Updated: October 12, 2018

Houghton Le Spring conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Houghton Le Spring

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to your Houghton Le Spring conveyancing solicitor for the legal work involved in moving home.

How are Houghton Le Spring conveyancing fees calculated?

Our conveyancers work on fixed legal fees (known as 'No Sale, No Fee' or 'No Move, No Fee') with no nasty surprises in the small print, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Le Spring who carry out the legal work on a cost per hour basis. Your conveyancing quote will set out exactly what you will be charged when your property transaction has completed.

Are there any other costs?

You will have to pay any 'disbursements', in addition to the legal 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 managing agent fees or HMLR fees.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees

How much will the total Houghton Le Spring solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Houghton Le Spring conveyancing fees should not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. However, the costs of certain disbursements can vary. For example, additional region-specific searches, such as a historic mining search, may be needed and council search fees will vary.

With Quittance, there are absolutely no hidden costs. 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 considerably cheaper than the Estate Agent's recommended solicitor's fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Houghton Le Spring

A seller is now required to disclose issues that could affect the value or enjoyment of their property to the prospective buyer.

That said, it remains the responsibility of the conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Le Spring to make enquiries about the property, report back to the buyer and the lender, assist in resolving any issues and ensure that the change of ownership is registered at the Land Registry.

The content below discusses the aspects of the legal process for conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Le Spring that warrant specialist knowledge.

Your Houghton Le Spring conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Property purchasers can choose from many lenders, from a niche mortgage lender like Pepper Homeloans, to a large lender such as the Scottish Building Society. Before selecting a Houghton Le Spring conveyancing solicitor, whoever you choose, you must confirm that they can represent your lender.

Your solicitor may be unable to act for your lender, because some banks and building societies are only prepared to work with a restricted panel of solicitors or licensed conveyancers that pass strict selection criteria.

In this case, the lender will likely require an alternative solicitor firm to carry out the legal work, and you will usually need to pay this substitute lawyer's fees. This means the transaction could be delayed.

Major delays can result from failing to check your solicitor's lender panel status.

Our conveyancing solicitors can act for all banks and building societies.

Sunderland City Council searches and other searches

Searches are submitted by Houghton Le Spring conveyancing solicitors to unearth planning, development and environmental issues that might reduce the value of your house or flat. They include:

Local Authority (LA) searchincludes a list of planning decisions that could affect the property
Environmental searchshows whether the surrounding environment is suitable for the purchaser
Drainage & Water searchidentifies the location of sewers and water mains, and will confirm whether these are maintained by the local council.
Chancel repair liabilitydescribes the insurance to protect against any liability owed by Houghton Le Spring properties for local parish repairs.

Your conveyancer will tell you if your chosen lender insists on any further searches, e.g. a Crossrail search or a ground stability report.

The average processing time for property searches delivered by Sunderland City Council is 7 weeks. Your solicitor will instead apply for personal searches, which are usually faster.

Checking planning status

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer also retrieves an Official Copy of the Title Register from HMLR. This will help to highlight any potential issues. These issues could include a difference between the agent's floorplan and the title plan or that a restrictive covenant has been breached.

Sunderland City Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a variety of factors e.g. the square footage of the property and the value of the property as determined by the VOA in 1991. For instance a property in the Sunderland City Council area in Tax Band D would pay £1,550 per annum.

A conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Le Spring will inform a buyer of the property's tax band once this is confirmed by the searches.

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 £1,163.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, e.g. if the property is a second home then a 10% discount will be applied or where the property is a hall of residence. Newer homes are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency and allocated a council tax band.

Band Sunderland City Council Tax (2018)
A £1,034
B £1,206
C £1,378
D £1,550
E £1,895
F £2,240
G £2,584
H £3,101

Can I challenge my valuation?

To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Wycliffe House
Green Lane
County Durham

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) should reassess a property's band on request. Councils prefer that this be done within six months of buying a property.

Stamp Duty on Houghton Le Spring properties

If you are buying a home in England,Wales or Northern Ireland then stamp duty is payable on properties over £125k. In Scotland, the threshold is £145k. Submitting the SDLT1 form to HMRC is difficult and time consuming. The majority of purchasers get their conveyancing solicitor to do it for them.

