How much will it cost me?

IF YOU ARE IN ANY DOUBT ABOUT WHAT WE WILL CHARGE YOU THEN PLEASE CALL US.   WE DO NOT CHARGE FOR INITIAL INTERVIEWS, QUICK BITS OF “OFF THE CUFF” ADVICE OR CUPS OF TEA.  YOU WILL NOT PAY US UNTIL YOU FORMALLY INSTRUCT US.   WE WILL TELL YOU IF YOU HAVE REACHED A STAGE WHERE YOUR ENQUIRIES NEED TO BE DEALT WITH AS A PIECE OF CHARGEABLE WORK.

I am always asked two questions at the start of any matter; “How Much? and “How Long” which has led me to speculate about what sort of soliciting people think I am doing.

Very sensibly, the Law Society has, since December 2018, required us to publish information in respect of our pricing.  Clients need to know what they will be required to pay.  There are, of course, huge ranges in price from one solicitor to another and some of that is led by geographic location but mostly its to do with the level of service you can expect to receive.   We generally find that we fall somewhere in the middle of the pricing ranges for the profession, but our service is a bespoke one-to-one arrangement more routinely found at the top end of the market.

Conveyancing

We can usually tell you to the penny how much a conveyancing transaction will cost provided that you can give us a postcode for the property you are buying or selling, and details of how much you are buying and selling for.  How long it will take is a different matter entirely.

One of the reasons that we charge more for more expensive properties relate to our attitude to risk.   Conveyancing is the area of law with the most negligence claims primarily because buying a house is probably the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life and there is also an emotional as well as financial element to buying a Property. When it goes wrong, it can go wrong spectacularly.   As regulated professionals we do everything in our power to make sure that we get all the information in respect of a transaction, but sometimes (as has happened to me in the past) we are given details that are not quite accurate (for want of a blunter description)  and, as the regulated professional we (or our insurers) may have to take responsibility for that even where that is not our fault (see the case of Dreamvar v Mischon de Reya https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/dreamvar-informative-and-case-summary/).

The results could be catastrophic for us and, as such, we try to soften that risk by making sure that we are properly paid for the work we are doing and the risk we are taking.   Its not always that more expensive properties have more titular difficulties, (although they often do) but we balance our fixed fee conveyancing risks along with our experienced guesswork which allows us to know roughly how much time we will spend on each transaction, and therefore, how much money we will make.   Sometimes we gain on the swings, sometimes we lose (heavily) on the roundabouts.  To make this easy for everyone we have pricing bands :

Purchase Costs

Price Fee
up to £100,000.00 575
£100,000.01 650
£125,000.01 675
£200,000.01 750
£250,000.01 875
£350,000.01 935
£400,000.01 975
£450,000.01 1000
£500,000.01 1150
£600,000.01 1200
£1,000,000.01 1850

All fees are subject to VAT at the passing rate – Additional Third Party Costs will be chargeable

Sale Costs

Price Fee
up to £100,000.00 575
£100,000.01 625
£125,000.01 650
£200,000.01 750
£250,000.01 850
£350,000.01 875
£400,000.01 925
£450,000.01 1000
£500,000.01 1100
£600,000.01 1150
£1,000,000.01 1600

All fees are subject to VAT at the passing rate – Additional Third Party Costs will also be chargeable

This price includes all the work in relation to your sale and purchase.  If you change, or add to your instructions during the course of any transaction we reserve the right to review our fee.   If your transaction becomes complex or protracted we reserve the right to review our fee, but this is always done by way of discussion with you.

In addition to this you will pay additional costs, which solicitors call “disbursements” for anything that we have to pay for on your behalf, such as search fees, land registry fees, etc.   These are property and transaction specific.   We pass on third party costs, we do not uplift these as some firms do. You pay what we pay.   A search pack on a residential purchase can cost anywhere between £200 to £600.  The TT fees are currently £35.  

