Updated: October 12, 2018

Somerset conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Somerset

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to your Somerset conveyancing solicitor for handling the legal work for your move.

How are Somerset conveyancing fees calculated?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Somerset work on an hourly rate. 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 conveyancing quote sets out all fees and disbursements you will need to pay when your house or flat sale completes.

What are disbursements?

In addition to conveyancing solicitor 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, such as indemnity insurance or Land Registry fees.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees

How much will the total Somerset solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Conveyancing solicitor fees in Somerset will not vary. However, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, specific extra searches, such as transport searches, may be necessary and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

With Quittance Conveyancing, there are no hidden costs or nasty surprises. For a standard conveyancing transaction, 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 substantially lower than the average solicitors' fees, and their service was first-rate

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Somerset

A seller is now required to disclose issues that could affect the value or enjoyment of their property to the prospective buyer.

It remains, however, the duty of a Somerset conveyancing solicitor to investigate the property, so that they can report back to the buyer and the lender, iron out any legal issues and register the title in the new owner's name.

The following section considers the aspects of the legal process for conveyancing solicitors in Somerset where additional expertise is needed.

Your Somerset conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether you are getting a mortgage from Coutts, Halifax or any other lender, before appointing a Somerset conveyancing solicitor it is vital that you check that they can act in the interests of your chosen lender.

Most mortgage lenders are only happy to work with a restricted list (called a 'lender panel') of firms. If a solicitor can't act for your chosen lender, the lender will need a second solicitor firm to carry out the legal work.

You will be expected to pay this alternate solicitor's fees, and weeks could be added to the conveyancing process.

Your property purchase can be seriously delayed if you fail to confirm your property lawyer's lender panel status.

Quittance Conveyancing are on the panel of all mortgage lenders.

Conveyancing Searches (Sedgemoor District Council)

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') are submitted by Somerset conveyancing solicitors in order to identify problems that could impact how much your home will be worth.

Banks and building societies will also require searches to be purchased. These include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchreveals issues like whether the adjoining road and pavement are publicly maintained
Drainage & Water searchdescribes water mains and sewers, and confirms if these are privately maintained
Environmental searchexposes whether the land around the property (500m radius) has been affected by subsidence, flooding or has been identified as "contaminated land"
Chancel repair liabilityinvolves the potential liability owed by the owners of certain property to pay for local parish church repairs. Insurance can be arranged to cover this risk.

Further searches, such as a highways search or a more detailed plan search, may also be referred to in the initial search results.

Purchasers should expect to wait roughly 11 weeks for property searches delivered by Sedgemoor District Council. In these circumstances, faster personal searches will be advisable.

Ensuring planning permission is in place

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will get official entries from HM Land Registry, assisting with the identification of planning issues, such as neighbours' rights of access or outbuildings lying outside the boundary.

Sedgemoor District Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a variety of factors which include the size and layout of the property and the value of the home as determined by the VOA in 1991. E.g. for an average Band C home in Somerset, the amount payable would be £1,497.

Somerset conveyancing solicitors will inform the buyer of the property's band as soon as they are notified.

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 £1,123.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, e.g. if the property is a second home then a 10% discount will be applied or where the property is occupied solely by students.

Band Sedgemoor District Council Tax (2018)
A £1,123
B £1,310
C £1,497
D £1,684
E £2,058
F £2,433
G £2,807
H £3,368

Is your new home in the wrong band?

Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Quantock House
Paul St
Taunton
TA1 3PB
Somerset

In 2016/17, 20 council tax challenges were made, of which 10 saw a reduction.

Stamp Duty on Somerset properties

Stamp duty is paid to HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue) by completing an SDLT1 form. The form is lengthy and complex.

Stamp Duty Land Tax will almost always need to be paid if the residential property being purchased is valued at over £125,000.

Quittance Conveyancing use smart case management systems to make sure that mistakes are not made on the stamp duty process.

