Purchase of a Freehold or Leasehold Residential Property Costs

Introduction

Our legal fees cover all of the work required to complete the purchase of your new home, including 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 is in Wales and also dealing with registration of your purchase at the Land Registry.

Legal fees

Legal fees are the amount you will be required to pay for all of the work performed by us in actioning your instructions, from the commencement of your matter to its conclusion.

Below we detail what services are covered in our standard fee.

Our average standard legal fee for a residential freehold property purchase is between £895 and £2500 plus VAT (£1074 to £3000 incl. VAT).

The value of the property and any complexities of the purchase will dictate the final fee charged within this range.

For leasehold properties, we charge a further £195 plus VAT (£234 incl. VAT).

For acting for your mortgage lender – £150 plus VAT (£180 incl. VAT). This is on the assumption that we are on the panel of solicitors appointed by your lender.

Help to Buy Equity Mortgage – £250 plus VAT (£300 incl. VAT)

Help to Buy ISA (per bonus) – £50 plus VAT (£60+VAT incl. VAT)

Lifetime ISA – £100 plus VAT (£120 incl. VAT)

VAT will be payable on our fees and some disbursements, and we will clearly confirm which disbursements carry VAT in our formal quotation or as we advise you to incur them.

We are required by our regulator to undertake Client Due Diligence (CDD) which is made of up KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti Money Laundering). Details will be contained within our terms of engagement which will be sent to you after you have instructed us.

In addition to our standard charges as referred to above, the firm will apply a charge of £10 plus VAT (£12 incl. VAT) for undertaking KYC.

We will charge a sum of £40 plus VAT (£48 incl. VAT) for electronic money transfers.

We will charge £12 plus VAT (£14.40 incl. VAT) for Lawyer checker to verify the seller’s solicitors’ bank account details.

If at any stage our fees change, we will notify you and discuss the reason for any changes. This would typically occur if you were to change your instructions or your matter were to involve any unforeseen complexity.

Our average fees assume that:

  1. yours is a standard transaction and 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.
  2. for leasehold matters it is the assignment of an existing lease and not the grant of a new lease.
  3. your transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complications arise.
  4. all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from any third party providing documentation.
  5. no indemnity policies are required. Additional disbursements may apply if indemnity policies are required.

Disbursements and other costs

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

You will be provided with a full list of the disbursements, so far as we know them at the time, in our estimate of costs.  If we need to incur any further disbursements during your matter, you will be notified in advance of the reason and the amount.

Typical disbursements and other costs that may apply to your matter will include: –  

Search Fees

Search fees vary from case to case depending on the local authority. We will advise you which searches you will need for your transaction and the cost of each search.

Typical local searches include:-

  • Local land charges search;
  • Enquiries of the local authority;
  • Environment search;
  • Planning Search;
  • Chancel repair liability indemnity; and
  • Water and Drainage search

Other official local searches may be required by your lender and your conveyancer will use his or her local knowledge to confirm which local searches you need.

A standard local authority search will reveal whether any legal restrictions or obligations affect the property. These include tree preservation orders, smoke control orders and flood searches as well as the property’s planning and building enforcement history.  Other searches may be required depending on the property’s location and can reveal whether the property is in the vicinity of any planned major infrastructure projects such as HS2 or Crossrail. Relevant searches can also reveal if the property is built on or near land that was affected by mining and can include a search for mine shafts and subsidence. We will advise you which searches you will need for your transaction and the cost of each search.

Our average standard search fees are £162 plus VAT (£194.40 incl. VAT).

Stamp Duty Land Tax (on purchase)

Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty*) applies to most property purchase transactions. We will advise you of the stamp duty applicable to your property purchase and you can visit the HMRC website for more information (see below) https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro

Land Registry fees

HM Land Registry fee. The fees chargeable by the Land Registry can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hm-land-registry-registration-services-fees

Land Registry Priority Search fees (per title) £3.00.

Bankruptcy search fees £2.00 each (a Bankruptcy search is carried out at the beginning of the transaction and a further search is carried out in the final stage of the transaction).

Companies House fee

Companies House charge a fee of £15 (no VAT) for the registration of a mortgage if your purchase is in the name of a company.

Anticipated disbursements for a leasehold purchase

There may be further disbursements for a leasehold purchase or the purchase of a freehold property where there is a Management Company.

These can include: 

Notice of Transfer fee – This fee, if chargeable, is set out in the lease and is often between £0 and £250 plus VAT (£0 to £300 incl. VAT).

Notice of Charge fee – if the property is to be mortgaged.  This fee is set out in the lease and is often between £0 and £250 plus VAT (£0 to £300 incl. VAT).

Deed of Covenant fee – This fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate but is often between £0 and £250 plus VAT (£0 to £300 incl. VAT).

Certificate of Compliance fee – To be confirmed upon receipt of the lease and can range between £0 and £250 plus VAT (£0 to £300 incl. VAT).

These fees are set by the freeholder / management company and vary from property to property. They can, on occasion, be significantly more than the ranges given above and VAT may be charged. We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents.

How long will my property purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move into your property will depend upon a number of factors.