We will uplift our fixed fee costs for the following reasons:

  • Leasehold purchases and sales – we will charge at least an additional £100 plus VAT
  • New build purchases – we will charge at least an additional £150 plus VAT
  • Trust Deed Requirements – we will charge at least an additional £250 plus VAT
  • Possessory Title Applications (where you want to claim land that you don’t own the paper title to) – we will charge at least and additional £250 plus VAT if the application forms part of a purchase or sale. A stand alone Possessory Application will be charged at £750 plus VAT.
  • Repossession Purchase – we will charge at least an additional £100 plus VAT
  • Additional Parcels of Land and Sales of Part will be charged at an additional starting rate of £250 plus VAT.  If you are selling a complex title then we will have to consider charging your transaction on hourly rate.

Plans

If we have to do anything technical with your plans (usually on complex sales of part or plots) and you do not have access to decent drawings, we can produce these.  The price will usually range between £100 and £300 plus VAT depending on what is required and the time that we will need to spend doing the plotting work.   If you need a site survey then we will tell you. 

Remortgages

Remortgage work is charged at a fixed fee of £550 plus VAT and disbursements (subject to the uplifts noted above) which will usually amount to no more than £400 where we can obtain search insurance and do not have to undertake full searches.

Stamp Duty 

You may be liable to Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax in respect of your purchase.   If you are a first time buyer you may not need to pay this depending on the price and location of your house.  If you own more than one property (anywhere in the world) you will pay an additional 3% duty unless you are replacing your main residence.  The .GOV.UK site to calculate this is here: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro

The Stages of a Sale
  • Obtain your Title Deeds and prepare a Contract for Sale.
  • Provided that your property is registered at the Land Registry, we will obtain a copy of your ownership certificate electronically.
  • Send you a Property Information Form and Fixtures Fittings Form.
  • Agree the terms of the Contract for Sale.
  • See you or report to you on the terms of the Contract and obtain your signature.
  • When everyone is ready, exchange Contracts on the transaction; this is the stage when you are committed to sell.
  • Make pre-completion legal arrangements and checks, including obtaining a redemption figure for your existing Mortgage (if there is one) and checking this with you.
  • On the day fixed for completion (when you must move out): Receive the purchase money from your sale; Pay off your existing Mortgage (if there is one); Settle the Estate Agents Account (if there is one). Pay the any money left to you.
The Stages of a Purchase
  • Read the Contract and the Seller’s Title Documents to check that the Seller can sell what you want to purchase.
  • Raise any enquirers which appear relevant from the documents supplied.
  • Agree the terms of the Contract for purchase.
  • Carry out appropriate Searches.
  • Meet with you or report to you in writing on the Contract, Title Documents, Searches and enquiries and obtain your agreement to proceed.
  • If you are borrowing any money, check the terms of the loan with you.
  • When everyone is ready, exchange Contracts on your transaction; this is the stage when you are committed to buy.
  • Make pre-completion legal arrangements and checks.
  • Obtain any Mortgage money from your Lender and any balance we will need from you.
  • On the day fixed for completion: Arrange payment for the property. Pay any stamp Duty Land Tax.
  • Register your ownership at the Land Registry. We will inform you when we receive your Certificate of Ownership but this may be some weeks after completion.
  • If you are borrowing money we will also act for your Lender to make sure that their interests are properly protected.
  • If we are also acting for your Lender we have a duty to tell to the Lender of all relevant facts relating to you, your purchase and mortgage. This will include disclosure of any discrepancies between the mortgage application and information provided to us during the transaction and any cash back payments or discount schemes which a seller is providing you. If a conflict arises, we must cease to act for you in this matter
How Long Will it Take?

