Updated: October 12, 2018

Devon conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Devon

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay to conveyancing solicitors in Devon for handling the legal work for your move.

Do Devon conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Devon offer services on an hourly rate. Some conveyancers will complete the work for a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee basis, with no hidden fees. Your conveyancing quote will explain all fees and disbursements you will need to pay when your sale or purchase goes through.

What are disbursements?

You must cover the cost of any 'disbursements', on top of the conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are fees, costs or taxes the conveyancing solicitor will have to pay to other organisations as part of the house-buying and selling process. These include costs like managing agent information or Stamp Duty Land Tax.

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will conveyancing in Devon cost in total?

Though conveyancing fees in Devon will be the same as anywhere else in the country, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. For example, Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary and specific extra searches, e.g. utilities searches, may be necessary.

For standard conveyancing transactions, the fees we quote are the fees you pay. There are no hidden costs or surprises to be paid with Quittance. 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 Devon

Situated between the Bristol Channel and the English Channel, the county of Devonshire is blessed with coastal resorts and the Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks. It has 2 cities, Exeter and Plymouth and several important market towns, such as Barnstaple, Okehampton, Totnes and Crediton.

Much of Devon is rural, with agriculture playing a major part in the county's economy.

In 2015, Country Life magazine named Devon as the best place to live in England.

House prices vary across the county, with some of the most expensive being in the popular South Hams district of Salcombe. Ilfracombe in North Devon offers more affordable seaside living, with a new 3-bed houses available for £150,000.

Conveyancing for home buyers

Caveat emptor, (Latin for "let the buyer beware"), was a key part of property law in England and Wales. This maxim no longer applies, however, it remains the responsibility of a homebuyer and their solicitor to carry out due diligence on a planned purchase.

The Devon conveyancing solicitor will make recommendations following their enquiries, deal with any legal issues and register the new owner's title at the Land Registry.

The content below provides useful advice for buyers who want conveyancing solicitors in Devon.

Your Devon conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before you choose a conveyancing solicitor in Devon, it is paramount that you confirm that they are on the approved solicitor panel of your mortgage lender, whether you are getting a mortgage from the Co-operative Bank, the Skipton Building Society or any other lender.

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

If this is the case, the lender will probably need an alternative law firm to complete the legal work, and you will then have to cover this second lawyer's costs. Handling paperwork and correspondence with this additional party can delay the process.

Your purchase could be jeopardised by failing to check your property solicitor's lender panel status.

Our solicitors can carry out the legal work for all major and minor banks and building societies.

Conveyancing Searches (Mid Devon District Council)

Searches are enquiries made of various authorities by Devon conveyancing solicitors to help uncover relevant information about the home you want to buy. They include:

  • Local Authority search - covers planning applications, building control history and enforcement action against the property. The LA search also includes details of any nearby road development schemes.
  • Drainage & Water search - confirms who is responsible for the upkeep of the water pipes and drainage that serve the property.
  • Environmental search - identifies risks within 500 metres of the property, including flooding subsidence. The search will also reveal nearby landfill sites and contaminated land.
  • Chancel repair liability - some Devon property may still owe a liability to the local parish for repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this risk.

More specialised searches, such as a tin mining search or a ground stability report, may also be advised following the initial searches.

Purchasers could experience a delay of around 6 weeks for Local Authority searches delivered by Mid Devon District Council, so personal (as opposed to official) searches will be faster.

Checking planning status

Official Entries will also be obtained from HMLR by your conveyancing solicitor. This will help to highlight planning issues. These issues could include a restrictive covenant against certain alterations or a difference between the agent's floorplan and the title plan.

Mid Devon District Council Council Tax

As a homeowner in Devon, the applicable rate of council tax will vary depending on the value of the home (as assessed in 1991) and the number of people living in it. E.g. the occupier of a Tax Band C home in the Mid Devon District Council area would pay annual council tax of £1,650.

A conveyancing solicitor in Devon will inform a buyer of the home's 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 reduces the tax due to 75% which would equal £1,237.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example where the home is empty or unfurnished for a maximum of 60 days or if the property is left empty by someone receiving medical treatment.

Band Mid Devon District Council Tax (2018)
A £1,237
B £1,443
C £1,650
D £1,856
E £2,268
F £2,681
G £3,093
H £3,712
Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Broadwalk House
Southernhay West

A homeowner can ask for their property to be reassessed. If the valuation is revised down, they may be entitled to a refund.

