Our team has many years of collective experience in providing high quality conveyancing* services. In this section, we set out details of the services that we provide, and the costs involved, relating to the purchase of a freehold* residential property. By clicking on the relevant links below, you will find details of the other services that we provide, and their corresponding costs:
- Sale of a freehold residential property
- Purchase of a leasehold property
- Sale of a leasehold property
This section includes the following:
(i) the key stages that are, or might be, involved in the purchase of a freehold residential property and which we can assist you with;
(ii) an indication of who will undertake the work and our legal fees;
(iii) an indication of the cost of any disbursements*; and
(iv) an indication of the likely timescale to complete your purchase.
Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the purchase of your new property, including:
- Taking your instructions and making contact with the estate agents and seller’s solicitors; checking title to the property; raising and dealing with enquiries and communicating with all parties throughout the transaction
- Receiving, reviewing and advising on contract* and title* documents
- Obtaining, reviewing and reporting on searches* (the searches we obtain will depend on the location of your property)
- Drafting a transfer* transferring the property from the seller to you
- Providing you with a Property Report* (and contract documentation in readiness for exchange)
- Providing advice to you on all documents and information received
- Reviewing the conditions of any mortgage offer with you; dealing with the lender’s specific requirements; and complying with the UK Finance Mortgage Lenders' Handbook for conveyancers
- Preparing the file for exchange of contracts*
- Agreeing completion* date
- Exchanging contracts* and notifying you that this has happened
- Arranging for all monies needed to be received from the lender and you
- Preparing the file for completion
- Completing the purchase
- Dealing with post completion requirements, e.g. arranging a chancel repair policy*, if required; payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT*); and registration of your ownership* at Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR*)
Who will undertake the work?
Most purchases will be carried out by one of our solicitors or conveyancing executives. Whoever carries out the work, they will always be supervised by one of our partners: Sally Cottam, Tim Cross, Peter Horner, Emma Warner.
Generally, our legal fees are based on the valuation of the property that you are purchasing. We set out in the table below, indications of our legal fees (not including VAT) based on ranges of property values.
|Purchase Price (£)||Up to 200,00||200,001 - 300,000||300,001 - 400,000||400,001 - 500,000|
|Legal Fees (£)||595||695||825||875|
For properties valued at over £500,000, our fees will increase by approximately 0.19% per £100,000.
Our legal fees include any referral fee that is payable to your estate agent which has referred your purchase to us. The referral fees that we pay range from £100 to £500. If we act for you, we will tell you the amount of the referral fee that we have paid and confirm who the recipient of that, is.
In addition to the above legal fees, we charge a fee for transferring money, electronically. Although the fee varies, it will not be more than £40.
There are many factors when buying a house (in addition to those detailed above) which we may need to help you with. If it is necessary for us to help you with any of those, additional fees will be incurred. By way of examples, those factors include where the following might apply:
- There are defects with the title requiring insurance, statutory declarations* or amendments to the title*
- You are purchasing with a “Help to buy” mortgage*
- You are purchasing with a “Help to buy” ISA*
- There is a freehold management company* involved
- We also act for the mortgage lender
If your matter requires additional work that is not covered by the legal fees in the table above, you will be informed of this and what the additional cost will be at the earliest opportunity. Once we know the purchase price and full details of your proposed transaction, we will provide you with a full written illustration of the legal fees and anticipated third party costs. We will also confirm our fees for additional legal services related to your purchase in case they arise on your transaction. The total costs of conveyancing will be made up of our legal fees, disbursements* and VAT.
There will always be costs payable to third parties as part of your purchase. The following disbursements are difficult to confirm until we know more about your transaction:
- SDLT: this is a tax on properties in England based on price and personal circumstances. The rules around SDLT can be complicated. However, you can use this link to either calculate how much SDLT you will need to pay on your new property purchased in England in a straightforward matter, or to obtain an indication of how much you might have to pay: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/. Land Transaction Tax is payable on properties in Wales. Again, you can use the following link to either calculate how much SDLT you will need to pay on your new property purchased in Wales in a straightforward matter, or to obtain an indication of how much you might have to pay: https://beta.gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-guide. In any event, you should consider seeking specialist advice about SDLT from a tax advisor.
