Updated: October 12, 2018

Dorset conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Dorset

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay your Dorset conveyancing solicitor for carrying out the legal work for a property transaction.

How are Dorset conveyancing fees calculated?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Dorset offer services on an hourly rate, while other property lawyers will work for a fixed fee (known as 'No Move, No Fee'). Our solicitors work on a guaranteed fixed conveyancing fee basis, with no nasty surprises in the small print. Your conveyancing quote will set out all fees and other costs you will be charged when your property transaction has completed.

Are there any other costs?

You will need to budget for 'disbursements', in addition to conveyancing solicitor fees.

Disbursements are the costs incurred by the solicitor on your behalf. These include costs like managing agent fees or Stamp Duty Land Tax.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Dorset cost?

Whilst conveyancing fees in Dorset will be the same as anywhere else in the UK, the disbursements required can vary. As examples, council search fees will vary and additional region-specific searches, such as a historic mining search, may be needed.

With Quittance Conveyancing, there are absolutely no hidden fees. For standard conveyancing transactions, what we quote is the fee you pay. Calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing fees calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Dorset

When carrying out the legal work for a homebuyer, the conveyancing solicitor in Dorset will carry out due diligence on the title of the property and make their "report on title".

The buyer's solicitor will offer professional advice after making their enquiries, deal with any legal issues and make sure that the title is registered in the name of the new buyer.

This section provides useful guidance for buyers looking for conveyancing solicitors in Dorset.

Your Dorset conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Irrespective of whether you are taking out a mortgage from GE Money Home Lending, Halifax or any other lender, before you choose a Dorset conveyancing solicitor it is paramount that you confirm that they can represent your mortgage lender.

Your solicitor may be unable to act for your mortgage lender, because some banks and building societies are only happy to work with a restricted panel of firms that meet strict criteria.

If this is the case, the lender will likely need a different law firm to complete the legal work, and you will be expected to pay this alternative lawyer's fees. Handling paperwork and correspondence with this additional party can delay the process.

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

Quittance Conveyancing can carry out the legal work for all major and minor mortgage lenders.

West Dorset District Council searches and other searches

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') are submitted by Dorset conveyancing solicitors to help spot any pertinent information that might possibly compromise how much your home is worth.

Lenders typically also require conveyancing searches to be applied for. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority (LA) search - reveals planning applications, decisions and enforcement notices for planning breaches.
  • Environmental search - shows whether the surrounding environment is suitable for the purchaser
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies whether the owner or local authority must pay for the maintenance of water mains and sewers
  • Chancel repair liability - describes the insurance to protect against any liability owed by Dorset properties for local parish repairs.

Purchasers will be told if your chosen lender wants any further searches, for example a tin mining search or a more detailed plan search.

West Dorset District Council has an approximate turnaround time of 45 weeks for Local Authority searches. Faster personal searches (as opposed to official LA searches) will therefore be recommended.

Planning searches

Official Entries will also be obtained by your conveyancing solicitor. This will help to expose any potential issues, such as outbuildings missing from the title plan or that a restrictive covenant has been breached.

West Dorset District Council Council Tax

The amount of council tax a homeowner in Dorset will pay to West Dorset District Council will depend on the property's value and the number of residents. E.g. for an average Tax Band C property in Dorset, the amount payable would be £1,712 per year.

A conveyancing solicitor in Dorset will inform a purchaser of the home's tax 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 (25%) would reduce the tax due to £1,284.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or structural changes or if the property is left empty by someone receiving medical treatment. The Valuation Office Agency assess bands for newly-built homes, and where the owner has requested a revaluation.

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

What to do if you suspect your new home is incorrectly valued

Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Vespasian House
Bridport Rd
Dorchester
DT1 1PX
Dorset

A property owner can also ask for their property to be reassessed.

Stamp Duty on Dorset properties

Stamp duty is paid to HMRC by completing an SDLT1 form. The form is lengthy and complex.

