Updated: October 12, 2018

Gravesend conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Gravesend

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay to your Gravesend conveyancing solicitor for the legal work associated with moving home.

Do Gravesend conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Gravesend offer services on an hourly-rate basis, while other property lawyers will work for a fixed fee (known as 'No Move, No Fee'). Our solicitors work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis, with no hidden fees. Your conveyancing quote will set out exactly what you will need to pay when your property transaction has completed.

Are there any other costs?

You will have to pay any '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. These include costs like office copies and title plans or Stamp Duty Land Tax.

See: A guide to conveyancing fees, costs and disbursements

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Gravesend cost?

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

For a standard sale or purchase, the fees we quote are the fees you pay. With Quittance Conveyancing, there are no hidden fees or nasty surprises. 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 Gravesend

Under recent changes to English and Welsh property law, a seller must now disclose issues concerning their property to the buyer.

That said, it remains the responsibility of the Gravesend conveyancing solicitor to investigate the property, and make their "report on title", solve outstanding issues and register the title in the new owner's name.

This article offers invaluable advice for buyers who want conveyancing solicitors in Gravesend.

Your Gravesend conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before you instruct a conveyancing solicitor in Gravesend, you must confirm that they can act on behalf of your mortgage lender, whether you are taking out a mortgage from NatWest, Scottish Widows or any other 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 restricted panel of law firms that have achieved certain benchmarks.

Should this be the case, the lender will require a second solicitor firm to act in their interests, and you will usually need to pay this second lawyer's costs. This can push back the completion date of the purchase.

Significant delays can arise if you do not confirm your lawyer's lender panel status.

Our solicitors can act for all mortgage lenders.

Conveyancing Searches (Gravesham Borough Council)

Searches are enquiries made of various authorities by Gravesend conveyancing solicitors to give details about the home you want to buy. They include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchexposes issues like road schemes that could affect the property
Drainage & Water searchidentifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
Environmental searchidentifies risks within 500 metres of the property, including flooding subsidence. The search will also reveal nearby landfill sites and contaminated land.
Chancel repair liabilityinvolves the potential liability owed by the owners of certain property to pay for local parish church repairs. Insurance can be arranged to cover this risk.

More specialised searches, such as a tin mining search or an agricultural search, may also be advised subject to the outcome of the initial searches.

Gravesham Borough Council has a usual delivery time of 9 weeks for property searches, so your conveyancer will instead use a quicker local search agent.

Finding planning permissions

Official Entries (or 'office copies') will also be ordered from HMLR by the conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer, assisting with the identification of any issues. These issues could include outbuildings missing from the title plan or neighbours' rights of access.

Gravesham Borough Council Council Tax

As a homeowner in Gravesend, 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. The occupier of a property in Tax Band B, for example, would owe annual council tax of £1,314.

Gravesend conveyancing solicitors will inform the purchaser of the property'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 (25%) would reduce the tax due to £985.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example if the property is uninhabited (for the first 60 days) or where the property was left empty by a bankrupt person. New build property is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency and allocated a band.

Band Gravesham Borough Council Tax (2018)
A £1,126
B £1,314
C £1,501
D £1,689
E £2,064
F £2,440
G £2,815
H £3,378

Is it possible to appeal?

It is possible to challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 30 council tax challenges were made. 10 were approved and the tax was reduced. To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Anchorage House
High St
Chatham
ME4 4WD
Kent

Stamp Duty on Gravesend properties

A property purchaser will usually need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax if the home they are purchasing is valued at over £125k. It is the responsibility of the purchaser's conveyancing solicitor to handle the tax return process for the purchase.

Quittance Conveyancing's specialist post-completion team will ensure that the complicated SDLT1 form is completed and submitted to HMRC without delay.

See examples for typical local properties:

  Average selling price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £338,588 £6,929.40
Average price (detached) £530,464 £16,523.20
Average new build £494,799 £14,739.95
Higher rates of SDLT apply to buyers of second residential property in the form of a surcharge of 3%. So if a second property was bought for £338,588 then the SDLT total will be £27,087.04.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Gravesend

In 11/17, the Government announced that first-time buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty on properties below £300k.

Conveyancing solicitors in Gravesend should ensure the right amount is calculated.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Gravesend

New build site

Purchasing a leasehold house or flat can be complex, compared to buying a freehold property. Numerous technical issues may be awaiting the unsuspecting purchaser, such as:

  • ground rent multipliers
  • unpaid service charges by the existing leaseholder
  • onerous covenants
Serious financial ramifications can result from a solicitor's erroneous leasehold advice.

A specialist conveyancing solicitor in Gravesend will consider possible leasehold issues, including service charge records from the last three years, unexpired lease terms and dealing with landlords.

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase - You can call our leasehold conveyancing solicitors on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Gravesend?

House under construction

8 brand new properties have been bought in Gravesend in 2018 so far, (sce: Land Registry). The average price for Gravesend new build properties is £114,624.

The legal work for purchasing a new build property can be more involved than any other type of conveyancing. To avoid potential problems a Gravesend conveyancing solicitor must be aware of Gravesend-specific considerations and will need to report to clients on a number of issues, e.g. ensuring that new build mortgage conditions are met and verifying rights of easements.

Our expert new build team provide an impartial appraisal of the legal title of the house or flat, scrutinising contract issues ranging from problematic leasehold terms to potential freehold acquisition traps.

Kent Conservation areas

If you are buying a property in one of Gravesend's conservation areas, the property must not breach any conservation area restrictions. These constraints, referred to as Article 4 Directions, can include:

  • Restrictions on door and window styles
  • Restrictions preventing paving over the front garden
  • A prohibition on extensions (even if within Permitted Development rights)

The local council can order any non-compliant alterations to a property to be changed or removed, such as removing a flue.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Gravesend

The legal process for a house sale is less difficult than when buying. During the sale of a house or flat, caveat-emptor' means that the onus is on the buyer to discover whether the title of the property they are buying is legally sound and meets their mortgage lender's criteria.

In contrast, for a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Gravesend acting for the vendor need only respond to any enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor.

How to give yourself the best chances of success

Issues, like a boundary dispute or having a flying freehold, can easily delay your home move if not dealt with promptly.

It is better not to hide from the issue, trusting that the issue won't be discovered. The best course of action is to get legal advice and tackle it promptly.

Further reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Sale conveyancing for a leasehold property

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat is a great deal more protracted than it is for a freehold home.

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in Gravesend will usually undertake additional legal work, including collating an up-to-date service charge statement, through to a copy of the building's asbestos survey (if required).

It is highly recommended that the seller instructs a leasehold-specialist conveyancer as soon as possible, and preferably before marketing the property, to help contain and resolve any delays.

What if Quittance is acting for the other side?

Solicitors Regulation Authority rules restrict a single conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a house sale. A conveyancer who is regulated by the CLC, however, can act for both parties.

You may want to instruct a property solicitor firm in Gravesend to carry out your legal work, if a Quittance conveyancing solicitor is acting for the other side.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Gravesend

Whilst there are many reasons to consider remortgaging, people generally remortgage their home to save money with a lower rate.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Gravesend can reduce the remortgage processing time, and move you to the better rate sooner. With future interest rate changes hard to predict, fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in getting the mortgage rate you want.

The property lawyer will represent both you and the new lender to confirm the lender's new interest is correctly registered and the parties' interests are protected.

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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