Conveyancing - General Information
We have considerable experience and expertise in domestic conveyancing and offer an efficient personal service at a competitive price.
For information on how to obtain a free quote for your conveyancing click here.
is an accredited member of the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality
(CQS). Firms qualifying for CQS must undergo strict assessment,
compulsory training, self reporting, random audits and annual reviews,
all of which is designed to ensure that clients can expect their
conveyancing matters to be conducted to the exacting high standards
required by the scheme, including:-
- reassurance regarding integrity and practice standards of all conveyancing personnel
- a commitment to explain the conveyancing process
- informing clients of all costs involved
- informing clients of the progress of their case
As of 14th January 2013 access law were confirmed as re-accredited to the Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
On this page:-
- What you can expect to pay
- Solicitors Fees and some examples of how much we charge for typical transactions
- Other Legal Fees such as Land Registry Search Fees and Stamp Duty
- Types of searches, such as Local Authority Searches, Environmental Searches and Water & Drainage Searches
- Further information - how a typical transaction is likely to proceed, forms you will have to fill in, buying the property jointly with someone else and other useful information
At access law your case will be conducted by members of our highly qualified and experienced legal team.
What you can expect to pay
When considering the cost of buying and/or selling a property it is worthwhile bearing in mind the TOTAL cost which may include the following:-
Estate Agents' Fees
Shop around for the best quote (or consider advertising in the local paper or on the Net - an ad costing a few pounds may save you hundreds!). It always surprises us to see how much people are prepared to pay in estate agents' fees when compared to how much they will pay a Solicitor. Yet while a good Estate Agent may effectively introduce buyer and seller to each other and assist in a smooth transaction, it is the Solicitor who is responsible for making sure that the house you buy actually ends up being legally yours or the house you sell is actually legally sold and that all the money, deeds etc. end up with the right people!
Make sure the company is reputable and insured to cover damage to your belongings (or hire a van and do the job yourself!)
Shop around for the best quote but make sure that the cost quoted includes not only the fee for carrying out the legal work for you but also the other charges which must be paid when buying or selling property.
Our Conveyancing Fees are based on the price being paid for the property(s). Given below are some typical examples (VAT is included):-
- One sale or purchase only, value up to £150,000: £660.00
- One sale or purchase only, value up to £500,000: £900.00
- Combined Sale and Purchase, value up to £300,000: £1,200.00
- Combined Sale and Purchase, value up to £600,000: £1,500.00
- Combined Sale and Purchase, value up to
An additional fee may be charged if the property is Leasehold
Please note that we do not undertake commercial conveyancing
For information on how to obtain a free quote for your conveyancing click here.
Other Legal Fees
These may vary from region to region or with the value of the property but the following are given as examples:-
- Land Registry Search Fees: £3.00
- Land Charges Search Fee: £2.00 (per name)
- Local Search Fee (Southampton - most areas are broadly similar): £85.00
- Stamp Duty:-
Based on Purchase Price:
Less than £125,000: no Stamp Duty payable;
Between £125,000 and £250,000: 2% on the amount above £125,000;
Between £250,000 and £925,000: 4% on the amount above £250,000 plus £2,500 (i.e. 2% on the amount between £125,000 and £250,000)
For purchase prices over £925,000 this increases to 10% and further increases to 12% above £1.5million
see HMRC website for more details
NOTE: From 1st April 2016 add 3% on the whole of the purchase price if the property is to be used as a second home, holiday home or buy-to-let.
- Land Registration Fee: varies with purchase price, examples: £20.00 (up to £80,000); £95.00 (£100,001 to £200,000); £270.00 (£500,001 to £1,000,000)
- Notice Fees: payable on some leasehold properties, usually less than £50.00
In addition, when applicable we charge:-
- access law Bank Transfer Fee:
£36.00 (including VAT)
[This is our fee for administering the transfer of funds on completion and is only charged if a transfer is required]
A Search conducted prior to the purchase of a property is an investigation designed to uncover specific and important details about the property. The information uncovered may have a serious impact on a person's decision to buy the property or the value they place on it.
