Updated: October 12, 2018

Dorchester conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Dorchester

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay conveyancing solicitors in Dorchester for the legal work associated with moving home.

Are Dorchester conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

We work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis with no nasty surprises in the small print, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Dorchester who will work on an hourly-rate basis. Your conveyancing quote will set out exactly what you will be charged when your sale or purchase completes.

What are disbursements?

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 HMLR fees or telegraphic transfer fees.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees and disbursements

How much will conveyancing in Dorchester cost in total?

Dorchester conveyancing fees will be the same as anywhere else in the UK. There may, however, be some variation in certain disbursements. For example, specific extra searches, such as a Coal Authority 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. With Quittance, there are absolutely no hidden costs. To calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Dorchester

"Caveat emptor", or "buyer beware", was the legal principle of English property law. Since the repeal of the Property Misdescriptions Act in 2013, this rule no longer applies. However, it remains the responsibility of a homebuyer and their solicitor to undertake due diligence on the property to be purchased.

The conveyancing solicitor in Dorchester will offer professional advice after making their enquiries, offer pragmatic solutions and register the title in the new owner's name.

This section of the article considers the types of residential property which may involve additional risk for people searching for conveyancing solicitors in Dorchester for a purchase.

Your Dorchester conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether your mortgage is with a niche lender like St James Place Bank or a major lender such as Allied Irish Bank, before you select a conveyancing solicitor in Dorchester it is paramount that you confirm that they can act in the interests of your mortgage lender.

Your solicitor may be unable to act for your mortgage lender, because some banks and building societies are only prepared to work with a selected list (known as a 'lender panel') of firms that meet strict selection criteria.

If this is the case, the lender will need a different legal firm to complete the legal work, and you will usually need to pay this alternative lawyer's fees. This can mean the process takes much longer.

The conveyancing process could be threatened by failing to confirm your property solicitor's lender panel status.

Quittance Conveyancing are approved to act for all mortgage providers.

Conveyancing Searches (West Dorset District Council)

Property searches are enquiries made of various authorities by Dorchester conveyancing solicitors to give details about your planned purchase. They include:

  • Local Authority search - includes the LLC1 and CON29 which includes whether there are any proposed road schemes within 200m
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
  • Environmental search - covers environmental issues within 500m of the property, including flooding, mining subsidence and the proximity of landfill and contaminated land sites.
  • Chancel repair liability - insurance is arranged to protect the buyer against any liability for local parish church repairs.

More specific searches, such as a tin mining search or a more detailed plan search, may also be advised depending on the contents of the standard searches.

The average lead time for property searches supplied by West Dorset District Council is 45 weeks. As a result, quicker regulated searches will be recommended.

Planning issues

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will source official entries from HM Land Registry, assisting with the identification of planning issues. Examples of these include rights or restrictions on how the property may be used or errors on the title plan.

West Dorset District Council Council Tax

West Dorset District Council calculate your council tax based on various criteria that include the number of occupants and the property's value as at 1 April 1991 (England) or 1 April 2003 (Wales). E.g. the occupier of a Valuation Band E home in the West Dorset District Council area would pay annual council tax of £2,353.

Conveyancing solicitors in Dorchester will inform the buyer of the property's band as soon as they are notified.

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 £1,765.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example a 10% discount for second homes or if the property is a 'granny annexe'.

Band West Dorset District Council Tax (2018)
A £1,284
B £1,498
C £1,712
D £1,926
E £2,353
F £2,781
G £3,209
H £3,851

Could you be overpaying?

To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Vespasian House
Bridport Rd

A homeowner can challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 30 council tax challenges were made, of which 10 were upheld and refunds awarded.

Stamp Duty on Dorchester properties

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.

If your home costs more than £125,000 then you will have to pay stamp duty.

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 SDLT for typical property in Dorchester:

  Average selling price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £320,496 £6,024.80
Average price (detached) £452,717 £12,635.85
Average new build £408,733 £10,436.65

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Dorchester

Relief is available on home purchases below £300,000 for first-time buyers. If you are buying a second home for in excess of £40,000 then you will have to pay a 3% stamp duty surcharge. For example, if a property owner bought a second home in Dorchester for the average price of £320,496 the SDLT would be £25,639.68.

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

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Dorchester

New build site

Over 100,000 property owners in the UK are trapped in property leases with unreasonable terms. Increasing ground rents, leases with fewer than 80 years to run and absent freeholders are only some of the many potential difficulties lying in wait for the unsuspecting purchaser.

Serious consequences can result from a less-experienced conveyancing solicitor's inaccurate leasehold advice.

If you are planning to purchase a leasehold property, a competent conveyancing solicitor in Dorchester will consider potential leasehold issues, including reviewing the lease itself (some leases are over 100 years old), reviewing correspondence between the freeholder and leaseholder and ground rents and service charges.

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase thanks to our leasehold conveyancing solicitor team.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Dorchester?

Building site

The average sale price of Dorchester new builds is £408,733. 128 new build properties were purchased in Dorchester last year.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Dorchester needs to be conscious of local issues and new build's additional complexities, like investigating road and drainage issues, handling unreasonable delays and registering ownership with warranty providers, including NHBC, LABC New Home Warranty and Ark Residential.

Our highly qualified new build conveyancing team are specialists in ensuring that new build contracts favour the client as much as possible and working to tight developer deadlines.

Dorset Conservation areas

When acting for the purchaser of a property in Dorchester, a conveyancing solicitor will check if the house is in a conservation area in Dorchester. If it is, the property could be affected by certain restrictions. Referred to as Article 4 directions, these restrictions may include:

  • Limits on the use of non-traditional building materials
  • A ban on VELUX windows
  • 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 if the previous owner was responsible for the changes.

Quittance's conveyancing solicitors will address whether the home you plan to buy is located in a conservation area in Dorchester.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Dorchester

The legal process for a property sale is simpler than when purchasing. When buying, the responsibility is solely on the buyer to determine whether the title of the property they are buying is legally sound and meets their mortgage lender's criteria.

Conversely, with a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Dorchester acting for the current owner only need to answer any enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor.

Factors that could delay or endanger your property sale

Properties can be burdened by a series of problems (e.g. chancel repair liability or a boundary dispute) that can prolong a sale.

Property specialists will generally suggest to sellers that they tackle any such problems head on.

Further reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Leasehold flats

Conveyancing for a leasehold property is significantly more technical than for a freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Dorchester will also perform extra work. This can involve asking for the latest service charge accounts, through to insurance premium details accounts.

To reduce leasehold-related delays, it is highly recommended that the vendor contact a solicitor as early as possible.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for both sides?

CLC-regulated conveyancers can act for both parties. However, SRA rules restrict the same solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale and purchase.

You could contact a local Dorchester conveyancing solicitor firm to handle your legal work, if we are carrying out the legal work for the other side.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Dorchester

The main reason people remortgage a home is to reduce the monthly repayments. There are also a number of other reasons to think about remortgaging, such as consolidating debts, or fixing the mortgage on a new discounted rate.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Dorchester will complete the conveyancing quickly, helping you get onto the lower rate earlier. With the base rate set at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a key consideration when getting the mortgage rate you want.

It is vitally important that the property lawyer handling your remortgage can act for the new mortgage provider. Our conveyancing team are panel members of all major banks and building societies. So no matter whether you are moving to a fixed-rate mortgage with RBS or to a discounted-rate mortgage with the Buckinghamshire Building Society, Quittance 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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