The average process for a residential freehold property purchase is between 8 and 12 weeks.

The average process for a residential leasehold property purchase is between 12 and 16 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on a number of factors and we will notify you if we believe your transaction may take longer than average or if something occurs to extend your transaction time. Matters that can typically delay a transaction include delays in searches, issues with a mortgage offer, issues raised in a survey or delays from another party or another party’s solicitors.

If you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this may mean that your matter will take longer. In such a situation, additional charges will apply, and we will notify you of the additional charges and time estimate when we have engaged with the landlord to discuss the extension.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. We have set out the key stages of a standard transaction: –

  • Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice
  • Undertaking regulatory checks
  • Checking that finance is in place to fund the purchase and contacting lender’s solicitors if needed
  • Receiving and advising you on contract documents
  • Carrying out and advising you on searches
  • Obtaining further planning documentation, if required
  • Making any necessary enquiries of the seller’s solicitor
  • Giving you advice on all documents and information received
  • For leasehold properties – obtaining and advising on the management pack, the lease and identifying transfer fees
  • Advising you on joint or shared ownership
  • Going through conditions of any mortgage offer, if appropriate
  • Sending final contract to you for signature
  • Agreeing the completion date (date from which you will own the property)
  • Exchanging contracts and notifying you that this has happened
  • Arranging for monies to be received from your lender (if applicable) and you
  • Completing your purchase and notifying relevant parties
  • Dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty
  • Dealing with registration at the Land Registry

Other factors

Other factors to consider which may affect your Legal Fees and disbursements are:-

  • The value of the property
  • The property is a new build
  • First registration of title
  • Whether the property is to be your primary residence or a buy to let or second/holiday home.
  • Multiple owners
  • Shared ownership scheme
  • Using a help-to-buy scheme, and whether it is an equity loan or ISA
  • Purchase under right to buy
  • Purchase at auction
  • Property has been repossessed

We can give you an accurate figure once we have had sight of your specific documents.

Fee earners

The following fee earners handle residential property matters:

Angela Stanton is a senior partner of Beverley Morris & Co. Solicitors, Head of our Conveyancing department and has overall supervision of the conveyancing team. Angela qualified as a solicitor in 1980 having achieved an LLB Hons degree at London University. She has experience in all areas of residential and commercial conveyancing with particular expertise in lease extensions, collective freehold purchases and the right of first refusal, acting for both landlords and tenants. – you may view her full profile here.

Esther Hudson is a Licensed Conveyancer undertaking all aspects of residential conveyancing work. Having qualified as a Licensed Conveyancer in 2008, Esther has built strong relationships with many local estate agents and believes that good communication at every stage of a transaction produces the best results. Esther’s approach is professional yet friendly and having always worked in the South East London area she has extensive local knowledge. She has experience in all residential conveyancing matters with particular expertise in leasehold and freehold sales and purchases, re-mortgages, transfers of equity, shared ownership, buy to lets and new builds. – you may view her full profile here.

Rahat Munim is a partner and solicitor in our residential conveyancing department. Rahat qualified as a Solicitor in 2015 having studied Law at the University of Buckingham (LLB) where he went on to complete a Masters degree (LLM). He specialises in all aspects of residential conveyancing and his particular areas of expertise include leasehold and freehold sales and purchases including auction sales and purchases, transfers of equity and re-mortgages, new builds, lease extensions and collective freehold purchases. During his career, Rahat has built up an extensive clientele and network, gaining the trust of many estate agents and mortgage brokers locally and nationwide. – you may view his full profile here.

Geraldine Agin is a solicitor in our conveyancing department and assists Esther Hudson in all aspects of residential conveyancing with an interest in Social Housing. Geraldine graduated from the now named University of Hertfordshire and completed her Law Society finals at the College of Law Guildford, qualifying as a solicitor in 1989. Geraldine has extensive local knowledge having been based in the South East since 1996.  She enjoys client contact and tries to see a straightforward legal solution to any problem. Geraldine specialises in leasehold and freehold sales and purchases, remortgages, transfers of equity, shared ownership, buy to les and new build properties. – you may view her full profile here.

Natasha De Canha is a qualified solicitor in our residential conveyancing department. Natasha qualified as a solicitor in 2009 and has many years’ experience in all areas of residential conveyancing. Natasha believes that the key to a happy client is communication.  Her areas of expertise include leasehold and freehold sales and purchases, remortgages, transfers of equity, shared ownership, buy-to-lets, right to buys and deeds of variation. – you may view her full profile here.

Shirley O’Neill is a conveyancer specialising in all areas of residential conveyancing and she is based in our Blackheath office. She trained with Peter Egan for whom she worked from 1994 at Peter Egan & Co.  Clients return to Shirley time after time because of her personal service and professionalism. She is renowned for her efficiency and also for being friendly and approachable. Her areas of expertise include residential conveyancing, auction sales and purchases, remortgages, transfers of equity and lease extensions. – you may view her full profile here.

Questions

If you have any questions relating to our services and our fees, please contact us on 020 8852 4433 or email us at enquiries@beverleymorris.co.uk.