Andrew Kingston & Co Solicitors

Andrew Kingston-Splatt LLB, the Principal of Andrew Kingston & Co., Solicitors, has practiced as a Solicitor in Hull since December 1978

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Ground Floor, Lowgate House, Lowgate,
Hull HU1 1EL
East Yorkshire GB
Tel (01482) 216217
Fax (01482) 216218

Conveyancing

We also carry out residential conveyancing. Our aim is to provide an efficient, cost-effective, and stress-free service. It is, unfortunately, well known that moving house can be one of life's most difficult experiences. We will do all that we can to help you avoid the pitfalls that can lie in your path, and to guide you safely through the whole process from beginning to end.

There are only two things that really differ from one Solicitor to the next in respect of conveyancing work. The first is their service, and the second is the price. We pride ourselves that our service is second to none - your work will be dealt with personally by an experienced qualified Solicitor, and you won't find yourself speaking to a different person each time you call.

As to the fees, we offer competitive fixed prices, and will be happy to give quotations by phone or in writing. Please call or e-mail us to request one. We will need:-

  • your name (and address if you want a written quotation);
  • whether you are selling or buying, or both;
  • the address or at least the Local Authority area of the house you hope to buy (and the house you are selling, if different from your own address);
  • the prices at which you expect to sell and/or buy; and
  • the name of any mortgage provider(s) in respect of the sale and the purchase.

OR, you can work out the figures now, from the following information. By way of example, for any freehold sale or purchase in Hull or the East Riding, at a price below £250,000.00, our fees are £325.00 plus V.A.T. of £65.00. Our charges are equally competitive for values above £250,000.00, and for leasehold properties which do involve considerably more work than freeholds.

Please remember that, in addition to our fees, you will also have to pay for various other things such as search fees, Land Registry fees, Bank transfer fees, and Stamp Duty Land Tax. All of those should be the same or at least similar, whichever Solicitor you decide to use. We pass on all such third party fees at the cost to us - there is no mark-up or profit involved in these items.

So, for the sale of a freehold house below £250,000.00, subject to one existing mortgage, the cost would be:-

Our fee of £325.00 plus £65.00 V.A.T.; and

£6.00 Land Registry fee for proof of the current ownership, and title plan; and

A Bank transfer fee of £27.60 (including V.A.T.) for paying off the mortgage,

making a total of £423.60.

For the purchase of a freehold house in Hull or the East Riding below £250,000.00, funded by a single mortgage, the cost would be:-

Our fee of £325.00 plus £65.00 V.A.T.

A Local Land Charges search (£125.00 in Hull, £150.00 in the East Riding, in each case including a public footpath search). These figures are for official searches from the Council themselves, so that they are responsible for any wrong answers. Some solicitors will quote lower figures, but these are based on "personal searches" done by someone called a search agent, who looks at the Council's records and gives the answers. The Council will accept no responsibility for personal searches, and some mortgage lenders will not accept them at all. The Law Society recommends that official searches should be made. This search is essential, since anything recorded in it will become the responsibilty of the purchaser upon competion, and the search may reveal issues such as a failure by previous owners to obtain planning permission or building regulation approval for alterations that have been made.

£42.96 for a drainage and water search from Yorkshire Water. This is also regarded as essential, not just to confirm that the property is connected and how much you will be charged, but also to establish such things as the location of the pipes and sewers, which cannot be built over.

The Land Registry fee to register the change of ownership. Land Registry fees are £40.00 up to £80,000.00, £80.00 up to £100,000.00, £190.00 up to £200,000.00, then £270.00 up to £500,000.00, and so on. These fees are however halved, if (like us) your solicitor can submit the application through the Land Registry's on-line system, rather than by post. In practice, that can be done in all cases where the property is already registered with the Land Registry, in its own right. In cases where the title to the property will only be registered once you have bought it, which includes new-builds and Right to Buy, the full Land Registry fee will still apply.

A £27.60 Bank transfer fee, to send the purchase money to the seller's solicitors; and

£55.20 for an environmental search. This is usually optional, but strongly recommended. Its purpose is to look for anything on record that may have happened in or around the property, which might have left contamination, infilled ground leading to subsidence risks, flood risks from rivers, sea, or heavy rain, and other similar issues. These things could affect you or anyone living in the house, or you may have to pay to sort them out, or they could create problems when you come to sell the house in future. Once you have bought the house, you cannot normally go back to the seller (or anyone else) to complain about any problems of the kind covered by such searches, if you discover them later. Local Authority records and searches only deal with contaminated land they already know about - they do not go looking for it. This search does not involve a physical inspection of the property, and so it does not affect the need for you to employ a surveyor to inspect it for you.

