Updated: October 12, 2018

Portsmouth conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Portsmouth

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay your Portsmouth conveyancing solicitor for carrying out the legal work for a property transaction.

Are Portsmouth conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Our conveyancing solicitors work on a guaranteed fixed conveyancing fee basis with no unexpected, additional costs, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Portsmouth who carry out the legal work on an hourly rate. Your quote will explain exactly what you will need to pay when your property transaction has completed.

Besides conveyancing fees, what other costs are there?

On top of the conveyancing fees you will also have to cover any 'disbursements'.

Disbursements are fees, costs or taxes the conveyancing solicitor will have to pay to other organisations as part of the house-buying and selling process. These include costs like HMLR fees or telegraphic transfer fees.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will conveyancing in Portsmouth cost in total?

Although conveyancing fees in Portsmouth will be the same as anywhere else in the country, the disbursements required can vary. As examples, additional region-specific searches, such as a historic mining search, may be needed and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

For a standard conveyancing transaction, the fees we quote are the fees you pay. There are no hidden fees or costs to be paid with Quittance Conveyancing. Calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing fees calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Portsmouth

Situated on the Hampshire south coast, the majority of the city of Portsmouth lies on Portsea Island, making it the only island city in the UK. An important naval port employing 10% of the city's workforce, it is also the UK's 2nd busiest passenger port after Dover. Other industries include ship-building, defence, digital and IT and fishing.

There has been sustained increase in house prices over the last few years, with an 8% growth reported over the last 12 months.

Conveyancing for home buyers

The conveyancing for the purchase of a house or flat will need a conveyancing solicitor in Portsmouth to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such issues are defective property title (e.g. the title is subject to an estate contract) and historic flooding affecting the mortgageability of the property.

The solicitor will report their findings back to the buyer and their lender, offer pragmatic solutions and ensure the title is transferred to the new owner.

The following examines those areas of the legal process for conveyancing solicitors in Portsmouth necessitating specialist legal knowledge.

Your Portsmouth conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether your mortgage is with a major lender like the Nationwide Building Society or a less common mortgage lender such as Ahli United Bank, before you instruct a Portsmouth conveyancing solicitor it is vital that you check that they can represent your mortgage lender.

Your lawyer may not be able to carry out the legal work for your mortgage lender, because some lenders will only accept a selected list (known as a 'panel') of firms that meet strict criteria.

If that is the case, the lender will probably need an alternative solicitor firm to act in their interests, and you will be expected to pay this alternate solicitor's costs. Resulting delays can jeopardise the whole purchase.

Major delays can arise if you do not check your conveyancing solicitor's lender panel status.

Our solicitors can act on behalf of all banks and building societies.

Portsmouth City Council searches and other searches

Searches are applied for by Portsmouth conveyancing solicitors to help spot any pertinent information that might possibly impact how much your property is worth.

Searches are firstly carried out to satisfy the conditions of the lender. These searches include the local authority (LA) search, environmental search, drainage & water search and chancel repair liability.

Further searches, such as a Crossrail search or a contaminated land report, may also be recommended depending on the contents of the standard searches.

Homebuyers could experience a delay of around 16 weeks for Local Authority searches supplied by Portsmouth City Council. As a result, regulated searches will be faster.

Planning permissions

Office copies will also be sourced from the Land Registry by the conveyancing solicitor acting for the purchaser. This will help to identify potential planning issues. These issues could include discrepancies between the property boundaries and the title plan or the breach of a restrictive covenant.

Portsmouth City Council Council Tax

Portsmouth City Council calculate your council tax based on various factors including the number of occupants and the assessed value of the property in April 1991. For example, a property in the Portsmouth City Council area in Tax Band E would pay £1,931 per annum.

Portsmouth conveyancing solicitors will inform a purchaser of the property's band once this is confirmed by the searches.

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 £1,448.

Other discounts and exemptions may 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 where an inhabitant is an 18 year old for whom child benefit is payable. A new home is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency and allocated a banding.

Band Portsmouth City Council Tax (2018)
A £1,053
B £1,229
C £1,404
D £1,580
E £1,931
F £2,282
G £2,633
H £3,160

Does anyone ever challenge their valuation?

