Updated: October 12, 2018

Houghton Regis conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Houghton Regis

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to your Houghton Regis conveyancing solicitor for the legal work associated with buying or selling a property.

How are Houghton Regis conveyancing fees calculated?

Our conveyancing solicitors work on a guaranteed fixed conveyancing fee basis with no hidden fees, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Regis who carry out the legal work on a price per hour basis. Your conveyancing quote will set out what you will pay when your house or flat sale completes.

Are there any other costs in addition to conveyancing fees?

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 Stamp Duty Land Tax or telegraphic transfer fees.

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Houghton Regis cost?

Although conveyancing fees in Houghton Regis will be the same as anywhere else in the country, the disbursements required can vary. For example, council search fees will vary and specific extra searches, e.g. utilities searches, may be necessary.

For a standard home sale or purchase, the conveyancing fee we quote is the fee you pay. With Quittance, there are absolutely no hidden fees. 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 Houghton Regis

As a key part of the conveyancing for the purchase of a house or flat, a Houghton Regis conveyancing solicitor will investigate the title of the property and make their "report on title".

The buyer's lawyer will give advice once their enquiries are complete, find solutions to outstanding defects and other issues and make sure that the title is registered in the name of the new buyer.

This section of the article sets out useful information for people who want conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Regis for a purchase.

Your Houghton Regis 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 Yorkshire Bank. Before appointing a conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Regis, whoever you choose, it is essential that you check that they can act on behalf of your mortgage lender.

Your solicitor may be unable to act for your mortgage lender, because some mortgage lenders are only happy to work with a restricted panel of legal firms.

If that is the case, the lender will likely require a second legal firm to complete the legal work, and you will be expected to pay this second solicitor's costs. This can frustrate or delay the process.

Your purchase could be jeopardised by failing to check your property lawyer's lender panel status.

Quittance Conveyancing are approved to act for all banks and other lenders.

Central Bedfordshire Council searches

Residential property searches are questions asked of various bodies by Houghton Regis conveyancing solicitors to identify issues affecting your new home. They include:

  • Local Authority search - reveals issues like whether the adjoining road and pavement are publicly maintained
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
  • Environmental search - shows risks within 500 metres of the property, such as toxic chemicals in the land
  • Chancel repair liability - there is a risk that some Houghton Regis 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 highways search or a disadvantaged area search, may also be advised in the standard searches.

Central Bedfordshire Council has an approximate delivery time of 10 weeks for Local Authority searches. Your solicitor will instead apply for personal searches, which are usually faster.

Planning searches

Official Entries will also be obtained from HMLR by the conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer. This will help to reveal planning issues. These issues could include that a restrictive covenant has been breached or outbuildings lying outside the boundary.

Central Bedfordshire Council Council Tax

Central Bedfordshire Council calculate your council tax based on a number of criteria which include the size and character of the property and the assessed value of the property in April 1991. E.g. the occupier of a Band E home in the Central Bedfordshire Council area would pay annual council tax of £2,293.

A conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Regis will inform the buyer of the property's band once they are themselves notified.

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 £1,720.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example a 10% discount for second homes or where the property is occupied solely by students.

Band Central Bedfordshire Council Tax (2018)
A £1,251
B £1,459
C £1,668
D £1,876
E £2,293
F £2,710
G £3,127
H £3,752

Can I lower my band?

To appeal contact:

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

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) should reassess a property's band on request.

Stamp Duty on Houghton Regis properties

If the purchase price of the residential property you intend to buy is over the £125k threshold, you must pay stamp duty. 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's investment in the latest integrated conveyancing case management system means that HMRC filing rejections are a thing of the past.

The following table illustrates SDLT examples for properties in Bedfordshire:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £301,650 £5,082.50
Average price (detached) £491,611 £14,580.55
Average new build £386,445 £9,322.25

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Houghton Regis

Since the budget announcement in Nov 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300k. Higher rates of stamp duty apply to buyers of second residential property in the form of a 3% surcharge. So if a second property was bought for £301,650 then the stamp duty total will be £24,132.00.

Conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Regis will confirm the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Houghton Regis

New build site

Buying a leasehold home is not as straightforward as buying a freehold property. The many potential complications lying in wait for the unsuspecting purchaser include:

  • spiralling ground rents
  • costly and undisclosed major works
  • onerous covenants
Bad or incomplete leasehold advice, from an inexperienced lawyer, could lead to serious consequences.

If you are planning to buy a property with a lease, a expert conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Regis will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, e.g. :

  • reviewing the lease itself (leases can be 10's or even 100's of years old)
  • dealing with landlords
  • possible service charge shortfalls
  • service charge retentions

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase - Speak to Quittance Conveyancing's leasehold conveyancing solicitor team on 0800 612 0377 today.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Houghton Regis?

House under construction

The average cost of Houghton Regis new build property is £386,445, according to data gathered by the Land Registry. 805 newly-constructed homes were purchased in Houghton Regis last year.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Regis needs to be conscious of Houghton Regis-specific considerations and the specific issues associated with new build, including helping with mortgage offer extension terms, confirming rights to use pipes and cables (e.g. phone, data, fibre, electricity) and checking new build warranties with warranty providers, including NHBC, Build Zone and Ark Residential.

Our new build team specialise in meeting short developer deadlines and representing buyers to achieve the best outcome.

Conservation areas in Bedfordshire

Whether you are planning to buy a thatched cottage or a Tudor home, if the home is in a protected conservation area, any planned alterations to the home may not be permitted by Central Bedfordshire Council.

These conditions, called Article 4 Directions, can include anything from restrictions on the use of PVC windows, to restrictions on joinery colour choices.

The local authority can order any non-compliant alterations to a property to be changed or removed.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Houghton Regis

The legal process for a house sale usually requires less work than when buying. When a house or flat changes hands, the responsibility lies entirely with the buyer to verify that the property they are purchasing does not have any legal issues.

Conversely, with a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Houghton Regis acting for the current owner effectively just answer any enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor.

Factors that could delay or endanger the conveyancing process

Frequently occurring issues, such as not having suitable right of way or having a defective lease, can potentially delay the sale conveyancing process if not handled appropriately.

You shouldn't bury your head in the sand as it is the buyer's solicitor's job to spot problems. Instead, you should get advice, square up to the issue(s), and find a solution ASAP.

Recommended reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Sale conveyancing for a leasehold property

The legal work for a leasehold flat (houses are rarely leasehold) is a great deal more complicated than it is for a freehold home.

Houghton Regis conveyancing solicitors will also perform extra work. This can involve sourcing all relevant freeholder information, through to details of any breach of the terms of the lease.

It is strongly advised that the seller instructs a lawyer with leasehold experience as early in the process as possible, preferably before putting the property on the market, to help contain and resolve any delays.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for both sides?

SRA regulations ban the same conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a house sale and purchase. CLC-regulated conveyancers, however, can act for both the buyer and the seller.

You may wish to contact a law firm in Houghton Regis to undertake your legal work, if a Quittance conveyancer is doing the legal work for the other side.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Houghton Regis

Whilst there are many reasons to consider remortgaging, people usually remortgage their home simply to get a better rate.

Homeowners can appreciate the benefits of a better rate earlier with a more efficient conveyancing solicitor in Houghton Regis, minimising the time taken to complete the conveyancing. With the Bank of England base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a key consideration when getting on to the rate you want.

It is critical that the property lawyer carrying out the remortgage can also represent your preferred mortgage provider. Our conveyancing team are on all major lenders' panels, so no matter whether you are moving to a 95% mortgage with the Bank of Scotland or to a discounted-rate mortgage with the Darlington 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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