There are two main elements to the costs of your conveyancing transaction.
Legal fees for dealing with this matter for you and completing the legal formalities, and expenses that must be paid out to others on your behalf – referred to as “disbursements”
You will be provided with an estimate of our charges based on the information known at the time you make an enquiry regarding our costs. The costs quoted will be fixed and will cover all conventional work associated with a typical conveyancing transaction.
For example, if you are selling or buying a property for the value of £200,000 in the Portsmouth area, an estimate of our costs and disbursements would be as follows: –
|Sale of a freehold property||Sale of a leasehold property|
|Legal fee £595 plus VAT*||Legal fee £795 plus VAT*|
|Electronic transfer fee £30 plus VAT||Electronic transfer fee £30 plus VAT|
|Land Registry title documents £6||Land Registry title documents £15|
|Estimated total £756||Estimated total £1,005|
|Purchase of a freehold property||Purchase of a leasehold property|
|Legal fee £645 plus VAT*||Legal fee £845 plus VAT*|
|Electronic transfer fee £30 plus VAT||Electronic transfer fee £30 plus VAT|
|Searches including Local Authority, Environmental, Drainage and Water, Flood and Chancel Check £250||Searches including Local Authority, Environmental, Drainage and Water, Flood and Chancel Check £250|
|Land Registry search fee £3||Land Registry search fee £3|
|Bankruptcy search fee £2 (per person)||Bankruptcy search fee £2 (per person)|
|Estimated total £1,065||Estimated total £1,305|
Land Registry registration fees are payable dependent on the purchase price of the property. We endeavour to submit applications electronically using the portal/Business Gateway, so you benefit from the reduction of registration fees. Please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hm-land-registry-registration-services-fees for further details.
Stamp Duty Land Tax will also be payable, but again this depends on the purchase price of the property and your individual circumstances. There are different rates if you are buying your first home, have owned a property before, or currently own more than one property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay and find out further information at https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax
* Whilst our legal fees start at this cost, they will be subject to increase dependent on the value and location of the property. The legal fees are also only applicable if you contact us directly and are not referred to Andrew & Andrew Solicitors by an introducer or third party.
We have calculated our estimate of costs above based on the following assumptions: –
- The property you are selling and/or purchasing is held under one title at the Land Registry with no defect
- Indemnity insurance is not required to rectify a defect in title
- The transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen circumstances arise
- All parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing information
- That we do not become involved in significant discussions with your estate agents and others in your chain to agree a completion date
- Completion takes place on the date agreed
It may be necessary to carry out certain work which would not fall within a standard conveyancing transaction, and if this is the case, further legal fees and disbursements may be payable.
Please see attached list of additional charges and disbursements that may be applicable.
ANDREW & ANDREW SOLICITORS LIMITED
NON-CONTENTIOUS TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
Additional Charges and Disbursements That May Be Applicable
- Our assumption is that the property is registered at the Land Registry. If it is discovered that the property is unregistered, the following additional fees will be charged: £50 plus VAT to prepare the Epitome of Title on a sale; and £50 plus VAT to prepare and submit the application for First Registration on a purchase.
- If the property has a Shared Ownership element, an additional fee of £200 plus VAT will be charged for the associated legal work undertaken. Please check as to whether this charge has already been accounted for in your fixed fee quotation.
- If the property is Newly Constructed, an additional fee of £200 plus VAT will be charged for the associated legal work undertaken. Please check as to whether this charge has already been accounted for in your fixed fee quotation.
- If you are buying or selling a freehold property which is subject to an Estate or Maintenance Charge, there will be an additional fee of £75 plus VAT charged for the associated legal work which will need to be undertaken.
- An administration fee of £30 plus VAT will be incurred for each time redemption monies or balance of funds is to be sent by Telegraphic Transfer, on a sale or purchase.
- There will be an additional fee of £50 plus VAT charged, if the property you are selling has more than one Registered Charge noted against the Title, or there is an Equitable Charge, Restriction, Caution, Bankruptcy Notice registered. This charge is made for the legal work associated with dealing with the third party and obtaining a redemption figure.
