We know, from personal experience, that buying a new home can be one of the most stressful and exciting events in life: it’s something that most of us have been through ourselves. We work hard to make the process as stress-free as possible for you
Buying a leasehold property whether it is a flat or a house is a bit more difficult than buying a freehold property for the reasons we explain below.
Before talking about our prices, we thought you might like to understand in a little more detail what is typically involved and how long it might take.
This is what we will do for you
- Review the contract pack received from your Seller and advise you of any obvious issues before other costs (including search fees) are incurred.
- Obtain searches.
- Review the searches and the contract pack in detail and investigate where appropriate asking further questions of the Seller’s solicitors.
- Review both the freehold title (as conditions in the freehold will still bind the leaseholder) and the lease itself. The lease is a very important document as it sets out all the rules affecting your use of the flat. It also includes the provisions for payment of a service charge and the arrangements for maintaining all the common parts of the building (and possibly gardens/car parking areas) that you will share with neighbours.
- We need to check that there have been no issues with the management of the building. And that the lease is compliant with the detailed requirements of your mortgage lender. (Even if you do not intend to take a mortgage we still need to do this to ensure that you will not encounter problems if and when you come to sell the flat as other buyers may need a mortgage).
- As with any property our investigations may also involve looking into general issues affecting all types of property such as whether planning consents have been obtained, whether obligations binding the property have been complied with and whether there have been any disputes.
- With leasehold properties, we also need to check whether there are any restrictions on transferring the flat or whether any freeholder consent may be required and comply with any such restrictions if necessary.
- Obtain and review your mortgage offer. We will advise you about it and ensure that the flat meets the requirements of your Lender.
- For leasehold properties, we need to ensure that the lease is compliant with the detailed requirements of your mortgage lender. (Even if you do not intend to take a mortgage we still need to do this to ensure that you will not encounter problems if and when you come to sell the flat as other buyers may need a mortgage).
- We will prepare you a report on the investigations above and try to answer any questions that you may have.
- Once you are happy to proceed we will arrange for you to sign all the necessary documents including the contract, mortgage deed, transfer deed and stamp duty land tax return.
- We will then exchange contracts, making the purchase binding on you and your Seller and the completion date will be agreed. You will need to pay your deposit at this stage. “Completion” is when you actually buy your new home.
- We will then prepare for completion including:
- Preparing a completion statement showing the payments to be made on your behalf and the amount required from you.
- Undertaking final searches to make sure that the title to the flat has not changed since details were provided at the outset and also to protect your position until your title to the flat is registered.
- To prepare for completion we will also provide a certificate to your mortgage lender confirming that we are satisfied with the title to your new home and requesting the mortgage funds in readiness for completion.
- On the day you buy your new home we will pay the agreed price to your Seller’s solicitors and ensure that they supply us with all the necessary paperwork to properly conclude your purchase. We will keep you informed and let you know when you can collect the keys to your new home and move in.
- After completion, we will pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf and apply to the Land Registry to register you as the owner of the flat and to register any mortgage against the flat. Once registration is complete we will let you have an up to date copy of the register for your records. With a leasehold property, we will also have to follow the procedures in the lease to give the Landlord or Management Company notice of the transfer of the flat to you and of the creation of any new mortgage.
How long will all that take?
It varies: no two flat or house purchases are the same. For example, there may be several houses in a “chain” which may complicate things.
As a rough guide, it should take about 12-14 weeks. This will always be dependent on all parties in the chain moving through the process without any issues arising. Because of the additional work and information required on a leasehold property it may take a little longer than that.
There are things you can do to help us help you:
- Return all papers promptly
- Pay any monies on account promptly.
- Ensure that you instruct a surveyor
- Make any mortgage application as soon as possible.
- Ensure that your mortgage lender is aware at the outset if any part of the funds you are providing for the purchase are coming from a third party (such as a gift from a parent) otherwise delays are likely at a later stage.
How much will it cost?
Our prices cover the work we will do for you to complete the purchase of your new home.
The price example below is for buying an existing leasehold flat (not a new build) at £160,000. If you are buying for more or less, legal fees will differ and we will be happy to give you a tailored quote.
We pride ourselves on the fact that if you ask us to work for you, a member of our team, who is one of our qualified solicitors or legal executives will hold your hand throughout the process.
All our team are experienced in helping people like you move house and will be able to guide you through the process step by step and answer any queries you may have. You can click here to meet the members of our team.
The prices below presume that the flat or house you are buying is comprised of a single leasehold registered title with access to the building from a public highway. This is the case for the majority of flats, but in the minority of flats where this is not the case, more work will be needed and we will need to increase our prices.
For example, if you are buying a brand new flat, we will need to do extra work including ensuring that all roads will be adopted, that planning obligations are complied with and investigating whether a satisfactory warranty is available for your new home.
Often we will not know whether any of our assumptions don’t apply until we receive the contract pack from the Seller’s solicitors. We do check these points as soon as we have the contract pack and would then reassess the position with you before doing anything else.
|Estimated cost||VAT @ 20%||Total cost|
|Electronic Money Transfer *||£35||£7||£42|
* There is usually just one being the charge for sending the purchase price to the Seller’s solicitors.
Other third party costs
In addition to the fees you will pay us, you will need to pay fees and charges to others which we will make on your behalf. These are pretty standard payments required for any purchase and should be broadly the same whichever law firm you choose to instruct. These are often referred to as ‘disbursements’.
|Search fees||£400 including VAT||This is an approximate figure based on doing a local search, drainage search, coal mining search, environmental search and a chancel search. The figure will vary depending on where your flat is located. Local search fees vary greatly and not all searches are always required. In particular, a coal mining search is only required if the flat is in a former mining area. In some areas, additional searches are required – for example in Cornwall a tin mining search would be required.|
|HM Land Registry fee||£100 (based on the purchase price)||HM Land Registry fees are calculated on a sliding scale depending on the price of the house. There is no VAT payable on this fee. The Land Registry fee will be higher if the title to your house is not registered as an application for first registration will be required.|
|Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)||£0 (based on the flat purchase price)||This is assuming that you don’t own any other property, that higher rate tax is not payable (because you already own another property or are buying in a company name), that no reliefs are available to you, that you are a UK resident, and that this is the purchase of a single property. The SDLT payable is calculated on the exact price of the house. The HMRC have an online calculator which can be accessed here.|
|Change of ownership||£unknown||There will be a notice fee payable to the Landlord on completion for registering the change of ownership – this fee varies widely and we will not know the fee for your property until we receive the management information pack from the Seller’s solicitors.|
Finally sometimes if a problem is identified with a flat it may be possible to deal with this by getting insurance which involves paying a one-off premium. In such cases, you may also incur an insurance premium (the price varies depending on the value of the flat and the nature of the problem.) We may have to charge more for arranging a policy like this and there will also be a premium. If the problem is the Seller’s fault we may be able to negotiate that they pay for the policy.
The estimated total for the purchase of a flat based on the above information would be £3,242. This price includes all VAT and payments made to third parties but excluding any fees for title issues or as required by the Landlord of the flat you are buying.
VAT – Please note that the addition of vat to our charges is governed by very complex statutory provisions and extra-statutory guidance. Read more here.
What happens next?
We would love to work with you and help you buy your new home.