Updated: October 12, 2018

Sunderland conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Sunderland

Conveyancing solicitor fees are paid to your Sunderland conveyancing solicitor for the legal work involved in moving home.

Do Sunderland conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Sunderland carry out the legal work on an hourly rate, and other firms will work for a fixed fee ('No Move, No Fee'). Our conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed No Move, No Fee basis, with no hidden costs. Your quote sets out exactly what you will be charged when your sale or purchase goes through.

Are there any other costs?

You will have to pay any 'disbursements', in addition to the solicitor's conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are the costs incurred by the solicitor on your behalf. These include costs like telegraphic transfer fees or Land Registry fees.

See: A guide to conveyancing fees, costs and disbursements

How much will the total Sunderland solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Sunderland conveyancing solicitor fees should not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. However, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. For example, Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary and additional region-specific searches, such as a flooding search, may be needed.

There are no hidden fees or nasty surprises with Quittance. For standard conveyancing transactions, what we quote is the fee you pay. Calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing fees calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Sunderland

The city of Sunderland is situated at the mouth of the River Wear in north-east England. It grew as a port and was an important ship-building centre. Now much of its industry is in science & technology and car manufacturing.

The city is surrounded by the Tyne & Wear green belt, which serves to restrict any urban sprawl. To the east is the coast, with 2 award-winning beaches and to the north, Northumberland. Around £1 billion of public and private investment has been earmarked for various projects, which will further improve this already lively and cosmopolitan city.

Conveyancing for buyers

Under recent changes to English and Welsh property law, a seller must now disclose issues concerning their property to the buyer.

It remains, however, the duty of a conveyancing solicitor in Sunderland to investigate the property, so that they can make their "report on title", deal with any legal issues and make sure that the title is registered in the name of the new buyer.

The following section provides useful information for homebuyers who need conveyancing solicitors in Sunderland.

Your Sunderland conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Whether your mortgage is with a less common lender like Pepper Homeloans or a large lender such as NatWest, before you choose a Sunderland conveyancing solicitor it is very important that you make sure that they are on the panel of your mortgage lender.

Some lenders will only work with a restricted panel of firms. If your conveyancer is not on the panel of your mortgage lender, the lender will probably need a second law firm to carry out the legal work.

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

Significant delays can be caused by failing to confirm your conveyancing lawyer's lender panel status.

Our conveyancing solicitors are on the panel of all banks and other lenders.

Property Searches (Sunderland City Council)

Residential property searches are enquiries made of government bodies by Sunderland conveyancing solicitors to help uncover relevant information about your new home. They include:

  • Local Authority search - covers planning applications, building control history and enforcement action against the property. The LA search also includes details of any nearby road development schemes.
  • Drainage & Water search - confirms who is responsible for the upkeep of the water pipes and drainage that serve the property.
  • Environmental search - shows whether the surrounding environment is suitable for the purchaser
  • Chancel repair liability - insurance is arranged to protect the buyer against any liability for local parish church repairs.

You will be made aware if your mortgage lender needs any more searches, for example a radon gas search or a disadvantaged area search.

Sunderland City Council has a usual processing time of 7 weeks for Local Authority searches, so personal (as opposed to official) searches will be faster.

Ensuring planning permission is in place

Official Entries will also be ordered from HM Land Registry by the conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer. This will help to reveal planning issues, for example a difference between the agent's floorplan and the title plan or right of access issues.

Sunderland City Council Council Tax

Sunderland City Council calculate your council tax based on various criteria e.g. the size of the home and the value of the property as determined by the VOA in 1991. The occupier of a property in Band C, for example, would owe annual council tax of £1,378.

Conveyancing solicitors in Sunderland will inform the purchaser of the home's tax band once they are themselves 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 £1,034.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, e.g. if the property is uninhabited (for the first 60 days) or where an inhabitant is an 18 year old for whom child benefit is payable. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) assess bandings for new homes, and where the owner has requested a revaluation.

Band Sunderland City Council Tax (2018)
A £1,034
B £1,206
C £1,378
D £1,550
E £1,895
F £2,240
G £2,584
H £3,101

Can I dispute my band?

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

Valuation Office Agency
Wycliffe House
Green Lane
County Durham

From April 2016 to March 2017, 30 council tax challenges were made. 20 were upheld and the tax was reduced.

