Updated: October 12, 2018

Whetstone conveyancing solicitor fees and costs

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Whetstone

Conveyancing solicitor fees are paid your Whetstone conveyancing solicitor for handling the legal work for your move.

How are Whetstone conveyancing fees calculated?

Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on a No Sale, No Fee basis with no hidden extras, unlike some other conveyancing solicitors in Whetstone who work on a price per hour basis. Your conveyancing quote will set out all fees and other costs you will be charged when your house or flat sale completes.

Are there any other costs in addition to conveyancing fees?

You will need to budget for 'disbursements', on top of the conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are fees that a property lawyer must pay to other companies during the process of buying or selling your home. These include costs like managing agent fees or Stamp Duty.

See: A guide to all conveyancing fees

How much will conveyancing in Whetstone cost in total?

Although conveyancing fees in Whetstone will usually match prices elsewhere in the UK, the disbursements required can vary. As examples, additional region-specific searches, such as a mining search, may be needed and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

For a standard home sale or purchase, what we quote is the fee you pay. With Quittance Conveyancing, there are no hidden fees or nasty surprises. 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 Whetstone

Under recent changes to English and Welsh property law, a seller is obliged to reveal any property defects or disputes to their estate agent and to the purchaser.

It is, however, still the duty of a Whetstone conveyancing solicitor to investigate the property, and feed the results of their enquiries back to the buyer, deal with any legal problems and ensure that the full legal ownership is transferred.

The content below gives assistance for people searching for conveyancing solicitors in Whetstone for a purchase.

Your Whetstone conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

There are many mortgage providers available to homebuyers, from a major lender such as the Co-operative Bank, to a financial institution like the Market Harborough Building Society. Before you select a Whetstone conveyancing solicitor, you must confirm that they can act on behalf of your mortgage lender.

Your conveyancer may not be able to carry out the legal work on behalf of your mortgage lender, because some lenders are only happy to work with a select list (referred to as a 'panel') of legal firms.

If that is the case, the lender will likely need a different firm to complete the legal work, and you will then have to cover this alternate lawyer's costs. The additional work can mean the process takes much longer.

Neglecting to check your property solicitor's lender panel status could mean significant delays.

Our solicitors can act for all lenders.

Searches (Barnet Borough Council)

Property searches (sometimes referred to as 'conveyancing searches') are enquiries made of various authorities by Whetstone conveyancing solicitors to identify issues affecting the home you want to buy. They include:

SearchDescription
Local Authority (LA) searchplanning and development details from Barnet Borough Council records
Drainage & Water searchconfirms who is responsible for the upkeep of the water pipes and drainage that serve the property.
Environmental searchreveals contaminated land, landfill sites and flooding or subsidence within 500m of the property.
Chancel repair liabilityinvolves 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.

Additional searches, such as a tin mining search or a more detailed plan search, may also be referred to following the initial searches.

The approximate delivery time for property searches supplied by The London Borough of Barnet is 15 weeks, so it will be worth using a faster private search company.

Planning searches

Your conveyancing solicitor also retrieves an 'Official Copy of the Title Register' from HM Land Registry. This helps to find any planning issues, such as discrepancies between the property boundaries and the title plan or a restrictive covenant against certain alterations.

London Borough of Barnet Council Tax

Council tax is calculated by London Borough of Barnet on property value and the number of people living in the property. For example, for an average Tax Band E residential property in Whetstone, the council tax would be £1,813 per year.

Conveyancing solicitors in Whetstone will inform a buyer of the property's tax band after this is confirmed by the searches.

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 £1,360.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example where the home is empty or unfurnished for a maximum of 60 days or if the property is left empty by someone receiving medical treatment. Newer property is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and allocated a banding.

Band London Borough of Barnet Tax (2018)
A £989
B £1,154
C £1,319
D £1,484
E £1,813
F £2,143
G £2,473
H £2,967

Could you be overpaying?

The Valuation Office Agency should reassess a property's band on request. To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Chase House
305 Chase Rd
London
N14 6LZ

Stamp Duty on Whetstone properties

If you are buying a property that costs over £125,000, then you will have to pay SDLT to HMRC. Obtaining and completing the SDLT1 return from HMRC is difficult but not impossible for a typical property buyer. Usually, however, the form is completed by the conveyancing solicitor to avoid penalties or delays.