- There will be an additional fee of £200 plus VAT charged, if you are purchasing a property with more than one mortgage or obtaining a bridging loan to fund the purchase.
- There will be an additional fee of £75 plus VAT charged to complete the Stamp Duty Land Tax return on any purchase or re-mortgage.
- We are entitled to charge £30 plus VAT towards file storage for each of your original files and the associated documents. This fee represents the storage cost of the file being kept in a confidential archive.
- If your mortgage lender is separately represented as we are not on the lender’s panel but continue to act for you as the purchaser, an additional fee of £200 plus VAT will be charged for the further legal work involved and corresponding with the lender’s solicitor.
- There will be an additional fee of £200 plus VAT charged, if you are purchasing a property using the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme. This charge is made for the legal work associated with dealing with Help to Buy South.
- There will be an additional fee of £100 plus VAT charged, if you are purchasing or selling a property with a tenant in situ under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. This charge is made for the legal work associated with the additional enquiries that will be required to be raised or responded to.
- If you are benefiting from the Forces Help to Buy Scheme Loan, there will be an additional fee of £50 plus VAT charged for the legal work associated and corresponding with the Ministry of Defence.
- If you are being gifted a deposit by another person, we have an obligation to inform your mortgage lender and carry out the relevant due diligence, Money Laundering, bankruptcy searches and identity checks. There will be additional charge of £50 plus VAT for the associated legal work and for drafting the Gifted Deposit Declaration.
- If you are purchasing a property with the aid of a Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA, we will charge an additional fee of £50 plus VAT (per Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA) for the legal work associated with obtaining the 25% bonus on your behalf from the government. This additional charge will be deducted from the bonus amount received by us on completion.
- If you require access to the property you are purchasing between exchange and completion to carry out works to the property, there will be an additional charge of £50 plus VAT incurred for obtaining agreement from the seller’s solicitors and preparing the Key Undertaking.
- If you are selling a leasehold property and own a Share of the Freehold, there will be an additional charge of £75 plus VAT payable. This additional fee represents the work associated with making contact with co-freeholders, obtaining their signatures to any documents and carrying out identity checks.
- If the property you are purchasing is subject to Solar Panels under a Lease of the Airspace, an additional charge of £150 plus VAT will be payable.
- If a Statutory Declaration is required to be drafted to progress your sale or purchase transaction or rectify the title, an additional fee of £95 plus VAT will be payable.
- If we are required to deal or correspond with your matrimonial/divorce solicitor, or a third-party solicitor, the sum of £200 plus VAT will be payable.
- If you request that your matter be expedited above all other conveyancing clients or matters; or ask us to exchange contracts/complete within a specific timeframe or meet a deadline (under 4 weeks for a freehold sale/purchase and under 8 weeks for a leasehold sale/purchase, from receipt/issue of the draft contract papers) we reserve the right to make a reasonable charge for doing so, starting from £200 plus VAT.
- We reserve the right to make a reasonable charge for any additional enquiries or work you require us to undertake following completion of a transaction.
- Your quotation does not cover the cost of a Lease Extension. Our charges start at £500 plus VAT, dependant on the difficulty.
- Your quotation does not cover the cost of a Deed of Variation. Our charges start at £250 plus VAT, dependant on the difficulty.
- Your quotation does not cover the cost of a Declaration of Trust. Our charges start at £250 plus VAT, dependant on the difficulty.
- For leasehold property sales, there may be administration charges payable to the Landlord, Managing Agents or Management Company for providing replies to Leasehold Property Enquiries and associated documentation and information. These costs vary greatly and will be set by the Landlord, Managing Agents or Management Company.
- For leasehold property purchases, there may also be administration charges payable to the Landlord, Managing Agents or Management Company. Again, these costs vary greatly and will be governed by the terms of the Lease, or set by the Landlord, Managing Agents or Management Company. Possible payments include: Notice fees, Deed of Covenant fee, Licence to Assign fee, apportionments of ground rent, insurance and service charges and consents required under the Lease.
