Don’t worry. It is not as bad as it sounds. We are only talking money.
Online shopping for legal services is tricky. You want to see someone local but you can’t tell what they charge. We charge fixed fees for a lot of our work, but we are a funny lot in that we want to talk to you about what you want before we tell you what it will cost. Some things can be more complicated, or more simple, than they look.
The Legal Services Board, who oversee all things legal, want more transparency in fees.
This should be easy enough on the legal side of buying or selling a house.
Our regulator, The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) announced last week that we will have to publish our scale of fees from the end of the year. Bring it on, provided it is truly open and transparent! We get a bit narked by conveyancing firms who publish headline fees with a list of add-ons as long as your arm and snaffle the business with a low up front quote that grows like Topsy as you go along.
We are often told that our quotes look higher than other firms. But dig deeper and we find our fees are competitive when you look at the extras other firms are slipping in.
Example- a common add on is £75 plus VAT for completing a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return ‘if needed’. That suggests you might not need it. Sneaky. A return is required in all cases if you are buying at over £40,000, or less if it is a second home. We include the return in our fee for buying a house.
We have one fee for dealing with a transaction from start to finish, so you know your budget, no surprises.
We provide a written quote which will state our fee for acting for you, with all ‘extras’ listed in plain sight. SDLT, the returns, the Land Registration fees, bank transfer charges. You don’t need to be Hercule Poirot or Carol Vorderman to add up the costs.
Subject to a few upfront checks, and provided there is no potential conflict of interests, we can do the legal work for you even if you are buying a house that we are selling.
If you would like a quote, please call or email us and ask, and we will send one. No messing.
We are happy with the CLC’s proposals and are working on implementing them as soon as we see the detail of what they expect to see.