Updated: October 12, 2018

Hertfordshire conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Hertfordshire

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to conveyancing solicitors in Hertfordshire for the legal work associated with moving home.

Are Hertfordshire conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Hertfordshire carry out the legal work on a cost per hour basis, and other firms will work for a fixed fee ('No Move, No Fee'). Our solicitors work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis, with no unexpected, additional costs. Your conveyancing quote will set out all fees and other costs 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 the costs incurred by the solicitor on your behalf. These include costs like ID checks or property searches.

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will the total Hertfordshire solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Hertfordshire conveyancing solicitor fees will be the same as anywhere else in the country. There may, however, be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, additional region-specific searches, such as a flooding search, may be needed and Local Authority Search fees can vary.

There are no hidden fees or nasty surprises with Quittance Conveyancing. For a standard home sale or purchase, the conveyancing fee we quote is the fee you pay. To calculate your conveyancing fees, try our conveyancing fees quote 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 Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire in southern England lies between Bedfordshire and Greater London. Key districts include Stevenage and Hemel Hempstead, both 'new towns', Bishop's Stortford and Watford, plus the cathedral city of St Albans. The market town of Hertford is the county town.

Much of the county is protected by green belt, and contains the attractive villages of Much Hadham, Tewin, Wheathampstead and a cluster of hamlets known as The Ayots. All offer family-friendly lifestyles and are within commuting distance of the capital via Welwyn Garden City, Tring or Harpenden.

Conveyancing for home buyers

Caveat emptor, meaning 'let the buyer beware', was a fundamental principle of property law in England and Wales. Since 2013, this principle no longer applies, however, it remains the duty of a buyer's legal representative to carry out due diligence on a planned purchase.

The conveyancing solicitor in Hertfordshire will offer professional advice once their enquiries are complete, offer practical solutions and ensure that the change of ownership is registered at the Land Registry.

This part of the article discusses those areas of the legal process for conveyancing solicitors in Hertfordshire that require specialised skills.

Your Hertfordshire conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Property purchasers have access to around 100 UK lenders, from a major lender such as Lloyds Bank, to a financial institution like the Holmesdale Building Society. Before you appoint a conveyancing solicitor in Hertfordshire, you need to check that they can act for your mortgage lender.

The majority of mortgage lenders will only accept a selected list (known as a 'panel') of legal practices that meet strict criteria. If your solicitor is unable to act for your mortgage lender, the lender will require an alternative solicitor firm to act in their interests.

You will then have to cover this second lawyer's costs, and the conveyancing process can take much longer.

Failing to confirm the lender panel membership of your property lawyer could mean significant delays.

Our conveyancing solicitors are on the panel of all lenders.

Conveyancing Searches (Welwyn Hatfield Council)

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') are questions asked of various bodies by Hertfordshire conveyancing solicitors to help uncover relevant information about your new home.

Searches are primarily performed to satisfy the conditions of the lender. These will include the local authority (LA) search, environmental search, drainage & water search and chancel repair liability.

You will be told if your chosen lender needs any more searches, e.g. a highways authority search or a Forestry Commission search.

The typical lead time for Residential property searches delivered by Welwyn Hatfield Council is 6 weeks, so your lawyer will recommend using quicker personal searches.

Planning searches

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will request an 'Official Copy of the Title Register' from HMLR. This will help to expose any issues. Examples of these include the title plan showing only very general boundaries or limits on the development of the property.

Welwyn Hatfield Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a variety of factors which include the size and character of the property and the value of the home as determined by the VOA in 1991 (or 2003 in Wales). For example, for an average Band E house in Hertfordshire, the council tax payable would be £2,115 per year.

Hertfordshire conveyancing solicitors will inform a purchaser of the property's band once they have the Local Authority search results.

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 £1,586.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example a 10% discount for second homes (although this may change as the government has second home ownership in its sights) or if the property is left empty by someone receiving medical treatment.

Band Welwyn Hatfield Council Tax (2018)
A £1,154
B £1,346
C £1,538
D £1,730
E £2,115
F £2,500
G £2,884
H £3,461

Can I dispute my band?

