Updated: October 12, 2018

St Helens conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in St Helens

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay conveyancing solicitors in St Helens for the legal work for a home sale or purchase.

Do St Helens conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

We work on a fixed No Sale, No Fee conveyancing basis with no nasty surprises in the small print, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in St Helens who offer services on a cost per hour basis. Your quote will explain exactly what you will be charged when your sale or purchase goes through.

Are there any other costs?

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

Disbursements are the third-party costs that your conveyancer will pass on to you at the end of the conveyancing process, such as telegraphic transfer fees or Stamp Duty.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will the total conveyancing fees in St Helens cost?

St Helens conveyancing solicitor fees will be the same as anywhere else in the country. However, the costs of certain disbursements can vary. For example, Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary and specific extra searches, e.g. a commons registration search, may be necessary.

For a standard home sale or purchase, the conveyancing fee we quote is the fee you pay. There are no hidden costs or nasty surprises with Quittance Conveyancing. To calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance delivered an excellent service at the lowest conveyancing fees we could find

Conveyancing - Buying a property in St Helens

St Helens in Merseyside forms part of the wider Liverpool/Birkenhead Metropolitan Area, but was historically part of a district known as West Derby, in Lancashire. It developed mainly as a centre for coal mining and glass making, but other industries included sail making, copper smelting and brewing. Glass making continues in the town. A proposal to use public and private money to invest in a redevelopment of the town was revealed by the local council who envisage a new civic and heritage quarter, an education quarter and a business quarter.

Improved rail links were also highlighted as part of the regeneration plans, connecting St Helens directly to Glasgow, Newcastle and Lancaster, as well as faster direct routes into Liverpool.

Conveyancing for buyers

In carrying out the conveyancing for the purchase of a house or flat, the St Helens conveyancing solicitor will investigate the legal ownership rights or 'title' of the property and deliver their report on title to the purchaser.

The solicitor will offer professional advice after making their enquiries, help with resolving any problems and confirm that the legal title passes to the new owner.

This article sets out assistance for homebuyers searching for conveyancing solicitors in St Helens.

Your St Helens conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before you appoint a conveyancing solicitor in St Helens, it is very important that you make sure that they are approved by your lender, whether you are getting a mortgage from Lloyds Bank, the Harpenden Building Society or any other lender.

Your lawyer may be unable to act for your lender, because some lenders are only prepared to work with a restricted panel of firms that meet strict selection criteria.

If this is the case, the lender will probably require a different solicitor firm to act in their interests, and you will be expected to pay this alternative solicitor's fees. Resulting delays can jeopardise the whole purchase.

Neglecting to check the lender panel membership of your conveyancing solicitor could result in serious delays.

Quittance Conveyancing can perform the conveyancing for all lenders.

Conveyancing Searches (St Helens Borough Council)

Searches are enquiries made of public bodies by St Helens conveyancing solicitors to identify issues affecting the home you want to buy.

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

You will be made aware if your chosen lender insists on any additional searches, e.g. a highways search or a geological search.

The estimated turnaround time for conveyancing searches supplied by St Helens Borough Council is 7 weeks. Your conveyancer will recommend using a faster search agent.

Checking planning status

Your conveyancing solicitor will also order an 'Official Copy of the Title Register' from HMLR. This will help to reveal any planning issues. These issues could include outbuildings missing from the title plan or restrictive covenants governing the use of the property.

St Helens Borough Council Council Tax

St Helens Borough Council calculate your council tax based on a number of factors including the location of the property and the value of the property as determined by the VOA in 1991. E.g. the occupier of a Band C house in the St Helens Borough Council area would pay annual council tax of £1,480.

A conveyancing solicitor in St Helens will inform a buyer of the property's tax band once they have the Local Authority search results.

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 £1,110.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or if you are a live in carer looking after someone who isn't a spouse or relative.

Band St Helens Borough Council Tax (2018)
A £1,110
B £1,295
C £1,480
D £1,665
E £2,035
F £2,405
G £2,775
H £3,330

Are you paying more than you should?

A homeowner can challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 30 council tax challenges were made, and 20 were approved and the tax was reduced. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Liverpool
L20 7HS
Merseyside

Stamp Duty on St Helens properties

Given the complexity of the SDLT1 tax return form, only the confident would attempt to complete and file this with HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue) without a conveyancing solicitor's help.

