Updated: October 12, 2018

Essex conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Essex

Conveyancing solicitor fees are paid your Essex conveyancing solicitor for the legal work associated with buying or selling a property.

Are Essex conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Our conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee conveyancing basis with no nasty surprises in the small print, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Essex who carry out the legal work on an hourly rate. Your conveyancing quote will set out exactly what you will need to pay when your sale or purchase goes through.

Are there any other costs?

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

Disbursements are the third-party costs that your conveyancer will pass on to you at the end of the conveyancing process, such as office copies or property searches.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Essex cost?

Essex conveyancing solicitor fees will not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. There may, however, be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, Local Authority Search fees can vary and specific extra searches, such as a historic mining search, may be necessary.

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

Quittance's conveyancing fees were substantially lower than the average solicitors' fees, and their service was first-rate

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Essex

One of the Home Counties, Essex lies to the north east of London, bordering Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. Much of the county is rural, protected from London sprawl by the Metropolitan Green Belt. Its only city (and its county town) is Chelmsford, other urban areas include Harlow and Basildon new towns, Colchester, the port of Tilbury and the resort of Southend-on Sea.

For those wanting a quieter life there are several pretty towns and villages, including Tillingham, Tollesbury, Thaxted and Manningtree. Ingatestone, Audley End and Ockendon are popular with commuters, with journey times to London taking as little as half an hour.

Conveyancing for purchasers

The conveyancing for a property purchase requires the Essex conveyancing solicitor to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such issues are technical problems relating to the property title and the future saleability of the property.

The buyer's solicitor will feed the results of their enquiries back to the buyer and their bank or lender (if there is a mortgage), offer pragmatic solutions and confirm that the Land Registry's record of the property is updated.

The following discusses those types of property that may be of interest to people searching for conveyancing solicitors in Essex for a purchase.

Your Essex conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether you are taking out a mortgage from Santander, Bluestone Mortgages or any other lender, before appointing a Essex conveyancing solicitor you must confirm that they are on the approved panel of your lender.

Your lawyer may be unable to act for your lender, because some banks and building societies will only accept a restricted list (called a 'lender panel') of legal firms.

If this is the case, the lender will require a different law firm to act in their interests, and you will then have to cover this alternative solicitor's costs. This can frustrate or delay the process.

Failing to check your property solicitor's lender panel status could result in significant delays.

Quittance Conveyancing can act for all mortgage providers.

Searches (Essex County Council)

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') are submitted by Essex conveyancing solicitors to unearth any significant issues that could impact how much your property will be worth. They include:

  • Local Authority (LA) search - includes the LLC1 and CON29 which includes notices under the Planning, Highways and Public Health Acts
  • Environmental search - exposes whether the land around the property (500m radius) has been affected by subsidence, flooding or has been identified as "contaminated land"
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
  • Chancel repair liability - there is a risk that some Essex properties owe a liability to the local parish to pay for church repairs. Insurance can be taken out to protect against this liability.

Buyers will be informed if your mortgage lender requires any further searches, e.g. a more detailed flood report or a disadvantaged area search.

Essex County Council has an estimated lead time of 22 weeks for Local Authority searches, so faster personal searches will be preferred.

Planning issues

The buyer's conveyancing solicitor also retrieves the Title Register from HM Land Registry. This will help to highlight any potential issues. These issues could include neighbours' rights of access or the title plan showing only very general boundaries.

Essex County Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a number of factors including the size of the home and the assessed value of the property in April 1991. For instance for an average Tax Band - house in Essex, the amount of council tax due would be -.

Conveyancing solicitors in Essex will inform a purchaser of the home's tax band once they are made aware.

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 -.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example if the property is uninhabited (for the first 60 days) or for spouses of students who are not British.

-

Can I appeal against my band?

A property owner can also apply for their property to be reassessed, and a refund may be due if the property is awarded a lower band. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
London House
New London Rd
Chelmsford
CM2 0QL
Essex

Stamp Duty on Essex properties

Filling in the SDLT1 form yourself is is a complex undertaking and not for those unfamiliar with it.

