Updated: October 12, 2018

Reading conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Reading

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the amounts you pay your Reading conveyancing solicitor for the legal work associated with buying or selling a property.

How are Reading conveyancing fees calculated?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Reading will work on an hourly rate. Some conveyancers will complete the work for a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). Our conveyancers work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis, with no nasty surprises in the small print. Your quote will explain exactly what you will be charged when your sale or purchase goes through.

What are disbursements?

You will have to pay any '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. These include costs like bankruptcy searches or landlord's notice fees.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Reading cost?

While conveyancing fees in Reading will be the same as anywhere else in the UK, the disbursements required can vary. As examples, Local Authority Search fees can vary and additional region-specific searches, such as a mining search, may be needed.

With Quittance Conveyancing, there are no unexpected costs or surprises in the small print. For standard conveyancing transactions, what we quote is the fee you pay. Work out the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing calculator: Click here

Quittance's conveyancing fees were considerably cheaper than the average solicitors' fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Reading

Reading, situated in the upper Thames valley at the confluence of the rivers Kennet and Thames, is the county town of Royal Berkshire.

In 2016, following KPMG's Tech Monitor, naming Reading as the number one tech centre in the country, the area was identified as a 'silicon hub' - attracting tech workers out of London. It is ranked the UK's top area for economic success and wellbeing, according to factors such as employment, health, income and skills.

This, coupled with its close proximity to London (only 30 minutes by rail), has ensured that the property market in Reading remains buoyant, with values rising 16% over the last 2 years.

Conveyancing for buyers

In carrying out the legal work for a property buyer, a Reading conveyancing solicitor will carry out due diligence on the property's title and report back to the purchaser and the mortgage lender (if applicable).

Following their enquiries the conveyancer will make recommendations and will help to fix or resolve any legal issues and register the new owner's title at the Land Registry.

This article considers the types of residential property that could involve extra risk for people who want conveyancing solicitors in Reading for a purchase.

Your Reading conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Regardless of whether you are taking out a mortgage from the Holmesdale Building Society, the HSBC or any other lender, before appointing a conveyancing solicitor in Reading it is vital that you check that they can act for your chosen lender.

Your solicitor may be unable to act for your chosen lender, because some lenders will only accept a restricted group of legal firms that meet stringent standards.

If this is the case, the lender will require a different law firm to complete the legal work, and you will then have to cover this second lawyer's fees. This can frustrate or delay the process.

Failing to confirm the lender panel membership of your lawyer could result in significant delays.

Our solicitors can perform the conveyancing for all mortgage providers.

Reading Borough Council searches and other searches

Property searches are enquiries made by Reading conveyancing solicitors to give details about the home you want to buy.

Searches are primarily performed to meet lender requirements, usually including the local authority (LA) search, environmental search, drainage & water search and chancel repair liability.

Homebuyers will be made aware if your chosen lender requires any additional searches, e.g. a highways search or a mining search.

Purchasers can expect a lead time of approximately 4 weeks for searches delivered by Reading Borough Council. A private search company will be able to provide this information sooner.

Ensuring planning permission is in place

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will also obtain the Title Register from the Land Registry, helping to evidence any issues. These issues could include restrictive covenants governing the use of the property or errors on the title plan.

Reading Borough Council Council Tax

Reading Borough Council calculate your council tax based on various criteria which include the number of people living at the property and the value of the property. E.g. for an average Valuation Band D residential property in Reading, the amount of council tax due would be £1,827.

Conveyancing solicitors in Reading will inform a purchaser of the home's council tax band after 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 £1,370.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, e.g. if the property is uninhabited (for the first 60 days) or if the property is occupied by someone who is seriously mentally impaired.

Band Reading Borough Council Tax (2018)
A £1,218
B £1,421
C £1,624
D £1,827
E £2,233
F £2,638
G £3,044
H £3,653

Can you challenge the council tax bracket?

A property owner can also ask for their property to be reassessed. To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Kings Wharf
20-30 Kings Rd

Stamp Duty on Reading properties

SDLT is paid to HMRC and the purchaser's conveyancing solicitor will ensure that the tax return process is carried out.