A property owner can also apply for their property to be reassessed. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
St. Peters House
45 Victoria St
St. Albans
AL1 3WZ
Hertfordshire

Stamp Duty on Hertfordshire properties

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 property. Obtaining and completing the SDLT1 return from HMRC is difficult but not impossible for a typical property buyer. Usually, however, the form is completed by the property lawyer to avoid penalties or delays.

Quittance Conveyancing ensure that the convoluted SDLT1 form is completed accurately and without delay.

See SDLT examples for homes in Hertfordshire:

  Average selling price (2017) SDLT
Average price £455,923 £12,796.15
Average price (detached) £787,532 £29,376.60
Average new build £429,702 £11,485.10
Following the recent budget statement, second home buyers must pay a 3% surcharge. For example, if an existing homeowner bought a second home in Hertfordshire for the average price of £455,923 the SDLT would be £36,473.84.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Hertfordshire

Since the budget announcement in Nov 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300,000 with relief up to £500,000 in some areas.

Conveyancing solicitors in Hertfordshire should confirm the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Hertfordshire

New build site

It can be risky to purchase a leasehold home if you are unaware of the facts. There are any number of legal technicalities that could be lying in wait for an uninformed buyer, such as:

  • unfair developer practices
  • unfair clauses in the lease
  • ground rent multipliers
Severe consequences can result from a solicitor's inaccurate leasehold advice.

A expert conveyancing solicitor in Hertfordshire will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, e.g. reviewing the lease, managing agent or landlord enquiries and ground rents and service charges.

Ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase - Get in touch with our specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors today on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Hertfordshire?

Building site

53 new build houses and flats have been bought in Hertfordshire in 2018 so far, according to data gathered by the HM Land Registry. The average value of Hertfordshire new build properties is £437,651.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Hertfordshire must be aware of both local Hertfordshire considerations as well as the added complexities associated with new build, e.g. ensuring that new build mortgage conditions are met, handling withdrawal under the Consumer Code for Housebuilders and working with warranty providers such as NHBC Buildmark, LABC and BLP.

Our specialist team of new build conveyancers deliver a specialist assessment of the legal title of the house or flat, whilst being mindful of factors ranging from onerous leasehold conditions to 'doubling' ground rent and service charges (where applicable).

Hertfordshire conservation areas

Whether you enjoy Tudor-style or Edwardian architecture, purchasing property in a conservation area can ensure that the neighbourhood is protected from noticeable change. However, conservation area constraints will affect your home.

Called Article 4 directions, these conditions could include:

  • Limits on roof terraces
  • Restrictions on dormer windows
  • Needing 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 if the changes were made by the previous owner.

Your Quittance conveyancing solicitor will confirm if the property you are purchasing is located in a conservation area in Hertfordshire.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Hertfordshire

The legal work involved in a sale of a house or flat is simpler than for a purchase. When a house or flat changes hands, the responsibility is on the buyer to discover whether the home they are buying is mortgageable and free from legal issues.

On the other hand, when selling, conveyancing solicitors in Hertfordshire acting for the person selling only need to answer the buyer's questions.

What could put your property sale at risk?

Properties will frequently have a broad spectrum of possible difficulties (such as issues with neighbours' rights over the property) that can delay your home move.

In general, it is advisable for sellers to tackle any such problems head on.

Recommended reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Leasehold flats

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat (leasehold houses are rare) is quite a lot more difficult than it is for a freehold home.

Hertfordshire conveyancing solicitors will also need to carry out additional work, such as requesting all relevant freeholder information, through to a copy of the lease.

In order to resolve any leasehold issues faster, it is highly recommended that the vendor contact a lawyer as soon as an estate agent is chosen.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for both sides?

A conveyancer who is regulated by the CLC can act for both parties. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority rules ban the same conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale and purchase.

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

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Hertfordshire

Saving money on a lower interest rate is generally why people opt to remortgage. There are other reasons, including consolidating loan repayments, or switching from interest-only to repayment.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Hertfordshire can reduce the remortgage processing time, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With rate rises anticipated, fast conveyancing can be a contributing factor to getting on to the rate you want.

The property lawyer will act for both you and the new lender to certify the interests of the lender are covered.

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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