Buying, selling or remortgaging residential property
Our conveyancing services
Our specialist team of conveyancing solicitors provide home buyers and sellers with expert advice regarding their property transaction.
The team understands how stressful the process of buying and/or selling a property can be, which is why we will look to complete your transaction as quickly and efficiently as possible, providing you with regular updates along the way.
Our conveyancing solicitors can assist with the following:
- Purchases – including leasehold, shared ownership and new builds
- Residential investments
- Auction properties
- Right to Buy
- Transfer of equity
- Lease extensions
- Joint ownership
We practice the latest house conveyancing methods to ensure your move is a hassle-free experience, providing a fast, efficient and value for money service to our clients using online search tools and other modern technology.Fill in our short online form for a hassle free conveyancing fee quote
Online conveyancing solicitors
Our comprehensive online conveyancing service provides you with:
- Fixed fee conveyancing for peace of mind on costs
- Instant quotations
- Email updates and text messages at key stages of the transaction
- 24 hour online case tracking
Our high quality and efficient residential property team is accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
In September 2019, our conveyancing solicitors were named ‘Regional Conveyancing Firm of the Year’ for the East Midlands at the LFS Conveyancing Awards 2019. The award win also led to us being shortlisted for the ‘Overall Conveyancing Firm of the Year’, for which we took home the second-place silver award.
If you have any questions in relation to our conveyancing service, please do not hesitate to contact us via our online enquiry form or call 0800 024 1976.
Residential conveyancing FAQs
Below, we have answered some frequently asked questions which our Residential Property team receives.
When should I instruct a conveyancer or solicitor?
When you decide that you want to buy or sell a property, you should instruct a conveyancer/solicitor as early as possible.
The best time to start thinking about who you want to instruct is at the very beginning, when putting the property up for sale or before a price is agreed to purchase a property. It is very important that you find a solicitor/conveyancing firm that you feel comfortable with and trust.
By instructing a conveyancer/solicitor at the start of the property transaction, it means that all the initial instruction forms can be completed and any requirements in verifying the buyer/sellers’ identity can be carried out as soon as possible. By doing these tasks early on, it should make the property transaction a smoother and quicker process.
How long will my property sale or purchase take?
There are so many circumstances that can arise that can change the length of time a transaction takes to reach a completion, for example whether the property is freehold or leasehold and whether information from third parties is required.
We find on average, between instructing a conveyancer/solicitor and the transaction being completed, it can take between eight to 12 weeks. However, some transactions go through quicker than this and others more slowly.
What is a conveyancing chain?
A conveyancing chain is where there is more than one buyer and seller involved. If the buyer of a property, has a property they have to sell, they will have a buyer. The longer the chain, the more complicated it is to make sure that all parties in the chain are ready at the same time.
What does exchange of contracts mean?
An exchange of contracts is the legal process that makes the buyer and seller legally bound to the transaction and usually sets the date for the day of completion. After the exchange of contracts has taken place, penalties can be imposed on a party involved in a transaction if they try to withdraw from the transaction.
Can I exchange and complete my property transaction on the same day?
It is possible to exchange and complete a property transaction on the same but in most instances the exchange of contract will take place before the completion. There are some benefits to doing this, but also some risks. We recommend you speak to your conveyancing solicitor to discuss your options.
What happens on the day I complete my property purchase?
The day when all the money due to the seller is paid by the buyer, through the solicitors and you can collect the keys is known as the day of completion. This date is usually a pre-arranged date agreed at the time when the contracts were exchanged.
On this day, the legal ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. The buyer will become the new owner of the property.
The seller will need to vacate the property and the keys will need to be made available to the property buyer.
When should I arrange the home insurance for my new property?
In the majority of circumstances, you will be required to have building insurance arranged for the property from the day of the exchange of contracts. This is important because from the day of exchange, the risk of any damage to the property usually passes over to the buyer.
When do I need to pay the deposit on my property purchase?
The deposit is paid by the buyer when the exchange of contract takes place. It provides the seller with protection should the buyer withdraw from the transaction after the exchange of contracts.
How much deposit will I need to pay on my property purchase?
It is normal in a property purchase for the buyer to pay a 10% deposit to the seller and the remainder of the purchase price to be made up with mortgage borrowing. However, you may be able to proceed with a purchase with a smaller deposit if you are able to obtain mortgage assistance.
You should consider your finances carefully prior to your search for a property to purchase. The more money you have to put towards a property, the mortgage choice you will have available to you. You should speak to your financial adviser or mortgage broker about what options and products are available to you.
What is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)?
Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax that is payable to the Government when you buy property or land over a certain price. SDLT applies to both freehold and leasehold property purchases, and if you are buying with or without a mortgage.
