Updated: October 12, 2018

Durham conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Durham

Conveyancing solicitor fees are paid to conveyancing solicitors in Durham for the legal work associated with moving home.

Are Durham conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis with no hidden costs, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Durham who carry out the legal work on a fees per hour basis. Your quote will explain exactly what you will be charged when your house or flat sale completes.

Are there any other costs?

You will need to budget for 'disbursements', on top of the conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are fees, costs or taxes that your property solicitor will have to pay to third parties on behalf of their client, such as landlord's notice fees or bankruptcy searches.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Durham cost?

While conveyancing fees in Durham will be the same as anywhere else in the country, the disbursements required can vary. For example, additional region-specific searches, e.g. utilities searches, may be needed and council search fees will vary.

For a standard sale or purchase, the conveyancing fee we quote is the fee you pay. With Quittance Conveyancing, there are absolutely no hidden costs. To calculate your conveyancing fees, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance's conveyancing fees were considerably cheaper than the average solicitors' fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Durham

In carrying out the conveyancing for a homebuyer, the conveyancing solicitor in Durham will look into the legal ownership rights or 'title' of the property and feed the results of their enquiries back to the buyer.

After making their enquiries the solicitor will give advice and will make practical suggestions and register the title in the new owner's name.

The following discusses those parts of the buying process for conveyancing solicitors in Durham requiring a deeper level of knowledge.

Your Durham conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

There are many lenders, from a niche lender like Atom Bank, to a large lender such as the Nationwide Building Society. Before instructing a conveyancing solicitor in Durham, whoever you choose, it is essential that you check that they are on the approved panel of your chosen lender.

Your solicitor may not be able to carry out the legal work on behalf of your chosen lender, because some mortgage lenders only accept a restricted panel of firms that match certain criteria.

If this is the case, the lender will likely need a different legal firm to complete the legal work, and you will then have to cover this substitute solicitor's costs. This means the transaction could be delayed.

Not checking your conveyancer's lender panel status could result in significant delays.

Our conveyancing solicitors can act on behalf of all lenders.

Durham County Council searches and other searches

Searches are enquiries made of various authorities by Durham conveyancing solicitors to provide information about your new home. They include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchreveals issues like whether the adjoining road and pavement are publicly maintained
Drainage & Water searchcovers the location of water pipes and drains, and reveals if the upkeep for these falls on the owner or local council.
Environmental searchidentifies nearby landfill and contaminated land sites (within 500 metres), and if there has been any historic flooding or mining subsidence.
Chancel repair liabilitythere is a risk that some Durham properties owe a liability to the local parish to pay for church repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this liability.

Additional searches, such as a radon gas search or an energy search, may also be recommended in the initial search results.

Durham County Council has an average lead time of 14 weeks for Residential property searches. Personal searches (as opposed to official LA searches) will therefore delivered sooner.

Planning searches

The buyer's conveyancing solicitor will also order an Official Copy of the Title Register from the Land Registry. This will help to identify planning issues. Examples of these include limits on the development of the property or outbuildings lying outside the boundary.

Durham County Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a number of criteria including the size and character of the property and the property's value as at 1 April 1991. For example, a home in the Durham County Council area in Tax Band C would pay £1,678 per annum.

Durham conveyancing solicitors will inform a purchaser of the property's tax 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 £1,258.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, e.g. where the home is empty or unfurnished for a maximum of 60 days or if the property is a 'granny annexe'.

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 lower my band?

The Valuation Office Agency should reassess a property's band on request. To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Wycliffe House
Green Lane
Durham
DH1 3UW
County Durham

Stamp Duty on Durham properties

The purchaser's conveyancing solicitor will ensure that the SDLT is correctly calculated and is paid to HMRC. This occurs once the property sale has completed.

Stamp Duty Land Tax works in a similar fashion to income tax insofar as a buyer will pay progressively more tax for a higher-value residential property.

Quittance is able to administer the SDLT process faster and more efficiently than ever, using integrated online systems.

