The costs of buying  - Legal costs

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The costs of buying - Legal costs

The expenses described above -the valuation and the full survey, if required -crop up before you actually make your move. Meanwhile, you will have other people working for you -your solicitors -and they, too, will have to be paid once you have moved in.

Section 9 discusses the arguments for and against doing the conveyancing of your property yourself. Here, however, we have assumed that you do not wish to undertake the conveyancing yourself, but have arranged to have a solicitor to do it for you. You will, in any case, be obliged to pay for the lender's solicitors.

Their fees, again, are on a scale, based on the size of your mortgage. Most solicitors are on the 'panel' accepted by individual building societies and banks; you should check that the solicitor you use is accepted by your lender, as this will help to cut down costs -if he or she is acting for both parties the amount of work will be minimised.

As for your own legal costs, you are likely to find that these are one of the biggest items of your expenditure. If you have decided to use a solicitor, you should always ask for an estimate first; there is nothing to stop you 'shopping around' between several firms.

You could be surprised at the wide discrepancy between the estimates you receive. Any estimate is obviously subject to change, because, as the conveyancing progresses, unexpected problems may crop up which will entail greater work and consequently higher charges.

Buying a flat is, incidentally, likely to mean proportionately greater costs because there is usually more work to be done by the solicitor. He will have to check your lease, for example.

In addition to the solicitor's fees for the work he undertakes for you, he will charge you for 'disbursements' -money that he will have to pay out on your behalf. Land Registry fees are the largest item; the other item you are likely to see is 'local authority search fees'. These refer to the questions that lawyers ask of the relevant local authority -they need to know, for example, if there are any development plans such as a proposed new freelance web designer in london motorway, which could affect the future value of your property. You are likely to find a sum of around £112 to £115 for this on the solicitor's bill.

Table 5 Land Registry fees

Note: Most people will pay the higher figure, shown under the 'dealings' column. You will pay the 'first registration' charges only if your property is in an area which has come on to the Land Registry since the property last changed hands.

The Land Registry charges are worked out according to a scale based on the price of the property: Table 5 shows examples. Most people, because they are buying property that has already been registered, will find that they are paying the higher charges shown in the final column. Some areas in the country are not yet covered by the Land Registry; but, although this means that Registry charges are not payable, it can mean a lot of extra work for the solicitor in establishing the title, so that you may not save anything by this fact.

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The costs of buying - Valuation and survey fees

The next cost to confront you is the valuation fee. There is no way of escaping this, assuming that you are going to borrow to finance the purchase. The property you choose is to act as security for the loan that the building society or bank is to give you; and the lender will obviously be concerned that its security is good enough.

At the same time, the valuation of the property can also be useful to you only in a negative way. If the society's valuers turns your chosen property down flat, then you should at least have serious second thoughts about the place.

Apart from this largely negative point, however, the valuation is simply what it says. Most building societies and banks will let . . .... see: The costs of buying - Valuation and survey fees

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