Updated: October 12, 2018

St Albans conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in St Albans

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay to conveyancing solicitors in St Albans for the legal work involved in moving home.

How are St Albans conveyancing fees calculated?

Some conveyancing solicitors in St Albans will work on a price per hour basis. Some solicitors will complete the work on a fixed 'No Move, No Fee' basis. We work on fixed legal fees (known as 'No Sale, No Fee' or 'No Move, No Fee'), with no hidden extras. Your quote explains what you will be charged when your sale or purchase completes.

Are there any other costs in addition to conveyancing fees?

You will need to budget for 'disbursements', in addition to the solicitor's conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are fees, costs or taxes that your property solicitor will have to pay to third parties on behalf of their client. These include costs like identity verification checks or Land Registry fees.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will the total St Albans solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Conveyancing fees in St Albans should be the same as anywhere else in the UK. However, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, council search fees will vary and additional region-specific searches, such as a Coal Authority search, may be needed.

With Quittance, there are no unexpected costs or surprises in the small print. For standard conveyancing transactions, what we quote is the fee you pay. To calculate your conveyancing fees, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in St Albans

"Caveat emptor", or "buyer beware", was a fundamental principle of English property law. After the introduction of the Consumer Trading Regulations (CPR), this rule no longer applies. However, it remains the responsibility of a homebuyer and their solicitor to investigate the house or flat they plan to buy.

A conveyancing solicitor in St Albans will make recommendations once their enquiries are complete, deal with any legal issues and make sure that the title is registered in the name of the new buyer.

This section of the article examines those types of property that may be of concern to homebuyers searching for conveyancing solicitors in St Albans.

Your St Albans conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

There are around 100 UK lenders, from a niche lender like the Manchester Building Society, to a major lender such as the Yorkshire Building Society. Before appointing a conveyancing solicitor in St Albans, whoever you choose, you need to check that they can act on behalf of your lender.

The majority of banks and building societies will only accept a selected list (known as a 'lender panel') of firms. If your solicitor can't act for your lender, the lender will probably need a second firm to act in their interests.

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

Not checking the lender panel membership of your lawyer can create problems and delays.

Quittance Conveyancing can carry out the legal work for all major and minor lenders.

Property Searches (St Albans City & District Council)

Searches are enquiries made by St Albans conveyancing solicitors to give details about the property being purchased.

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

You will be told if your lender needs any more searches, for example a more detailed flood report or a more detailed plan search.

St Albans City & District Council has a usual delivery time of 6 weeks for property searches, so your conveyancer will recommend using a faster search agent.

Finding planning permissions

Office copies will also be obtained by your conveyancing solicitor, helping to evidence planning issues, for example a restrictive covenant against certain alterations or errors on the title plan.

St Albans City & District Council Council Tax

Council tax is calculated by St Albans City & District Council on property value and the number of people living in the property. The occupier of a property in Band D, for example, would owe annual council tax of £1,700.

A conveyancing solicitor in St Albans will inform the purchaser of the property's 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 £1,275.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example if the property is a second home then a 10% discount will be applied or if an occupier is an apprentice school leaver or YTS trainee. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) assign bands for newly-constructed property, and where the owner has requested a revaluation.

Band St Albans City & District Council Tax (2018)
A £1,134
B £1,322
C £1,511
D £1,700
E £2,078
F £2,456
G £2,834
H £3,401

Can I appeal against my band?

It is possible to challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 30 council tax challenges were made, and 10 saw a subsequent reduction. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
St. Peters House
45 Victoria St
St. Albans
AL1 3WZ
Hertfordshire

Stamp Duty on St Albans properties

A property purchaser will usually need to pay stamp duty if the home they are buying is valued at over £125,000. After a home sale has exchanged and completed, the purchaser's conveyancing solicitor will ensure that the SDLT is paid to HMRC.

Quittance's case management system integrates with online tax return system to ensure that the stamp duty is settled quickly and accurately.

