A fixed fee will be agreed with you in advance for the work involved in your sale or purchase. In rare circumstances, additional work may be required which would not normally form part of the house buying/selling process. Should this situation occur, you will be kept fully informed at all times and any additional fee would be agreed with you in advance.
The age of a property does not normally affect the legal work involved in buying or selling. However, there are different issues that are more relevant to newer properties that often need to be considered. Similarly, if a property has been altered or extended (whatever its age), investigations into the planning history are required.
A leasehold property can be bought in the same way as a freehold property can. Mortgage lenders are fine with leasehold properties as long as there is a sufficient term left on the lease period, each lender is different but typically around 70 years at the outset of the mortgage or no shorter than 35 years at the end of the mortgage term.
It is not recommend that you exchange contracts without first receiving a formal mortgage offer but, ultimately, the decision to do so will rest with you. Your deposit monies will be at risk should you not be able to obtain a mortgage offer in time for completion.
No, Emsleys Solicitors can efficiently deal with property sales and purchases throughout England and Wales.
Should your sale or purchase not proceed to completion, Emsleys Solicitors will look to agree a reasonable fee with you for the work done on your behalf, which enables their fixed fee prices to remain as low and competitive as possible.
Your solicitors will always discuss with you the approximate length of time it will take to complete the process. This can vary depending on the number of sales involved in the chain, surveys, enquiries and mortgage offers, but the average time is between 6-12 weeks, although it can sometimes be quicker.
The timescales involved in buying and selling a house vary greatly from property to property and your conveyancer will always discuss with you the approximate length of time it will take to complete the process. However, the sale or purchase of a freehold house usually takes approximately 6 to 12 weeks to complete once the contract papers have been issued to the buyer’s solicitors, but this can vary depending on the number of sales involved in the chain, surveys, enquiries and mortgage offers. The sale or purchase of a leasehold flat involves further legal documentation and communication with additional third parties and would therefore take, on average, approximately 8 to 12 weeks to complete.
A deposit of 10% of the purchase price is normally paid on exchange of contracts, but if you are in a chain of sales and purchases, the deposit received on your sale may be used on the purchase. If you have any questions about this, your conveyancer will always discuss this with you at the outset of the transaction.
You can authorise your solicitors to speak to and take instructions from a third party on your behalf. You may also appoint an Attorney to sign the legal documentation on your behalf. However, with the benefit of modern technology, this may not be necessary.
Once your sale or purchase has completed, your conveyancer will continue to work for you to assist in tying up all the loose ends. On a sale this includes redeeming any mortgages secured against the property, paying your estate agents and forwarding the sale proceeds to you. On a purchase, it includes registering your ownership of the property with the Land Registry and forwarding any title deeds to you or your lender.
Your conveyancer will notify you as soon as possible should any problems arise with your sale or purchase, to discuss the various options available and agree with you the best way of proceeding with your sale and/or purchase.
Until the exchange of contracts, there is no legal obligation for the parties involved in a sale to proceed with the matter. Should you decide not to proceed with your sale and purchase, your solicitors will notify all parties on your behalf and agree a fee with you in respect of the work carried out. However, if contracts have been exchanged on your sale and purchase there are financial penalties which you would be responsible for should you decide not to honour the contract.
Should your sale not complete, the buyer’s solicitors will return any contract papers to your solicitors, who will agree a fee with you for the work carried out and then wait for another buyer to be found. Should your purchase not proceed, your solicitors will return the contract papers to the seller’s solicitors and agree a fee with you for the work carried out on your purchase. Any searches obtained on the property will be offered to any future buyer, to try and recover the cost of the same for you.
Discounted rate mortgages offer a discount on another interest rate – usually a lender's Standard Variable Rate (SVR). So if an SVR is currently 5% and the discounted rate is 1% below SVR, you'd pay a rate of 4%. Discounted rates are still variable, so your payments can go up as well as down.
A fixed mortgage is where your mortgage payments stay exactly the same for a specified initial period. They're great if you have a tight budget and want to know what you'll be paying or if you're worried about interest rates going up.
Freehold means that you own both the building and the land it is on.
Leasehold means that someone else owns the land the building is on. With leasehold you are only buying the right to live in the property for a certain length of time. Many leasehold properties will be subject to ‘ground rent’, which is a maintenance charge for the upkeep of any communal areas. Ground rent can sometimes include buildings insurance as well. Sometimes the rent due is a nominal amount, for example £50 per year. This is sometimes referred to as ‘peppercorn rent’. When a property is leasehold your solicitor may make an additional charge to deal with the conveyancing.
A standard variable rate (SVR) is the rate that a lender will charge at the end of a special offer deal (that they have offered you). Each lender’s SVR is different and can be changed at any time that the lender chooses. Typically (but not always) the SVR will be at a higher rate than a fixed or tracker or discounted deal that they may offer.
A tracker mortgage follows (or tracks) the movements of another rate – most commonly the Bank of England Base Rate.
When you buy or sell a property, the buyer and seller each sign a copy of the contract which details the terms of the agreement. Once both parties are happy to proceed and have signed to say so, the contracts are literally ‘exchanged’ between the parties’ solicitors. At this point the sale and purchase is legally binding on the parties. The contract will also state the completion date.
This will often depend on the price and location of the property. As well as legal fees, there are the costs of searches, Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to consider. We are always happy to arrange for our sister company Emsleys Solicitors Ltd to give you an estimate of the likely costs upfront, so you are fully aware of everything and can budget accordingly.
Under English law, all land is owned by the Crown. It is a technicality of English law that ownership of land is actually ownership of an interest in the land. A freehold interest is an interest which lasts indefinitely, whereas a leasehold interest is an interest in land which expires after a fixed period of time. Given the complexities that can arise, your conveyancer will always confirm whether the property is freehold or leasehold and, if leasehold, how long the lease is for.
Essentially, ‘conveyancing’ is the transfer of the legal ownership of a property from one person to another. As part of this process it is necessary to carefully check the title to make sure there are no hidden surprises. In addition, a variety of searches are carried out to make sure everything is as it should be. Your solicitors will also liaise with your mortgage company where they are providing funds for the purchase. Once it is clear that everything is in order and that you are happy to proceed, your solicitors can proceed to ‘exchange contracts’ and fix a ‘completion date’.
The Bank of England meets once a month to dictate the base rate (this can stay the same or can increase or decrease) however mortgage lenders can change the rate that they offer to new or existing customers at any time.
Our sister company Emsleys Solicitors believes in providing a personal service and building a lasting relationship with clients. If you instruct Emsleys Solicitors to deal with your sale or purchase, you will be allocated a conveyancer with the qualifications and experience needed to ensure your transaction proceeds as smoothly as possible, and they will be supported by experienced legal support staff throughout the transaction. Your conveyancer will be your main point of contact and in charge of progressing your sale or purchase.
When buying or selling a house, your solicitor will prepare and explain the various legal documents, including the Contract, Transfer Deed and Mortgage Deed. Your solicitor will investigate the title to your property and make you aware of any issues which could affect your use and enjoyment of the property. Your solicitor will also guide you through the house buying/selling process.
A seller of a property is under a duty to disclose ‘material information’ about the property, but it is best for the buyer to work on the ‘buyer beware’ principle and obtain a survey before proceeding with any purchase, so that you get independent advice about the condition of the property. If the survey reveals any issues, it may be possible to negotiate on the property price, to reflect any work that might need to be carried out.