Updated: October 12, 2018

Totnes conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Totnes

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the amounts you pay conveyancing solicitors in Totnes for carrying out the legal work for a property transaction.

Are Totnes conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

We work on a guaranteed fixed conveyancing fee basis with no hidden extras, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Totnes who will work on a fees per hour basis. Your conveyancing quote sets out exactly what you will need to pay 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 third-party costs that your conveyancer will pass on to you at the end of the conveyancing process. These include costs like HMLR fees or indemnity insurance.

See: How much should conveyancing fees cost?

How much will the total Totnes solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Whilst conveyancing fees in Totnes will be the same as anywhere else in the UK, there can be variation in the disbursements required. For example, Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary and additional region-specific searches, e.g. a Coal Authority search, may be needed.

For a standard sale or purchase, what we quote is the fee you pay. With Quittance, there are no hidden fees or surprises in the small print. To calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance's fees were cheaper - less than half the Estate Agent's recommended solicitor's fees

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Totnes

Purchase conveyancing will need a Totnes conveyancing solicitor to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such factors are local planning restrictions and the mortgageability of the property itself.

The purchaser's solicitor will feed the results of their enquiries back to the buyer and their mortgage lender, iron out any legal issues and register the new owner's title at the Land Registry.

The following gives useful information for buyers who want conveyancing solicitors in Totnes.

Your Totnes conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Irrespective of whether your mortgage is with a less common lender like Ulster Bank or a major lender such as the Nationwide Building Society, before you instruct a Totnes conveyancing solicitor it is vital that you check that they are on the approved panel of your mortgage lender.

Quite a few banks and building societies will only work with a select panel of legal firms that meet stringent criteria. If a solicitor cannot act for your mortgage lender, the lender will need an alternative firm to act in their interests.

The home buyer will usually need to pay this alternate solicitor's costs and significant delays to your move could occur.

Your home move could be jeopardised by failing to check your conveyancer's lender panel status.

Our conveyancing solicitors can perform the conveyancing for all banks and other lenders.

South Hams District Council searches

Property searches are applied for by Totnes conveyancing solicitors to identify any wider issues that might reduce how much the property you are purchasing will be worth.

Mortgage lenders also need property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') to be applied for. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority (LA) search - contains information about the property and surrounding area held by South Hams District Council
  • Environmental search - describes hazards (such as historic flooding or mining subsidence) within 500m of the property. This search also identifies sites of contaminated land nearby.
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
  • Chancel repair liability - describes the insurance to protect against any liability to the local parish for repairs.

Additional searches, such as a highways authority search or a contaminated land report, may also be recommended following the initial searches.

South Hams District Council has an approximate delivery time of 10 weeks for conveyancing searches, so your solicitor will instead apply for quicker personal searches.

Finding planning permissions

The conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer will get an 'Official Copy of the Title Register' from the Land Registry, assisting with the identification of any potential issues, such as a difference between the agent's floorplan and the title plan or limits on the development of the property.

South Hams District Council Council Tax

The amount of council tax a homeowner in Totnes will pay to South Hams District Council will depend on the property's value and the number of residents. E.g. for an average Band C property in Totnes, the amount of council tax would be £1,619.

Conveyancing solicitors in Totnes will inform a purchaser of the home's tax band as soon as they are 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 £1,215.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example a 10% discount for second homes (although this may change as the government has second home ownership in its sights) or where the property is occupied solely by students. Property constructed after 1991 is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency.

Band South Hams District Council Tax (2018)
A £1,215
B £1,417
C £1,619
D £1,822
E £2,227
F £2,632
G £3,037
H £3,644

Does anyone ever challenge their valuation?

In the 2016/17 financial year, 50 council tax challenges were made. 20 saw a reduction. To appeal contact:

Valuation Office Agency
190 Armada Way
Plymouth
PL1 1EG
Devon

Stamp Duty on Totnes properties

Delays and penalties await those who mishandle the stamp duty administration process.

The vast majority of people will have their conveyancing solicitor complete the SDLT1 return on their behalf.

The current stamp duty threshold for residential properties is £125k.

Penalties for errors or late filing of the SDLT1 form can be as high as 30%. Quittance Conveyancing use case management software to ensure that SDLT is paid immediately after completion.