- HMLR fees: these are the fees charged by the Government for updating you as the legal owner of your new property and registering your mortgage. The fees charged by HMLR to do this are based on the purchase price of the property. You can assess the fee using the following link: http://landregistry.data.gov.uk/fees-calculator.html
- Search Fees: the fees will depend on which searches are required. We often order a search package to include the main searches and costs between £300 - £400 and will usually include the following searches:
Local Search: This search is made up of two parts:
o The LLC1 form which is a search of the local land charges register and reveals things relating to the property such as:
- Listed buildings
- Conservation areas
- Tree protection orders
- Improvement or renovation grants
- Smoke control zones
- Future developments
o The CON 29 is made up of standard questions which will reveal the matters relating to the property such as:
- Building control history
- Planning control history
- Nearby road schemes and motorways
- Contaminated land
- Radon gas
Drainage & Water Search: This search will reveal for example, the location of public sewers, whether foul water and surface drainage drain into a public sewer and whether sewers are adopted.
Environmental Search: This search will reveal environmental and non-environmental information for example relating to contaminated land, flood risk, energy and transportation.
How long will my house purchase take?
Our aim is to help our clients sell and buy their property as smoothly and as quickly as possible. We aim to get to know our clients and help them navigate their way through what can be a very stressful process.
Each transaction is unique. You and others in any chain will have different circumstances and requirements. It is, therefore, difficult to estimate how long your purchase will take. However, as an indication, and based on our experience, we find the average time is 10 to 12 weeks.
It can be quicker or slower, depending on whether you are part of a chain of sellers and buyers. For example, if you are a first time buyer and purchasing a vacant property, it will be quicker than a situation where there are four people in a chain. Such a chain could experience delays if, for example, one person in the chain discovers a defect in the title of the property they are buying and another is struggling to secure a mortgage.
|Chancel repair policy||an insurance policy which protects the owner of a property against a potential claim liability to pay for chancel repairs to a church|
|Completion||moving day or the day upon which your transaction completes with the balance of purchase/sale monies being paid and title to property transferred; if there is a chain involved, everybody completes and moves on the same day|
|Contract||the form of legal agreement prepared in duplicate for signature by the seller and buyer setting out all the legal rights and obligations agreed between them; this is the legally binding document between a seller and a buyer that contains all the terms of the agreement for the sale of a property|
|Conveyancing||the legal work needed to buy and sell properties|
|Disbursements||out of pocket expenses paid by us on the client’s behalf to third parties, such as SDLT, HMLR charges and search fees, among others|
|Exchanging contracts||the point that both parties are committed to the transaction; from the minute that contracts are exchanged, the sale becomes binding; until contracts are exchanged, either party can walk away from the transaction with no legal or financial penalties; at the same time as contracts are exchanged, a deposit is handed over from the buyer’s solicitors to the seller’s solicitors; the balance of the money will be handed over on the completion date, which is agreed at this time as well|
|Freehold||one of the two current tenures of land recognised by English law; freehold means that you own the property outright, as opposed to leasehold, where you own the property for a specified period of time; freehold property can still, however, be subject to restrictions and covenants, for example to maintain fences, not to be a nuisance etc.|
|Freehold management company||management company formed to look after the building and communal areas|
|Help to buy ISA||government scheme designed to help you save for a mortgage deposit to buy a home; to qualify you must be classified as a first-time buyer and not own a property anywhere in the world; savings are tax free as with any ISA product; however, a help to buy ISA provides additional government contributions, boosting your savings by 25%; so, for every £200 you save, you receive a government bonus of £50 (to a maximum of £3,000)
|Help to buy mortgage||an equity loan where the government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your newly built property, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest|
the official body responsible for recording the ownership of land. It is now compulsory to register all transactions to do with land at HMLR; although created in 1925, HMLR still does not have records of all the land in the UK, which is why some land is still unregistered
having investigated title and reviewed searches we will report to you on those investigations and the terms of the contract; we will also provide documents to sign and return if you are happy to proceed
|Registration of ownership||following registration we will apply to HMLR to remove the seller’s charges and register your ownership and your lender’s charge (if any)|
the usual searches we obtain include:
|Stamp Duty Land Tax||a tax imposed by the government on property purchases over a certain value|
|Statutory declarations||a declaration made before a justice of the peace, notary public or other person authorised to administer an oath|
|Title||the owner’s right to a property|
|Transfer||a document which transfers ownership of a property from one person to another|