A solicitor job is to take care of all the legal aspects of moving house.
These "disbursements" include:
- Local Search Fee
- Land Charges Search Fee
- Land Registry Fees
- Stamp Duty
On top of these costs a solicitor will charge their own fee (+VAT).
Often, personal recommendations are a good way of choosing prospective solicitors,
but always ask for a written quotation (not an estimate) as charges can vary.
Remember however that cheaper solicitors may be lower for a reason. A solicitor may charge between £400 and £750 for properties worth up to £100,000 and anywhere from £750 to over £1,000 for more expensive houses.
Additionally you should always get a minimum of three quotations to compare. Use HouseWeb's free service to quickly find three competitive quotes in your area.
What do Solicitors Do?
- Check the property is actually owned by the vendor
This involves "searches" of deeds and checks with the local authorities to
establish if any new developments are planned in the vicinity (e.g. new motorway, road widening, etc).
- Draw up a Contract of Sale
This draft contract will detail the
conditions of sale. A "preliminary enquiry" will be sent to the vendor asking
a standard set of questions. As the solicitor is unlikely to visit the house, it is
important that you establish any specific issues which need to be included in
Be sure of what contents the vendor will be taking with them and
what you are buying. Use the Fixture and Fittings Checklist
to run through with the vendor the house contents you are buying. When complete, give this list
to your solicitor.
The contract is likely to bounce between the solicitors of both parties and refined. Expect this
process to take anything up to ten weeks.
- Exchange of Contracts
This is the point at which both parties become
legally bound to the sale and purchase of the property. The solicitor overseas the
signing of the contracts.
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