We also carry out residential conveyancing. Our aim is to provide an efficient, cost-effective, and stress-free service. It is, unfortunately, well known that moving house can be one of life’s most difficult experiences. We will do all that we can to help you avoid the problems that can lie in your path, and to guide you safely through the whole process from beginning to end.
There are only two things that really differ from one Solicitor to the next in respect of conveyancing work. The first is their service, and the second is the price. We pride ourselves that our service is second to none – your work will be dealt with personally by an experienced and qualified member of our staff, and you won’t find yourself speaking to a different person each time you call.
As to the fees, we offer competitive fixed prices, and will be happy to give quotations by phone or in writing. Please call or e-mail us to request one. We will need:-
- your name (and address if you want a written quotation);
- whether you are selling or buying, or both;
- whether the property, or properties, are freehold or leasehold;
- the address or at least the Local Authority area of the property you hope to buy (and the property you are selling, if different from your own address);
- the prices at which you expect to sell and/or buy; and
- the name of any mortgage provider(s) in respect of the sale and the purchase.
OR, you can work out the figures now, from the following information. By way of example, for any freehold sale or purchase in Hull or the East Riding, at a price below £250,000.00, our fees are £425.00 plus V.A.T. of £85.00. Our charges are equally competitive for values above £250,000.00, and for leasehold properties which do involve considerably more work than freeholds.
Please remember that, in addition to our fees, you will also have to pay for various other things such as search fees, Land Registry fees, Bank transfer fees, and Stamp Duty Land Tax. All of those should be the same or at least similar, whichever Solicitor you decide to use. We pass on all such third party fees at the cost to us – there is no mark-up or profit involved in these items.
Unless we are already acting for you in a related transaction or have acted for you very recently, we will need to carry out electronic anti-money laundering searches in relation to you and, in respect of a purchase, in relation to anyone who is contributing money to the purchase price by way of a gift or otherwise. AML searches cost £6.00 per person inclusive of V.A.T. When required, these fees are additional to all the other figures referred to on this page. Please also remember that if anyone is contributing to a purchase price, by way of gift or otherwise, then if you are taking out a mortgage that fact needs to be disclosed by you to your lender. You should also tell them about anyone else who will be living with you in the house, but will not be an owner of it and named on the mortgage. Unless the mortgage instructions we receive from your lender make it clear that they are already aware of a gifted deposit or an additional occupier, we are also required to disclose that information to the lender. If you did not authorise us to do so, we would not be able to continue acting for you.
Selling a house
So, for the sale of a freehold house below £250,000.00, subject to one existing mortgage, the cost would be:-
Our fee of £425.00 plus £85.00 V.A.T.; and
£6.00 Land Registry fee for proof of the current ownership, and title plan; and
A Bank transfer fee of £24.00 (including V.A.T.) for paying off the mortgage,
making a total of £540.00.
Plus the cost of any AML searches at £6.00 each.
Buying a house
For the purchase of a freehold house in Hull or the East Riding below £250,000.00, funded by a single mortgage, the cost would be:-
Our fee of £425.00 plus £85.00 V.A.T.
A Local Land Charges search (£90.00 in Hull, £150.00 in the East Riding of Yorkshire). These figures are for official searches from the Council themselves, so that they are responsible for any wrong answers. Some solicitors will quote lower figures, but these are based on “personal searches” done by someone called a search agent, who looks at the Council’s records and gives the answers. The Council will accept no responsibility for personal searches, and some mortgage lenders will not accept them at all. The Law Society recommends that official searches should be made. This search is essential, since anything recorded in it will become the responsibility of the purchaser upon completion, and the search may reveal issues such as a failure by previous owners to obtain planning permission or building regulation approval for alterations that have been made.
£47.76 for a drainage and water search from Yorkshire Water (£48.96 for new-build properties). This is also regarded as essential, not just to confirm that the property is connected and how much you will be charged, but also to establish such things as the location of the pipes and sewers, which cannot be built over.