The following table illustrates stamp duty examples for typical properties in St Albans:

  Average selling price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £608,926 £20,446.30
Average price (detached) £979,856 £41,735.60
Average new build £502,040 £15,102.00

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in St Albans

For first-time buyers, stamp duty is only payable on purchases over £300,000. Homeowners must pay a higher rate of SDLT when purchasing a second home. E.g. if a second home was bought for £608,926 then the SDLT including the surcharge would be £48,714.08. .

St Albans conveyancing solicitors should ensure the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in St Albans

New build site

Purchasing a leasehold house or flat if you are unaware of the facts can be risky. There are any number of potential traps that may be lying in wait for the unsuspecting buyer, including overpriced managing agent packs and exponential ground rents.

Serious financial ramifications can result from an inexperienced conveyancing solicitor's bad leasehold advice.

If you intend to purchase a leasehold property, a good conveyancing solicitor in St Albans will consider potential leasehold issues, such as :

  • checking the lease itself
  • dealing with landlords
  • annual statements of account and budgets for service charges
  • changes to the terms of the lease
  • missing building regs and planning

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase - Contact our leasehold conveyancing solicitors on 0800 612 0377 today.

Buying a 'New Build' property in St Albans?

House being built

The average value of new build property in St Albans is £785,000, (sce: Land Registry). 3 new build properties have been bought in St Albans in 2018 so far.

Buying a new build home can be complicated compared to other types of conveyancing. Therefore a conveyancing solicitor in St Albans must be mindful of local factors and needs to check numerous things, such as squaring developer incentives with lenders and handling withdrawal under the Consumer Code for Housebuilders.

Our new build conveyancing department will provide an impartial appraisal of the legal title of the property, and in particular concerns ranging from onerous leasehold conditions to potential freehold acquisition traps.

Conservation areas in Hertfordshire

When carrying out the legal work for a home in St Albans, a conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the home is in a conservation area in St Albans. If it is, the house is affected by building controls. Referred to as Article 4 directions, these building controls may include:

  • Limitations on the erection of outbuildings
  • Restrictions on the addition of flues and soil vent pipes
  • Limits on the erection of outbuildings

The local planning authority can order any non-compliant alterations to a property to be changed or removed, such as replacing uPVC windows with traditional wooden frames.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in St Albans

The legal process for a sale of a house or flat is generally simpler than for a purchase. With a property purchase, the obligation is on the buyer to validate that the property's title is mortgageable and is (or can be) registered at the Land Registry.

In contrast, for a sale, conveyancing solicitors in St Albans acting for the vendor need only respond to the buyer's solicitor's formal enquiries.

What factors could threaten your sale?

Obstacles, such as excessive ground rent, can hinder the conveyancing process if they are ignored.

Don't shy away from finding a solution as it is highly unlikely that the problems won't be picked up. Instead, you should talk to a professional and work to resolve it ASAP.

Further reading:

Read more conveyancing advice for sellers.

Leasehold

The legal work for a leasehold flat is a great deal more technical compared to a freehold house.

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in St Albans must undertake extra work, for example getting all relevant freeholder information, through to details of any deed of variation.

It is strongly advised that you contact a leasehold expert as soon as possible to speed up the handling of the legal work.

What if Quittance is already acting for the other side?

A CLC-regulated conveyancer can act for both the buyer and the seller. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict the same solicitor from acting on both sides in a house sale.

You could contact a law firm in St Albans to carry out your legal work, if one of our conveyancing solicitors is acting for the other side.

Local St Albans conveyancing solicitor directory

  • Conway Mcillmurray Solicitors, 26c George Street, 1st Floor, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL3 4ES
  • Reeds Solicitors Ltd, 2 Victoria Square, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3TF

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in St Albans

Reducing monthly repayments by finding a lower rate is usually why homeowners remortgage. There are other reasons, such as extending the mortgage term, or the existing lender having refused a payment holiday.

A good conveyancing solicitor in St Albans 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), fast conveyancing can play a key role in securing the rate you want.

A property lawyer will represent both you and your new lender to make sure 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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