Frequently Asked Questions

What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring the ownership of property (or land) from one person to another.
How long does the conveyancing process take?
This varies case by case and depends on your own circumstances, such as:

  • How long the chain is that you are involved in. A chain is the number of transactions that are linked together.
  • The process of getting a mortgage offer.
  • Whether other parties in the chain are willing to move quickly with the transaction.
  • Whether the property is a new build or shared ownership, which involve more conveyancing work

If there are no problems or delays, a freehold transaction will normally complete in around 8-10 weeks from receipt of the contract. A leasehold purchase will normally take between 12-14 weeks. We always do our best to make the conveyancing process as smooth as possible for you.

What are Disbursements?
Disbursements are third party expenses which we incur on your behalf during the conveyancing process. This includes Land Registry Fees and property searches. We will give you a full breakdown of any likely disbursements.
Do I need a deposit?
Usually a buyer will pay a deposit on exchange of contracts which is equal to 10% of the purchase price. However, if you are obtaining a 95% mortgage and do not have such a large deposit available or if your funds are invested in your present property, it is often possible to negotiate a smaller deposit. If needed we will do this for you once we have discussed with you the amount you have available. It may also be possible to use your buyer’s deposit on your purchase and so reduce the amount you pay.
Do I need a survey?
If you are obtaining a mortgage to buy the property the lender will usually have the property inspected to see if it is suitable for them to lend against. This will only be a very basic valuation as it is only aimed at protecting the lender’s investment.

A more detailed survey will look at the property in greater depth and highlight any further problems which you should be aware of.

Do I have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax?
You pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on residential property purchases over £125,000 or £150,000 for non-residential land or property. If you are a first time buyer you may be eligible for a discount which could mean paying no SDLT at all. Online calculators will show you how much SDLT you will have to pay.

Use this calculator for property purchases in England.

Use this calculator for property purchases in Wales.

What is exchange of contracts?
This means the contract is now binding: the seller is legally bound to sell the property and the buyer is legally bound to buy it. The exchange of contracts takes place between the solicitors and you do not need to be present. A completion date is confirmed at the exchange of contracts.
When can I make arrangements for moving?
Wait until after the exchange of contracts, once you have a definite completion date.
What happens on completion date?
  • The buyer’s solicitor will send the seller’s solicitor the money needed to complete the purchase.
  • If you are buying, we will arrange for the mortgage lender to send over the money for your purchase.
  • If you are selling, we will pay off the remainder of your mortgage when we receive the money from the buyer’s solicitor.
  • When the money has changed hands the seller must hand in the keys to the estate agent so the buyer can collect them. We will let you know when it is time to do this.
What is a trust deed and when will I need one?
A trust deed is a legal document which sets out who has put what into the property and outlines who will get what from the property if you come to sell it. You may need a trust deed when you are buying a property with another person and you are not putting in equal amounts.
How much will I have to pay if my transaction falls through?
Unless we are acting for you on a ‘no sale, no fee basis’, we will charge a proportion of our fee which relates to the amount of work we have done up to the point when the transaction failed. Any disbursements will also be payable at this point.