Updated: October 12, 2018

Watford conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Watford

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the costs you pay conveyancing solicitors in Watford for handling the legal work for your move.

Do Watford conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Watford will work on a cost per hour basis, whereas others work on a fixed fee (or 'No Move, No Fee'). Our conveyancers work on fixed legal fees (known as 'No Sale, No Fee' or 'No Move, No Fee'), with no nasty surprises in the small print. Your quote will explain what you will be charged when your sale or purchase completes.

Are there any other costs?

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

Disbursements are fees that a property lawyer must pay to other companies during the process of buying or selling your home, such as ID checks or bankruptcy searches.

See: A guide to conveyancing fees, costs and disbursements

How much will the total Watford solicitor conveyancing fees be?

Although conveyancing fees in Watford will usually match prices elsewhere in the UK, there can be variation in the disbursements required. For example, specific extra searches, such as a flood plain search, may be necessary and council search fees will vary.

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

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

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Watford

Watford lies 15 miles north-west of central London in Hertfordshire and is a major regional centre for the Home Counties, with several large organisations choosing to locate their head offices in the town.

Despite its proximity to London, house prices are generally more affordable than other similarly proximate towns, but this may change once the proposed Croxley Rail Link (an extension to the Metropolitan Line) is completed, making access to stations easier.

New developments of flats have made North Watford and West and Central Watford ideal for first-time buyers, and the pleasant outlying districts of Bushey, Leavesden & Garston are popular with families.

Conveyancing for home buyers

When carrying out the legal work for the purchase of a house or flat, a Watford conveyancing solicitor will carry out due diligence on the tenure and investigate the property's title and make their "report on title".

The solicitor will offer suggestions and advice after making their enquiries, deal with any legal problems and confirm that the Land Registry's record of the property is updated.

This article provides recommendations for homebuyers who want conveyancing solicitors in Watford.

Your Watford conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

There are many lenders, from a major lender such as the Bank of Scotland, to a niche mortgage lender like Whistletree. Before you choose a conveyancing solicitor in Watford, it is critical that you make sure that they can act for your lender.

Your conveyancer may be unable to act for your lender, because some banks and building societies are only happy to work with a selected list (their 'panel') of law firms that meet stringent standards.

In this case, the lender will likely require an alternative firm to carry out the legal work, and you will then have to cover this substitute solicitor's costs. This means the transaction could be delayed.

Failing to confirm your conveyancing solicitor's lender panel status can create problems and delays.

Quittance Conveyancing are on the panel of all banks and other lenders.

Property Searches (Watford Borough Council)

Property searches are enquiries made of government bodies by Watford conveyancing solicitors to highlight issues affecting the property being purchased.

Lenders typically also require residential property searches to be applied for. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority search - includes the LLC1 and CON29 which includes Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO)
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies whether the owner or local authority must pay for the maintenance of water mains and sewers
  • Environmental search - environmental issues that could adversely affect the property
  • Chancel repair liability - involves the potential liability owed by the owners of certain property to pay for local parish church repairs. Insurance can be arranged to cover this risk.

More specific searches, such as an HS2 search or a contaminated land report, may also be advised in the standard searches.

Watford Borough Council has an estimated delivery time of 8 weeks for searches, so your solicitor will instead apply for quicker personal searches.

Planning issues

The buyer's conveyancing solicitor will request official entries from HM Land Registry. This will help to highlight any potential issues, for example discrepancies with the filed plan or restrictive covenants governing the use of the property.

Watford Borough Council Council Tax

As a homeowner in Watford, 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. For instance a residential property in the Watford Borough Council area in Band B would pay £1,359 per annum.

Watford conveyancing solicitors will inform the buyer of the home's council tax 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 reduces the tax due to 75% which would equal £1,019.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or structural changes or if you are a live in carer looking after someone who isn't a spouse or relative. More recently-built property is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency and allocated a band.

Band Watford Borough Council Tax (2018)
A £1,165
B £1,359
C £1,553
D £1,747
E £2,135
F £2,523
G £2,912
H £3,494

Is it possible to reduce my council tax band?

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

Valuation Office Agency
3rd Floor Aspect Gate 166 College Rd

Owners can ask for their property to be reassessed, but the band could be revised up as well as down.

