How much will the legal fees be?
No property is exactly the same and our fees will reflect the particular requirements of your purchase. Because of this, we cannot give you an exact estimate of the cost of us helping you until we have details of your intended transaction. That is why we will always give you an individual cost estimate at the start of the transaction, taking into account the actual features of the transaction (based upon the information which you provide to us). We will always advise you immediately about any complication and discuss the potential impact before and additional charges are incurred. Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the purchase, including dealing with the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (Land Tax) if the property you wish to buy is in Wales.
In the large majority of property purchases we will be able to give to you specific details upfront of legal fees and the disbursements which you will incur. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. In a few limited instances, where it is particularly difficult to determine what the transaction will involve, we will deal with the matter based upon the time spent in completing the transaction at an agreed hourly rate (see below). For transactions involving residential property, this is quite rare and we can usually provide you with accurate details of the legal fees upfront.
Our typical legal fees involving a residential property purchase range from around £840 (including VAT) for a simple transaction to £6000 (including VAT) for a generally larger and individual property (with its associated complexities). Please note that any reference to VAT is at the current rate of 20% unless otherwise stated. Our firms fees for dealing with leasehold properties tend to be more than for a freehold property of similar price. This is due to the additional legal complexities with (and time which we need to spend on) leasehold transactions.
In relation to disbursements :
- We would suggest you budget £400 for search fees. The actual amount you incur will vary depending upon the property and the local authority area it is in.
- Land Registry fees range between £40 and £910 depending upon the type of transaction and the value. They are on a sliding scale, click to view the details.
- Further administrative costs are incurred when buying leasehold properties including : Notice of Transfer fee – commonly in the region of £100 to £200; Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – commonly a similar amount; Deed of Covenant fee – commonly in the region of £250; Certificate of Compliance fee - commonly in the region of £200; you should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property. Details of the ground rent and the anticipated service are provided as part of the property report.
- Stamp Duty Land Tax - The amount of SDLT depends on the purchase price. Assistance with calculating the amount you will need to pay can be obtained by using HMRC's website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority's website here.
- The above figures are either inclusive of VAT or no VAT is payable. When we provide you with detailed costings we confirm the VAT payable.
What is commonly taken into account when determining the legal costs within the range given?
Common factors include :
- The complexity of the property
- The price
- The time which it is anticipated will need to be devoted to the matter
- The number of titles included within the property
- Whether it is freehold or leasehold
- The urgency
- The qualification level and specialist knowledge of the adviser who needs to be allocated to the matter (see below for charge out rates) .
Can you give some examples of the type of matters which could fall outside the typical range given above?
Property transactions are many and varied. Generally it is the complexity and risk involved which brings a transaction outside the usual range of costings. Examples would include: high value transactions (generally in the millions of pounds); farms and agricultural land; purchases of part where titles are being split and detailed consideration needs to be given to the grant and reservation of easements (e.g. rights of way and rights for services) and importance and effect of covenants (things which a buyer cannot do or is obliged to do); complicated unregistered titles.
How long will my purchase take?
How long it will take from the offer being accepted until completion will depend on a number of factors. The average transaction takes between 8-12 weeks. It can be quicker or slower, depending on factors such as: the number of parties in the chain; the time it takes for finance to be arranged; title problems needing to be resolved; surveys revealing items of disrepair which require rectification; some parties in the chain not wanting to complete quickly. For example, if you are purchasing an empty freehold property with no mortgage required the purchase could complete in 4 to 6 weeks. However, if you are purchasing a property where there are a number of parties in the chain (and especially if issues arise which need to be resolved), this can take significantly longer - commonly 3 months plus. In such, a situation additional charges would apply.
What are the stages in the process?
The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have set out some common key stages on sales and purchases:
- Solicitors take instructions and give initial advice
- Buyers check that their finances are in place to fund purchase and contact their lender if an offer of finance is needed
- Buyers commission a survey of the property if required
- Contracts, copy title documents and preliminary enquiries are dealt with
- Searches are carried out (these will vary depending upon the nature of the property)
- Buyers solicitors raise any necessary additional enquiries of seller's solicitor
- Mortgage offer is received (if relevant) and the lender provides instructions to buyer's solicitor
- Advice on is given by buyers solicitors on all documents and information received, usually in the form of a property report
- Contracts are signed in readiness for exchange
- The completion date is agreed (date on which the ownership of the property changes)
- Contracts are exchanged (the deal is now binding)
- The buyers solicitor obtains all monies needed from lender and buyer
- The sale/purchase completes
- Buyer's solicitor deals with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Buyer's solicitor deals with application for registration at Land Registry
- As the property is leasehold the buyer's solicitor follows the notice and covenant procedures set out in the lease
Who is the legal advisor who will do the work for me?
Please follow this link which will give the details of all of our legal advisers who deal with residential property transactions. This will give details of the adviser's specialisms, the proportion of their time spent on given areas, experience and qualifications. It also gives the advisers charge out rate which is taken into account when determining the legal fees. One of these advisers will be allocated to you and will liaise with you directly.