Updated: October 12, 2018

Plymouth conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Plymouth

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay to conveyancing solicitors in Plymouth for the legal work associated with buying or selling a property.

Are Plymouth conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Plymouth will work on an hourly-rate basis. Some conveyancers will complete the work for a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee conveyancing basis, with no nasty surprises in the small print. Your quote explains exactly what you will need to pay when your sale or purchase completes.

Besides conveyancing fees, what other costs are there?

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 managing agent information or bankruptcy searches.

See: A guide to conveyancing fees, costs and disbursements

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Plymouth cost?

Plymouth conveyancing fees will be the same as anywhere else in the UK. However, the costs of certain disbursements can vary. For example, Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary and additional region-specific searches, e.g. a Coal Authority search, may be needed.

There are no hidden costs or nasty surprises with Quittance. For a standard home sale or purchase, what we quote is the fee you pay. Work out the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Plymouth

Plymouth is the largest city in Devon and lies on the coast about 37 miles south west of Exeter, close to the boundary with Cornwall.

The city grew as a commercial shipping port and its economy remains strongly influenced by shipbuilding and seafaring, with 270 firms operating in the maritime sector. Other industry is service-based, including administration and health.

In 2017 the council announced plans to inject millions of pounds into numerous development projects, including a new railway station, new shops and offices and investment in superfast broadband. House prices are below the national average and are predicted to rise.

Conveyancing for buyers

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 a conveyancing solicitor in Plymouth to investigate the property, so that they can report back to the purchaser and the mortgage lender (if applicable), solve outstanding issues and register the new owner's title at the Land Registry.

The content below sets out assistance for homebuyers searching for conveyancing solicitors in Plymouth.

Your Plymouth conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Irrespective of whether you are getting a mortgage from Coutts, Halifax or any other lender, before choosing a Plymouth conveyancing solicitor it is critical that you make sure that they can act for your mortgage lender.

Some mortgage lenders will only work with a selected list (their 'panel') of legal firms that meet stringent criteria. If a conveyancer is not on the panel of your mortgage lender, the lender will need a second legal firm to complete the legal work.

The purchaser will usually need to pay this substitute solicitor's costs and the conveyancing process could take much longer.

The conveyancing process could be threatened by failing to confirm your conveyancing solicitor's lender panel status.

Our solicitors can perform the conveyancing for all lenders.

Property Searches (Plymouth City Council)

Searches will be applied for by Plymouth conveyancing solicitors to help identify any wider issues that could possibly compromise how much your house or flat will be worth.

Mortgage lenders also need to see property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') to be submitted. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority search - reveals issues like whether the adjoining road and pavement are publicly maintained
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies whether the owner or local authority must pay for the maintenance of water mains and sewers
  • Environmental search - environmental issues that could adversely affect the property
  • Chancel repair liability - describes the insurance to protect against any liability to the local parish for repairs.

Your solicitor will tell you if your lender requires any more searches, e.g. a tin mining search or a ground stability report.

Plymouth City Council has an approximate processing time of 7 weeks for Local Authority searches. As a result, regulated searches will be faster.

Checking planning permission status

Your conveyancing solicitor will apply for official entries from HM Land Registry. This helps to find any potential issues. Examples of these include restrictive covenants governing the use of the property or discrepancies with the filed plan.

Plymouth City Council Council Tax

As a homeowner in Plymouth, 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. For instance the occupier of a Band D property in the Plymouth City Council area would pay annual council tax of £1,743.

Plymouth conveyancing solicitors will inform the purchaser of the home's council tax 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 (25%) would reduce the tax due to £1,307.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example where the home is empty or unfurnished for a maximum of 60 days or where the property is occupied solely by students.

Band Plymouth City Council Tax (2018)
A £1,162
B £1,355
C £1,549
D £1,743
E £2,130
F £2,517
G £2,904
H £3,485

Can I challenge my council tax band?

Owners can ask for their property to be reassessed, and if the valuation is revised down, they may receive a refund. To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
190 Armada Way
Plymouth
PL1 1EG
Devon

Stamp Duty on Plymouth properties

Given the complexity of the SDLT1 tax return form, only the brave would attempt to complete and file this with HMRC without a conveyancing solicitor's help.

SDLT is a percentage of the purchase price of a property paid by the buyer to HMRC. It is due on properties bought for over £125,000.