If a house is valued at over £125,000, the property purchaser usually must pay SDLT.

Quittance's case management system ensures that the complicated SDLT1 form is filed online to reduce delays and to avoid late-filing penalties.

The following table illustrates SDLT examples for typical properties in Essex:

  Average selling price (February 2018) SDLT
Average price £339,819 £6,990.95
Average price (detached) £458,598 £12,929.90
Average new build £479,975 £13,998.75

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Essex

Since 2017, first-time buyers only need to pay stamp duty on properties valued over £300k. Following the autumn statement, second home buyers must pay a 3% SDLT surcharge. For example, if an existing homeowner bought a second property in Essex for the average price of £339,819 the stamp duty would be £27,185.52.

Essex conveyancing solicitors should confirm the correct calculation is made.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Essex

New build site

It is not recommended to purchase a leasehold property if you are unaware of the facts. The many potential complications lying in wait for the unsuspecting buyer can include increasing ground rents and unreasonable managing agent fees.

Inaccurate leasehold advice, from an inexperienced conveyancing solicitor, could have serious financial implications.

A competent conveyancing solicitor in Essex will consider potential leasehold issues, e.g. :

  • reviewing the lease itself (some documents can be centuries old)
  • service charges for relevant date periods
  • reviewing correspondence between the freeholder and leaseholder
  • share of freehold complexity
  • external decorations

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

Buying a 'New Build' property in Essex?

House under construction

97 new builds have been bought in Essex in 2018 so far, according to data gathered by the Land Registry. The average value of new build homes in Essex is £376,711.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Essex must be familiar with Essex-specific factors and new build's added complexities, like squaring developer incentives with lenders and investigating issues with drains and roads that serve the property.

Our expert new build team provide an independent view of the property's legal status, paying close attention to issues like the home's subsequent marketability and sharply increasing ground rent and service charges (where applicable).

Conservation areas in Essex

Your conveyancing solicitor will check if the residential property you are planning to buy is in one of Essex's conservation areas. If it is, the property could be affected by certain building controls. Called Article 4 directions, these constraints may include restrictions on replacing roof tiles, limits on the use of cladding or restrictions on the erection of outbuildings.

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

Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the property you are buying is located in one of Essex's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Essex

The legal work involved in a sale of a house or flat usually requires less work than for a purchase. When property changes hands, the responsibility lies entirely with the buyer to determine whether the property is mortgageable and free from legal issues.

When selling, conveyancing solicitors in Essex acting for the existing owner for the most part just answer the buyer's solicitor's questions.

What steps can you take to reduce the risk of an abortive sale?

A property can be burdened by a series of challenges (for example a complex 'Green Deal' or excessive ground rent) that have the capacity to stop a sale in its tracks.

It is almost always advisable for vendors to address these issues immediately.

Further reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Sale conveyancing for a leasehold property

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat or house is much more time-consuming than for a freehold house.

Essex conveyancing solicitors will also perform extra work, such as collating the latest service charge and ground rent statement, through to any documentation relating to forfeiture proceedings.

To help mitigate the delays involved in selling a leasehold property, it is highly recommended that you instruct a property lawyer as soon as possible, and ideally before marketing the property,.

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

CLC-regulated conveyancers can act for both the buyer and the seller. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority rules prevent the same conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale and purchase.

If you are buying or selling a Essex home, and we are carrying out the legal work for the other side, you could contact a local Essex conveyancing solicitor firm to handle your legal work.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Essex

Although people consider remortgaging for a range of reasons, people usually remortgage simply to get a better rate.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Essex can reduce the remortgage processing time, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With possible rate rises on the horizon, fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in getting the mortgage rate you want.

It is critical that the property lawyer handling your remortgage can act for your new bank or building society. Our conveyancing team are on all major UK lenders' panels. So whether you are moving to a 100% mortgage with Britannia or to a long-term fixed mortgage with the Yorkshire Bank, 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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