QualitySolicitors is proud to promise no hidden costs within our fees; granting you complete transparency into our pricing.
Our team carry out more conveyancing in the UK than anyone else. With a network of over 100 offices, we understand your local area.
Our expert conveyancing solicitors look after your legal position and will keep you up-to-date throughout the process. We’re open six days a week and provide a same-day response.
Our conveyancing solicitors provide a complete service
We provide an extensive conveyancing service, so you can relax, knowing we’ll take care of everything. As part of our home moving service we:
Investigate the property
We’ll let you know of any legal restrictions on the use of the building or land, issues over boundaries, rights of way, neighbour disputes and legal guidance on the surveyors’ report.
Investigate the surrounding area
Using our local knowledge and experience, we’ll investigate whether there are any plans for major road works or developments on neighbouring land that might affect you.
Any additional costs for this will be advised before the work is carried out.
Support with final negotiations over price
In most cases, we’ll be on hand to assist with any price negotiations and clarification over what is, or isn’t, included in the final price.
Contract for sale
Our property lawyers will make sure you have a contract for sale that protects you, by covering all the important issues and preventing any nasty surprises.
2. Buying your home - the steps involved
1. Preparing to buy
Contact your mortgage company and chosen solicitor early on, to ensure everything’s in place, ready for when you find your new home and make an offer.
2. Property investigations (searches)
Once your offer has been accepted, we’ll start our detailed investigations on the property and surrounding area, such as the local authority, water authority and environmental searches.
3. Mortgage and property survey
If you’re using one, the mortgage company will arrange a valuation before making a formal offer. If you choose to have a survey or buyer’s report completed, this can be arranged at this stage.
4. Contract negotiations
Following our investigations of the property survey, we can, in most cases, help with negotiations. In some instances, we may not legally be able to do this, but we will always advise you if this is the case. During this stage, we will attempt to arrange the next step, the ‘exchange of contracts’.
5. Agreement (exchange of contracts
At this stage, you and the seller will have your lawyers exchange signed copies of the contract, confirming a binding agreement. The moving date will be finalised, and you will need to pay the deposit (usually around 10% of the agreed price).
6. Moving day (completion)
The final balance will be transferred to the seller. We’ll let you know when the money has been received, so you can collect the keys from the estate agent and move in. We will then pay your Stamp Duty and register the sale with the Land Registry.
3. Selling your home - the steps involved
1. Preparing to sell
Get in touch with us early on, so we can ensure everything is ready for when you accept an offer.
2. Buyer’s investigations (searches)
We’ll supply the buyer’s solicitors with the information they need on your property and help you respond to any questions they have.
3. Buyer’s property survey or valuation
The buyer’s mortgage company will arrange a property valuation before agreeing to lend any money. We’ll then give you an indication of the final balance of any mortgage to be repaid on this property.
4. Contract negotiations
In most cases, we’ll be able to help you with any negotiations needed following the buyer’s solicitor investigations or the property survey. In some instances we will not legally be able to do this, but we will advise you if this is the case. During this stage, we will try to arrange the next step, which is the ‘exchange of contracts’.
5. Agreement (exchange of contracts)
You and the buyer will confirm a binding agreement once your lawyers have exchanged signed copies of the contract. The moving date will be agreed and the buyer will pay a deposit.
6. Moving day (completion)
You will move out by the agreed time and give your keys to your estate agent. We’ll let you know as soon as we receive the buyer’s money and will complete the final paperwork needed.
4. Legal costs of conveyancing
When you move home, there are two main types of costs involved. Legal costs are paid to your lawyer, whilst ‘disbursements’ (costs paid to others) are handled by your lawyer on your behalf. Below we separate out some of the common costs to help you understand what’s involved.
Your true legal costs are the costs payable to your lawyer for their work on your behalf.
These are usually based on the value of the property and you should be informed of the amount before deciding which law firm to use.
Be wary of conveyancing services that promote a low initial fee, but hide extra costs in their small print.