Quittance will complete the SDLT1 form for you at the point your purchase completes.

See table below for Stamp Duty Land Tax examples for homes in Plymouth:

  Average selling price (2018 to date) Stamp Duty
Average price £211,597 £1,731.94
Average price (detached) £257,611 £2,880.55
Average new build £66,760 £0.00

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Plymouth

In 2017, the Chancellor announced that first-time buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty on properties below £300,000. Following the autumn statement, second home buyers have had to pay a surcharge of 3%. E.g. if a second property was bought for £211,597 then the SDLT including the surcharge would be £10,579.85. .

Conveyancing solicitors in Plymouth will ensure the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Plymouth

New build site

Buying a leasehold home if you don't know what you are getting into can be costly. There are many legal issues that may be lying in wait for an uninformed purchaser, including:

  • unfair clauses in the lease
  • incomplete management company accounts
  • restrictions on the use of the property
  • increasing ground rents
Serious financial ramifications can result from a solicitor's bad leasehold advice.

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

  • sometimes ancient and arcane lease documents
  • service charges
  • dealing with freeholders
  • block management regulations that sit outside the lease

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase - Contact Quittance Conveyancing's specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors today on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Plymouth?

House being built

The average cost of a new build home in Plymouth is £66,760, (sce: HM Land Registry). 8 new build houses and flats have been bought in Plymouth in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Plymouth must be aware of Plymouth-specific issues and new build-specific issues, e.g. checking that any contracts allow for future 'common parts' maintenance and dealing with failures to arrange warranty provider inspections.

Our team of new build conveyancers deliver an expert assessment of the property's legal status, scrutinising contract issues like the home's subsequent resaleability and an assessment of other risks, such as flood risk.

Conservation areas

When carrying out the conveyancing for a purchase in Plymouth, a conveyancing solicitor will need to check whether the house is in one of Plymouth's conservation areas. If it is, the property could be affected by certain constraints. Referred to as Article 4 directions, these constraints could include:

  • Restrictions on the addition of a porch
  • Possible restrictions on joinery colour choices
  • Restrictions 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 wall render or paint.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Plymouth

The conveyancing process on a sale of a house or flat is less difficult than for a property purchase. The buyer's solicitor does a thorough investigation on the property and its legal title. In contrast, conveyancing solicitors in Plymouth acting for the vendor simply answers the purchaser's enquiries.

What could put the conveyancing process at risk?

Properties will often come with any number of possible difficulties (for example having a defective lease) which may slow or frustrate the sale process.

Don't put off finding a solution as solicitors are trained to unearth any such issues. Instead, speak to an expert, square up to the issue(s), and find a solution as quickly as possible.

Recommended reading:

Read more conveyancing advice for sellers.

Leasehold

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat (houses are rarely leasehold) is significantly more difficult in comparison with a freehold house.

Plymouth conveyancing solicitors must usually carry out further legal work, which could include requesting the latest service charge and ground rent statement, through to details of any consents for alterations.

It is recommended that the vendor contacts a lawyer with leasehold experience as soon as the property is marketed, if not before, to avoid undue delays.

What if you are already acting for the other side?

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

If you are buying or selling a house or flat in Plymouth, and a Quittance solicitor is carrying out the legal work for the other side, you can contact a property solicitor firm in Plymouth to handle your legal work.

Local Plymouth conveyancing solicitor directory

  • Ashfords LLP, 23 Princess Street, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2EX
  • Gill Akaster LLP, 25 Lockyer Street, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2QW
  • Hartnell Chanot & Partners Limited, The Plaza Suite, Lower Ground Floor, Princess Court, 23 Princess Street, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2EX
  • Roper James Limited, Devon Chambers, 3 St. Andrew Street, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2AH
  • W W & J Mcclure Ltd, Princes Court, 32 Princess Street, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2EX

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Plymouth

The most common reason homeowners remortgage is to lower their monthly repayments. There are any number of other reasons to switch lenders or mortgage deals, such as releasing capital, or fixing the mortgage on a new discounted rate.

Homeowners should be able to enjoy a better rate sooner with a more efficient conveyancing solicitor in Plymouth. With the base rate set at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a contributing factor to getting the mortgage rate you want.

Your property lawyer must also be able to act on behalf of the new lender. Our conveyancers are on all major lenders' panels, so whether you are changing to a tracker with the Halifax or to a two-year discount with the Furness Building Society, we 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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