- We will be able to advise you of the above leasehold charges as soon as the costs are known. It follows that at this stage we are unable to give you an accurate estimate. Unfortunately, we have no control over the fees which may be charged.
- If you are purchasing a newly constructed property or from a mortgagee in possession, you may be liable to pay a Transfer/Lease Engrossment Fee to the seller’s solicitors. We will be able to advise you of this potential charge as soon as the draft papers are received. Again, we do not govern this potential charge.
Please note this list is not exhaustive. We will advise you of any additional charges or disbursements required for work outside the normal conveyancing transaction as soon as is practicable and after we have been made aware of the same.
The precise stages involved in the sale or purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, the keys stages and the work we will carry out on your behalf is as follows: –
|Selling a property||Purchasing a property|
|Preparing and submitting draft Contract papers and accompanying documentation to the buyer’s solicitor||Investigating the title to the property|
|Answering any enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitor on the Contract papers||Raising enquiries on the Contract papers received from the seller’s solicitor|
|Drafting/negotiating the sale Contract||Carrying out all necessary searches relating to the property|
|Negotiating/approving the Transfer document||Reviewing the replies to enquiries raised on your behalf and raising further enquiries, if appropriate|
|Liaising with any Landlord/Managing Agent/Management Company, if your property is leasehold||Negotiating/approving the terms of the purchase Contract|
|Preparing to exchange contracts and then completion of the sale||Advising you in respect of any mortgage offer, if appropriate|
|On completion, transferring funds to redeem any mortgage and pay your estate agents||Preparing/approving the Transfer document|
|Handing completion papers over to the buyer’s solicitor||Preparing a comprehensive Report to you on the title of the property|
|Preparing to exchange contracts and then completion of the purchase|
|Transferring the funds to the seller’s solicitor|
|Completing the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and submitting the same along with any tax liability due to HM Revenue & Customs|
|Registering the title and mortgage (if applicable) with HM Land Registry|
At what is a potentially stressful time, we understand that you will want reassuring that matters are proceeding smoothly. At the same time, the conveyancing process can be quite slow because of the complexities of organising all the other parties in a chain.
We will aim to keep you updated on a regular basis and will contact you as soon as anything happens that impacts on the timing or any other aspect of your move. If you have not heard from us, then nothing material has happened since we last spoke, but this does not mean general work is not being carried out on your conveyancing matter.
Clients understandably want as much notice of moving dates as possible but unfortunately, until contracts are exchanged, no one is legally bound. Clients, especially with the booking of removals, can be caught out if there is a last-minute hitch. We will always work to your preferred dates, but please be conscious that there may be unavoidable problems, that often do not appear until just before we exchange contracts.
Whilst we will aim to complete your transaction on your preferred completion date and will always strive to meet any reasonable deadline, we would advise that the national average for a conveyancing matter from receipt/issuing of draft Contract papers to completion is 6 to 8 weeks for a freehold property and 10 to 12 weeks for a leasehold property.
However, this approximate timescale may be reduced or even increase slightly as each transaction is individual and the circumstances and requirements of all parties in the chain will not be the same.
Our costs for advice and representation to employees in relation to the bringing of claims before the Employment Tribunal, against an employer for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal, are as follows: –
Initial Fixed Fee Assessment and/or Written Advice
Our Employment Solicitor fixed fees start from £100 including VAT for an initial assessment of your employment issue by telephone.
The 30-minute telephone appointment allows you to get expert employment legal advice quickly at minimal cost. You briefly explain your situation to an Employment Solicitor and they will provide you with initial legal advice about your situation and how best to proceed.
The telephone assessment does not include a review of your documents.
If you want an Employment Solicitor to review your documents, we can provide a written investigation report for £450 for Standard Claims or £900 for Complex Claims; both of these are fixed fees which include VAT.