Stamp Duty on Devon properties

When purchasing a home, stamp duty will probably need to be paid if the property is valued at over £125,000. Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid after an SDLT1 form is completed. The form is hard to understand in places - even some non-conveyancing solicitors struggle with it.

Quittance will complete the SDLT1 form for you at the point your purchase completes.

See SDLT examples for homes in Devon:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £280,553 £4,027.65
Average price (detached) £383,433 £9,171.65
Average new build £296,218 £4,810.90

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Devon

As from November 2017, first-time buyers will not have to pay any stamp duty if the purchase price is below £300,000. If you are buying a second home for over £40,000 then you will have to pay a 3% stamp duty surcharge. So if a second home was bought for £280,553 then the stamp duty total will be £22,444.24.

Devon conveyancing solicitors will ensure the correct amount is calculated.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Devon

New build site

It can be risky to buy a leasehold property if you are unaware of the implications. The many potential complications awaiting the unsuspecting buyer could include restrictions on the use of the property, costly and undisclosed major works and increasing ground rents.

Serious financial ramifications can result from a solicitor's misguided leasehold advice.

If you intend to purchase a leasehold home, a expert conveyancing solicitor in Devon will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, such as :

  • reviewing the lease itself (some leases are over 100 years old)
  • managing agent practices
  • ground rents and service charges
  • sub-let or tenanted flats

Quittance Conveyancing's specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors will make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Devon?

Building site

Based on local data sourced by HM Land Registry, the average value of a new build property in Devon is £314,092. 103 brand new properties have been bought in Devon in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Devon must be mindful of Devon-specific factors and new build-specific issues, such as squaring developer incentives with lenders, confirming rights to use pipes and cables (e.g. phone, data, fibre, electricity) and working with warranty providers, including NHBC Buildmark, Premier Guarantee? and Ward Cole.

With Quittance Conveyancing, you will get an independent appraisal of the legal title of the property, with a close eye on issues ranging from unreasonable leasehold terms to 'doubling' ground rent and service charges (where applicable).

Devon conservation areas

When carrying out the legal work for a home in Devon, a conveyancing solicitor will need to check whether the home is in a conservation area in Devon. If it is, the property will be affected by certain constraints. Called Article 4 directions, these constraints could include restrictions on replacing windows, limitations on new outbuildings or general restrictions governing unsympathetic additions or modifications.

The new owner could be ordered to pay for necessary changes to bring a property in line with current regulations, even where the alterations were made by the previous owner.

Your conveyancing solicitor will address whether your planned purchase is located one of Devon's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Devon

The legal side of a sale of a home is more straightforward than for a property purchase. The buyer's solicitor will have to go through a detailed investigation into the property's title and other legal aspects. Conveyancing solicitors in Devon acting for the vendor effectively just gathers information relating to the property and answers the buyer's questions .

Factors that could delay or endanger the sale of your property

Obstacles, like being situated on a flood plain, could prolong a sale if they are ignored.

You shouldn't ignore this and hope the buyer's solicitor won't notice. The best course of action is to get professional advice, square up to the issue(s), and find a solution promptly.

Recommended reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Leasehold flats

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat is a great deal more complex than for a freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Devon will also perform extra work, which could include obtaining an up-to-date service charge statement, through to details of any required deed of covenant.

To reduce leasehold-related delays, it is recommended that the vendor contact a property lawyer as soon as is practicable.

Can your conveyancing solicitors act for the buyer and the vendor of the same house?

SRA regulations ban a single conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale. CLC-regulated conveyancers, however, can act for both sides.

If you are buying or selling a Devon property, and one of our conveyancing solicitors is acting for the other side, you may wish to contact a law firm in Devon to carry out your legal work.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Devon

The most common reason homeowners remortgage a home is to secure a lower interest rate. Other reasons to switch lenders or mortgage deals include getting onto a longer fixed-rate term, or funding a one-off purchase.

You would typically benefit from a better rate sooner by using a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Devon, working to reduce the processing time of the legal work. With future interest rate changes hard to predict, fast conveyancing can play a key role in securing your preferred rate.

To ensure that the parties' interests are protected, the property lawyer handling your remortgage will need to 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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