PROPERTY SERVICES

Residential and Commercial Property

Cruickshanks has specialised in property and property related matters since 1992, in particular leasehold properties which are more common in London’s West End where we are located.

Whether you are a first time buyer or a serious property developer with a portfolio of properties, we aim to help make the sale and purchase process as smooth and seamless as possible. We have regularly attended exchanges and completion on short notice when speed has been necessary and have a reputation for the high quality service at reasonable cost.

We are regularly instructed by overseas residents unfamiliar with the UK conveyancing process which has important differences from most other English speaking and EU jurisdictions. 


Conveyancing Residential and Commercial

We are property specialists since 1992 and a panel member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme which ensures our staff are of a certain standard of proficiency.

Solicitors price their fees according to a time honoured method of an hourly charge out rate for each fee earner dealing with the matter. An hourly rate is calculated by taking the costs of running a practice in the location where it is located, adding a profit that is subjectively assessed by the owners of the practice to reflect a reasonable reward for its staff in terms of salaries commensurate with each employee’s and owners experience and expertise. This is used often as a basis for setting a fixed fee as being an as accurate estimate of the time incurred to complete the transaction based on experience of a similar transaction of similar value.

In conveyancing matters however this is aggregated over a range of hourly rates as conveyancing is performed on a team basis. For example a director may do crucial pre exchange matters to determine special conditions or make judgements on title and quality issues in relation to searches. The actual searches may be done by a paralegal who will often post completion attendances such as completing SDLT returns and registering at HMLR or notifying landlords and managing agents for notices of assignment and charge. This is done in the interests of efficiency and ensuring that we offer value for money to you.

Please be aware that a lot of published scale fees are not inclusive of many other “hidden extras”. For example, they would charge for KYC, AML checks, file storage and maintenance, registration of your property and add extra charges on completions and/or third-party fees such as searches or bank fees up to £45.00 for each CHAPS. We have negotiated with our bank to provide the benefit for our client and charge only £9.00 plus vat for each same day bank transfer. None of those extra charges would be included in the published scale fee of some legal firms which could add up to hundreds of pounds to reduce the so called “fixed fee” and to this extent the concept of a “fixed scale fee” can be misleading.

Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the purchase, sale or refinance of the property including dealing with registration at the Land Registry. The exact fee will depend on the nature of the property, the value of the property and other factors such as complexity, urgency, and issues relating to the titles etc. Our fee estimates for various purchases/sale and refinance are listed below;

Our basic standard fee for a second-hand freehold house of:

· up to £300,000.00 is £1,300,

· up to £1m is £1,700

· over £2m is around 0.1% of the purchase price

Our basic standard fee for a second-hand leasehold flat of:

· up to £300,000.00 is £1,500,

· up to £1m is £2,200

· over £2m is around 0.2% of the purchase price

Our basic standard fee for purchase and sale of a new build property of:

· up to £400,000.00 is £1,900,

· up to £1m is £2,600

· over £1.5m is 0.2% of the purchase price

All fees quoted are exclusive of vat and third-party fees.

In all instances our fee and all disbursements known or estimated will be set out clearly in advance and set out in our Client Care Letter to you at the outset before proceeding.

What additional fees will we charge?

Urgency - this may be a factor when there is a contract race, a financial deadline, an attended exchange or an auction timeline, receipt of an unexpected notice to complete. In all cases the additional fee will be agreed as the urgent feature presents itself and recorded in writing. In most instances the factor of urgency is likely to be known from the outset and will be agreed at the initial fee discussion and confirmed in writing in our Client Care Letter (CCL).

Change of Instruction - it sometimes happens that a transaction will proceed in the name of Mr Wang and then after exchange this instruction may change to wanting Mrs Wang to buy either jointly or solely for Wang junior. While to the reader this may seem an apparently simple change it has far reaching financial consequences from a tax and inheritance tax point of view and will involve additional legal processes if it is possible at all. It may also transpire that a cash purchase suddenly becomes a transaction requiring a loan by way of a legal mortgage. This may also have an urgent element if the change occurs close to a completion date and after exchange. In such cases a fee for additional work will need to be agreed in writing.

Conversely a purchase with a mortgage may suddenly change to a cash purchase and this may involve last minute additional AML checks to be satisfied as to the source of funds.

Tax Advice - if the transaction involves an offshore company, trust vehicle or any other non-individual legal personality as beneficial owner additional fees may be incurred with your professional tax adviser and or us working solely or in conjunction with you and an appointed specialist tax adviser. Otherwise standard tax advice in relation to method of ownership where two or more purchasers, inheritance tax consequences and SDLT calculations are not charge as extra and included in the scale fee.

Financing the purchase

If you need a loan to purchase the property, our fee estimate is determined by three main factors, amount of the loan, freehold or leasehold and the type of the lender.

Our fees typically range from £850 plus vat for a £500,000 first mortgage finance to £3,000 plus vat for up to £1 million or whether the lender is an institutional one such as a recognised high street bank or a private or bridging lender.

Be wary of institutions who offer free legal fees as usually that is not the case. You are generally referred to a panel solicitor whose fees may be included in your loan or borrowing costs one way or another and the so-called legal fees offer will only apply if you use only the banks panel solicitors. It is often an illusory benefit and is an unethical abuse of your fundamental right to choose your own independent legal adviser and disapproved of by the FCA.

A large loan incurs higher fees as a reflection of the professional risk and duty of care to both the lender and you the borrower. Private loans will require one party to be independently represented and you may be liable for the lender’s additional legal fees for that.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as search fees and bank charges. We ask you for money on account once you have instructed us in order to pay the third parties on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. The list below is not exhaustive and we will inform you on the specific fees that apply to you upon receipt and review of the documentation.

  • Search fees £300-600 +vat
  • HM Land Registry fee £40-910 (depending on the value of the property)
  • Electronic money transfer CHAPS fee of £9+vat .
  • Notice of Transfer/Charge/Deed of Covenant/License to Assign – These fees if chargeable is set out in the lease, often range between £50 and £300.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

You can calculate the SDLT that will be due on your transaction via the UL Government calculator here:

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro

Your tax due will be potentially dependant on several factors including but not limited to: whether you are a first-time buyer, how many properties you own, is it a replacement of you home, whether you are a UK resident and if you are buying multiple properties. The tax due will be calculated for you once we have full details of the transaction and where appropriate you will be advised to seek specialist tax advice.