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The Next Move ?

by the uncertainties of Brexit

The whole of our economy is shadowed by the uncertainties of Brexit.  Whether you would rather be in or out, it is a greater problem to be caught between the two.

According to the RICS residential market survey report for August, newly agreed sales declined in July and even further in August in most regions of the United Kingdom.  Whilst the prices appear to be relatively stable, it is the number of transactions which have slowed and reports suggest that many potential sellers and buyers are keeping their powder dry until the situation settles, unless other circumstances, such as job relocations, force their hands.

The cost of moving home has also been increasing.  House prices do continue to rise, albeit at a modest level and the burden of stamp duty is an heavy one in most purchase transactions, with first time buyer exemptions available to so few and additional duty payable at 3% of the whole transaction value for buyers of investment property or second homes.

Conveyancers have struggled to keep their charges down in the face of increasing overheads, including rising salaries and the cost of indemnity insurance.  There may be some slightly cheaper alternatives to a traditional local solicitor, but at the risk of sacrificing the benefit of experienced professionals with local knowledge, to handle your sale or purchase.  Those whose estate agents direct them to affiliated volume conveyancers may come to regret the fact that their conveyancer does not have convenient offices where they can visit to ask questions or sign documents.

The rules of price transparency that now govern the solicitors’ profession should make it easier for clients to compare like with like.  Nevertheless, any prospective client should still be watchful of additional fees being charged for different elements of the work involved in a single transaction, particularly if dealing with volume conveyancers (or “conveyancing factories”, as they might sometimes be termed).  It is always important to compare the total cost of the transaction, rather than the headline figures.

Price will influence anyone’s decision, but sometimes you get what you pay for.  A good solicitor is likely to save you from a great deal of stress and anxiety – provided that the other conveyancers in the chain are all working together, for the same outcome.  It remains the case that the cost of the conveyancers’ services are only a small part of the overall cost of a house move.  Choose wisely and it is money well spent.

By John Ryan, Head of Conveyancing 

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