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When you are buying or selling a home, you need to choose a solicitor or conveyancer to take control of the legal process of transferring the title of a property from one party to another. Traditionally, homebuyers have used local solicitors for this purpose, but over the past decade online conveyancing has become increasingly commonplace, and this is having a significant effect on the industry.

Choosing between the two can be extremely difficult, particularly for those who aren’t aware of the difference in services offered by each. With that in mind, Howells Solicitors has put together this five minute guide, to highlight the pros and cons of both traditional and online conveyancing, so that you can make an informed decision.

Online Conveyancing

By putting their services online, conveyancing solicitors have cut their costs as they no longer have to pay significant overheads.

In order to maintain these low prices, web conveyancing services don’t offer the face-to-face meetings offered by traditional conveyancing solicitors. This means it is likely that you will never actually meet your online conveyancer, as most use standardised web tracking, call centres and SMS systems to keep their customers up-to-date with the conveyancing process. More...

 

How much is stamp duty on a house

In the latest post in our FAQ series, we answer a first-time buyer’s questions on stamp duty in the UK.

Q: I am a first-time buyer looking to purchase a house for £130,000 but with the new stamp duty reforms I am concerned that I can no longer afford a property in that price range as the stamp duty seems to have risen to 2%. Is that right?

A: Thank you for your query. Yes the stamp duty land tax has had a bit of a shake-up but it is generally to buyers’ benefit, especially for first time buyers where the purchase price is close to the threshold of a higher stamp duty rate. The new stamp duty thresholds are as follows:

0% up to £125,000
2% on £125,001 - £250,000
5% on £250,001 - £925,000
10% on £925,001 to £1.5 million
12% over £1.5 millionMore...

Record Year For Howells

Howells Solicitors have recruited 16 new members of staff since the beginning of the year with more appointments to follow. The new posts are primarily in the conveyancing departments of their Cardiff and Bridgend offices with other positions filled in their other four branches.

The new positions have been created following a record year for the business with turnover exceeding £6m in 2014 for the first time in the company’s history. Their conveyancing departments have been completing approximately 800 property transactions a month, and in Wales, Howells has been instructed by almost a third of all home buyers using the Help to Buy Wales scheme.

One of Wales' Largest Law Firms

Earlier this year, Howells Solicitors further strengthened their position as one of Wales’ largest law firms by completing the issuing of new Shares to three directors of the company in a six figure transaction. Rhidian Hobbs, Laith Khatib and Mick Fallon all of whom have been with the firm for some years are now shareholders in the business and will join the three founding shareholders on the Senior Management Team as they work together to manage the growth of the business and plan a long term strategy to plan for the future. More...

Luke Welsh at Howells Employment Law Seminar

Howells hosted a free Employment Law seminar in our Cardiff office which provided HR and business professionals with the latest updates regarding changes in Employment Law.

The First of Three Seminars from Howells Solicitors

Luke Welsh, Head of Employment Law, presented to a full room imparting advice about a range of Employment Law topics including:

•    Shared Parental Leave
•    Recent Changes in Holiday Pay Legislation
•    The continued impact of Tribunal fees
•    An overview of the forthcoming Fit for Work National Scheme
•    The proposed changes pledged by the new Government in their manifesto

This Employment Law seminar was the first of three planned by Howells Solicitors over the next few months. We will be hosting similar events in Bridgend and Swansea, but will also consider presenting at other business events or for specific businesses.More...

 

Buy-to-let mortgages explained

The next instalment in our FAQ series sees us advise a recently separated landlord who wishes to take residence in their property, which has a buy-to-let mortgage.
 
Q. My partner and I have separated and I need to move back into my old property, which is currently tenanted. The property has a buy-to-let mortgage and I plan on moving back in once the tenants vacate. What will happen to the mortgage?

A. You will need to review the terms of your buy-to-let mortgage carefully, as it is likely you will be in breach of your mortgage conditions if you occupy the property.

In the first instance, speak with your mortgage lender and try to come to an agreement that you may live in the property. The lender’s decision will be based on whether your income is sufficient to meet their lending criteria, as previously, the lender would have taken into consideration the monthly rental income when deciding how much to lend. The mortgage lender will now consider your annual income to see if you can continue to make your repayments.More...

With effect from 15th February 2015 EU Regulations on Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) allow consumers who bought our services online to submit their complaint via an online complaint portal.

We are required under the regulations to provide our clients the following information:-
  1. Link to the ODR platform - please follow the following link for further information (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr).
  2. Our contact email address in case of a complaint under the ODR regulation – Andrea Coombes andrea.c@howellslegal.com