The Land Registry fee to register the change of ownership. Land Registry fees are £40.00 up to £80,000.00, £80.00 up to £100,000.00, £190.00 up to £200,000.00, then £270.00 up to £500,000.00, and so on. These fees are however halved, if (like us) your solicitor can submit the application through the Land Registry’s on-line system, rather than by post. In practice, that can be done in all cases where the property is already registered with the Land Registry, in its own right. In cases where the title to the property will only be registered once you have bought it, which includes new-builds and Right to Buy, the full Land Registry fee will still apply.
A £24.00 Bank transfer fee, to send the purchase money to the seller’s solicitors; and
£58.80 for an environmental search. This is usually optional, but strongly recommended. One of the most important issues dealt with by such searches is flood history and flood risk, and the consequences for the insurability of the property. Quite apart from the question of insurance, the effects of flooding are of course extremely serious in terms of the impact both on the property and on anyone living in it. You need to be sure that you will be able to obtain insurance under a normal domestic policy which includes flood risk cover at a premium, and on terms, that are acceptable to you.
Environmental searches also deal with:-
(a) past and present land use leading to a risk of contamination or infilled ground;
(b) any current activities in the area which might lead to contamination or other health risks, including landfill and waste sites, overhead cables and telephone transmitters;
(c) whether the location is designated a “Radon Affected Area” (radon is a naturally occurring gas which can be a health risk in a house or other enclosed space);
(d) whether there is a history of coal mining in the area – if so a Coal Authority Search will also be needed; and
(e) whether the area is known to have natural underground cavities, which can result in “sinkholes”.
This search does not involve a physical inspection of the property, and so it does not affect the need for you to employ a surveyor to inspect it for you.
Any Stamp Duty Land Tax. SDLT starts at £125,000.00, and above that is charged as:- 2% of the portion of the price from £125,001.00 to £250,000.00; plus
5% of the portion of the price from £250,001.00 to £925,000.00; plus
10% of the portion of the price from £925,001.00 to £1,500,000.00; plus
12% of any portion over £1,500,000.00.
For a first time buyer of a property to live in, the starting point for SDLT is £300,000.00, and then 5% up to £500,000.00. This applies where all the buyers have never previously owned an interest in any property in this Country or elsewhere.
If you will, on completion of your purchase, own or have an interest in any other property in this Country or elsewhere then an additional 3% SDLT may be payable on any purchase price above £40,000.00. There are various complicated requirements and exemptions regarding this, and we will of course advise you on this once we have full details of the transaction. What has to be paid by way of SDLT will be the same no matter who your Solicitors are, since it is a tax set by the Government, not by us. We are simply required to act as their unpaid tax collectors, since your purchase cannot be registered at the Land Registry without proof that an SDLT Return has been submitted on your behalf. We make no additional charge for doing this.
Plus the cost of any AML searches at £6.00 each.
Examples of our fees
A freehold sale in Hull at a price of £110,000.00, with one mortgage to repay
|Land Registry Office Copies||£ 6.00|
|Bank CHAPS fee||£ 24.00|
A freehold purchase in Hull at a price of £110,000.00
|Land charges search||£ 90.00|
|Drainage & water search||£ 47.76|
|Bank CHAPS fee||£ 24.00|
|Land Registry fee (if already registered)||£ 95.00|
|Add Environmental search (if wanted)||£ 58.80|
What is listed above covers everything that can be predicted in advance (but please remember the possible AML search fees of £6.00 per person mentioned above). There are no hidden extras and no small print. Occasionally, something else may crop up relating to a problem with a specific property. Obviously, that cannot be known when we give a quotation, but we will discuss it with you as soon as we become aware of it. In most cases, it would be usual to expect the seller to pay to put right any problems, anyway.
Other searches can be carried out if you wish, or if they are necessary in certain parts of the Country. For example, an Infrastructure Report will reveal any planned windfarms in the area, or projects such as HS2 (relevant around Sheffield). In appropriate areas (for example South Yorkshire) a Coal Authority search is required. We will, of course, tell you if you are buying in an area where additional searches are needed, and confirm the cost. If you wish any other searches to be carried out, such as an Infrastructure Report, please discuss this with us.