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

See table below for SDLT examples for properties in Houghton Le Spring:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £148,546 £470.92
Average price (detached) £227,488 £2,049.76
Average new build £214,136 £1,782.72

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Houghton Le Spring

Since November 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300,000. Following the autumn statement, second home buyers have had to pay a surcharge of 3%. For example, if a property owner bought a second home in Houghton Le Spring for the average price of £148,546 the stamp duty would be £7,427.30.

Conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Le Spring should confirm an accurate calculation is made.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Le Spring

New build site

The drawbacks of leasehold property ownership should be of serious concern. The many potential complications awaiting the unsuspecting purchaser include:

  • unfair clauses in the lease
  • overpriced managing agent packs
  • reversionary interests
  • unreasonable ground rents
Serious financial ramifications can result from a less-experienced property lawyer's erroneous leasehold advice.

If you are planning to purchase a property with a lease, a expert conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Le Spring will consider potential leasehold issues, e.g. :

  • understanding regional and era-specific nuances of leases
  • absent freeholders
  • service charge records from the last three years
  • alterations since the lease was granted
  • flats with varying lease terms

Our team of leasehold conveyancing solicitors will work to ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Houghton Le Spring?

New build site

Based on local data compiled by the Land Registry, 10 brand new homes have been bought in Houghton Le Spring in 2018 so far. The average purchase price of Houghton Le Spring new builds is £248,768.

The legal side of purchasing a new build home is considerably more complicated than buying a 'secondhand' home. To prevent difficulties arising a Houghton Le Spring conveyancing solicitor must be conscious of local issues and will consider a range of issues, e.g. advising on mortgage offer flexibility for delayed completion and investigating issues with drains and roads that serve the property.

Quittance Conveyancing deliver an impartial view of the legal title of the house or apartment, looking out for considerations ranging from unfair leasehold conditions to 'doubling' ground rent and service charges (where applicable).

Tyne and Wear Conservation areas

Buying in a conservation area can ensure that the local neighbourhood is protected from drastic alterations. However, conservation area building controls will affect your residential property.

These restrictions, referred to as Article 4 Directions, could include anything from restrictions on painting external walls, to general restrictions governing non-uniform additions or modifications.

If a property is in breach, the owner could be required by law to pay for the property to be changed back to the state it was in before the recent alterations, even if the previous owner carried out the alterations.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Houghton Le Spring

The legal process for a sale of a home is much simpler than when purchasing. When property changes hands, the burden is solely on the buyer to determine whether the property they are buying is mortgageable and free from legal issues.

Conversely, when selling, conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Le Spring acting for the vendor effectively just answer enquiries made on behalf of the buyer.

What factors could threaten your sale?

Common hurdles, such as missing planning permission, can delay your home move.

It is better not to hide from the issue, waiting to see if the problem is discovered - a better course of action will be to get advice and deal with it proactively.

Recommended reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Selling a leasehold property

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat or house is significantly more specialised in comparison with a freehold house.

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Le Spring must carry out extra work, for example collating all relevant freeholder information or details of any unresolved disputes.

It is highly recommended that the seller instructs a leasehold-specialist conveyancer as soon as possible to reduce delays.

What if your conveyancing solicitors are acting for the other side?

SRA regulations prevent a single conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a house sale and purchase. A CLC-regulated conveyancer, however, can act for both the buyer and the seller.

If you are buying or selling a property in Houghton Le Spring, and one of our conveyancing solicitors is carrying out the legal work for the other side, you may wish to contact a property solicitor firm in Houghton Le Spring to carry out your conveyancing.

Local Houghton Le Spring conveyancing solicitor directory

  • Nicholson Martin Legge & Miller, Scruton House, Newbottle Street, Houghton Le Spring, Tyne and Wear, DH4 4AD
  • G Tilley Law Limited, Britannic Chambers Po Box 4, 92-94 Newbottle Street, Houghton Le Spring, Tyne and Wear, DH4 4AJ

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Houghton Le Spring

By far the most common reason people remortgage a home is to get a better interest rate. There are also other reasons to think about remortgaging, including wanting a more flexible mortgage, or releasing funds to help pay for home improvements.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Le Spring can reduce the remortgage processing time, helping you get onto the lower rate earlier. With the base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a crucial factor in getting onto your new rate as quickly as possible.

So that they can confirm that the lender's capital is protected, the property lawyer will need to act for both you and the bank or building society.

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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