This guidance is intended to provide you with an overview of the purchase transaction as follows:

Fees and Disbursements

The quote tool under the Quotes tab on the Residential Conveyancing page of our website will give you a bespoke breakdown of fees and disbursements for your individual transaction.

Time frames

The average transaction from receipt of instructions to completion is 10-12 weeks; however, please be aware that every transaction is unique. We offer a bespoke service to accommodate your timescale requirements, but we are very dependent on third parties, including mortgage companies, Buyer’s solicitors, and (where applicable) management companies.

If your purchase is subject to the following (but not limited to), these will impact the timeframes and likely increase the timeframes by approximately 4 weeks. We will be happy to discuss the individual arrangements if these affect you:

  • Lease
  • Freehold management company
  • Help to Buy mortgage
  • Newbuild
  • Help to Buy ISA
  • Lifetime ISA

The basic conveyancing process

There can be a number of additional requirements for your individual transaction, but the below is a basic outline:

1. Upon receipt of the notification of sale (if there is an estate agent involved this will be the Memorandum of Sale) we shall send you our initial client care pack and questionnaires for completion and return. We shall also ask for £400 on account of initial disbursements.
2. When we receive the draft Contract documentation, we will request searches and, upon receipt of those results, raise enquiries. When we raise enquiries, a copy of these will be sent to yourselves together with a plan to the property and details of any fixtures and fittings to be left. Please note that it is likely that the transaction will go quiet until this point whilst the search results are being obtained.
3. If you are obtaining mortgage finance, we shall check the mortgage offer upon receipt so that we can comply with any special conditions and/or report any defects in the mortgage to the lender and yourselves.
4. When we receive search results, full responses to enquiries, and mortgage offer (where applicable) we shall send a full report on the property transaction to yourselves detailing full information on the title to the property and search results. This report will include all documentation you need to sign and return to us. Please note we cannot accept scanned copies of these documents, and therefore you must return hard copy signed documents.
5. We shall request that you transfer the deposit funds to us when you send back the signed Contract paperwork, and request that you put insurance on risk prior to exchange of Contracts
6. When the Seller is ready, and you are ready, we shall liaise with you regarding completion dates.
7. When all parties are ready, we shall proceed to exchange on your behalf. We will need your express permission to do this as this legally binds you to your purchase and fixes the completion date.
8. On the day of completion, we will transfer the funds to the Seller’s solicitors. When they receive these, they will release the keys with the estate agents and you will be able to move into your new property.
9. After completion, we will register your ownership with the Land Registry and notify any management companies of your details.

The Importance of the Initial Questionnaire

The Client Information Form is a questionnaire designed for you to give us the information that we need to be able to advise you properly. Careful, comprehensive and speedy reply will help us to progress your purchase and enable us to offer the right advice. If you are unsure on any point, please do telephone us for assistance. Equally, if anything changes after you have sent us the form please tell us immediately.

Proof of funds

We are under strict regulatory control regarding anti-money laundering. We therefore will require to evidence the source of your balance purchase funds at the outset of the transaction. Please ensure that the relevant question is answered in full on the initial questionnaire, and if you are unsure please contact us as soon as possible.


It is for you to decide whether or not to commission a survey, but you should carry this out as soon as possible in the transaction. A survey can reveal significant issues that can impact on the timing of the transaction and the amount you are prepared to pay for the property.


We expect you will have heard of Solicitor’s searches and we shall provide more detailed information upon receipt of instruction as to each individual search. The local, environmental and drainage searches are a vital part of the purchase process as these will reveal details about the property that are not evident from the Title. Please note that these search results can take 3-8 weeks to be returned depending on the authorities involved and external circumstances affecting staffing at the authorities.

We therefore as for £400 on account to cover these initial searches. Each local authority charges different rates for the local search but the £400 ensures that we can adequately cover these costs and this will be taken into account in your final bill.


It is very important that you take out buildings insurance on your property from exchange of Contracts. If you are taking out a mortgage on the Property AND the insurance is being arranged by the Lender then it is likely the Lender will have the Property insured from exchange even though the mortgage will be dated and created on later completion. You MUST, however, check with your Lender that this is so.