In the 2016/17 financial year, 20 council tax challenges were made, of which 10 saw a reduction. To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Broadlands House
Staplers Rd
Newport
PO30 2HX
Isle of Wight

Stamp Duty on Portsmouth properties

Given the complexity of the SDLT1 tax return form, only the fearless would attempt to complete and file this with HM Revenue & Customs without a conveyancing solicitor's help.

Stamp Duty Land Tax will have to be paid by the property buyer on properties sold for more than £125k.

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

See stamp duty examples for properties in Portsmouth:

  Average selling price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £225,508 £2,010.16
Average price (detached) £429,535 £11,476.75
Average new build £248,221 £2,464.42
If you already own another property or share in a property (including outside the UK)you will be subject to a 3% SDLT surcharge. Therefore, if a homeowner in Portsmouth bought a second property for the average price of £225,508 the SDLT would be £11,275.40.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Portsmouth

Since 2017, first-time buyers only need to pay stamp duty on properties valued over £300,000.

Conveyancing solicitors in Portsmouth should ensure the correct calculation is made.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Portsmouth

New build site

Purchasing a leasehold house or flat if you don't know what you are getting into is risky. Unreasonable ground rents, unreasonable lease extension premiums and unfair developer practices are only some of the many common complications awaiting the unsuspecting purchaser.

Inaccurate leasehold advice, from a conveyancer with only freehold experience, could have serious financial consequences.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Portsmouth will address aspects of leasehold, including service charge records from the last three years, flats with varying lease terms and absent freeholders.

Make sure that you are aware of all the potential issues and costs associated with the lease with Quittance Conveyancing's leasehold conveyancing solicitor team.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Portsmouth?

Building site

Based on HM Land Registry data, the average price for new build property in Portsmouth is £184,475. 2 new build homes have been bought in Portsmouth in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Portsmouth will need to be aware of local considerations and new build's additional complexities, such as investigating developer incentives and checking that any contracts allow for future 'common parts' maintenance.

Our new build conveyancing department will provide an accurate and truly independent assessment of the legal title of the house or flat, looking out for concerns like the home's future marketability and 'doubling' ground rent and service charges (where applicable).

Conservation areas

Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the home you are going to buy is in one of Portsmouth's conservation areas. If it is, the home will be affected by certain restrictions. These conditions could include:

  • A prohibition on the removal of chimneys
  • Restrictions on hard standings at the front of the property
  • A prohibition on side or two-storey extensions

The local planning authority can order any non-compliant alterations to a property to be changed or removed, such as removing a newly-added dormer window.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Portsmouth

The conveyancing process on a property sale is much simpler than when buying. The buyer's solicitor undertakes extensive research on the home. In contrast, conveyancing solicitors in Portsmouth acting for the vendor mostly just collates requested paperwork (e.g. warranties and certificates) and responds to enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor .

What could go wrong?

A home will frequently have a series of possible issues (such as complexities where there is a 'share of freehold' or an issue with noisy neighbours) that can slow or frustrate a transaction.

Property experts almost always advise that sellers tackle any such problems head on.

Recommended reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Leasehold flats

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

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in Portsmouth must undertake additional work. This can involve sourcing all relevant freeholder information, through to the minutes of the last AGM (if there is a management company).

To reduce leasehold-related delays, it is recommended that the seller instruct a property lawyer as soon as is practicable.

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

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict the same solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale and purchase. Conveyancers who are regulated by the CLC, however, can act for both sides.

If you are buying or selling a house or flat in Portsmouth, and one of our conveyancing solicitors is doing the legal work for the other side, you may wish to contact a law firm in Portsmouth to carry out your legal work.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Portsmouth

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

A good conveyancing solicitor in Portsmouth will complete the conveyancing quickly, meaning you move to your lower rate sooner. With the future of interest rates unclear, fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in getting onto your new rate as quickly as possible.

A property lawyer will need to act for both you and the mortgage provider to certify that the new interest in the property is registered correctly and the lender's investment is secured.

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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