We can discuss further funding of your case from the following options:
No Win – No Fee
Subject to a favourable assessment of the merits and depending upon the value of your claim, we may offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
Our usual fee for representing in this way is typically calculated as a maximum of 35% (including VAT) of any damages recovered for you either by way of a negotiated settlement of your claim or after a Tribunal hearing, plus payment of any disbursements incurred on your behalf (usually limited to travel costs).
Fixed or Capped Fees
Fixed Fees – we agree at the outset the cost of the work
Capped Fees – the cost of the work will not exceed an agreed cap
We can also represent you on a traditional hourly rate (plus VAT at the current rate) which is payable win or lose. How much you pay will be dependent upon the amount of time spent on your case and the level of experience of your legal representative.
For example, the hourly rate may vary between £150 for a junior or newly qualified solicitor to £250 per hour for a Partner. Full details will be provided to you should you choose this option.
If you prefer this option then you will be entitled to retain 100% of any damages you recover, but please remember these fees are payable win or lose.
If you have the benefit of legal expenses insurance which is often provided under a household insurance policy or other similar insurance related product, we can assist you in submitting an application to cover your legal fees. The benefit of such cover is that your insurer meets a proportion of your legal fees (almost never all of them) and you keep 100% of your damages.
Please note however if your application is successful, your insurer may insist that you use one of their own panel solicitors and not your nominated solicitor with whom you may have developed a rapport. It is therefore worth bearing in mind that an insurer cannot generally restrict your right to appoint a solicitor of your choice if your claim has already been issued in the Employment Tribunal; something that you may wish to discuss with us.
We usually agree to prepare and issue your Tribunal claim without charge in these circumstances so that the insurers cannot object to our appointment as your nominated Solicitor.
Employment Tribunal Fees
Employment tribunal fees are no longer payable for claims brought now. Fees paid in the past are being refunded. This follows the recent Supreme Court ruling on 26th July 2017 that the fee system was unlawful.
Typical Costs for Administering a Probate Estate
Our fees for administering an estate are mainly affected by the complexity and value of the assets and liabilities involved. However, there are also other factors that affect the cost of administering an estate which include, but are not limited to:
- Whether or not there was a valid Will in place at the date of death
- The number and type of assets and liabilities within an estate, for example, residential property, bank/building society accounts, shares, premium bonds etc.
- Whether or not inheritance tax is payable on the value of the estate
- The number of beneficiaries involved and their whereabouts
- Where there are no claims made against the estate and/or disputes between the beneficiaries of division of assets
It is important that you provide us with as much information as possible at the outset of your instructions, so we can provide an accurate estimate of the costs involved.
We offer the following services: –
Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration Only
If you instruct us to collect information about the deceased’s estate and prepare/submit the application to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration only, our legal costs will be fixed at £1,000 plus VAT.
This service does not include arranging to pay any inheritance tax due or collecting and distributing assets.
Full Administration of the Deceased’s Estate
Our legal fees for the full administration of an estate typically range between £5,000 and £25,000 plus VAT, although in some circumstances, costs payable may fall outside of this range.
Full administration of an estate will include the following steps:
- Gather complete information about the deceased’s assets and liabilities at the date of their death
- Arrange for the settlement of a funeral account, provided that the deceased left sufficient cash assets to do so
- Complete any inheritance tax returns
- Prepare and submit the application to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- Collection of the deceased’s assets and settling of any outstanding liabilities due from the deceased’s estate
- Preparation of estate accounts for approval by the Personal Representative(s)
- Payment of fixed legacies and distribution of assets to residuary beneficiaries
Basis of Calculating Our Fees
The basis on which we will carry out the work necessary to obtain the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and then administer the estate are calculated on a time basis according to the hourly rate charged by the fee earner who works on your matter.
All time spent on your matter is recorded in units of six minutes. This may include meeting with you and others; reading, preparing and drafting documents; making and receiving telephone calls; sending and receiving emails and letters; dictating notes of our meetings/telephone calls and about work carried out; researching; travelling; and preparation of detailed costs estimates, schedules and bills.