Costs for searches
These are charges for checks of the property and surrounding land. In each case, there is a fee payable to the company providing the search, which your lawyer will normally pay on your behalf and later reclaim in their bill to you.
One example of a search is a local authority search, which investigates whether there are any plans that might affect your property, like building a new road or a housing development.
Other common searches include a water authority and drainage search, which looks at details about the mains water supply and sewage removal, and an environmental search, which investigates previous uses of the land housing the property, to check for risk of contamination.
Your conveyancing lawyer will be to advise you on which searches you should pay to have completed.
Other conveyancing costs
Your conveyancing lawyer will advise you about any other costs involved.
These could include a fee from the land registry to update their records of who owns a property (if you’re buying), or to produce a copy of their records to prove you own a property (if you’re selling).
Another common cost is the charge applied for dealing with mortgage companies. Your lawyer should set out and explain these costs upfront.
5. Stamp Duty
Stamp duty, or Stamp Duty Land Tax (often abbreviated to SDLT), is a tax applied by the government to the purchaser of a residential property purchased at over £125,000.
It must be paid within 30 days of completing the purchase of a residential property.
Law firms often deal with this on your behalf, which means it is sometimes included as part of the quote for conveyancing.
How does stamp duty work?
Previously, stamp duty was applied to the whole purchase price of the property, depending on which ‘band’ the price fell into. For example, a residential house bought for £300,000 would hold a flat rate Stamp Duty cost of 3%; so, £300,000 x 3% = £9,000.
Since December 2014, however, these rates have been applied differently.
Rather than a flat rate on the whole purchase price, SDLT is now applied to the bands in a similar way income tax is calculated. So you will only pay Stamp Duty on the amount of the property that falls within a specific price band.
So, in the example of a £300,000 property, SDLT will now be worked out as:
- The first £125,000 = £0
- A 2% rate is applied to the next £125,000 = £2,500
- A 5% rate is applied to the final £50,000 = £2,500
- Total stamp duty payable = £5,000
Compared with the flat rate system, that’s a saving of £4,000 on a £300,000 property.
What are the new stamp duty rates?
While the Stamp Duty threshold remains the same (£125,000), there are now different banded rates.
From April 2016, those with a second home will also have to pay an extra 3% Stamp Duty on top of the standard rate band:
|Purchase price||SDLT rate||
Buy to Let/Additional Home Rate
|Up to £125,000||0%||3%|
|Over £125,000 to £250,000||2%||5%|
|Over £250,000 to £925,000||5%||8%|
|Over £925,000 to £1.5 million||10%||13%|
|Over £1.5 million||12%||15%|
Rates if you’re buying your first home
You can claim a discount (relief) so you don’t pay any tax up to £300,000 and 5% on the portion from £300,001 to £500,000.
You're eligible if:
- you, and anyone else you’re buying with, are first-time buyers
- you complete your purchase on or after 22 November 2017
If the price is over £500,000, you follow the rules for people who’ve bought a home before.
6. Other Conveyancing Services
Transfer of title
Looking to transfer the ownership of your property from one person to another?
Although a relatively straightforward process, it’s important it is completed correctly, to ensure everything progresses smoothly and to avoid unexpected problems in the future.
Our expert property solicitors will help with every stage of a transfer of title, providing support to complete your transfer efficiently and correctly.
We’ll contact the Land Registry on your behalf, ensure all necessary documentation is completed correctly, and talk through any issues that might arise from the transfer, granting you peace of mind that all the legal details are covered.
We’ll keep you informed throughout every stage, to help ensure your transfer process is swift and straightforward.
As a homeowner you may, at some point, wish to remortgage your property to take advantage of a better deal, or to release money from your property.
At QualitySolicitors, we make remortgaging as quick and simple as possible. We’ll guide you through the process, take care of any paperwork and legal checks and review the terms of your existing mortgage to avoid any unwanted surprises further down the line.
7. Useful resources
Everything you need to know about the available help-to-buy schemes, including your rights and necessary legalities.
From sorting utilities to setting up a Royal Mail re-direct, our list will ensure nothing is forgotten as your move gets closer.
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