Updated: October 12, 2018

Merton conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Merton

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to your Merton conveyancing solicitor for carrying out the legal work for a property transaction.

Are Merton conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Our conveyancers work on fixed legal fees (known as 'No Sale, No Fee' or 'No Move, No Fee') with no unexpected, additional costs, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Merton who carry out the legal work on a fees per hour basis. Your conveyancing quote sets out all fees and other costs you will be charged when your house or flat sale completes.

What are disbursements?

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

Disbursements are the costs and expenses a solicitor needs to pay out on behalf of a client. These include costs like office copies or Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will the total Merton solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Merton conveyancing fees will not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. However, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. For example, additional region-specific searches, such as utilities searches, may be needed and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

For standard conveyancing transactions, what we quote is the fee you pay. With Quittance, there are absolutely no hidden costs. To calculate your conveyancing fees, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance's fees were cheaper - less than half the Estate Agent's recommended solicitor's fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Merton

The largest district within the south-west London Borough of Merton is Wimbledon. Also included are Colliers Wood, Merton, Mitcham, Morden and Raynes Park.

Described as peaceful and suburban, the borough offers family-friendly housing at average London prices, with new build housing attracting a growing population.

West and central London can be easily reached by the Northern and District Underground lines and there are National Rail links from stations served by Thameslink and Southern Rail. With both Mitcham and Wimbledon Commons within the borough, Merton offers the opportunity for residents to pursue a range of outdoor activities.

Conveyancing for purchasers

Purchase conveyancing needs a Merton conveyancing solicitor to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such issues can range from defective property title (e.g. the title is subject to an estate contract) to the future saleability of the property.

The buyer's property lawyer will report their findings back to the buyer and the lender (where there is a mortgage), solve outstanding issues and confirm that the legal title passes to the new owner.

The following section sets out useful guidance for buyers searching for conveyancing solicitors in Merton.

Your Merton conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether you are getting a mortgage from the Coventry Building Society, the HSBC or any other lender, before choosing a Merton conveyancing solicitor it is vital that you check that they are on the approved solicitor panel of your lender.

Most mortgage lenders will only work with a select list (referred to as a 'panel') of solicitors or licensed conveyancers. If a solicitor is not on the panel of your lender, the lender will require an alternative law firm to complete the legal work.

The home buyer will then have to cover this alternative lawyer's costs and significant delays to your move could occur.

Setbacks can arise if you do not confirm your property solicitor's lender panel status.

Our conveyancing solicitors can act on behalf of all lenders.

Merton Borough Council searches

Searches are questions asked of various bodies by Merton conveyancing solicitors to give details about your planned purchase.

Mortgage lenders also need searches to be applied for. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority (LA) search - includes the LLC1 Local Land Charge Register and CON29 Enquiry Form
  • 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 the location of sewers and water mains, and will confirm whether these are maintained by the local council.
  • Chancel repair liability - describes the insurance to protect against any liability owed by Merton properties for local parish repairs.

Additional searches, such as an HS2 search or a contaminated land report, may also be referred to following the initial searches.

The London Borough of Merton has a usual processing time of 7 weeks for Local Authority searches. As a result, quicker regulated searches will be recommended.

Planning searches

The buyer's conveyancing solicitor will also order an Official Copy of the Title Register from HMLR, helping to evidence any potential issues, such as the title plan showing only very general boundaries or rights or restrictions on how the property may be used.

London Borough of Merton Council Tax

London Borough of Merton calculate council tax on Merton homes based on the number of occupants and the historic value of the property (as valued at 1 April 1991). E.g. for an average Band C residential property in Merton, the council tax amount would be £1,305.

Merton conveyancing solicitors will inform a purchaser of the home's council tax 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 £979.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or structural changes or where the property (land) is a boat mooring or caravan pitch.

Band London Borough of Merton Tax (2018)
A £979
B £1,142
C £1,305
D £1,468
E £1,794
F £2,121
G £2,447
H £2,936

Is it possible to reduce my council tax band?

To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
2nd Floor
1 Francis Grove
London
SW19 4DT

A homeowner can apply for their property to be reassessed.