If you are not having a mortgage or you have chosen not to let the Lender deal with insurance, it is advisable that insurance is on cover at exchange and you will be responsible for the necessary arrangements. The Contract will provide that if the Property is rendered unusable between the date of the Contract and completion, then you will be entitled to rescind or “get out of” the Contract. The Seller has no obligation to you to insure and whether the Property is “unusable” may be a matter for argument. If you have your own cover then you have the comfort of being able to proceed to buy if you wish.

Exchange of Contracts

It is vital to remember that until Contracts are exchanged, neither you nor your Seller is legally committed to proceed. Up to that point either party may withdraw. For this reason you should not make any firm commitments (e.g. booking removals or giving notice to your Landlord if you are presently in rented accommodation) until we have confirmed to you that Contracts have been exchanged.

Completion Date

This is set upon exchange of contracts and will be the date on which you legally own the property. We will, of course, discuss the completion date with you prior to exchange of contracts. However, you should NOT authorise us to exchange contracts unless you are sure that you have all necessary arrangements in place to enable you to purchase the property on or before 12pm on the completion day. This includes, but is not limited to, providing us with the balance of the purchase funds. Failure to complete amounts to breach of contract and considerable damages may result.

Post Completion

Basic Stamp Duty

For any purchase over £40,000.00, we have to notify HRMC within 14 days of the completion of your purchase and, if over the chargeable thresholds, pay the appropriate stamp duty to HMRC. The amount of Stamp Duty you will pay depends on your circumstances. The basic thresholds are as follows:

Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate if you have previously owned any interest in a property.
Up to £250,000 Zero
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000) 5%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 10%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 12%

If you’re buying your first home you can claim a discount (relief) if the property you buy is your first home. This means you’ll pay:
No SDLT up to £425,000
5% SDLT on the portion from £425,001 to £625,000

Additional stamp duty rates

You may also have to pay additional stamp duty in the following circumstances:
– 3% for a second home (unless you are replacing your main residence) If you sell your
previous main residence within 3 years of acquiring this property you may be entitled to a
refund of the 3% if you can satisfy HMRC’s requirements
– 3% for a buy-to-let even if this is going to be your only property
– 2% if you are not present in the UK for at least 183 days (6 months) during the 12 months
before your purchase you are ‘not a UK resident’ for the purposes of SDLT. You may be able
to apply for a repayment of the surcharge paid on a property if all the purchasers are
individuals and have spent 183 days in the UK in any continuous 365-d-ay period:
o starting no more than 364 days before the effective date of transaction
o ending no more than 365 days after the effective date of the transaction
The effective date of the transaction is usually the completion date.
You must apply for the repayment within 2 years of the effective date of the transaction.

Anticipated Disbursements on a Leasehold purchase

• Notice of Transfer fee – This fee if chargeable is set out in the lease. Often the fee is
between £50 – £100 (plus VAT).
• Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – This fee is set out in the lease.
Often the fee is between £50 – £100 (plus VAT).
• Deed of Covenant fee – This fee is provided by the management company for the property
and can be difficult to estimate. Often it is between £100 – £150 (plus VAT).
• Certificate of Compliance fee – To be confirmed upon receipt of the lease, as can range
between £100 – £150 (plus VAT).
*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 your specific
You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your
ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as
soon as this we receive this information.


Registration at HM Land Registry

Following completion of your purchase we shall apply to register your ownership at the Land
Registry. For a straightforward application this usually takes a few months; however, for newbuild
and transfers of part, the Land Registry are taking over 18 months to 2 years to finalise
applications. The fees are as follows:

Value or amount Apply by post Apply using the portal or Business Gateway, for transfers or surrenders which affect the whole of a registered title Apply using the portal or Business Gateway, for registration of all leases and transfers or surrenders which affect part of a registered title Voluntary first registration (reduced fee)
0 to £80,000 £45 £20 £45 £30
£80,001 to £100,000 £95 £40 £95 £70
£100,001 to £200,000 £230 £40 £95 £70
£200,001 to £500,000 £330 £150 £330 £250
£500,001 to £1,000,000 £655 £295 £655 £495
£1,000,001 and over £1,105 £500 £1,105 £830