Our Residential Property Team can help you buy or sell a property in the UK. You can find out more about the process of buying and selling a property here. We specialise in mid- to high-value properties, property development, landed estates, and acting for foreign clients. As such, our service is highly bespoke and will be tailored to your needs and the type of property to be transferred.
All work is supervised by a senior lawyer, who may be a Partner, Consultant Solicitor or Consultant Barrister. At the beginning of your matter we will tell you who will be working for you and who to contact should you have any concerns with our service. We will also explain the scope of our services. We deal with freehold and leasehold property. We do not advise on re-mortgaging. This page gives an example conveyancing matter and sets out what would be included in such a service. We routinely deal with matters very much more complicated than this example matter.
What is included
No matter whether you are buying or selling a freehold or a leasehold property, the main elements of the work we undertake are the same. We set these out below and indicate further below the elements of our service that apply only to purchases or sales.
The key stages of a conveyancing matter when you are the seller include:
- Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice.
- Reviewing the legal title of the property.
- Negotiating/drafting/advising on contractual documents and in particular any special conditions.
- Making/responding to any enquiries about the property.
- Addressing issues of joint ownership (if applicable).
- Arranging for exchange of contracts and notifying you when exchange has taken place.
- Arranging completion and notifying you when completion has taken place.
- Receiving/sending/distributing completion monies.
- Dealing with the assignment of the lease (unregistered leasehold properties only).
The key stages of a conveyancing matter when you are the purchaser include:
- Conducting conveyancing searches in relation to the property.
- Checking that finances are in place to fund the purchase and corresponding with the lender and or their solicitors (if applicable).
- Reporting on the legal title and issuing a certificate of title in the customary form.
- Serving a Notice of Transfer on the landlord or its managing agents (leasehold only).
- Advising on ‘short’ leases (if applicable).
- Explaining the conditions of mortgage offer to you (if applicable).
- Completing the SDLT Return on your behalf and submitting it to HMRC if instructed to do so and remitting your funds to HMRC in payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax due (subject to taxation thresholds, only certain transactions attract SDLT).
- Applying to register your purchase and any mortgage at Land Registry and responding to any requisitions (where applicable).
- Advising on the need for legal indemnity insurance (where applicable).
- Overcoming any Land Registry Restrictions to registration of your purchase (where applicable).
Tasks included only when you are selling a property:
- Advising you as you prepare the seller’s property information form and other standard conveyancing forms (where applicable).
- Obtaining replies to enquiries of the managing agents (leasehold only).
- Discharging any charges (where applicable).
- Obtaining the landlord’s licence to assign (leasehold only).
- Transferring any share in a freehold company or a management company to the buyer.
What is excluded
The fees set out below would not include any further work, such as:
- Advice on price, valuation and the commercial terms of any finance.
- Additional work required if the property is to be transferred within a company.
- Preparing heads of terms or exclusivity agreements.
- Perfecting issues in the title.
- Tax planning and calculation including of SDLT.
- Creation of new leases.
- A physical inspection of the property and its contents.
- Extending any lease (leasehold only).
- A survey of the land and building and contents.
- Arranging finance.
- Arranging buildings and/or contents insurance.
- Independent legal advice to any spouse as required by your lender.
- Dealing with any disputed rights to transfer the property or other disputed third-party interests in the property.
- Lenders’ solicitors’ fees where you take a mortgage and your bank prefers not to instruct this firm.
- Verifying the counterparty to the transaction in suspicious circumstances.
What we charge
Our Partners and Consultant Solicitors/Barristers charge hourly rates from £480 to £1,100. Our Associates, Legal Executives and Licensing Coordinators charge hourly rates from £190 to £450. Our Trainee Solicitors, Paralegals and Legal Assistants charge hourly rates from £70 to £350. All rates depend on the seniority of the individual and the practice area. On request, we may offer to work on a fixed-fee or contingency basis. In these exceptional cases, fees are discussed and agreed before we start work.
We offer a bespoke service and each matter is unique. We can only estimate the likely costs of our conveyancing services once we have discussed the matter with you and seen the papers. However, we can provide an indication of our likely fees associated with the work of varying complexity as set out above under the heading “What is included”.