If a home is purchased for £125,000 or less, no Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable. Above this, most homebuyers will need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Penalties for errors or late filing of the SDLT1 form can be as high as 30%. Quittance Conveyancing use online case management system to ensure that SDLT is paid immediately after completion.

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

  Average selling price (2017) SDLT
Average price £325,131 £6,256.55
Average price (detached) £447,589 £12,379.45
Average new build £349,226 £7,461.30
Higher rates of stamp duty apply to buyers of second property in the form of a higher SDLT rate of 3%. So if a second property was bought for £325,131 then the stamp duty total will be £26,010.48.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Dorset

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

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

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Dorset

New build site

Buying a leasehold property if you don't know what you are getting into can be fraught with risk. Numerous legal complications could be awaiting the unsuspecting purchaser, including restrictions on the use of the property and spiralling ground rents.

Poor leasehold guidance, from an inexperienced solicitor, can have serious consequences.

A expert conveyancing solicitor in Dorset will consider potential leasehold issues, including :

  • reviewing the lease itself
  • ground rents and service charges
  • dealing with freeholders and managing agents
  • reserve funds
  • proceedings threatened against the freeholder under Part 2 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002

Ensure that you are aware of all the potential issues and costs associated with the lease - Call Quittance Conveyancing's leasehold conveyancing solicitors on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Dorset?

New build site

Based on data collated by the Land Registry, the average cost of new build property in Dorset is £360,783. 21 new builds have been bought in Dorset in 2018 so far.

The legal side of acquiring a new build property is considerably more complicated than buying a 'secondhand' home. To prevent difficulties arising a Dorset conveyancing solicitor needs to be aware of local Dorset considerations and must look into numerous things, like helping with mortgage offer extension terms and ensuring that the contract is in the buyer's favour.

With Quittance Conveyancing, you will get an independent view of the legal title of the house or flat, looking out for factors ranging from onerous leasehold conditions to potential freehold acquisition traps.

Conservation areas in Dorset

If you are buying a home in a conservation area in Dorset, the property will need to meet any conservation area conditions. Called Article 4 directions, these conditions could include:

  • Limits on roof terraces
  • Restrictions on dormer windows
  • Requiring consent to alter doors and guttering

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.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Dorset

The legal work involved in a property sale is normally less troublesome than when purchasing. When buying, the principle of 'buyer beware' means that the onus is on the buyer to make sure that the property they are purchasing does not have any legal issues.

On the other hand, when selling, conveyancing solicitors in Dorset acting for the vendor need only answer any enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor.

What could put your sale at risk?

A house or flat will often come with a series of legal problems (e.g. chancel repair liability or not being insurable) which may jeopardise the sale conveyancing process.

Property experts will generally recommend that vendors address any such problems immediately.

Recommended reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Selling a leasehold property

The legal work for a leasehold property is much more time-consuming than for a freehold house.

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in Dorset will need to conduct extra work, including collating the latest service charge and ground rent statement, through to any details of rules covering common parts that are not contained in the lease.

So as to resolve any leasehold-related difficulties sooner, it is recommended that you instruct a lawyer as early in the process as possible, and ideally before going on the market,.

Can your conveyancing solicitors act for both parties?

Conveyancers regulated by the CLC can act for both sides. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict a single conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale.

If you are buying or selling a Dorset property, and a Quittance solicitor is carrying out the legal work for the other side, you may wish to contact a property solicitor firm in Dorset to carry out your conveyancing.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Dorset

Benefitting from a lower interest rate to reduce monthly expenses is generally why homeowners opt to remortgage. There are other reasons, including getting onto a longer fixed-rate term, or consolidating loan repayments.

An efficient conveyancing solicitor in Dorset will complete the conveyancing quickly, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With the base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a crucial factor in getting the mortgage rate you want.

It is vital that the property lawyer handling your remortgage can also act for your new lender. Our conveyancers are on all major UK lenders' panels, so whether you are changing to a 95% mortgage with the Bank of Scotland or to a variable-rate mortgage with the Chelsea 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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