Updated: October 12, 2018

Seaham conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Seaham

Conveyancing solicitor fees are paid to conveyancing solicitors in Seaham for the legal work for a home sale or purchase.

Are Seaham conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Seaham work on a price per hour basis. Some solicitors will complete the work on a fixed 'No Move, No Fee' basis. Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee basis, with no hidden extras. Your conveyancing quote explains what you will pay when your house or flat sale completes.

Are there any other costs in addition to conveyancing fees?

In addition to the legal fees you will also need to budget for 'disbursements'.

Disbursements are the costs incurred by the solicitor on your behalf. These include costs like identity verification checks or Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees and disbursements

How much will conveyancing in Seaham cost in total?

Seaham conveyancing fees will be the same as anywhere else in the UK. However, the costs of certain disbursements can vary. As examples, specific extra searches, e.g. transport searches, may be necessary and Local Authority Search fees can vary.

There are no hidden fees or costs to be paid with Quittance. For standard conveyancing transactions, the fees we quote are the fees 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 Estate Agent's recommended solicitor's fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Seaham

"Caveat emptor", or "buyer beware", was a key part of English property law. This maxim no longer applies, however, it remains the duty of a buyer's legal representative to investigate the house or flat they plan to buy.

A conveyancing solicitor in Seaham will offer professional advice after making their enquiries, assist in resolving any issues and confirm that the legal title passes to the new owner.

The following discusses the kinds of residential property that may carry risks for people searching for conveyancing solicitors in Seaham for a purchase.

Your Seaham conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether you are taking out a mortgage from St James Place Bank, Lloyds Bank or any other lender, before selecting a conveyancing solicitor in Seaham it is critical that you make sure that they can represent your lender.

The majority of banks and building societies are only prepared to work with a restricted list (called a 'lender panel') of firms that have achieved certain benchmarks. If a conveyancer is unable to act for your lender, the lender will probably need a second legal firm to complete the legal work.

The home buyer will be expected to pay this alternative lawyer's fees and the conveyancing process could take much longer.

Failing to confirm the lender panel membership of your solicitor can create problems and delays.

Quittance Conveyancing are approved members of all lender panels.

Property Searches (Durham County Council)

Searches are enquiries made of public bodies by Seaham conveyancing solicitors to provide information about your planned purchase.

These searches include the local authority (LA) search, drainage & water search, environmental search and chancel repair liability.

More pertinent searches, such as a tin mining search or a geological search, may also be advised subject to the outcome of the initial searches.

The estimated turnaround time for searches from Durham County Council is 14 weeks, so your conveyancer will recommend using a faster search agent.

Checking planning status

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will request office copies from HM Land Registry. This will help to expose potential planning issues, for example discrepancies between the property boundaries and the title plan or restrictive covenants governing the use of the property.

Durham County Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a number of criteria which include the size of the home and the value of the home as determined by the VOA in 1991. The occupier of a property in Band D, for example, would owe annual council tax of £1,887.

A conveyancing solicitor in Seaham will inform the purchaser of the home's tax band once they are made aware.

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 £1,416.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or structural changes or for spouses of students who are not British.

Band Durham County Council Tax (2018)
A £1,258
B £1,468
C £1,678
D £1,887
E £2,307
F £2,726
G £3,146
H £3,775

Could I be overpaying council tax?

A homeowner can challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 60 council tax challenges were made, of which 20 were approved and the tax was reduced. To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Wycliffe House
Green Lane
Durham
DH1 3UW
County Durham

Stamp Duty on Seaham properties

After a residential property sale has exchanged and completed, the buyer's conveyancing solicitor will ensure that the stamp duty is paid to HMRC.

Stamp duty works in a similar fashion to income tax insofar as a buyer will pay progressively more tax for a higher-value residential property.

Quittance's case management system ensures that the hard to understand SDLT1 form is filed online to reduce delays and to avoid late-filing penalties.

