Updated: October 12, 2018

Washington conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Washington

Conveyancing solicitor fees are what you pay to your Washington conveyancing solicitor for the legal work for a home sale or purchase.

Are Washington conveyancing fees and costs fixed?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Washington offer services on a fees per hour basis, whereas others work on a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). Our conveyancing solicitors work on a No Sale, No Fee basis, with no nasty surprises in the small print. Your quote explains all fees and disbursements you will need to pay when your sale or purchase goes through.

What are disbursements?

On top of the conveyancing fees you will also need to budget for 'disbursements'.

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 Stamp Duty or office copies.

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will the total conveyancing fees in Washington cost?

Washington conveyancing fees should not vary, wherever you are buying or selling in the UK. However, there may be some variation in certain disbursements. As examples, additional region-specific searches, such as a mining search, may be needed and Local Authority Search fees can vary.

With Quittance, there are no unexpected costs or surprises in the small print. For a standard sale or purchase, what we quote is the fee you pay. Work out the conveyancing fees for your move, with our conveyancing calculator: Click here

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Washington

In carrying out the conveyancing for a property buyer, the Washington conveyancing solicitor will carry out due diligence on the tenure and investigate the legal ownership rights or 'title' of the property and report back to the purchaser and the mortgage lender (if applicable).

Once their enquiries are complete the lawyer will make recommendations and will offer pragmatic solutions and ensure the title is transferred to the new owner.

The following examines the types of residential property which may be of interest to people who need conveyancing solicitors in Washington for a purchase.

Your Washington conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before you select a conveyancing solicitor in Washington, it is vital that you check that they are on the panel of your mortgage lender, whether you are obtaining a mortgage from Halifax, Coutts or any other lender.

Many banks and building societies will only accept a selected list (known as a 'panel') of firms. If your conveyancer is not on the panel of your mortgage lender, the lender will need an alternative firm to act in their interests.

The buyer will be expected to pay this alternative lawyer's costs, and weeks could be added to the conveyancing process.

Failing to confirm the lender panel membership of your conveyancing lawyer could mean serious delays.

Our solicitors can perform the conveyancing for all mortgage providers.

Searches (Sunderland City Council)

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') are enquiries made of government bodies by Washington 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.

Additional searches, such as a radon gas search or a more detailed environmental report, may also be recommended in the initial LA and Environmental searches.

The typical lead time for searches provided by Sunderland City Council is 7 weeks, so it will be worthwhile to use a quicker private search company.

Finding planning permissions

Official Entries (or 'office copies') will also be obtained by the purchaser's conveyancing solicitor. This will help to reveal potential planning issues, for example errors on the title plan or neighbours' rights of access.

Sunderland City Council Council Tax

As a homeowner in Washington, the applicable rate of council tax will vary depending on the value of the home (as assessed in 1991) and the number of people living in it. The occupier of a property in Tax Band D, for example, would owe annual council tax of £1,550.

Conveyancing solicitors in Washington will inform a buyer of the home's tax band as soon as they are made aware.

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 £1,163.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, e.g. unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or structural changes or for spouses of students who are not British. A house or flat constructed after 1991 is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

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

Is it possible to reduce my council tax band?

To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Wycliffe House
Green Lane
County Durham

It is possible to challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 30 council tax challenges were made, of which 20 were upheld and refunds awarded.

Stamp Duty on Washington properties

With some exceptions, if you purchase a property over the £125,000 threshold you will have to pay SDLT. Obtaining and completing the SDLT1 return from HMRC is difficult but not impossible for a typical homebuyer. Usually, however, the form is completed by the property lawyer to avoid penalties or delays.

Our post-completion conveyancing team use integrated conveyancing case management system to ensure the SDLT1 tax return is submitted to HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue) as quickly as possible.

This table sets out Stamp Duty Land Tax for typical property in Washington:

  Average selling price (2017) Stamp Duty Land Tax
Average price £143,648 £372.96
Average price (detached) £261,344 £3,067.20
Average new build £100,012 £0.00
If you are buying a second home for more than £40,000 then you will have to pay a surcharge of 3%. So if a second property was bought for £143,648 then the stamp duty total will be £7,182.40.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Washington

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

Washington conveyancing solicitors should confirm their client pays the correct amount.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Washington

New build site

It is estimated that over 100,000 UK property owners are trapped in leases with problematic lease conditions. Spiralling ground rents, sub-letting restrictions and unreasonable managing agent fees are only some of the frequent complications lying in wait for the unsuspecting buyer.

Severe consequences can result from a solicitor's inaccurate leasehold advice.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Washington will address aspects of leasehold, including understanding regional and era-specific nuances of leases, dealing with freeholders and managing agents and any recent demands for service charges and ground rent.

Make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property - Call Quittance Conveyancing's team of leasehold conveyancing solicitors today on 0800 612 0377.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Washington?

New build building site

According to HM Land Registry information, 83 new builds were purchased in Washington last year. The average value of new build property in Washington is £100,012.

The legal work for acquiring a new build home requires more technical knowledge than 'standard conveyancing'. Therefore a conveyancing solicitor in Washington needs to be aware of local Washington considerations and will examine a number of areas, like liaising with the builder's onsite sales team and confirming rights to use pipes and cables (e.g. phone, data, fibre, electricity).

Our expert new build team provide an independent appraisal of the legal title of the property, whilst being mindful of considerations ranging from unfair leasehold conditions to possible freehold acquisition traps.

County Durham Conservation areas

Whether you are purchasing a listed character property or a period townhouse, if the house is in a designated conservation area, your plans to develop the house may not be allowed by the local authority.

Referred to as Article 4 directions, these building controls could include:

  • Restrictions on replacing windows
  • Restrictions preventing the addition of new access
  • Restrictions 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 Washington's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Washington

The legal side of a sale of a home is normally less troublesome than for a purchase. When property changes hands, the principle of 'buyer beware' means that the onus is solely on the buyer to ensure that the property's title does not have any legal issues.

In contrast, for a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Washington acting for the current owner just answer the purchaser's enquiries.

Why do sales fall through?

Properties will often come with a series of issues (such as a dispute with a neighbour or a historical dispute with a freeholder) which could prevent the conveyancing process from completing.

Property specialists almost always advise that vendors face these issues head on and fix them.

Useful reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Leasehold conveyancing for a sale

The conveyancing process for a leasehold flat is quite a lot more complicated compared to a freehold house.

The complexities of leasehold mean conveyancing solicitors in Washington will usually undertake extra work, for example collating the latest service charge and ground rent statement or any documents pertaining to a variation of the terms of the lease.

To help mitigate the delays involved in selling a leasehold property, it is recommended that you instruct a solicitor as early as possible.

What if you are acting for the other side?

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

You could instruct a property solicitor firm in Washington to carry out your legal work, if a Quittance solicitor is acting for the other side.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Washington

By far the most common reason people remortgage their home is to save money with a lower rate. There are other reasons to remortgage, including moving from a tracker to a fixed-rate, or borrowing more to help pay for an extension.

Homeowners would typically benefit from a better rate sooner by using a more efficient conveyancing solicitor in Washington, working to reduce the processing time of the legal work. With rate rises anticipated, fast conveyancing can be a crucial factor in securing your preferred rate.

It is key that the property lawyer carrying out the remortgage is also able to act for your preferred mortgage provider. Our conveyancing team are on all major UK lenders' panels, so no matter whether you are moving to a fixed-rate mortgage with Lloyds Bank or to a repayment mortgage with the Bank of Ireland, our remortgage specialists 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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