Pricing

Buying and Selling Property Costs

 

Legal costs are generally based upon time spent by the Partner and the support staff dealing with your matter together with the particular complexity involved.  Costs vary between Freehold and Leasehold matters. More time is involved in Leasehold matters. Costs are also partly dependent upon the value of the property involved.  We will always provide you with a specific quotation and a breakdown of the anticipated and expected legal costs to enable you to calculate your finances. Typically our charges for the sale or purchase of a Freehold property range between £1,250 to £1,750 plus VAT at 20% and disbursements (monies paid out on your behalf).  Charges for the sale or purchase of a Leasehold property range between £1,250 and £1,750 plus VAT at 20% and disbursements. Disbursements are monies paid out on your behalf during your transactions.  Some are subject to VAT at 20% and some are not.  Further information on when VAT is or is not applicable available on request.  Quotations given by the firm for costs and disbursements will include full details of VAT applicable.

 

An estimate of disbursements on an average purchase would be as follows:

 

  • The cost of various searches, including a Local Authority, Environmental and Water Searches are normally in the region of £400 inclusive of VAT.  Costs do vary from one Local Authority to another and this is not therefore a fixed cost but will depend upon the Local Authority.  We would normally ask for a payment of £400 on account at the start of the transaction. 

  • Bankruptcy and priority searches approximately £5.00 inclusive of VAT

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (dependent upon the property purchase price).  No VAT is payable.

  • Telegraphic transfer fee for each Bank transfer £30.00 plus VAT at 20%

  • Completion and submission of the SDLT tax form on completion £75.00 plus VAT at 20%

  • Land Registry fee approximately £240 inclusive of VAT 

 

Additional disbursements on the purchase of a Leasehold:

 

  • Notice fee to the Landlord/Managing Agents generally in the region of £125 plus VAT at 20% although this can double if Notice has to be served on both the Landlord and the Managing Agents.  Fees do vary.

  • Deed of Covenant if required by the Landlords, they involve additional fees and details will be supplied when they are known.

On a sale of a Leasehold:

 

  • The Managing Agents charge for a Management Pack approximately £300-£450 plus VAT at 20%.  They may also charge separately for Form LPE1 and costs vary but are generally in the region of £250 plus VAT at 20%. 

Where transactions do not complete charges are based on work undertaken and  average £250.00 per hour plus VAT at 20% and disbursements plus VAT at 20% where applicable.    Further information is contained in our client care letter which is sent to all clients at the commencement of each transaction.  Full details set out below.

The key stage for all Conveyancing Transactions is exchange of contracts.  Conveyancing transactions vary in time from approximately two months to six months depending on what happens within a chain.  We endeavour to keep you fully informed throughout so that the timescale is understood.

Our services include all aspects of buying and selling a property.  We advise on the terms of the contract.  We review and advise you on all documentation received.  We raise enquiries, where appropriate, with the vendors solicitors.  We conduct searches on properties and advise you thereon.  We advise on joint purchases and, where appropriate, Declarations of Trust.  We advise on mortgages.  We manage the process of exchanging contracts and organising completion dates.  Following completion of your transaction we register ownership an HM Land Registry and provide you with office copy entries of title when registered.

We recognise that buying and selling properties is often a stressful process.  We are therefore always available to assist you at every stage and encourage clients to call us if they need any assistance on any issue.  We particularly advise you on timescales.  We recognise that many factors affect the timing of transactions, particularly where there is a long chain above or below you.  While two to six months is normal we try and keep you advised on our best estimates on timing as matters progress.  

What is not included.

Our fees are based on straightforward transactions.  We assume that there will be no unforeseen matters arising.  By way of examples 

 

1. an unregistered title to a property

2. defects in title which require remedying before completion

3. the preparation of additional documents which may be required such as in relation to rights of access or issues where covenants have been breached

4. we assume all relevant planning consents and building regulation consents have been obtained

5. all relevant documentation is provided and key documents available.

6. no indemnity policies are required which may result in additional disbursements.

 

We recognise that some transactions may be substantially more complex or have unexpected problems an issues. In those circumstances additional costs may be payable but we will agree these with you as the transaction proceeds.

Our fees are normally calculated by reference to the amount of time expended in relation to a particular matter. Our client care letter outlines our current hourly rates which vary according to the seniority and experience of the person undertaking your work. Hourly rates are reviewed periodically and you will be informed in writing of any change.

Our time is recorded in units of six minutes. We will record time spent working on your matter; this will include, by way of example, attending meetings, correspondence, considering and drafting documents, telephone calls, travel time, and client and file administration. Items of a ‘routine’ nature, e.g. telephone calls solely to make appointments, letters of acknowledgement, etc., are not normally charged for.

In addition to the time spent, our fees may take into account a number of other factors which include the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action must be taken, the value of the dispute, property or relevant matter, the novelty of the questions raised, and the skill, effort and specialised knowledge involved.

We will add VAT to our fees, where appropriate, at the applicable rate. All sums in our client care letter are exclusive of VAT unless otherwise stated.

Where any matter has a substantial financial implication or is particularly urgent or complex, our fees may take into consideration a value element which reflects the importance of the transaction and the consequent responsibility involved.

Our fees do not include any disbursements which we may have to incur on your behalf. Examples of disbursements include courier fees, search and registration fees, company searches, SDLT/LTT and bank transaction costs and expenses. You will have to pay those disbursements in addition to our fees.

