How We Work – Conveyancing Solicitors

      The stages in the sale or purchase of a residential property with vacant possession (with a standard mortgage) and no tenancies vary according to the circumstances but are generally as set out below.

      How long will my house purchase take?

      From the date when terms are agreed subject to contract and the buyer’s offer is accepted and we are instructed up to the date you can move in to your home will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6 – 18 weeks.

      It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties and linked transactions in any chain. Delays can occur where for example, a sale is dependent upon the purchase of a new build property, or the grant of probate or a first time buyer is not able to secure a mortgage for the amount expected. Or where a buyer in the chain ‘loses’ the buyer for their property.

      Stages

      Purchase with mortgage (where we act for lender):

      • Take your instructions and complete client engagement processes
      • Consider the transaction terms and initial advice
      • Check finance required to fund purchase and costs
      • Upon receiving contract documents carry out initial assessment and necessary enquiries
      • Obtain reports from local and planning authority and any relevant experts you require
      • Obtain further planning and other documentation where required
      • Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
      • Give you advice on all documents and information received
      • Advise on stamp duty land tax position
      • Advise on joint ownership
      • Report on the title to the property and any restrictions and diligence carried out
      • Report on any lease and the information required relating to it; consider any further necessary consents required and advise on rent and length of term
      • Go through conditions of your mortgage offer with you
      • Report on the title to the property and any restrictions to your lender or their solicitors
      • Advise on your insurance risk for the property
      • Report on contract terms and send agreed contract to you for signature and agree property price and any contents to be purchased.
      • Receive deposit from you
      • Agree date for completion (when payment of the purchase money and handover of possession and keys by the seller takes place)
      • Agree completion date and exchange contracts with seller conveyancer and notify you that this has happened
      • Obtain your signature to agreed form of Property Transfer, Mortgage and any other deeds or documents and stamp duty land tax return
      • Agree completion statement with seller conveyancer
      • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
      • Carry out necessary pre completion searches and having arranged for suitable undertaking to be given for discharge of existing mortgages registered on the title, send completion money to complete purchase
      • Complete purchase with sellers conveyancer and report to you and obtain release of keys for vacant possession to be given
      • Check title deeds and prepare application for registration at Land Registry
      • Submit your stamp duty land tax return and arrange payment of Stamp Duty
      • Deal with application to Land Registry and discharge of prior mortgage
      • Report and account to you with any retention on completion of registration

      Key assumptions are that you are not a first time buyer and that you do not own any other property. Taxation advice is not included in the indicative costs.  

      Indicative fees and other costs

      Purchase of freehold at £750,000

      Sale of leasehold at £400,000

      Legal fees on purchase

      1525

      1240

      Legal fees on mortgage

      400

      125

      Bank transfer fee

      35 per item

      (2 items) 70

      Compliance searches

      75

      75

      Subtotal

      2035

      1510

      VAT

      407

      302

      Fees  total

      2442

      1812

      Disbursements /Third parties

      Search costs

      300

      0

      Managing agents fee

      350

      Landlord consent

      0

      275

      VAT

      60

      125

      Subtotal

      360

      750

      Example total

      2802

      2437

      Stamp Duty

      27,500

      HM Land Registry

      270

      nil

       

      Disbursements are expenses related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as  search reports.

      Some of these are a for a fixed amount and all are passed on at cost plus vat. The amount may vary according to the price agreed for the property.

      Stamp Duty Land Tax (England) or Land Transaction Tax (Wales). We prepare a tax return and arrange payment on your behalf as the taxpayer. The amount depends on the purchase price of your property. Consideration will be given to whether the property incurs additional stamp duty.

      The amount you will need to pay can be calculated using HMRC’s calcuator website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website.

      Leasehold  The stages are similar to freehold except that we will consider and advise you upon all relevant leases and their terms. In addition to the price agreed the buyer will be liable for payments and on completion an apportionment or advance payment may be payable for sums including rent, insurance and service charges.   Additional enquiries will be raised about these matters and management enquiries sent to any service company or managing agent. Consideration will be given to any requirement for the buyer for membership to any residents organisation.

      Leasehold matters will normally incur a supplement to our fee of between £300-500.

      The disbursements anticipated to apply are set out separately below. This list is not exhaustive and other disbursements may apply depending on the terms of the lease. We will update you on the specific fees upon receipt and review of the lease from the seller’s conveyancer.

      • Registration Notice to landlord of transfer and mortgage. This fee is set out in the lease often between £30 -100
      • Deed of Covenant – This may be provided by the landlord or management company for between £175-450
      • Certificate of Compliance – If required this will vary according to lease and can range between £150-300

      These fees vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges given above. We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of the specific documents.

      Mortgage

      We would expect to act for the lender and this will mean that the lender is also our client and will be entitled to the same duties of care as we owe to you.  We will not continue to act if a conflict of interest arises.  For a standard mortgage loan that is not usual.

      In some case lenders instruct their own solicitors and they raise various enquiries themselves.  You will be responsible to meet their costs as well as a ours.  We will charge in the range of £250-400 for dealing with the mortgage work.

      Please note our charges for the work required to complete the purchase include dealing with all searches, payment of stamp duty and registration at the Land Registry and our fee assumes that:

      • this is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arise including for example (but not limited to) a defect in title which requires remedying prior to completion or the preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction
      • for leasehold this is the assignment of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease and that no consent or other transfers of shares in management company are required
      • the transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise
      • all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation
      • no indemnity policies are required. Additional disbursements may apply if indemnity policies are required.

      What might incur additional costs and fees

      The following are non standard transactions where additional charges may be incurred

      • attorney appointed for a party
      • probate not granted
      • new build property or warden controlled retirement or care home
      • mixed use property (residential and commercial)
      • first registration of title
      • conditional contract or completion more that 3 months
      • buy to let or second/holiday home or tenanted property
      • multiple owners
      • shared ownership scheme
      • help to buy scheme, and whether it is an equity loan or ISA
      • purchase under right to buy
      • purchase at auction
      • value of the property above £2.3m
      • first-time buyer
      • contract race
      • non UK resident or non resident party or lender
      • lender not a member of UK Finance
      • separate representation of lender
      • repossessed property

      Also as examples could typically incur additional fees of up to £400. which could : Investigating defects in title or a shortfall in necessary information or assurance; advice on survey or mortgage offer.

      Where stamp duty land tax on additional property applies, or for buy to let property or a purchase subject to a tenancy additional hourly charges will be incurred. These may typically incur additional fees of up to £500.

      Additional insurance may be required and advice on needs and documentation will incur a charge of up to £300.

      To deal with covenant issues or rights of way or boundary agreements a statutory declaration may be required and will incur a charge of £175-350.

      Transactions that involve extended chains; new build or right to buy property or short leaseholds may incur charges for additional time and advice. These may typically incur additional fees of £200-450.