Stamp Duty on Sunderland properties

With some exceptions, if you buy a property over the £125,000 threshold you will have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax. Completing the SDLT1 form yourself is confusing and not for those unfamiliar with it.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) late filing penalties are avoided using the latest case management system.

The following table illustrates Stamp Duty Land Tax examples for average properties in Sunderland:

  Average selling price (2017) SDLT
Average price £139,623 £292.46
Average price (detached) £239,246 £2,284.92
Average new build £185,466 £1,209.32

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Sunderland

First-time buyer stamp duty relief is available on property purchases below £300k. Following a change in April 2016, an SDLT surcharge of 3% is applied for purchases of additional property. Therefore, if a homeowner in Sunderland bought a second home for the average price of £139,623 the SDLT would be £6,981.15.

Conveyancing solicitors in Sunderland should ensure the correct calculation is made.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Sunderland

New build site

It is thought that over 100,000 UK property owners have leases with problematic lease terms. The many potential problems awaiting the unsuspecting buyer could include unreasonable managing agent fees, exponential ground rents and leases with fewer than 80 years to run.

Severe consequences can result from a less-experienced property lawyer's failure to give good leasehold advice.

If you intend to buy a house or flat with a lease, a experienced conveyancing solicitor in Sunderland will consider possible leasehold issues, including reserve funds, service charge records from the last three years and checking the lease itself.

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

Buying a 'New Build' property in Sunderland?

Building site

27 new build properties have been bought in Sunderland in 2018 so far, according to data sourced by the Land Registry. The average cost of Sunderland new build homes is £173,009.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Sunderland must be well-versed in Sunderland-specific issues and new build-specific issues, such as checking that any contracts allow for future 'common parts' maintenance, checking the suitability of new build insurance and checking new build warranties with warranty providers, including NHBC, LABC New Home Warranty and Aedis.

Our award-winning conveyancing team are experts in meeting short developer deadlines and new build purchases.

Conservation areas

If you are purchasing a home in one of Sunderland's conservation areas, the property must not breach any conservation area restrictions. These restrictions, called Article 4 Directions, can include:

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

The new owner could be ordered to pay for necessary changes to bring a property in line with current regulations, even where the alterations were made by the previous owner.

Whitburn Bents, Bishopwearmouth and Nesham Place are among the conservation areas in Sunderland. Your conveyancing solicitor will address whether your planned purchase is located one of Sunderland's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Sunderland

The conveyancing process on a sale of a house or flat is generally simpler than when purchasing. During the sale of a house or flat, the responsibility lies with the purchaser to establish that the property's title is not legally defective.

On the other side of the transaction, conveyancing solicitors in Sunderland acting for the vendor effectively just answer the purchaser's enquiries.

What can you do to reduce the risk of an abortive sale?

Common issues, like a landlord dispute on a leasehold property, have the capacity to derail a sale.

Property experts will usually suggest to vendors that they handle any such problems as soon as they come to light.

Recommended reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Leasehold flats

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat is much more technical than it is for a freehold home.

Sunderland conveyancing solicitors will also perform extra work, which could include collating all relevant freeholder information, through to any information about regulations affecting the property that are not in the lease.

Given the complexities of leasehold property, it is recommended that you instruct a leasehold expert as soon as the decision is made to sell.

What if you are acting for the other side?

A conveyancer who is regulated by the CLC can act for both the buyer and the seller. However, SRA rules prevent the same solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a house sale.

If you are buying or selling a property in Sunderland, and a Quittance conveyancer is carrying out the legal work for the other side, you could instruct a property solicitor firm in Sunderland to carry out your legal work.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Sunderland

Homeowners remortgage their home for a variety of reasons, including moving from a standard variable rate (SVR) to a fixed-rate, or wanting to borrow more. By far the most common reason, however, is to benefit from a lower interest rate.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Sunderland can reduce the remortgage processing time, meaning you move to your lower rate sooner. With the Bank of England base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in getting the mortgage rate you want.

It is crucial that the property lawyer handling your remortgage can act on behalf of your preferred lender. Our conveyancing team are on all major UK lenders' panels. So no matter whether you are switching to a variable-rate with the Co-operative Bank or to a discounted-rate mortgage with the Manchester 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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