Price and service transparency
Charles Fraser is a small practice – deliberately so. We employ no Assistant Solicitors, meaning that your work will be carried out only by one of the three Partners – Charles Fraser, Graham Woodhouse or Mark Beaton – who between them have over 80 years of experience. This experience enables us quickly to identify a client’s needs, to respond to those needs by dealing with matters promptly and to secure the best possible outcome for the client.
Excellent client care is our keystone. By this we mean that we seek not only to deliver first class legal services in a timely and cost effective fashion, but also to have an empathetic approach and a real interest in, and understanding of, a client’s needs and circumstances. We pride ourselves on the fact that most clients return to us time and time again, referencing (as the basis of their decision to instruct us again) the fact that they felt part of a team that was acting wholly and exclusively in their best interests. Our excellent secretaries – whom we consider to be second to none – have many years of experience and can assist and/or guide if the Partner is not immediately available when you call.
We believe that our detailed, empathetic and good humoured approach results in the very best of outcomes. We do not pay referral fees: we work exclusively for the benefit of the client.
We provide all our advice in clear, straightforward, English – and we are always happy to explain things when further clarification is required.
This section deals with the costs likely to be incurred in connection with any transaction. Whilst some sales and purchases can be straightforward, others can be more complicated particularly if separate – but related – issues have to be considered – for example the requirement for a Declaration of Trust, a Licence to Assign (permitting the sale of a flat) or a Lease Extension to be secured. This is not an exhaustive list, but has included (at this stage) to highlight that very often conveyancing is not merely the transfer of one property from A to B. It is only when we have been able to take full instructions from a prospective client – thereby clarifying what may be required in connection with any particular transaction – that we can give a meaningful estimate of costs and the price information (set out below) should be construed accordingly.
Sale or Purchase Price
Up to £150,000 £ 625 + vat
Between £150,000 and £200,000 £ 645 + vat
Between £200,000 and £250,000 £ 695 + vat
Between £250,000 and £300,000 £ 745 + vat
Between £300,000 and £350,000 £ 795 + vat
Between £350,000 and £400,000 £ 845 + vat
Between £400,000 and £450,000 £ 895 + vat
Between £450,000 and £500,000 £ 945 + vat
Between £500,000 and £550,000 £ 995 + vat
Between £550,000 and £600,000 £1,045 + vat
Between £600,000 and £650,000 £1,095+ vat
Between £650,000 and £700,000 £1,145 + vat
Between £700,000 and £750,000 £1,245 + vat
Between £750,000 and £800,000 £1,345 + vat
Between £800,000 and £850,000 £1,395 + vat
Between £850,000 and £900,000 £1,545 + vat
Between £900,000 and £950,000 £1,595 + vat
Between £950,000 and £1 million £1,745 + vat
Over £1 million a minimum of £1,750 + vat
In connection with a purchase the following will apply:-
£150 + vat for acting on behalf of any Lender involved in the purchase.
£50 + vat for completing and submitting the SDLT return form.
There will also be a charge of £42 for sending monies by bank transfer.
The above figures do not include search fees, stamp duty or a land registry fees all of which can be confirmed at the time of instruction.
Remortgages £375 + vat
Transfers of equity £325 + vat
For Leasehold properties add £100 + vat
Equity release mortgages £550 + vat
Searches will be recharged at the same amount they are charged to us by the search provider.
Fees for Local Searches vary widely between Local Authorities but Local Searches in West Suffolk are £110 plus VAT. Babergh/Mid Suffolk £135 plus VAT, South Cambridgeshire £100 plus VAT.
A Water and Drainage Search – depending on the area – typically costs £42.50 plus VAT.
An Avista/Environmental Search typically costs £79 plus VAT.
A formal Flood Search (if required) typically costs £30 plus VAT.
A Chancel Repair Search typically costs £20 plus VAT. If the search was to reveal potential liability, then in the absence of any existing Indemnity Policy, we would normally recommend a Chancel Repair Indemnity Insurance Policy is taken out the premium for which will be determined by the nature and value of the property in question.
We can quote for other searches for example Coal Mining, Brine Extraction, Development potential – upon request.
Your sale and/or purchase might require the preparation and completion of ancillary documentation which is normally separate – but related to – the transfer documentation. As the particular circumstances of each matter need to be considered on their merits, it is not possible (in this section) to set out an exhaustive list of what further documentation may be required (that can only be determined once we have been able to take client’s detailed instructions) but, for example, we set out below (by way of illustration only) a range of potential costs that could arise in connection with ancillary issues:-
Declaration of Trust
If a purchase is to be made jointly – particularly between two parties who are not married – then a Declaration of Trust may be required. This will confirm many of the financial interests of the parties in the property in question, but will also determine how the proceeds are to be applied in the event of a sale. We normally make a charge – depending on the requirements of the Declaration of Trust – of between £275 and £425 plus VAT.