Searches may disclose information which may affect it’s value, the cost of maintaining it, its re-sale value, its habitability or expenditure relating to the property.
There are a number of different types of searches:-
Local Authority Search
The scope of the Local search is vast, looking into the planning and building regulation approval records for the property and the Local Land Charges register showing matters such as conservation areas and Tree Preservation Orders etc. The search will advise if the Local Authority plan to compulsory purchase the land and if the main road leading to the property is adopted. This search is compulsory in all cases.
Please note that the Local Authority Search only reveals information relating to your property. If you have any enquiries concerning land or buildings nearby then please arrange to call at the Planning Department of the Local Authority who will assist.
A plan search can be carried out at additional expense to ascertain if there are any planning proposals at neighbouring properties.
Water and Drainage Search
This search is optional and usually costs around £50.00. The Water and Drainage Search investigates whether or not the property is connected to the mains water supply and whether the drainage and sewers are maintained by the water company, or whether they are the responsibility of the property’s owner.
The search also shows a plan detailing the public sewers and the public water supply. Unfortunately the private sewers are not shown and this search is not a foolproof method of finding out the location and direction of the private sewers.
The Environmental Search is carried out in order to ascertain whether or not the property is affected by factors such as flooding, landslides or subsidence in the general area (this doesn’t replace a structural survey). It should also reveal whether the property is near to any waste/landfill sites and the subsequent effect on the local environment such as air quality.
You should receive a certificate stating that the land you are purchasing is not subject to any adverse environmental matters which is useful for two reasons:-
- You will receive confirmation that the land is not considered to be contaminated and therefore you should not be liable as a property owner for the cost of cleaning up the land; and
- You will know that when you come to sell the property there shouldn't be any problems associated with an adverse search result when your buyer carries this out the same search.
Commons Registration Search
This is a search to establish whether the land which is being purchased is registered as Common Land in accordance with the Commons Registration Act 1965.
If the property is in a rural area or if access is gained to it over open land then it may be wise to carry out a search. If land is Common then certain members of the local community (though not everyone as is the frequent misconception) have a right to access it on foot and to use it for purposes such as village fetes, grazing, etc., however no-one can use Common Land and registered town or village greens for vehicular access.
If the land itself is revealed to be Common Land then there is nothing that can be done - it cannot be de-registered - and the situation should be reported to the purchaser and lender.
In the unlikely event that the property itself is built on Common Land then it should not be there and according to the law the County Council can order it to be removed. If part of the land which is not built upon is Common then it should be reported that it is open to access by the public and should not be fenced in. If the access to the property is on Common land then the purchaser and lender should be advised that they may only access the property on foot - vehicular rights cannot exist over common land.
- In every case, proof of your identity must be provided to us. You will be required to provide us with your passport or photo driving licence (or certified copies) and proof of address such as Council Tax bill, utility bill, credit card or bank statement.
- If you are selling a property we will send you a Sellers Property Information Form to be completed in full as you have a duty to inform the Buyer of any problems or difficulties you may have experienced with the property (which may include problems with neighbours and/or public authorities). If you are unsure as to how to answer these questions then you should seek further advice as if you fail to inform your Buyer of any problems or make any false or incomplete statements you may then face an action from your Buyer for damages for Breach of Contract. You will need to include any documents you refer to including guarantees, water rates bill, planning permissions etc.
- If you are selling a Leasehold property there is an additional form to complete. The buyer's Conveyancers need to check a number of matters including that all the ground rent and service charge is paid up to date and that there are no extra expenses that have not yet been charged. This is because the buyer would be liable for any outstanding rent and maintenance if not paid by you. You will need to send any receipts together with any documents you have relating to the lease, maintenance and so on. On most occasions the information you can provide will not be sufficient for the Buyer's conveyancer to be able to properly advise the Buyer and the mortgage company (if any) to proceed. If that is the case we normally have to write to the Landlord to request the necessary information, which can include an up to date insurance policy, details of any future expenditure, statements of the rent and maintenance account etc. The Landlord or his Solicitors may charge a fee to provide this information and it is the responsibility of the seller to pay the fee.