This table sets out Stamp Duty Land Tax for average property in Devon:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £280,553 £4,027.65
Average price (detached) £383,433 £9,171.65
Average new build £296,218 £4,810.90
Following a change in April 2016, an SDLT surcharge of 3% is applied for purchases of additional property. Therefore, if a homeowner in Totnes bought a second home for the average price of £280,553 the SDLT would be £22,444.24.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Totnes

Since 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300k.

Conveyancing solicitors in Totnes should ensure the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Totnes

New build site

The potential risks associated with buying a leasehold property in England or Wales have been well chronicled in the media. The numerous common problems lying in wait for the unsuspecting purchaser could include:

  • spiralling ground rents
  • excessive freehold premiums
  • incomplete management company accounts
  • unfair developer practices
Serious consequences can result from a solicitor's bad leasehold advice.

If you intend to buy a property with a lease, a competent conveyancing solicitor in Totnes will consider possible leasehold issues, including :

  • reviewing the lease itself (many leases are decades old)
  • any recent demands for service charges and ground rent
  • managing agent or landlord enquiries
  • block management regulations that sit outside the lease
  • buildings insurance apportionments

Quittance Conveyancing's leasehold conveyancing solicitors will work to ensure that you are aware of all the potential issues and costs associated with the lease.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Totnes?

New build site

Based on data collated by HMLR, 103 newly-constructed homes have been bought in Totnes in 2018 so far. The average price for a new build in Totnes is £314,092.

Buying a new build home is generally more complex than 'standard conveyancing'. Therefore a conveyancing solicitor in Totnes should be aware of local issues and should check numerous things, including dealing with fast exchange timeframes and checking that any contracts allow for future 'common parts' maintenance.

Quittance Conveyancing deliver an impartial view of the legal status of the property, with a close eye on issues ranging from the home's subsequent mortgageability to sharply increasing ground rent and service charges (where applicable).

Devon Conservation areas

When acting for the purchaser of a property in Totnes, a conveyancing solicitor will need to check whether the home is in a conservation area in Totnes. If it is, the home could be affected by specific restrictions. These restrictions may include:

  • A prohibition on the removal of chimneys
  • Restrictions on hard standings at the front of the property
  • A prohibition on side or two-storey extensions

The new owner could be ordered to pay for necessary changes to bring a property in line with current regulations, even if the previous owner was responsible for the changes.

Your conveyancing solicitor will address whether your planned purchase is located one of Totnes's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Totnes

The conveyancing process on a sale of a house or flat is much easier than when purchasing. The buyer's conveyancing solicitor must carry out a detailed legal assessment into the property and its legal title, whereas conveyancing solicitors in Totnes acting for the vendor effectively just collects any required paperwork and replies to the solicitor's standard and additional enquiries .

Factors that could delay or endanger a property sale

Properties will frequently have a series of problems (such as a historical dispute with a freeholder) that have the capacity to prolong a sale for several weeks.

It is not recommended that you put off finding a solution in the hope that any issues won't be spotted, instead talk to a professional, face the issues head on, and find a solution as early as possible.

Further reading:

Read more sale conveyancing articles here.

Selling a leasehold property

The conveyancing process for a leasehold property is a great deal more complex than for a freehold house.

The complex nature of leasehold property means that conveyancing solicitors in Totnes will need to conduct additional work, including obtaining all relevant freeholder information, through to any details of any ongoing enfranchisement process.

To reduce leasehold-related delays, it is recommended that the seller instruct a conveyancer as soon as is practicable.

What if your conveyancing solicitors are acting for the other side?

A conveyancer who is regulated by the CLC can act for both the buyer and the seller. However, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules restrict a single conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a house sale.

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

Local Totnes conveyancing solicitor directory

  • Boyce Hatton LLP, Brunel House, Station Road, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5HW
  • Windeatts Solicitors LLP, 19 High Street, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5NW
  • Bartons.co.uk.limited, 9 Town Quay, The Plains, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5DW
  • Van Den Berg Solicitors, South Devon House, Babbage Road, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5JA

Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Totnes

People remortgage a home for a variety of reasons, for example moving from a tracker to a fixed-rate, or consolidating loan repayments. The most common reason, however, is to get a lower interest rate.

Homeowners would typically benefit from a lower rate sooner by using a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Totnes. With the base rate set at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can play a key role in securing the rate you want.

It is critical that the property lawyer undertaking the legal work can also represent your new lender. Our conveyancing team are on all major UK lenders' panels, so no matter whether you are changing to a lifetime tracker mortgage with the Co-operative Bank or to a fixed-rate mortgage with the Chelsea Building Society, Quittance can help.

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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