Watch out for quotations on the Web or elsewhere where the initial figure seems low, but then there are extra charges for making searches, for dealing with a Mortgage, for filling in a Stamp Duty Land Tax Return, etc. We have even seen advertisements saying that extra charges will be made for such things as postage! Some quotes will also not mention such things as the environmental search, even though everyone dealing with conveyancing knows all about these things.
If an estate agent is involved in the sale, or you are using a mortgage broker, then they will often recommend a solicitor. Before making a decision, you should remember two things. The first is that an estate agent’s job is to do the best they can for their client, who is almost always the seller of the property, not the buyer. The second is that it is now common for solicitors to pay estate agents and brokers what is called a referral fee, for each client they send them. There is nothing legally wrong with this, but conflicts of interest can arise (see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-1280898 for a view about this from the national Mail on Sunday). The referral fee cannot be passed on to you, but the solicitor who pays it must presumably take it into account when deciding how much he will charge for his services. You might want to ask the estate agent whether the solicitor they recommend will be paying a referral fee, should you decide to instruct that solicitor.
Andrew Kingston & Co does not pay referral fees to estate agents or mortgage brokers. That is one reason why our fees can be so competitive.
Some solicitors are still quoting on purchases for insurance against Chancel Repair Liability. Basically, this means that certain areas of land, on which there might be no houses, one house, or maybe a hundred houses, carry with their ownership legal responsibility to pay to repair the Chancel of certain Parish Churches. Until nineteen years or so ago, this was thought to be ancient history. However, a Mr & Mrs Wallbank, in a village called Aston Cantlow, then got a bill from a Church for £95,260.00. They appealed to the Courts, but lost and were last mentioned in the national Press in the autumn of 2009, when the house was sold at auction and they evidently ended up with no house, and no money. The Government gave the Church of England until 13th October 2013 (and later if the land has not been sold after that date) to notify the Land Registry which properties are affected. It was stated that about 5,200 parishes might be entitled to do this, and that it might affect some 3,780,500 acres of land in England and Wales. The parishes were basically ordered to register, when they could, and most (if not all) of them did so by the October 2013 deadline. It remains possible to do a search, at a cost of £24.00, but the result is almost always that the land might be liable, which is no real help at all.
The deadline of 13th October 2013 means that once you complete and register your purchase of the house, the Church can no longer apply to register any Chancel Repair Liability against it. Obviously, in the unlikely event that they applied before completion, you would not go ahead with the purchase. This means that the issue should now be a problem for existing owners of land, more than for purchasers.
Help to Buy
The Government’s Help to Buy scheme means that they will require a second mortgage over the house, for the same percentage of the sale value as they contribute to the purchase price. There are detailed terms as to when the money has to be repaid. This all involves additional work for which we charge £100.00 plus £20.00 V.A.T. in addition to our standard fees.
There is no extra charge for the Help to Buy Guarantee scheme, or the Armed Forces Help to Buy scheme, as they do not involve any significant amount of additional work by us.
We are able to deal with Help to Buy ISAs. We charge £50.00 plus £10.00 V.A.T. for dealing with each ISA Bonus Request.
Right to Buy
For freehold “right to buy” purchases, our fees are £350.00 plus V.A.T. of £70.00. Search fees, Land Registry fees, and other outpayments are basically the same as for any other purchase, as listed above.
Transfers of Equity
A Transfer of Equity is the legal name for a transfer of a property from two or more joint owners, into the name of just one. It also applies when a property owned by one person is to be transferred to them and someone else, as joint owners. If the property is subject to a mortgage, the lender’s permission needs to be obtained first. If they agree, and if they will not require that searches need to be done as if the property was being purchased for the first time, our fee for a freehold transfer of equity is £250.00 plus V.A.T. of £50.00. Land Registry fees are payable. These depend on the value of the property and start at £23.00. Other outpayments may be needed, which depend on the exact circumstances of the transfer.