The threshold for SDLT for a house is £125,000.

Our post-completion conveyancing team use state-of-the-art case management system to ensure the SDLT1 tax return is submitted to HMRC as quickly as possible.

This table sets out Stamp Duty Land Tax for property in Reading:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £336,845 £6,842.25
Average price (detached) £580,830 £19,041.50
Average new build £336,061 £6,803.05

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Reading

In Nov 2017, the Chancellor announced that first-time buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty on residential properties below £300k. If you already own another home or share in a home you will be subject to a stamp duty surcharge of 3%. So if a second home was bought for £336,845 then the SDLT total will be £26,947.60.

Conveyancing solicitors in Reading should ensure the correct tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Reading

New build site

It is estimated that over 100,000 property owners in England face property leases with problematic terms. There are any number of legal technicalities that could be awaiting an uninformed buyer, such as:

  • incomplete management company accounts
  • doubling ground rents
  • onerous covenants
Misguided leasehold advice, from a conveyancer lacking in specialist knowledge, could have serious financial implications.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Reading will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, such as :

  • reviewing the lease itself (many leases are decades old)
  • possible service charge shortfalls
  • managing agent or landlord enquiries
  • share of freehold complexity

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

Buying a 'New Build' property in Reading?

New build site

12 new build properties have been bought in Reading in 2018 so far, according to Her Majesty's Land Registry. The average cost of a new build property in Reading is £282,958.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Reading will need to be aware of local Reading considerations and the extra complexities of new build, like checking that any contracts allow for future 'common parts' maintenance and handling equity loan schemes.

Our highly qualified team of new build conveyancers are specialists in ensuring that new build contracts favour the client as much as possible and working to tight developer deadlines.

Conservation areas

Whether you are planning to buy an 18th century stone cottage or a Victorian terraced house, if the home is in a designated conservation area, any planned alterations to the home may not be allowed by the local authority.

Referred to as Article 4 directions, these constraints can include restrictions on painting external walls, restrictions on side or 2 storey extensions or general restrictions governing the use of non-traditional materials.

The local authority can order any non-compliant alterations to a property to be changed or removed, such as removing a new garden wall.

Conservation areas in Reading include Surley Row, Alexandra Road and Russell Street and Castle Hill. Your conveyancing solicitor will address whether your planned purchase is located one of Reading's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Reading

The legal work involved in a house sale is simpler than when buying. The buyer must carry out a thorough investigation into the property, whereas conveyancing solicitors in Reading acting for the vendor merely replies to the solicitor's standard and additional enquiries.

What factors could threaten your sale?

Common obstacles, like not being registered at the Land Registry, can hinder the sale process if not dealt with promptly.

Property experts will usually advise to sellers that they tackle any such problems head on.

Useful reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Selling a leasehold property

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat or house is a great deal more specialised than for a freehold property.

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in Reading must undertake additional work. This can involve collating all relevant freeholder information, through to any documents pertaining to a variation of the terms of the lease.

To accelerate the handling of the leasehold work, it is strongly advised that you contact a leasehold specialist as early in the process as possible, and potentially before marketing the property,.

Can Quittance conveyancers act for the buyer and the seller of the same house?

SRA rules restrict the same conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a house sale. However, a CLC-regulated conveyancer, can act for both parties.

You could instruct a property solicitor firm in Reading to carry out your legal work, if we are acting for the other side.

Local Reading conveyancing solicitor directory

  • Harrisons Thames Valley Solicitors LLP, 7 Castle Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7SB
  • Reeds Solicitors Ltd, 13 Castle Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7SB
  • Rowberry Morris Thames Valley LLP, 17 Castle Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7SB
  • Pitmans LLP, 47 Castle Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7SR
  • Clifton Ingram LLP, County House, 17 Friar Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1DB

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Reading

People remortgage for all sorts of reasons, including moving to an offset mortgage, or releasing funds to help pay for home improvements. By far the most common reason, however, is to get a more attractive interest rate.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Reading 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 key consideration when securing your preferred rate.

In order to certify that the mortgage provider's interests are protected, the property lawyer handling your remortgage will 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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