See table below for SDLT examples for properties in Somerset:

  Average selling price (2018 to date) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £257,597 £2,879.85
Average price (detached) £369,065 £8,453.25
Average new build £269,284 £3,464.20
Homeowners must pay a higher rate of SDLT when buying a second property. So if a second property was bought for £257,597 then the SDLT total will be £20,607.76.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Somerset

As from 11/17, first-time buyers will not have to pay any stamp duty if the purchase price is below £300k.

Somerset conveyancing solicitors will ensure the correct amount is calculated.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Somerset

New build site

Over 100,000 UK homeowners are trapped by leases with problematic lease terms. There are any number of potential traps that may be awaiting the unsuspecting purchaser, such as:

  • sub-letting restrictions
  • spiralling ground rents
  • sinking fund issues
  • leases with fewer than 80 years to run
Misguided leasehold advice, from a conveyancer lacking in specialist knowledge, could have serious financial consequences.

A expert conveyancing solicitor in Somerset will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, including :

  • reviewing the lease itself (some leases are over 100 years old)
  • service charge records from the last three years
  • absent freeholders
  • proposed major works (Section 20 notices)
  • compliance with means of escape (where relevant)

Ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property with our team of leasehold conveyancing solicitors.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Somerset?

New build building site

40 brand new homes have been bought in Somerset in 2018 so far, according to information compiled by the Land Registry. The average purchase price of Somerset new build properties is £269,284.

The legal side of purchasing a new build is more involved than any other type of conveyancing. To avoid potential problems a Somerset conveyancing solicitor should be aware of local factors and will examine a number of areas, e.g. investigating developer incentives and investigating road and drainage issues.

Quittance Conveyancing deliver an impartial view of the legal title of the house or apartment, and in particular concerns like problematic leasehold terms and potential freehold acquisition traps.

Conservation areas in Somerset

Whether you are intending to buy a listed character property or a Georgian town house, if the house is in a designated conservation area, any changes you can make to the house might not be permitted by Sedgemoor District Council.

Referred to as Article 4 directions, these constraints may include restrictions on the removal of chimneys, restrictions on joinery colour choices or restrictions on side or 2 storey extensions.

If a property is in breach, the local council could order the owner to pay for the work needed to make the home compliant, even if the previous owner carried out the alterations.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Somerset

The conveyancing process on a sale of a house or flat is normally less troublesome than for a property purchase. The buyer's conveyancer will have to go through an investigation into the property, whereas conveyancing solicitors in Somerset acting for the vendor essentially just collects any required paperwork and answers the buyer's questions .

What could put the process at risk?

Common hurdles, such as restrictions on how you can use the property or missing planning permission, have the capacity to slow or frustrate your home move if they are ignored.

You shouldn't bury your head in the sand and hope any such problems will go away, instead seek out professional help and work to resolve it as quickly as possible.

Recommended reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Leasehold conveyancing for a sale

The legal work for a leasehold flat or house is much more technical than for a freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Somerset must usually carry out further legal work, including obtaining an up-to-date service charge statement, through to a copy of the building's asbestos survey (if required).

It is highly recommended that you instruct a property lawyer with leasehold experience as early as possible to ensure any legal complexity is correctly handled.

What if Quittance is acting for the other side?

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict the same solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a house sale and purchase. However, CLC-regulated conveyancers, can act for both parties.

If you are buying or selling a home in Somerset, and a Quittance conveyancing solicitor is carrying out the legal work for the other side, you can contact a local Somerset conveyancing solicitor firm to carry out your legal work.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Somerset

Although there are many reasons to remortgage, homeowners usually remortgage a home to get a lower interest rate.

You can enjoy the benefits of a lower rate sooner with a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Somerset, reducing the time the conveyancing takes to complete. With possible rate rises on the horizon, fast conveyancing can be a contributing factor to getting onto your new rate as quickly as possible.

In order to ensure that the interests of the lender are protected, the property lawyer handling your remortgage will act for both you and the mortgage provider.

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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