- Low complexity – from £1,500 to £4,000
- Mid complexity – from £4,000 to £8,000
- High complexity – in excess of £8,000 (certain high-value or highly complex transactions could cost up to £150,000)
The following factors (and possibly others) will increase the complexity of the matter:
- A higher property value.
- A shorter transaction timetable.
- Problems with the title of the property.
- The complexity of the title (e.g. composite titles, separate titles and unregistered titles).
- Restructure covenants and easements affecting the title.
- A lack of building regulations or planning consent.
- Your inability to provide the requisite documentation.
- Delays to the intended transaction timetable.
- The number of unforeseen complications that arise (e.g. one or more of the parties to the transaction changing).
- The contract being subject to conditions.
- If the property is a recently built or renovated.
- The complexity of your financing arrangements.
- The complexity of your domicile arrangements.
- Additional work required by your lender (e.g. issuing a bespoke certificate of title).
- A higher number of buyers/sellers.
- A chain of dependent transactions.
- Ownership in probate.
- Assigning the right to extend a ‘short’ lease on completion.
In addition to our fees, you will need to budget for the following:
- SDLT (see below)
- Search fees (buyer only) £400–£700
- HM Land Registry fee £40–£1,105 depending on value (per registration)
- Electronic money transfer fee £42 (national) and £90 (international) per transfer
- Energy performance certificates £120
- Instructing a surveyor, environmental auditor and valuer as appropriate (from £1,250 to £20,000)
- Any indemnity policies required (from £60 to £6,000)
- Any fees and penalties for redemption to be charged by your bank (these vary widely, but apply only to mortgage-funded purchases)
- Selling agents’ fees or buying agents’ fees (in the region of £1,000 to 5% of the property’s value)
- Mortgage brokers’ fees (in the region of £1,000 to 2.5% of the sum borrowed).
We incur these and other necessary additional third-party costs (“disbursements”) on your behalf. We would usually discuss disbursements with you in advance and incur them on your behalf when appropriate. You are responsible for all disbursements; we add them to your bill without mark-up. You don’t need to pay these third parties directly, though. You simply pay our bill and we will pass on the relevant sum on your behalf to the relevant third party in settlement of their fees.
This list is not exhaustive and other disbursements may apply depending on the property. For example, certain leasehold properties can only be transferred with the consent of the landlord, for which they and their lawyers will charge a fee. The lease may require other fees to be paid to the landlord (e.g. when notifying a charge) or to the property’s management company (e.g. when entering into a required deed of covenant). The level of such fees varies considerably (though often in the range of £150 to £3,500). We will let you know once we have received and reviewed the relevant lease if further fees apply.
You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of any leasehold property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as this we receive this information.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
Unless relevant reliefs apply and dependent on the purchase price of the property, purchasers must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase. You can estimate the amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax 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. This calculator does not cater for all types of purchase. Additionally, sellers may be liable for capital gains tax (further details about which are available here). We recommend seeking advice a SDLT. While not included in the fees quoted for our services on this page, our Tax Team can advise you in this respect.
Rates and VAT
VAT almost always applies to UK property transactions, even when you are based overseas. Where VAT applies, then we add this to our charges at the prevailing rate. The figures quoted above all include VAT at 20%. Most disbursements attract VAT at the prevailing rate. This will be added to the bills we receive. We pass the total cost on to you. We do not add VAT on to disbursements where VAT has already been added by the relevant third party. Certain disbursements, such as official fees, are not subject to VAT. Where our services are not a vatable supply, then we do not charge VAT and the quote above is reduced by 20%.
How long it will take
The transfer of a property in a low-complexity matter usually takes between six and twelve weeks from receipt of instructions from you. We often act for clients who prefer a shorter timetable. We do what we can, but it is not always possible to progress matters more quickly and typically any transaction involves others who will respond according to their own timetable.
If your property is part of a ‘chain’, then your transaction will only move at the pace of the slowest member of the chain. Where the property is a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take between four and six months (and sometimes longer), or where obtaining landlord’s consent is required this can take between six and eight weeks (and sometimes longer). We will be able to give you a better estimate when we know the nature of the transaction you wish to undertake.
There is no upper limit as to how long the matter might take as it can only complete once the buyer and the seller agree and that is not within our control.