Any Stamp Duty Land Tax. SDLT starts at £125,000.00, and above that is 1% of the whole purchase price (but it rises to 3% from £250,000.00 and even more for higher values). In some deprived areas the starting figure is £150,000.00.

Example:-

A freehold purchase in Hull at a price of £110,000.00

Our fee £325.00
V.A.T. £ 65.00
Land charges search £125.00
Drainage & water search £ 42.96
Bank CHAPS fee £ 27.60
Land Registry fee (if already registered) £ 95.00
TOTAL £680.56
Add Environmental search (if wanted) £ 55.20

What is listed above covers everything that can be predicted in advance. There are no hidden extras and no small print. Occasionally, something else may crop up relating to a problem with a specific property. Obviously, that cannot be known when we give a quotation, but we will discuss it with you as soon as we become aware of it. In most cases, it would be usual to expect the seller to pay to put right any problems, anyway.

Watch out, though, for quotations on the Web or elsewhere where the initial figure seems low, but then there are extra charges for making searches, for dealing with a Mortgage, for filling in a Stamp Duty Land Tax Return, etc. We have even seen advertisements saying that extra charges will be made for such things as postage! Some quotes will also leave out such things as the optional environmental search, even though everyone dealing with conveyancing knows all about these things.

If an estate agent is involved in the sale, or you are using a mortgage broker, then they will often recommend a solicitor. Before making a decision, you should remember two things. The first is that an estate agent's job is to do the best they can for their client, who is almost always the seller of the property, not the buyer. The second is that it is now common for solicitors to pay estate agents and brokers what is called a referral fee, for each client they send them. There is nothing legally wrong with this, but conflicts of interest can arise (see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-1280898 for a view about this from the national Mail on Sunday). The referral fee cannot be passed on to you, but the solicitor who pays it must presumably take it into account when deciding how much he will charge for his services. You might want to ask the estate agent whether the solicitor they recommend will be paying a referral fee, should you decide to instruct that solicitor.

Andrew Kingston & Co does not pay referral fees to estate agents or mortgage brokers. That is one reason why our fees can be so competitive.

Some solicitors are still quoting on purchases for insurance against Chancel Repair Liability . Basically, this means that certain areas of land, on which there might be no houses, one house, or maybe a hundred houses, carry with their ownership legal responsibility to pay to repair the Chancel of certain Parish Churches. Until fifteen years or so ago, this was thought to be ancient history. However, a Mr & Mrs Wallbank, in a village called Aston Cantlow, then got a bill from a Church for £95,260.00. They appealed to the Courts, but lost and were last mentioned in the national Press in the autumn of 2009, when the house was sold at auction and they evidently ended up with no house, and no money. The Government gave the Church of England until 13th October 2013 (and later if the land has not been sold after that date) to notify the Land Registry which properties are affected. It has been stated that about 5,200 parishes may be entitled to do this, and that it affects some 3,780,500 acres of land in England and Wales. The parishes have basically been ordered to register, when they can. It is possible to do a search, at a cost of £24.00, but the result is almost always that the land may be liable, which is no real help at all.

The deadline of 13th October 2013 means that once you complete your purchase of the house, the Church can no longer apply to register any Chancel Repair Liability against it. Obviously, if they applied before completion, you would not go ahead with the purchase. This means that the issue should now be a problem for existing owners of land, more than for purchasers.

Help to Buy

The Government's Help to Buy scheme means that they will require a second mortgage over the house, for the same percentage of the sale value as they contribute to the purchase price. There are detailed terms as to when the money has to be repaid. This all involves additional work for which we charge £75.00 plus £15.00 V.A.T. in addition to our standard fees.

Right to Buy

For freehold "right to buy" purchases, our fees are £275.00 plus V.A.T. of £55.00. Search fees, Land Registry fees, and other outpayments are basically the same as for any other purchase, as listed above. However, the optional part of a Local Land Charges search which deals with public footpaths, and also the environmental search, are generally not needed in "right to buy" purchases.

Transfers of Equity

A Transfer of Equity is the legal name for a transfer of a property from two or more joint owners, into the name of just one. It also applies when a property owned by one person is to be transferred to them and someone else, as joint owners. If the property is subject to a mortgage, the lender's permission needs to be obtained first. If they agree, and if they will not require that searches need to be done as if the property was being purchased for the first time, our fee for a freehold transfer of equity is £175.00 plus V.A.T. of £35.00. Land Registry fees are payable. These depend on the value of the property and start at £23.00. Other outpayments may be needed, which depend on the exact circumstances of the transfer.