Moving home is one of life’s most stressful challenges and with three quarters of UK homes owner occupied, most of us will be buyers and sellers at some point in our lives. A calm, focused solicitor can make all the difference in the matter, keeping the process smooth and under control. We remain impartial throughout, offering crystal clear advice from the start, through all the legal and technical details, until completion and beyond if necessary.

Whether buying or selling, we will ensure you are aware of everything pertinent to the sale and will carefully monitor the transaction throughout.

If you are buying a property, it’s our duty to ensure everything is ready for your moving in date, and we go to great lengths to fulfill this duty. This means carefully managing the transaction from the start, beginning with the best advice on which type of survey you require before making your offer. We will make sure any financial queries you have are properly answered, such as the amount you put down as a deposit, or any specific mortgage conditions, or stamp duty and leaseholder notice fees which will affect the cost of buying and keeping your home.

If you are selling, we will keep that all important regular contact with the buyer’s solicitor and draw up the necessary property forms and fixtures and fittings lists that will smooth the sale. We can advise on any estate agent’s fees and check any agreements they have asked you to sign. We’ll be on hand to finalise the deal, provide the Deeds for signing and will remain involved until everything is settled.

Sale or purchase of a residential property

Our fees for a sale or purchase can range significantly as no transaction is the same and complications can arise during the matter which may impact the price stated. However, as a general guide to our fees, we have outlined below our typical costs to cover standard conveyancing work to complete the sale or purchase of your new home, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (LTT) if the property is in Wales.

Conveyancer’s fees and disbursements*

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

  • Legal fees – they are usually charged on a fixed fee basis (fees ranging from £750 to £3000 excluding VAT), but in certain circumstances they may be charged on an hourly rate basis. If hourly rates apply, these may range from £190.00 to £295.00 (excluding VAT).
  • Fees for acting for the mortgage lender only – from £750.00
  • Electronic money transfer fee – £25.00 (excluding VAT) per transfer
  • Search fees – £300.00-£500.00 (plus VAT if applicable) – Depends on location of property and type of search required
  • HM Land Registry fee – see HMLR Fee Guide (this link opens on HM Land Registry website)
  • Bankruptcy searches – £2 per search
  • Official Priority Searches at the Land Registry – £3 per search

*Costs vary in each case and our fees will need to reflect the particular requirements of your sale or purchase. For example, dealing with an unregistered property, listed property, a new build property or a leasehold flat may, because of the added complexities, cost more than dealing with a registered freehold property. However, we will always provide a reliable estimate of our costs when we have full details of the intended transaction and we will advise you immediately about any complication, and discuss the potential impact on price before any additional charges are incurred.

Anticipated disbursements for Leasehold conveyancing

  • Management Pack/Landlords replies to property enquiries (LPE1s) – On the sale of a leasehold property it is usual for this to be provided at a fee which will be determined by the Landlord/Management Company providing the pack/replies. We have known the fees range £100.00 – £500 excluding VAT.
  • Notice of Transfer fee – This fee if chargeable will be either set out in the lease or if not, confirmed to us by the Landlord/Management Company. Often the fee is between £50.00 – £300.00
  • Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged/charged) – As with the Notice of Transfer fee, this will either be set out in the Lease or confirmed by the Landlord/Management Company. The fee is usually the same as the Notice of Transfer fee.
  • Deed of Covenant fee – This fee is provided by the Landlord/Management Company for the property and can be difficult to estimate. Often it is between £150.00-£450.00 excluding VAT.
  • Certificate of Compliance fee – The fee for this will usually be confirmed by the Landlord/Management Company and can range between £100.00-£450.00 excluding VAT.

SDLT or LTT

This is payable on the purchase of a Property and depends on a number of factors including the purchase price of your property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC’s website (or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website here).

We will ask you to complete a SDLT form in which you will be asked questions to help us determine how much SDLT will be payable on completion. We will need to be in funds for the full amount of SDLT due before we complete your purchase.

Key stages

The precise stages involved in the sale and purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have set out some key stages of the process:

Sale

  • Take your instructions and give you any initial advice required
  • Send to you the Property Information Form, Fittings and Contents Form and Leasehold Information Form (if appplicable) for you to complete
  • Gather from you any documents referred to in those forms
  • Obtain official copies of the title, plan and any other documents from the Land Registry
  • Issue draft contracts and property documents to the buyer’s solicitors
  • Liaise with the Landlord/Management Company, if applicable
  • Deal with any enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitors, with your assistance where required
  • Arrange for you to sign the contract and transfer once agreed
  • Obtain a redemption figure from your lender(s)
  • Complete the sale
  • Redeem any mortgages/charges
  • Transfer any balance of funds to you

Purchase

  • Take your instructions and give you any initial advice required
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender’s solicitors, if any
  • Receive and review draft contracts and property documents
  • Request searches
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor and draft the Transfer Deed
  • Review your Mortgage Offer and valuation
  • Raise any queries from your survey with the Seller’s Solicitor
  • Send to you our Report on Title
  • Send various property documents to you for signature (including the contract, transfer, mortgage deed)
  • Agree completion date (date you will purchase the property)
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Carry out any final searches
  • Complete purchase
  • Deal with payment of SDLT/LTT
  • Deal with application for registration at Land Registry

How long will my house sale or purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-12 weeks. On a sale this is from the issuing of draft contracts and property documents and on a purchase this is from receipt of the draft contracts and property documents.

The process can be quicker or slower, and this can depend on, for example, the parties in a chain and the complexity of the matter. For example, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease before completion, the process can take significantly longer. In such a situation additional charges would also apply.

Assumptions

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.
  • If the property is unregistered, the title deeds are readily available.
  • The property is not being sold or purchased at auction
  • If leasehold, there will be an assignment of an existing lease and not the grant of a new lease
  • No unforeseen complications 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.

The above costs are examples of our prices and not to be regarded as a binding quote. It is not an exhaustive list of all of the real estate services we offer our clients. Please note that an individual costs estimate is provided at the start of each transaction which will take into account the actual features of your sale or purchase.

For further information please contact Gillian Bassett gb@clarkemairs.com.

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