Quittance Conveyancing ensure that the complicated SDLT1 form is completed accurately and without delay.

See stamp duty examples for homes in London:

  Average sale price (February 2018) Stamp Duty
Average price £839,875 £31,993.75
Average price (detached) £1,973,730 £150,597.60
Average new build £64,786 £0.00

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Whetstone

Since the budget announcement in November 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300,000. Following a change in April 2016, a 3% stamp duty surcharge is applied for purchases of additional property. For example, if an existing homeowner bought a second home in Whetstone for the average price of £839,875 the stamp duty would be £67,190.00.

Whetstone conveyancing solicitors should ensure the right amount is calculated.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Whetstone

New build site

It can be costly to buy a leasehold house or flat if you are unaware of the facts. The many potential problems lying in wait for the unsuspecting purchaser include:

  • unfair developer practices
  • exponential ground rents
  • undisclosed major works
  • leases with fewer than 80 years to run
Bad or incomplete leasehold advice, from a conveyancing solicitor with only freehold experience, can have serious consequences.

A good conveyancing solicitor in Whetstone will consider potential leasehold issues, e.g. managing agent or landlord enquiries, reviewing the lease itself (some leases are over 100 years old) and the implications of the remaining length of the lease.

Our specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors will make sure that you are aware of all the potential issues and costs associated with the lease.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Whetstone?

New build site

According to data gathered by HM Land Registry, 450 brand new properties have been bought in Whetstone in 2018 so far. The average purchase price of a new build property in Whetstone is £449,784.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Whetstone will need to be aware of local Whetstone issues and the added complexities of new build, such as working to builders' exchange timelines, squaring developer incentives with lenders and registering ownership with warranty providers, including NHBC, LABC and BOPAS.

Quittance Conveyancing deliver an independent view of the property's legal status, looking out for factors like onerous leasehold conditions and an assessment of other risks, such as contaminated land hazards.

Conservation areas in London

When carrying out the conveyancing for a purchase in Whetstone, a conveyancing solicitor will need to check whether the property is in one of Whetstone's conservation areas. If it is, the home could be affected by specific building controls. These building controls, called Article 4 Directions, can include:

  • Restrictions on the use of cladding
  • Restrictions on joinery colour choices
  • Restrictions on extensions even if within Permitted Development rights

The local authority can order any non-compliant alterations to a property to be changed or removed.

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

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Whetstone

Conveyancing for a property sale usually requires less work than for a property purchase. When a house or flat changes hands, the burden is on the buyer to verify that the property is mortgageable and is (or can be) registered at the Land Registry.

With a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Whetstone acting for the vendor only need to answer enquiries made on behalf of the buyer.

How to help your sale go through

Common hurdles, such as being in an area threatened by local development, can seriously delay a transaction if ignored.

Don't ignore the issue as it is the buyer's solicitor's job to spot problems. Instead, you should get professional advice and deal with it as quickly as possible.

Further reading:

Read more conveyancing advice for sellers.

Selling a leasehold property

The legal work for a leasehold property is a great deal more involved in comparison with a freehold house.

Whetstone conveyancing solicitors will also need to carry out additional work, such as collating all relevant freeholder information, through to a copy of any health and safety assessment for the common parts.

It is strongly advised that the seller instruct a conveyancer as soon as the property is marketed, if not before, to mitigate (somewhat inevitable) leasehold delays.

Can your conveyancing solicitors act for both parties?

Solicitors Regulation Authority rules ban the same solicitor from acting on both sides in a property sale. A CLC-regulated conveyancer, however, can act for both parties.

You could contact a law firm in Whetstone to carry out your legal work, if a Quittance conveyancing solicitor is doing the legal work for the other side.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Whetstone

Reducing monthly repayments by finding a better rate is usually why people opt to remortgage. There are other reasons, such as releasing funds to help pay for home improvements, or wanting to overpay when the lender refuses.

You would typically benefit from a lower rate sooner with a more efficient conveyancing solicitor in Whetstone. With the base rate now at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a key consideration when securing the rate you want.

So that they can confirm that the lender's interests are protected, a property lawyer will need to act for both you and the new lender.

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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