We may also recover from you miscellaneous charges not incorporated within our hourly rates, including photocopying and scanning costs, car travel on your behalf at our current rate per mile and other travel costs we incur on your behalf (for example rail/air tickets and accommodation/subsistence costs) to the amount invoiced or incurred by us.

If for any reason a matter does not proceed to completion, we will charge you for work done and fees and disbursements incurred unless we agree otherwise. Property sales and purchases which fail to complete often involve as much work as those which reach completion. Any charge made will not exceed the amount of our estimate even if the time spent would justify a higher fee.

Cost on advising and preparing Wills

Dependent upon time and complexity.  Our basic charge for a Will including meeting with you, preparation of a draft for your approval and attending you upon execution and storing if required the original Will in the safe at this office.  Costs are £320.00 plus VAT at 20% for an individual will and a total of £440.00 plus VAT at 20% for joint wills.

 

Cost of a Lasting Power of Attorney

 

To include initial meetings to advise and taking instructions.  To preparing applications. To attending on execution and lodging with the Court and providing certified copies for use after registration £350 plus vat for each Power of Attorney registered together with the Court costs currently £82 (nil vat) for each Power of  Attorney requested

 

Probate Costs

 

Our charges are within the guidelines published by The Law Society and include the following:

  • An hourly rate of £250.00 plus VAT at 20%

  • A value element which takes into account the extent of the estate which has a bearing on the complexity of the matter and its difficulty and the specialised knowledge and responsibility involved.  As a guideline, this value is normally placed at 1% of the gross cash and ½% of the value of the property. 

  • In addition, the following disbursements will be payable on each estate:

 

Probate Court Fees – currently £155.00.  VAT is not applicable 

Additional sealed copies of the Grant of Probate - £1.50 each.  We normally order six copies so a total of £164.00.  

Copy of Property Title - between £6.00 and £15.00 depending on whether the property is freehold or leasehold.

Inheritance tax is payable on the application for a grant and is 40% on the net estate over the IHT nil rate band of £325,00.00 and any exemptions or reliefs available.

Costs are determined by the complexity of the matter and we will be able to give you a calculation of the likely costs once we have determined the value of the estate.

Application for a Grant an Estate Administration

We anticipate this process will take between 20 and 40 hours of work.  Average costs vary between £3,000.00 and £8,000.00 plus VAT at 20%.  Costs do vary considerably based on many factors but principally the nature of the assets in an estate.  For example an estate where there is just a property and two or three bank or building society accounts will be much cheaper to administer than an estate with multiple properties and many shares held in many companies.  

 

On average estates take six to nine months to administer.  We would hope, subject to issues at the Probate Registry,  to be able to apply for a grant of probate within 12 to 16 weeks and then collect in assets for distribution to beneficiaries.

This range of costs applies to estates where there is a valid will, where there is no more than one property, where there are no disputes between beneficiaries and no claims are made against the estate.  Fees do not cover the costs of dealing with assets outside of the UK.

Our services include

1. Writing to asset holders to ascertain details of assets at the date of death

2. Preparing and submitting inheritance tax returns

3. Paying inheritance tax due

4. Preparing the application for probate

5. Submitting the application for probate to the Probate Registry

6. Dealing with legal notices

7. Collecting in assets

8. Settling liabilities on the estate

9. Dealing with inheritance tax payments

10. Preparing accounts

11. Distributing assets to beneficiaries

We do not deal with litigation which may arise on the administration of an estate, such as where an individual challenges a will and applies to the court to, for example, seek to prove a different will or to question the capacity of the Testator.  

 

Complaints and the Legal Ombudsman

 

Whenever this Firm is instructed we strive to ensure that you should not find our services wanting for any reason but if you have any complaint then complaints will be dealt with under the following protocol.

In the event of a complaint, you should raise the concern in the first place with the person dealing with the particular matter.

If this does not resolve the problem you should then contact the supervising partner whose name will have been notified at the outset of the transaction.

The complaint does not have to be put in writing, although setting out clearly the issues and the action you wish us to take may help us to resolve your concerns more quickly.

If these steps do not resolve the problem you should contact the client care partner, by telephoning or writing. He is John Cathcart, or Peter Cathcart if John Cathcart is dealing with your matter.  So what will happen next.

Step 1. We will telephone and/or write to you acknowledging receipt of your complaint within three days of receipt.

Step 2. We will then investigate your complaint.  This will normally involve your complaint being reviewed by John or Peter Cathcart depending on who acted for you.  They will speak to the person who did act.

Step 3. Within five working days, we will be in contact with you by telephone and/or writing to set out the firm's preliminary position in relation to your complaint, and we will address any appropriate solutions.

Step 4. If the matter is not resolved, we will send you within fourteen days a detailed written reply to your complaint including suggestions for resolving the matter and inviting you to a meeting if that is preferable.

Step 5. At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, you can contact us again and we will review the decision.

Step 6. We will write to you within fourteen days of receiving your request for a review, confirming our final position on your complaint.  We will explain our reasoning.

If the complaint is still not resolved at the end of this complaints process you have the right to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ; telephone: 0300 555 0333; website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint, not more than six years from the date of the act or omission or no more than three years from when you should have reasonably have known there was cause for a complaint.

In the highly unlikely event that you need to make a complaint and your complaint is not about our service but is about our conduct the Solicitors Regulation Authority (the SRA) deals with conduct issues rather than the Legal Ombudsman which deals with service issues.  You can visit their website here  https://www.sra.org.uk/ to see how you can raise your concerns with them.  

The Solicitors Regulation Authority

In certain circumstances you could also refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.  This could be for things like misconduct, losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristics