Many homebuyers question why the legal costs for House Conveyancing are lower than those for flats and apartments. Why should it make any difference to the legal costs whether a property is a house or a flat?
The difference between Flat and House Conveyancing
Flats are owned with leasehold title (except in a very few cases) whereas the majority of houses are owned with freehold titles. Nevertheless, legal transfer of title for both types of property is dealt with by the same simple form of transfer deed.
So on the face of it, it would seem that Solicitors should charge the same for House Conveyancing as for flats.
However, title transfer, although clearly at the heart of House Conveyancing, is only part of the work which Property Lawyers do in connection with a property transfer. Although some of this work is the same for both types of property, a considerable amount of additional effort is involved on the purchase or sale of a leasehold flat.
Why is leasehold work more costly?
Flats will always form part of a larger building, be it in a house which has been split into two residences, or a large apartment block.
The maintenance and insurance of the building generally lies with the freeholder, and it is vital that Property Lawyers ensure that not only does the lease of a flat incorporate necessary arrangements for this, but also that such arrangements are actually operating and the freeholder has not disappeared.
House Conveyancing-specialist Solicitors therefore have to read through each lease (and there is no such thing as a standard lease). Information will also be required in regard to the management of the building, which sellers will have to obtain from the freeholders or their agents.
Many flat owners have to pay regular service charges to cover building maintenance and repair, and have little say over the level of expenditure. Buyers' Solicitors check the accounts for previous years so that they can advise purchasers of the amount they can expect to pay. They also have to ensure that the seller is not in arrears with payment of these charges, as well as finding out whether major works have been carried out or are planned by the freeholder. Such works could lead to a buyer receiving a large after completion.
Mortgage lenders have numerous requirements relating to leasehold properties, and House Conveyancing lawyers have to check in each case that the provisions of any lease and the actual building management arrangements satisfy these requirements.
Even when a buyer does not require a mortgage, buyers' House Conveyancing Solicitor will keep these requirements in mind as if a particular lease does not meet lenders requirements this potentially affects the value of the property.
These extra checks invariably mean that more work is involved on the purchase and sale of flats, so higher legal costs are charged than for House Conveyancing to reflect this.
Finding Cheap House Conveyancing
Fridaysmove deliver the Cheapest House Conveyancing Online, and will not compromise on service.
When Comparing House Conveyancing Quotes, be sure to check for hidden additional fees in Terms of Engagement. These can add £100's onto your final House Conveyancing invoice, making what appears to be a low-cost quote very expensive at the end of the day.
ALWAYS check the Terms of Engagement before your instruct a Solicitor for leasehold flat, or freehold House Conveyancing.