if there has been any historic flooding or mining subsidence.
Drainage & Water searchconfirms who is responsible for the upkeep of the water pipes and drainage that serve the property.
Chancel repair liabilitydescribes the insurance to protect against any liability to the local parish for repairs.

Your conveyancer will make you aware if your lender insists on any additional searches, e.g. a highways authority search or a ground stability report.

Durham County Council has an average delivery time of 14 weeks for conveyancing searches. As a result, regulated searches will be faster.

Ensuring planning permission is in place

Official Entries will also be sourced from HMLR by the buyer's conveyancing solicitor. This will help to reveal any issues. Examples of these include the breach of a restrictive covenant or discrepancies with the filed plan.

Durham County Council Council Tax

Durham County Council calculate council tax on County Durham homes based on the number of occupants and the historic value of the property (as valued at 1 April 1991). E.g. a property in the Durham County Council area in Band E would pay £2,307 per annum.

County Durham conveyancing solicitors will inform a buyer of the property's band once they are themselves notified.

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 £1,730.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, e.g. if the property is a second home then a 10% discount will be applied or where the property is uninhabitable. Homes built after 1991 are assessed and allocated a band by the Valuation Office Agency.

Band Durham County Council Tax (2018)
A £1,258
B £1,468
C £1,678
D £1,887
E £2,307
F £2,726
G £3,146
H £3,775

Can I dispute my council tax rate?

A homeowner can challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 60 council tax challenges were made. 20 resulted in a reduction. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Wycliffe House
Green Lane
County Durham

Stamp Duty on County Durham properties

With some exceptions, if you purchase a property over the £125,000 threshold you will have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax. Submitting the SDLT1 form to HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue) is difficult and time consuming. The majority of purchasers get their conveyancing solicitor to do it for them.

Quittance Conveyancing use the latest case management integration with HMRC to avoid errors and ensure there are no late-filing penalties.

See stamp duty examples for properties in County Durham:

  Average selling price (2018 to date) SDLT
Average price £123,738 £0.00
Average price (detached) £225,412 £2,008.24
Average new build £225,269 £2,005.38
Higher rates of SDLT apply to buyers of second home in the form of a 3% SDLT surcharge. For example, if a homeowner bought a second home in County Durham for the average price of £123,738 the SDLT would be £3,712.14.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in County Durham

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

Conveyancing solicitors in County Durham will confirm the correct tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in County Durham

New build site

Over 100,000 UK homeowners face leases with problematic conditions. There are any number of potential traps that may be lying in wait for the unsuspecting purchaser, such as unreasonable managing agent fees, doubling ground rents and excessive freehold premiums.

Erroneous leasehold advice, from a property lawyer with little specialist experience, could have costly, long-term consequences.

A competent conveyancing solicitor in County Durham will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, such as reviewing the lease itself (many leases are decades old), dealing with freeholders and annual statements of account and budgets for service charges.

Ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property thanks to our leasehold conveyancing solicitors.

Buying a 'New Build' property in County Durham?

Building site

According to Land Registry data, 39 new build houses and flats have been bought in County Durham in 2018 so far. The average value of a new build property in County Durham is £225,269.

The legal work for acquiring a new build is more involved than any other type of conveyancing. To avoid potential problems a County Durham conveyancing solicitor must be mindful of local considerations and will need to report to clients on a number of issues, including handling deposits and dealing with incomplete service connection agreements.

Our award-winning team of conveyancers specialise in representing buyers to achieve the best outcome and working to developer exchange timeframes.

Conservation areas

Whether you are a fan of Edwardian, Victorian or Tudor-style architecture, buying in a conservation area will usually mean that the local character is unlikely to drastically change. However, conservation area restrictions will affect your residential property.

Called Article 4 directions, these constraints may include anything from a prohibition on roof terraces, to restrictions preventing the addition of new access.

If a property is in breach, you could be legally required (as the new owner) to pay for returning the property to a compliant state, even if the previous owner was responsible for the changes.

County Durham conservation areas include Wolsingham, Gainford and Bishop Middleham. Quittance's conveyancing solicitors will address whether the home you plan to buy is located in a conservation area in County Durham.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in County Durham

The conveyancing process on a sale of a home is much easier than when buying. When buying, caveat-emptor' means that the onus lies with the purchaser to make sure that the home they are buying is mortgageable and free from legal issues.

Conversely, when selling, conveyancing solicitors in County Durham acting for the current owner need only answer the buyer's solicitor's formal enquiries.

What could put your home sale at risk?

Issues, like a solar panel 'rent a roof' scheme, might threaten your move if ignored.

Don't put off finding a solution, hoping the issue will fix itself. The best course of action is to speak to an expert, square up to the issue(s), and find a solution at the earliest stage.

Further reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Leasehold flats

The legal work for a leasehold flat (leasehold houses are not common) is quite a lot more technical compared to a freehold house.

The complexities of leasehold mean conveyancing solicitors in County Durham will usually undertake extra work. This can involve requesting an up-to-date service charge statement, through to any information about regulations affecting the property that are not in the lease.

In order to resolve any leasehold delays faster, it is strongly advised that the vendor contact a solicitor as soon as possible.

What if you are already acting for the other side?

Conveyancers regulated by the Council for Licenced Conveyancers can act for both sides. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict the same solicitor from acting on both sides in a house sale.

If you are buying or selling a County Durham home, and a Quittance conveyancing solicitor is acting for the other side, you can contact a property solicitor firm in County Durham to handle your legal work.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in County Durham

Whilst there are many reasons to consider remortgaging, homeowners will generally remortgage a home to lower their monthly repayments.

A good conveyancing solicitor in County Durham will complete the conveyancing quickly, and move you to the better rate sooner. With future interest rate changes hard to predict, fast conveyancing can be a crucial factor in getting onto your new rate as quickly as possible.

Your property lawyer should also be able to act for your preferred bank or building society. Quittance Conveyancing are panel members of all major banks and building societies. So whether you are changing to a tracker with the Bank of Scotland or to a two-year discount with Birmingham Midshires, our remortgage specialists can help.

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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