How much SDLT will I have to pay?
Up until 31st March 2021, there is a temporary stamp duty holiday in place on the first £500,000 of all residential property sales in England and Northern Ireland. This measure was announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, during the Summer Economic Update and rolled out to boost the UK economy which has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ordinarily (e.g. from 1st April 2021 onwards), stamp duty is charged as follows:
- 0% for purchases under £125,000;
- 2% for purchases between £125,001 to £250,000;
- 5% for purchases between £250,001 – £925,000;
- 10% for purchases between £925,001 – £1,500,000; and
- 12% for purchases over £1,500,000.
The rules are different for first-time buyers who are entitled to relief for the first £300,000 of SDLT on properties up to a price of £500,000.
Those purchasing a second home or a buy-to-let property pay an extra 3% of stamp duty on top of the charges referenced above.
Stamp duty is constantly being reviewed so the above rates could change.
What are searches during a property transaction?
During a property transaction, the buyers’ conveyancer/solicitor will make various enquiries with the relevant authorities about the property. These are known as searches and are an essential part of the conveyancing process to help the buyer find out as much as possible about the property they are purchasing.
Generally, the main searches that are undertaken are searches to the relevant Local Authority, drainage and water searches, environmental searches and mining searches. However, there are many other searches that can be carried out.
These searches will most likely be a requirement of the mortgage provider, if the buyer is purchasing the house with a mortgage.
What are disbursements?
This is money that your conveyancer/solicitor has to pay to a third party on your behalf. Disbursements that are usually incurred during a conveyancing transaction are the searches, Land Registry fees and SDLT. The conveyancing estimate that you receive when making your first contact with the conveyancer/solicitor will list all the potential disbursements you will need to pay.
What is the difference between freehold and leasehold?
A freehold ownership means that the buyer is the outright legal owner of the property and land on which it is located. There is no time limit to this form of ownership.
Leasehold ownership is where the buyer owns an interest in land or property for a fixed period of time, which can be any period of time including up to 999 years, but not the land on which it sits (this is owned by the freeholder). As a result, the leaseholder will probably be subject to pay an annual ground rent to the freeholder. It is normal for a flat or apartment to be a leasehold property.
What is the difference between a valuation report and a survey?
A valuation report is a very basic report which identifies the value of the property. If the property is being bought with a mortgage then the mortgage lender will conduct a valuation to make sure that the property is worth the value that the buyer is looking to borrow.
A survey report is carried out by an independent surveyor which is a more detailed report and will detail any issues with the property that the buyer is not aware of. The different survey options available vary in the level of detail that they include.
Here are different types of reports which a buyer can instruct a surveyor to undertake:
- Basic valuation – As mentioned above, this is generally undertaken as part of the mortgage application. It is a basic report which details the value of the property and may include some information in relation to the physical condition of it.
- Condition report – This generally relates to new build or recently built properties, which uses a traffic light system to indicate the overall condition of the property for various aspects of it. It doesn’t include any detail in relation to the valuation of the house or any advice regarding it.
- Homebuyers report – With this type of report the buyer is provided with greater detail in relation to the property and will also include an insurance reinstatement value (the amount it would cost to rebuild the property if it burnt down).
- Building survey – A building survey provides the most amount of information on a property and its overall structure. It will also include advice on what areas of the property could be repaired/improved, including a rough costs and time estimate for the work and what could happen to the property should these improvements not be carried out. This type of survey is generally used for older or unusual types of properties.
When should I apply for a survey report?
You should consider applying for a survey report early on when you have found a property to purchase. It can take a little while for the surveyor to arrange an appointment in their schedule to carry out the survey and you also want to make sure you have plenty of time to consider the findings of the report and arrange for any repair works prior to an exchange of contracts.
When should I apply for a mortgage?
Prior to looking for a property to purchase, you should carefully consider your finances so that you know your budget. You should obtain an ‘agreement in principle’ from a mortgage lender which is their initial agreement of the amount that you may be able to borrow from the mortgage lender. This will help you:
- Know for certain how much you can afford, which will obviously help when searching for a property to buy;
- Lessen the chances of delays during the buying process; and
- Give you an advantage over other, rival buyers who don’t have a mortgage agreed in principle.
The majority of mortgages in principle last around 60 to 90 days (the amount of time is dependent on the lender). If you have not found a property or had an offer accepted in that time, you may need to obtain another mortgage in principle, although this is usually a more straightforward process (unless your circumstances have significantly changed).
What happens to the title deeds when buying a property?
The title deeds of a property and land are records managed by HM Land Registry showing the ownership of a property or land. These details are stored by HM Land Registry electronically, they do not hold paper title deeds. Now a days it is rare for there to be old or historic title deeds for the property that you are buying.
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