Licence to Assign
If you own a leasehold flat, your Lease may require that, before you sell it, you obtain the consent of your Landlord. This is known as a Licence to Assign. A typical cost of preparing and completing such a Licence is between £175 plus VAT and £275 plus VAT.
If you are selling – or buying – a flat, it may be necessary to secure a Lease Extension under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (“the Act”). Typically, the cost of acquiring a Lease Extension under the Act would be between £625 plus VAT and £850 plus VAT. In addition, you would be obliged to pay the Landlord’s costs and valuation fees.
Leases can also be extended voluntarily – by agreement between the Landlord and the Tenant – but as the procedures vary from the Act, a different cost regime will apply. Please speak to us if this is a requirement.
Deed of Covenant
Sometimes – for example when you are buying a house or a flat on a modern development and land has been laid out for the amenity of all residents – you will be required to enter into a Deed of Covenant with a Management Company who maintains and supervises the amenity area. A Deed of Covenant can also be required in connection with leasehold developments and with freehold developments where a maintenance charge (known as a rentcharge) is involved. We can confirm the likely cost of any such Deed of Covenant but, typically, these will cost anything between £225 plus VAT and £375 plus VAT.
Deed of Variation/Rectification
Sometimes it is found – on investigation of title – that there is an error that needs to be rectified. Such errors can include mis-description of the property, failure to grant all appropriate rights and easements or a faulty formula for the calculation of service charges. Whether a Deed of Rectification or Variation is required will depend upon the circumstances – and there are a number of legal and technical rules that apply – we should normally be able to give an indication as to likely costs once we have been able to establish the nature of the error that needs to be corrected. However, typically such documents cost between £475 plus VAT and £625 plus VAT.
This is not – and is not intended to be – an exhaustive list as to the supplementary documentation that may be required in connection with any conveyancing transaction, but is intended to be a useful guide.
Of course, and in addition, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and HM Land Registry fees will be payable in connection with any purchase. The precise amount of SDLT payable will depend upon the purchaser’s circumstances, but given the complexities of the SDLT legislation it is sometimes necessary for specialist Accountant’s advice to be taken and in which case the cost of such Accountant’s advice will need to be paid in addition. Otherwise, SDLT rates and HM Land Registry fees area readily available online.
Basis of charges
These are fixed fees. In the unlikely event, however, we have to increase our fees (due to unexpected complexity and the length of any transaction) then we will contact you to discuss any proposed increase before any increase takes place.
- SERVICE INFORMATION
Conveyancing transactions – be it a sale, purchase or both – are made up of a number of separate stages, both before exchange of Contracts and after. Our costs include dealing with all such stages, meaning that – in effect – we will conduct your matter from start to finish. We always keep our clients closely in touch with the progress of their particular matter(s), but we are also always happy to discuss/explain the stages of any particular transaction should the client so require.
WORK THAT IS NOT INCLUDED
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, we will not be including advice on matters relating to:-
- The laws of any jurisdiction other than England and Wales.
- Taxes or duties and note (above) your obligation to obtain specialist Accountant’s advice in respect of your potential SDLT (Stamp Duty) liability.
- Financial planning
We would also stress that we will not be carrying out any physical inspection of the property and it will be for you – or your Surveyor – to check that the boundaries that may appear on the ground accord with those shown on the plans attached to any title documents.
Key Stages and typical timescales
The key stage – of any sale or purchase – is exchange of Contracts. It is at this point that the transaction becomes legally binding. Completion (i.e. the day that you move in or out of your property) is normally anything up to two weeks after.
A straightforward sale or purchase – where there is no chain (and in respect of a purchase) no mortgage – typically takes anything between 4 to 6 weeks. Where the sale and or purchase comprises part of a chain, timings can be longer and typically anything between 6 and 8 weeks. However, extraneous issues – such as annual and or public holidays – can have implications in terms of timings particularly during the summer period. However, we will always seek an exchange and completion as soon as ever possible (and in strict accordance with your instructions) so you will often find us “driving” any particular transaction.
Other factors also have implications in terms of timings, for example:-
- The requirement to acquire Management Information from the Landlord/Management Company.
- The issue of Mortgage Instructions.
- The requirement for a Survey.
- The requirement to await the grant of Probate, where a purchase is from Executors of a deceased proprietor.
- Dare we say it, the failure of other parties in the chain to deal promptly with relevant paperwork.
Qualifications of the Partners
Charles Fraser is a Solicitor who first qualified in 1983. He has – ever since – specialised in commercial and residential property work.
Graham Woodhouse is a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives having qualified in 1998 he has throughout his professional life specialised in residential conveyancing.
Mark Beaton a Solicitor qualified in 1993 and like Charles and Graham, he has spent all his professional life specialising in residential conveyancing work.