- If you are selling, the List of Fixtures and Fittings will form part of the Contract; again it must be fully and truthfully completed. Additionally, if you are buying you must check that the items that you understand are to be included in the purchase are specified on your Seller's Fixtures and Fittings List. If there is any dispute regarding contents, a separate action must be taken by you against the other party and you cannot delay completion because of it. In particular on a sale you are confirming you will make good any damage caused and that you will remove all your possessions including rubbish.
- It is a good idea to have either a house buyers' inspection report or full survey rather than just a valuation report. All survey points should be checked prior to Exchange of Contracts, since you are deemed to have accepted the property as it is on the day of exchange. This also applies to central heating and all other services to the property.
- You need to inform your Solicitor if you have a specific requirement for the use of the property such as alterations or change of use as some title deeds have prohibitions called restrictive covenants in place which may prevent you from fully using the property the way you intend.
- Some properties may be subject to the interests of other people which are not detailed in the Title Documents. Such Overriding Interests may include: Partner of sole owner having a claim on the property, short term leases, rights of way, mining rights etc. If you are aware of any such Overriding Interests you must let us know as otherwise we will assume there are none.
- Once Exchange of Contracts has taken place you are committed to proceed with your sale and purchase and failure to do so (or completing late) will result in serious financial penalties and possible court action. If completion is delayed due to your fault, you are liable to pay interest normally calculated at 4% above the Standard Bank Base Rate on the balance of the purchase price from the agreed completion date to the actual date of completion. You could also face a claim for loss resulting from the delay (eg. additional removal costs). If completion never takes place, you would lose the deposit you have paid (the amount you would lose is 10% of the purchase price even if the deposit you actually paid was less than 10%) and face a claim for interest and damages.
If you are buying the property in more than one name you must decide whether it is as:-
- Joint Tenants - ie. if one party dies the property vests automatically in the survivor(s) (and not the deceased's children or other beneficiaries) and is deemed to be owned equally.
- Tenants in Common - ie. you each own a separate share. Thus a deceased party's share would form part of his/her estate.
If any joint purchase does not fall completely in either of the two alternatives, then we can prepare a Declaration of Trust for you. This can be discussed more fully when we meet to advise you on the papers.
- Completion means the date that your sale and/or purchase takes place and the day on which all parties in the chain will move to their respective new houses. If you are selling you need to contact all the utility service providers and advise them of the date you are leaving and take readings of all the meters including gas, electricity and water (if any) on the completion date to forward on to the relevant companies. They will then send you an account calculated to that date. You also need to advise the local Council Tax department of your move.
- Sellers should aim to be out of the property by 1.00pm at the latest and if you have estate agents leave the keys with them. Leave any spare keys and any instructions for items such as central heating and alarm systems in the property. If you have said in the fixtures and fittings list that you will leave certain items make sure they are left and that the property is clear of rubbish and any damage made good.
- In a sale, after the property is sold the Title Documents (formerly called the deeds) are sent to the buyer's conveyancers and then if you have purchased we arrange for the appropriate stamp duty to be paid. The Title Documents are then sent to the Land Registry who will place the new owners on the Register (a database giving details of owners and their property which is fully open to all members of the public). A Title Information Document is then returned to us and we will send you a copy.
- If you are buying a leasehold property then after completion we will need to serve a formal notice on the Landlord that you have bought the property so the landlord can send the claims for rent and maintenance to you. There will be a fee for this which is either set out in the lease or will have been advised to us during the transaction and this will be included in our list of disbursements (expenses).
- Any owner of a property should have a valid up to date Will. access law offer a Will writing service at a reduced cost for conveyancing clients for a period of up to 3 months from the date of completion.