The following table illustrates stamp duty examples for average properties in Seaham:

  Average selling price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £113,845 £0.00
Average price (detached) £241,063 £2,321.26
Average new build £131,880 £137.60
If you are buying a second home for more than £40,000 then you will have to pay a surcharge of 3%. Therefore, if a homeowner in Seaham bought a second property for the average price of £113,845 the SDLT would be £3,415.35.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Seaham

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

Seaham conveyancing solicitors should confirm the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Seaham

New build site

The risks associated with buying a leasehold flat in the UK are under increasing media scrutiny. Numerous technical obstacles may be lying in wait for the unsuspecting buyer, such as doubling ground rents and onerous clauses in the lease.

Serious consequences can result from a less-experienced lawyer's bad leasehold advice.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Seaham will consider potential leasehold issues, such as :

  • reviewing the lease itself (some documents can be centuries old)
  • managing agent or landlord enquiries
  • current-year service charge estimates
  • share of freehold complexity
  • planned external works requiring scaffolding

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property - Speak to Quittance Conveyancing's specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Seaham?

House under construction

5 brand new homes were purchased in Seaham last year, based on data from the Land Registry. The average value of new build homes in Seaham is £131,880.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Seaham needs to be conscious of both local factors and new build's added complexities, including ensuring compliance with planning regulations, squaring developer incentives with lenders and checking new build warranties with warranty providers such as NHBC, Advantage and BOPAS.

With Quittance Conveyancing, you will get an impartial view of the legal title of the house or flat, scrutinising contract factors ranging from the home's future mortgageability to an assessment of other risks, such as regional infrastructure plans (e.g. HS2).

Conservation areas in County Durham

When acting for the buyer of a home in Seaham, a conveyancing solicitor will need to confirm if the home is in one of Seaham's conservation areas. If it is, the house could be affected by certain constraints. Referred to as Article 4 directions, these constraints can include:

  • Limits on roof terraces
  • Restrictions on dormer windows
  • Needing consent to alter doors and guttering

If a property is in breach, the local planning authority could order you (as the new owner) to pay for returning the property to a compliant state, even if the previous owner was responsible for the changes.

Quittance's conveyancing solicitors will address whether the home you plan to buy is located in a conservation area in Seaham.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Seaham

The legal work involved in a sale of a home is more straightforward than when purchasing. During the sale of a house or flat, the responsibility lies entirely with the buyer to determine whether the title of the property is mortgageable and is (or can be) registered at the Land Registry.

On the other hand, when selling, conveyancing solicitors in Seaham acting for the seller only need to answer the buyer's solicitor's formal enquiries.

Why do sales fall through?

Issues, like a problematic solar panel lease or chancel repair liability, can delay the sale process if left unresolved.

Property specialists will usually suggest that vendors address such issues immediately.

Useful reading:

Read more conveyancing advice for sellers.

Sale conveyancing for a leasehold property

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat is quite a lot more time-consuming than for a more straightforward freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Seaham will also perform extra work, which could include writing to the landlord for the latest service charge accounts, through to details of any consents for improvements made to the flat.

It is highly recommended that the vendor contact a lawyer as early as possible to reduce delays associated with leasehold property, especially delays relating to freeholders and managing agents.

What if Quittance is already acting for the other side?

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

If you are buying or selling a house or flat in Seaham, and a Quittance conveyancing solicitor is doing the legal work for the other side, you may wish to contact a law firm in Seaham to carry out your legal work.

Local Seaham conveyancing solicitor directory

  • Kenneth M Barrow & Co Limited, 15-16 Adelaide Row, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 7EF
  • Mortons Law Limited, 41 Church Street, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 7EJ
  • Peter Dunn & Co Limited, 16 North Terrace, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 7EU

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Seaham

Although people consider remortgaging for a range of reasons, homeowners generally remortgage to benefit from a lower interest rate.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Seaham will complete the conveyancing quickly, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With the Bank of England base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018) and rate rises anticipated, fast conveyancing can play a key role in securing your preferred rate.

So that they can confirm that the parties' interests are protected, the property lawyer will need to act for both you and the mortgage lender.

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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