This is a tricky one to answer.   The quickest I ever did a sale was overnight, the longest purchase took 13 months.   There was nothing to choose from the two houses from the outside, they were both four bedroomed detached houses in Pontefract.  The answer is that “its hard to tell”.  So we work on averages.   An average freehold sale and purchase should take no more than 4-6 weeks, an average leasehold should take no more than 6-8 weeks.   This is nonsense of course, because even if your purchase or sale are average there is no saying that anyone else’s in the chain is average.   I usually have a better idea of  how long something will take when I have looked at the title.   My advice to anyone buying and selling is that you are better not trying to set dates for completion until your legal advisor tells you that everything is ready.   You will cause yourself untold stress if you see deadline after deadline go by whilst we wait for someone else in the chain who is buying a sustainable eco-home in the Derbyshire Peak District to get their non-standard mortgage.  If you are using us for your conveyancing, I promise you that you will not be in a position where you don’t know whats going on.   We will keep you informed and updated.

 

Wills and Probate

 

Type of Work Fee
Wills  
Basic Will single 250
Basic Wills couple 350
Mirror Wills 350
Life Interest Trust Wills (from) 700
Business Property Relief Wills (from) 800
Probate  
Getting the Papers 600
Administering the Estate (from) 1500
Powers of Attorney  
Single Power 300
Both Powers 500
Four Powers (for a couple) 700

All fees are subject to VAT at the passing rate – Additional Third Party Costs will also be chargeable

We offer legal advice to those administering the estates of deceased people both where the deceased had a valid will, known as probate, or where they died without a will, known as administration

In most cases, those dealing with an estate (known either as executors where there is a will, or administrators in other circumstances) will need to obtain an order of court which gives the them the legal authority to carry out the majority of their functions.  This order is referred to as either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.

Getting the grant

For clients with straightforward circumstances, we offer a simplified service to get them to the stage where they have either Grant.  This allows them deal with the assets of the estate themselves.  This assumes the following:

  • that no Inheritance Tax is payable and that only the short-form Return of Estate Information form is required; and
  • that clients are able to provide most valuations and relevant paperwork.

Our fees: £600 + VAT Court fee: £155 + £1.50p for each additional copy of the Grant.

Possible other fees may include:

HM Land Registry Office Copies at £3 per itemComplicated Oaths may require “settling” by the Court at £12, or by a probate consultant whose charges start at £12.

Some people choose to advertise for creditors to come forwards when dealing with an estate.  This is done by placing adverts in the London Gazette and a local newspaper.  Charges for placing such adverts vary and a quotation will be obtained from a specialist advertising agency if the service is required.

Likewise, some clients wish to search for superseding wills, or perform other searches, for example to find missing beneficiaries.  Such searches can be obtained through a number of specialist providers and quotes can be obtained by us on your behalf.

We usually ask for payment on account of fees, VAT and disbursements in all matters although this can be open to negotiation where we are also instructed to sell Estate property.

Partial or full administration

We can partially or fully administer the estate of a deceased person. Our prices reflect the collaborative approach we take with our clients.  Wherever possible, we work to clear, fixed fees (see the table above) as it is our experience that clients want and expect this approach. 

As property law specialists, we are ideally placed to deal with the sale of complicated residential and commercial property assets. 

The prices below reflect only the costs associated with the pure probate or administration parts of the legal work – quotations for work outside pure estate administration will be provided separately.

Our fees for the partial or full administration of an estate are based on our consultant solicitor’s hourly rate of £210 + VAT, per hour.  Each case will vary on its own facts and will be quoted for on a individual basis following an initial fact-finding meeting.  However, a minimum of 7 hours (£1,500 + VAT and additional fees) work would be required for a partial administration to deal with the paperwork aspects of a simple deceased person’s estate as follows:

  • liaising with the clients (executors or administrators);
  • dealing with financial institutions and relevant professionals to obtain asset values;
  • completion of the papers to lead to a Grant application where no Inheritance Tax is payable;
  • gathering in the assets of the estate;
  • distributing the assets of the estate and liaising with beneficiaries;
  • completing an estate account.