Stamp duty is a percentage of the purchase price of a property paid by the buyer to HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue). It is due on properties bought for over £125k.

Quittance Conveyancing use smart case management systems to ensure that mistakes are not made on the SDLT process.

See examples for typical local properties:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £145,335 £406.70
Average price (detached) £241,203 £2,324.06
Average new build £193,594 £1,371.88
Higher rates of SDLT apply to buyers of second property in the form of a 3% surcharge. E.g. if a second home was bought for £145,335 then the SDLT including the surcharge would be £7,266.75. .

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in St Helens

As from November 2017, first-time buyers will not have to pay any stamp duty if the purchase price is below £300k.

St Helens conveyancing solicitors should confirm their client pays the correct amount.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in St Helens

New build site

It is risky to purchase a leasehold home without being aware of the facts. There are many legal issues that may be lying in wait for the unsuspecting buyer, such as unpaid service charges by the existing leaseholder, ground rent multipliers and freeholds sold without first refusal to leaseholders.

Serious consequences can result from an inexperienced conveyancing solicitor's inaccurate leasehold advice.

If you are planning to buy a leasehold property, a specialist conveyancing solicitor in St Helens will consider possible leasehold issues, such as :

  • reviewing the lease
  • current-year service charge estimates
  • dealing with freeholders and managing agents
  • block management regulations that sit outside the lease
  • insurance reinstatement covenants

Ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property - You can call our leasehold conveyancing solicitor team today on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in St Helens?

New build site

The average price for a new build property in St Helens is £153,450. 2 new build houses and flats have been bought in St Helens in 2018 so far.

Buying a new build home can be more complex than any other type of conveyancing. Therefore a St Helens conveyancing solicitor must be mindful of St Helens-specific considerations and needs to check a range of issues, such as handling equity loan schemes and spotting incomplete agreements for roads and sewers.

Our highly qualified new build conveyancing team specialise in working to developer exchange timeframes and representing buyers to achieve the best outcome.

Merseyside Conservation areas

When carrying out the conveyancing for a purchase in St Helens, a conveyancing solicitor will need to confirm if the home is in one of St Helens's conservation areas. If it is, the property is affected by restrictions. Called Article 4 directions, these restrictions could include:

  • Limits on the use of non-traditional building materials
  • A ban on uPVC window frames
  • Restrictions on outbuildings and extensions

If a property is in breach, you could be legally required (as the new owner) to pay for returning the property to a compliant state, even if the previous owner carried out the alterations.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in St Helens

The legal process for a house sale is normally less troublesome than when buying. The buyer will have to carry out detailed research on the property, whereas conveyancing solicitors in St Helens acting for the seller simply responds to enquiries made by the buyer's solicitor.

Why do sales fall through?

Homes can face any number of potential roadblocks (such as not having appropriate warranties or where the property differs from the title plan) that might protract or even derail the conveyancing process.

Property experts will almost always suggest that vendors handle these issues as soon as they come to light.

Recommended reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Selling a leasehold property

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat is quite a lot more protracted than for a freehold property.

Leasehold complexity involves additional tasks on the part of conveyancing solicitors in St Helens. This can involve collating all relevant freeholder information or a copy of any health and safety assessment for the common parts.

To reduce delays, it is highly recommended that the vendor contacts a conveyancer with leasehold experience as soon as possible, and preferably before going on the market,.

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

Solicitors Regulation Authority rules restrict the same conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale. However, a CLC-regulated conveyancer, can act for both sides.

You can contact a local St Helens conveyancing solicitor firm to carry out your legal work, if a Quittance conveyancing solicitor is acting for the other side.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in St Helens

People remortgage for all sorts of reasons, such as fixing the mortgage on a new discounted rate, or extending the mortgage term. The most common reason, however, is to secure a preferential rate.

You can benefit from a lower rate sooner with a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in St Helens, reducing the time the conveyancing takes to complete. With the future of interest rates unclear, fast conveyancing can be a key consideration when getting the mortgage rate you want.

It is vital that the property lawyer handling your remortgage can act on behalf of your preferred mortgage lender. Quittance Conveyancing are on all major UK lenders' panels, so no matter whether you are switching to a fixed-rate mortgage with the Co-operative Bank or to a two-year discount with the Yorkshire Building Society, our remortgage team can assist.

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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