Conveyancing is the legal work involved in transferring ownership of a property. It is a very exciting time when you are buying and/or selling a house but it can also be complicated so we have put together this guide to explain the steps involved. A good conveyancer will be happy to answer any questions you might have at any stage.
Choosing The Right Conveyancer
When you decide to buy and/or sell property you will need to appoint a conveyancer. Your lender or estate agent may suggest that you use a certain conveyancer, but it is your choice who you use. You should be aware that estate agents sometimes have a financial agreement with a conveyancer and that is why they recommend them.
When you request a quote you will form an impression of how helpful the conveyancer is in answering your questions, and this will probably help you to decide who to choose.
Your conveyancing quote should be a breakdown of all of the charges. Our quote includes everything you should expect to pay, including disbursements. If you are comparing quotes please check if there are any additional costs not specified in the quote to ensure you are comparing like for like.
There is no standard format for a quote but the items that are usually included are:
- Conveyancer’s Fees – this is the cost for the work carried out by the conveyancer. Make sure you check whether this includes VAT. Find out how much your fees would be with our get a quote online service.
- Fees For Acting For Lender – if you are having a mortgage, your mortgage company will ask your solicitor to act for them as well and will make it a term of your mortgage that you pay the fee.
- Official Copies Of The Title – when you are selling a property your conveyancer must apply for a copy of the title and title plan from the land registry. These are commonly referred to as ‘official copy entries’. If the property is unregistered these are not necessary.
- Searches – the searches give information about the property. The main searches are:
- Local authority – this looks at whether the council has adopted the road, planning applications and permissions and tree preservation orders.
- Drainage – this shows if the property is connected to the mains water supply and sewerage system and if property is on a water meter.
- Environmental – this will search to see if the property may be on contaminated land, land liable to flooding, subsidence or landslip, or is near a landfill site.
- Land Registry – this will protect the buyer between exchange and completion and prevent any entries being made at the land registry.
- Bankruptcy - all mortgage lenders require evidence that the buyer is not bankrupt.
- Leasehold – often an additional fee is added if the property is leasehold.
- Insurance – some conveyancing firms will automatically include a fee for an insurance policy in case the transaction fails. At Hegarty Solicitors we give clients the option of purchasing our No Move No Fee insurance policy.
- Land Registration Fee – this is for registering the new owners of the property at the land registry.
- Stamp Duty Land Tax – if you purchase a property for over £125,000 you will have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax to HMRC. The tax is charged at increasing rates for each portion of the price, i.e.
- Nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price
- 2% on the next £125,000
- 5% on the next £675,000
- 10% on the next £575,000
- 12% on the rest (above £1.5 million
From 1 April 2016 the rates for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will be higher if you buy an additional residential property for £40,000 or more in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Stamp Duty Land Tax can be complicated to calculate, HMRC have a handy calculator here:- http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/sdlt/land-and-property.htm
If you are buying property, the deposit or purchase price must be cleared funds. Please note that cheques and bankers drafts take 8 “overnights” to clear. We can accept cash to a limit of £1,000. Owing to the Money Laundering Regulations we will ask you to produce bank statements for the account where the money is coming from. We often suggest to clients to arrange an electronic transfer from their account to the Hegarty Solicitors’ client account. The money is already cleared and can be used immediately. Your bank/building society will charge you around £30 for this.
Telling People You’re Moving
It is worthwhile having a checklist of people to contact about your change of address. Ask your seller not to have the telephone disconnected or you will have to pay a re-connection charge. In addition to your family and friends, you will need to contact a number of companies and service providers to advise of your move. We have provided a useful change of address checklist which is fairly comprehensive for most people.