Often, partial or full administrations would require the advice of third parties who would raise their own charges which would ordinarily be payable by the estate.  These may include:

  • other solicitors within Newport Land and Law (as above); and
  • chartered surveyors, accountants, stockbrokers and other professionals from outside Newport Land and Law.

Each department or fellow professional will have their own charges and these will be obtained in advance and estimates will be presented to clients for approval.

The additional fees which may be incurred could include:

  • HM Land Registry Office Copies at £3 per item
  • Complicated Oaths may require “settling” by the Court at £12, or by a probate consultant whose charges start at £12.
  • Bankruptcy searches on beneficiaries at £3 per beneficiary
  • Advertising for creditors in the London Gazette and a local newspaper.
  • Search for superseding wills, tracing missing beneficiaries etc.

Before the commencement of any job, clients will be asked to agree to a fixed estimate of Newport Land and Law’s fees.  Newport Land and Law can only exceed this estimate with the written agreement of the client. 

Where we note will prices as being “from”, these are quoted on a case by case basis and the cost will depend on additional documentation and additional tax advice.

Court Fees

The current probate fee is £155. PLEASE NOTE : THE GOVERNMENT IS PROPOSING TO MASSIVELY ELEVATE PROBATE APPLICATION FEES FROM APRIL 2019 – WE WILL UPDATE THE INFORMATION HERE AS SOON AS WE HAVE CLARITY ON THAT POINT

Lasting Power of Attorney – The current fee for registering a Lasting Power of Attorney is £82 per power

Bespoke trusts:            Trust work is quoted on a case by case basis but you can expect to pay a minimum of £800.  If your trust needs are complex we work with Trust Expert partners who will be able to review your needs along with us.

Hourly Rate Work

If your work cannot be quoted for on a fixed fee basis, we will agree an hourly rate.  Presently, all our fee earners and consultants have in excess of 8 years post-qualification experience.  Our hourly charge out rates range from £210 per hour to £285 per hour.  VAT is chargeable on top of these rates. Each fee earner will give you details of their charge out rate as part of your on-boarding process and this will be confirmed in your Client Care and Terms of Business

Repeat Clients

If you are a repeat conveyancing customer, you will get a 5% discount on our headline conveyancing costs.  We also do some discounted work for our friends, for our families and for people in large establishments where we have ongoing relationships and where we can offer our services on their internal websites.   If you would like your Company to take one of these offers up, then please call Anna on 07525796286 or Clive on 07411675602

Pro Bono

Whilst individual cases can be considered, we do not do Pro Bono work. We are a small firm with big responsibilities.  It is our intention that when we are in a position to offer a bit more back to the community on a routine basis we will do so.

Referral Fees

We do not pay referral fees to third parties for our work.   Whilst there are number of  professionals and trades who can support our clients, and with whom we have relationships, we do not pay them for referring work to us.  We act for our clients and for our clients only.  We truly believe that this is the only way to have our clients’ interests at heart.  You matter to us, not the money.  Its not that we don’t like getting paid but like all good businesses, we believe that the money will follow good service.

Abortive Fees

Where a matter does not proceed to completion, we do charge abortive fees on a scaled basis for the amount of work that we have done for you.  The scale will be detailed in your client care and terms of business letter.  We are looking into providing “no sale, no fee” insurance but presently have been unable to find an ethical supplier with whom we think our clients will be comfortable insuring.  We will not do unnecessary work on your behalf.  If a matter is in abeyance we will stop work unless you instruct us to do otherwise.

Fee Review

We review overall fees on 1st April each year.   Unless your matter is being charged at hourly rate, the fee you pay will not alter if our rates change during your transaction.   Third party costs, on the other hand, can vary during the course of any transaction and we will pass on details any changes to you as soon as we are able.

VAT

We are VAT registered and charge VAT on all VATable supplies.  Our VAT registration number is GB266465083

 

For a free no-obligation conversation about your legal needs, give us a call on 01937 326006.