Property Blog: Conveyancing – it’s not a postcode lottery!

Published: 13/02/2014

In her latest blog, Head of Property Lynne McCaffrey highlights the hidden charges that often come with buying a property.

“I don’t know if it’s the weather but I’ve been daydreaming a lot lately about holidays. I picture basking on a beach, topaz-coloured sea lapping the shore, maybe a cheeky cocktail in hand. But before I can enjoy that Cuba Libre, there comes the matter of booking it. And this is where things can unravel.

“You see you find what you believe to be a fantastic deal to somewhere warm and exotic then BANG! Your bargain price goes up as the operator adds on this for baggage and that for seat allocation and before you know it your deal is a shadow of its former self!

“But at least with holidays you are forewarned of these additional charges before committing. The same often can’t be said when it comes to conveyancing.

Conveyancers often claim they work on a fixed fee basis. While they may be upfront about their costs for a standard conveyancing case – and by that I mean the disbursements that typically feature on any sale or purchase case like Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax – when a case deviates from ‘the norm’ then additional extras can start to creep in.

“And I’m not talking about really obscure cases. Things such as exchanging and completing on the same day or running an environmental search to find out if the property is in the vicinity of a floodplain, something that is particularly poignant at the moment, can all come at a price.

“At Goldsmith Williams all our quotes include an all-inclusive search fee. This covers all searches which are required on a property including an environmental search which we run as standard. Should we go on to find the property is within the vicinity of floodplain we’ll order a flood risk report and supply a copy to the prospective buyer and insurer. This means buyers can make sure they are able to adequately insure the property before committing to the purchase. This is all covered in the original cost.

“By including this all-inclusive search fee means we may on the surface appear more expensive than other quotes. However dig a little deeper and clients who are lured in by the cheaper price often end up paying more than they were originally quoted or, worse, budgeted. But unlike your holidays, you’re already committed and need to find the funds from somewhere.

“A final point to consider for anyone on the hunt for a conveyancer is that some solicitors base their fees on postcodes. So if you’re buying a property in the capital you are likely to pay more in fees than if you were buying a property of an equivalent value in the North West. We don’t and if you don’t believe us see for yourself by getting a free no obligation quote.”

Rob DenmanLynne McCaffrey is a licensed conveyancer with over 18 years experience. As Head of Property at Goldsmith Williams Lynne is responsible for the day to day running of the property department, which specialises in conveyancing, remortgage, buy to let and bridging.

Content correct at time of publication

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