Stamp Duty on Watford properties

SDLT is paid to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by completing an SDLT1 form. The form is lengthy and complex.

If you are buying a home in England, Wales or Northern Ireland then you will usually need to pay SDLT.

Quittance's investment in the latest integrated conveyancing case management system means that HMRC filing complications are a thing of the past.

See table below for stamp duty examples for properties in Watford:

  Average sale price (2017) SDLT
Average price £405,035 £10,251.75
Average price (detached) £768,243 £28,412.15
Average new build £373,162 £8,658.10
Following the recent budget statement, second home buyers must pay a surcharge of 3%. Therefore, if a homeowner in Watford bought a second property for the average price of £405,035 the SDLT would be £32,402.80.

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Watford

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

Conveyancing solicitors in Watford will confirm the correct tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Watford

New build site

It has been recently reported that more than of 100,000 UK property owners face leases with problematic lease terms. Numerous technical obstacles may be awaiting the unsuspecting buyer, such as:

  • unreasonable managing agent fees
  • restrictions on the use of the property
  • excessive freehold premiums
  • spiralling ground rents
Misguided leasehold advice, from a conveyancing solicitor with little specialist experience, could have costly, long-term consequences.

A specialist conveyancing solicitor in Watford will consider possible leasehold issues, for example leaseholder/freeholder disputes, possible service charge shortfalls and reviewing the lease itself.

Ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property - Get in touch with our team of leasehold conveyancing solicitors on 0800 612 0377 today.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Watford?

House under construction

The average value of new builds in Watford is £274,167, according to the Land Registry. 3 new build houses and flats have been bought in Watford in 2018 so far.

The legal side of buying a new build can be more complex than any other type of conveyancing. Therefore a conveyancing solicitor in Watford must be aware of Watford-specific factors and should investigate several key issues, e.g. ensuring that new build mortgage conditions are met and verifying rights of access.

Our team of new build conveyancers specialise in representing buyers to achieve the best outcome and working to tight developer deadlines.

Conservation areas

If you are purchasing a residential property in one of Watford's conservation areas, the property must not breach any conservation area conditions. Called Article 4 directions, these constraints can include restrictions preventing the addition of frontal sloping rooflights, limits on the use of cladding or limitations on new outbuildings.

If a property is in breach, you could be instructed by the local authority to return the home to its earlier condition, even if the changes were made by the previous owner.

Conservation areas in Watford include Oxhey, Estcourt and Macdonnell Gardens. Your conveyancing solicitor will confirm whether the property you are buying is located in one of Watford's conservation areas.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Watford

Conveyancing for a house sale is less demanding than when purchasing. The buyer's conveyancer has to carry out a thorough legal appraisal on the property, whereas conveyancing solicitors in Watford acting for the seller simply collates requested paperwork (e.g. warranties and certificates) and answers the purchaser's enquiries .

What could put your sale at risk?

Issues, such as not being connected to the main sewers, can actually delay a sale if not handled appropriately.

Don't put off finding a solution, trusting that the issue won't be discovered - get advice, face the issues head on, and find a solution as soon as you can.

Recommended reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Sale conveyancing for a leasehold property

The conveyancing process for a leasehold property is quite a lot more specialised than for a more straightforward freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Watford will also carry out additional work, including getting all relevant freeholder information, through to the minutes of the last AGM (if there is a management company).

It is recommended that you instruct a leasehold specialist as soon as possible to speed up the handling of the legal work.

Can your conveyancing solicitors act for both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction?

SRA regulations ban a single conveyancing solicitor from acting on both sides in a house sale and purchase. However, CLC-regulated conveyancers, can act for both parties.

You could contact a property solicitor firm in Watford to undertake your conveyancing, if we are acting for the other side.


Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Watford

Securing a lower interest rate is generally why people change lenders. There are other reasons, including fixing the mortgage on a new discounted rate, or releasing capital.

A proactive conveyancing solicitor in Watford can reduce the remortgage processing time, perhaps saving you from a payment or two at your old rate. With the future of interest rates unclear, fast conveyancing can be a critical factor in securing your preferred rate.

The property lawyer handling the remortgage should also be able to act for the new mortgage lender. Quittance Conveyancing are on all major lenders' panels. So whether you are switching to a tracker with the NatWest or to a two-year discount with the Coventry Building Society, we 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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