Stamp Duty on Merton properties

Stamp duty is a tax payable on all UK properties where the purchase price exceeds £125,000 (£145,000 in Scotland). SDLT is paid after an SDLT1 form is completed. The form is hard to understand in places - even some non-conveyancing solicitors struggle with it.

Quittance's investment in the latest online case management system means that HMRC filing rejections are a thing of the past.

This table sets out stamp duty for typical property in Merton:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £638,307 £21,915.35
Average price (detached) £2,380,410 £199,399.20
Average new build £727,381 £26,369.05
Following a change in April 2016, a 3% SDLT surcharge is applied for purchases of additional property. For example, if a property owner bought a second home in Merton for the average price of £638,307 the SDLT would be £51,064.56.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Merton

For first-time buyers, stamp duty is only payable on purchases over £300,000.

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

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Merton

New build site

The potential risks associated with buying a leasehold property in England or Wales are under increasing media scrutiny. Numerous technical obstacles may be awaiting an uninformed buyer, such as:

  • onerous covenants
  • incomplete management company accounts
  • absent freeholders
  • exponential ground rents
Erroneous leasehold advice, from a conveyancer with only freehold experience, could have serious financial implications.

A experienced conveyancing solicitor in Merton will address aspects of leasehold, for example :

  • reviewing the lease itself (many leases are decades old)
  • service charges
  • dealing with landlords
  • block management regulations that sit outside the lease
  • service charge retentions

Our specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors will work to ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Merton?

House under construction

Based on local data sourced by the Land Registry, 3 newly-constructed homes have been bought in Merton in 2018 so far. The average purchase price of new build homes in Merton is £758,333.

Buying a new build is more complex than any other type of conveyancing. To prevent difficulties arising a Merton conveyancing solicitor must be conscious of Merton-specific issues and will examine a number of areas, including helping with mortgage offer extension terms and spotting incomplete agreements for roads and sewers.

Our award-winning team of new build conveyancers are experts in representing buyers to achieve the best outcome and working to tight developer deadlines.

Conservation areas in London

When carrying out the legal work for a home in Merton, a conveyancing solicitor will need to check whether the home is in one of Merton's conservation areas. If it is, the property will be affected by specific conditions. These conditions may include:

  • Conditions affecting frontal additions to the property such as a porch
  • General restrictions governing non-uniform additions or modifications
  • A prohibition on the erection of outbuildings

If a property is in breach, the local planning authority can require the new owner to revert the property to its earlier condition, even if the changes were made by the previous owner.

Merton conservation areas include Wimbledon Hill Road, Pelham Road and Wimbledon Windmill. Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the property you are buying is located in one of Merton's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Merton

The legal side of a sale of a home is normally less troublesome than for a property purchase. The buyer's conveyancing solicitor conducts due diligence on the property and its legal title. Conveyancing solicitors in Merton acting for the seller mostly just gathers together any pertinent information and responds to enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor .

What could jeopardise the process?

A home can face issues (such as tree preservation orders) which may jeopardise your move.

It is usually a good idea for sellers to tackle any such problems head on.

Useful reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Sale conveyancing for a leasehold property

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat or house is a great deal more time-consuming than for a more straightforward freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Merton must usually carry out further legal work, and this could include requesting all relevant freeholder information, through to any documents pertaining to a variation of the terms of the lease.

It is highly recommended that the vendor contacts a leasehold specialist as soon as the decision is made to sell to help contain and resolve any delays.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for both the buyer and the seller in one transaction?

Conveyancers regulated by the CLC can act for both sides. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority rules ban the same conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a house sale.

You may want to instruct a property solicitor firm in Merton to carry out your legal work, if one of our conveyancing solicitors is acting for the other side.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Merton

Homeowners remortgage a home for a number of reasons, such as getting onto a longer fixed-rate term, or wanting to borrow more. The most common reason, however, is to reduce the monthly repayments.

An efficient conveyancing solicitor in Merton will complete the conveyancing quickly, and move you to the better rate sooner. With the base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a crucial factor in securing your preferred rate.

It is vitally important that the property lawyer carrying out the remortgage can represent your chosen bank or building society. Our conveyancing team are on the panel for all major UK lenders, so whether you are moving to a 95% mortgage with the Bank of Scotland or to a variable-rate mortgage with the Swansea Building Society, our remortgage team can assist.

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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