The current hourly rate is £220 plus VAT. However, if Andrew & Andrew Solicitors are appointed as Personal Representative(s) of the estate, the costs are increased to an hourly rate of £250 plus VAT.
Each year, the hourly rates are reviewed. Please note hourly rates could also be subject to change dependent on the role, qualification and experience of the fee earner dealing with your matter.
In addition to time charges mentioned above, Andrew & Andrew Solicitors also charges a value or responsibility charge that is calculated by reference to a percentage of the total value of the estate. This charge is only payable where Andrew & Andrew Solicitors have been appointed as Personal Representative(s) of the estate under the deceased’s Will.
Other Costs and Disbursements Payable
The legal fees discussed above do not include disbursements which are costs and expenses incurred on behalf of clients and payable to third parties.
Below is a summary of the other costs that you are likely to have to pay for:
- Probate application fee
Since 22nd April 2014, the payable to Her Majesty Courts & Tribunals Service is £155. You will also normally require additional sealed copies of the Grant which are £1 each. On a typical estate, we would request 5 additional copies.
- Oath fee
Before the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration can be issued, we will need to prepare an Oath which will need to be sworn by you. The Oath fee payable by each Personal Representative for swearing the same in the presence of a Solicitor or Commissioner of Oaths is £7.
- Bankruptcy searches
To ensure due diligence is carried out, we will be required to carry out a bankruptcy search on each Personal Representative and the deceased. The fee charged by the Land Registry for each bankruptcy search is £2.
- Section 27 notice
Section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 enables Personal Representative(s) to protect themselves from liability against any claims from creditors and/or beneficiaries, that they have not had any notice of at the time that they convey or distribute the estate, provided that the notice placed complies with the following requirements:
- advertising the intention to convey or distribute the estate through a notice placed in The Gazette and a local newspaper; and
- setting out a period of at least two months for any interested person to send the particulars of their claim to the personal representatives.
Placing a Section 27 notice in order to inform any potential creditors of the deceased’s death currently costs £246.
- Inheritance tax
Inheritance is currently payable if the value of the deceased estate is over £325,000. The rate of inheritance tax is 40% on anything above the threshold. The rate may be reduced to 36% if 10% or more of the estate is left to charity.Once we have made full investigations regarding the value of the deceased’s estate, we can advise you as to whether inheritance tax will be payable or not and whether any reliefs are applicable.
Complaints Information and Procedure
The aim is to offer all clients an efficient and effective service at all times.
Andrew & Andrew Solicitors are proud to hold the Lexcel accreditation. Lexcel is the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for practice management and client care. Clients and staff are of first importance to Andrew & Andrew Solicitors and we hope that you will be pleased with the work we undertake for you.
We are also are pleased to have been awarded accreditation and membership to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) which recognises high standards and sets the quality mark for residential conveyancing work.
By instructing Andrew & Andrew Solicitors, you can be assured that you will receive a reliable and professional service which meets this standard.
If you do have any complaint with the service provided or problem with the attention given to you as a client, we would ask that you first raise your concern with your allocated fee earner, so they can attempt to resolve the problem to your satisfaction.
If they are unable to deal with the matter, or you still have queries or concerns, you are free to speak with the Director of the firm, Andrew Wisniewski, or the Practice Manager to whom any difficulty can be reported.
In the first instance, you must try to resolve your complaint through our complaints handling process. If you are unhappy with the outcome, or if we have failed to resolve your complaint within eight weeks, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman, to become involved.
The contact details of the Legal Ombudsman are as follows:
P O Box 6806
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
You will have a period of six months from the date of our final written response and the end of our complaints procedure to lodge a formal complaint with the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman’s time limit for accepting a complaint is six years from the date of the act/omission, and three years from when the complainant should have known about the issue.
If you would like a copy of the firm’s written complaints procedure, this can be sent to you by the Practice Manager at your request.