The following table illustrates stamp duty examples for average properties in Durham:

  Average selling price (2018 to date) Stamp Duty
Average price £142,023 £340.46
Average price (detached) £258,791 £2,939.55
Average new build £295,262 £4,763.10

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Durham

For first-time buyers, stamp duty is only payable on purchases over £300,000. Following a change in April 2016, a stamp duty surcharge of 3% is applied for purchases of additional property. E.g. if a second home was bought for £142,023 then the SDLT including the surcharge would be £7,101.15. .

Conveyancing solicitors in Durham will ensure the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Durham

New build site

The risks associated with owning a leasehold property remain of serious concern. The many potential traps awaiting the unsuspecting buyer can include:

  • overpriced managing agent packs
  • unreasonable ground rents
  • short leases
Erroneous leasehold advice, from a conveyancer with only freehold experience, could have serious financial consequences.

If you intend to purchase a property with a lease, a expert conveyancing solicitor in Durham will address aspects of leasehold, for example reviewing the lease itself, reviewing correspondence between the freeholder and leaseholder and service charge records from the last three years.

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property - Speak to Quittance Conveyancing's specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors today on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Durham?

House being built

The average value of new builds in Durham is £295,262. 15 brand new homes have been bought in Durham in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Durham must be mindful of both local Durham issues as well as new build's added complexities, e.g. dealing with fast exchange timeframes and administering Help to Buy purchases.

Our team of new build conveyancers are specialists in meeting short developer deadlines and helping the buyer get the best possible purchase terms.

County Durham Conservation areas

When acting for the purchaser of a property in Durham, a conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the residential property is in a conservation area in Durham. If it is, the home will be affected by specific building controls. Called Article 4 directions, these building controls may include possible restrictions on solar panel positioning, restrictions on the addition of flues and soil vent pipes or restrictions on the erection of outbuildings.

If a property is in breach, the owner could be legally required to pay for the property to be changed back to the state it was in before the recent alterations, even if the previous owner was responsible for the changes.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Durham

Conveyancing for a property sale is less demanding than when purchasing. With a purchase, the burden lies with the purchaser to establish that the house or flat is not legally defective.

Conversely, with a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Durham acting for the seller need only respond to the buyer's solicitor's questions.

Why do sales fall through?

Common hurdles, such as missing planning regulations or excessive service charges, can potentially delay your home move if left unresolved.

Property experts will usually advise to sellers that they handle such issues without delay.

Recommended reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Leasehold

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat is quite a lot more complicated than it is for a freehold home.

The complexities of leasehold mean conveyancing solicitors in Durham will usually undertake extra work, such as getting the latest service charge and ground rent statement or any documentation relating to forfeiture proceedings.

It is recommended that the seller instructs a property lawyer with leasehold experience as early in the process as possible, potentially before putting the property on the market, to reduce delays.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for both sides?

Conveyancers regulated by the Council for Licenced Conveyancers can act for both parties. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority rules ban the same solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale.

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

Local Durham conveyancing solicitor directory

  • John Bayles & Co, 68 Saddler Street, Durham, County Durham, DH1 3NP
  • Barbara Thubron, 9 New Elvet, Durham, County Durham, DH1 3AQ
  • The Richmond Partnership Incorporating Richmond Anderson Goudie, Lumsdon House, 19 Old Elvet, Durham, County Durham, DH1 3HL
  • Freeman Johnson, 31 Old Elvet, Durham, County Durham, DH1 3JA
  • Her Majesty's Courts Service (Durham), Area Director's Office, Hmcs-cdn, Green Lane, Old Elvet, Durham, County Durham, DH1 3RG

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Durham

Securing a better rate is usually the main reason why people decide to remortgage. There are other reasons, including the existing lender having refused a payment holiday, or releasing capital to pay off other debts.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Durham will complete the conveyancing quickly, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With future interest rate changes hard to predict, fast conveyancing can be a contributing factor to securing your preferred rate.

Your property lawyer must also be able to act on behalf of the new mortgage lender. Our conveyancers are on all major UK lenders' panels. So whether you are changing to a 95% mortgage with RBS or to a long-term fixed mortgage with the Dudley 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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