Buying a property
Buying a property is a big commitment. Regardless of whether you are moving home, investing in a buy-to-let property for example or are a first-time buyer, it can be an exciting time but equally as stressful. There are various legal expectations you should be aware of and instructing an experienced property law solicitor or conveyancer will ensure the property transaction and any legal issues are handled correctly.
Solicitors for property purchase
Russell & Russell Solicitors help thousands of people every year with their property sale and purchases. Our ethos is to ensure we make the process a stress-free as possible, deliver a quality service and at a fair price. From pre-contract right through to completion, we are on hand to provide expert guidance that meets the needs of our clients.
When you’ve found the home of your dreams or even before you start looking for it, call us so we can point you in the right direction. Although it’s usually a straightforward process, timescales can differ depending on the circumstances of the seller or purchaser
We currently employ over 90 people in our Conveyancing Department. They include qualified Solicitors, Licensed Conveyancers and Chartered Legal Executives. All our conveyancers are closely supervised by one of our Senior Solicitors, each of whom has considerable experience of conveyancing and is a specialist in this type of legal work. Specific experience of individual team members can be seen in the team member profiles.
Our long-established law firm means we have the local knowledge you need when buying a property in Bolton, Cheshire and across the North West, but our expertise and reputation has meant we have helped clients purchase properties throughout England and Wales.
Find out more about Russell & Russell
You can complete an online conveyancing quote and our conveyancing team will be in touch with a personalised quote.
I want to buy a property, what should I know?
Contact one of our expert property sale solicitors on 0800 103 2600 or complete an enquiry form and we will call you back. Our conveyancing team will be able to guide you through the entire process but for further here are some of the questions we get asked a lot:
Buying a property, why choose Russell & Russell?
You should choose us because our specialist property lawyers are best placed to help you through the process of buying a property. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge of all aspects of conveyancing whether freehold or leasehold, whether a flat, a house or just land. We deal with existing properties, new builds and self-builds. We are accredited under the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme and have been from its very beginning. All our staff that would touch your case specialise in property work, have had training in that area and receive on-going training to keep them up to date with changes. We are a long established practice but have a modern approach. You can instruct us by calling into our office, by post, by email or through our Portal.
When should I instruct you?
We would strongly recommend that you get in contact with us at the very beginning when you are thinking of buying. We can give you advice on the process which is particularly important if you have not bought before or if you are both buying and selling and have to do a juggling act to pull the two transactions together. If you are an investor who regularly buys and sells you know how important it is to forewarn us of what you are planning. Get in front of the game.
Does location matter?
No – we can act for you whether you are local or distant but if we do not see you face to face we carry out enhanced due diligence to satisfy us as to your identity. We have the facility to use Zoom and/or Teams if you cannot get to one of our offices. The locality of the property is also irrelevant – the same principles apply across all of England and Wales.
Can you also act for my lender?
If you have not bought before that might sound a somewhat strange question but it is actually an important one. If you are taking out a mortgage your lender also requires legal representation and some are very selective. The good news is that we are on the conveyancing panels of all the high street lenders and also the open panels of the specialist lenders. We are also on the closed panels of both Aldermore and Pepper Money – they limit who can act for them which speaks for itself.
I am thinking of purchasing, what should I do?
Contact us, an initial enquiry costs nothing.
How much does it cost to buy my new home?
Full information about our fees can be found here.
Will Russell & Russell provide a written conveyancing fee estimate for my purchase?
We always provide a written estimate at the outset of a transaction. This will be based on the information provided by you to us at that time. This reflects the fact that we know that you need to budget and also to ensure that there's no misunderstanding between us at a later time. We hope you will be delighted with our services and will use us again and appreciate that will not be the case if you feel that we have let you down over costs. We can write to you with the fee estimate or email it to you.
In the case of residential conveyancing, we usually offer a fixed fee. We quote a fixed fee for the work normally undertaken in a standard case and will provide you with a list of additional fixed fees that we would charge if you require additional work to be undertaken. An example of additional fees for our time would be the preparation of a Declaration of Trust or a Will.
We will always honour the fixed fee quoted unless the information relied upon by us at the time of the estimate was incorrect or it subsequently becomes apparent that there's an aspect of the transaction that will significantly affect the amount of time that has to be spent by us. In either case we will notify you of any such development before we proceed further so that you can decide whether to incur additional expense. Examples of circumstances that might change the cost would be if the property is a flat, not a house as you initially informed us. For a free quote and breakdown of related Disbursements known at this time, please use our quote enquiry form.
In addition to receiving instructions direct from buyers and sellers, we also work alongside brokers, referrers and property agents who refer clients to us. If we've agreed to pay to them a referral fee for recommending us to act for you then we'll disclose the amount to you and we'll pay the amount involved to the referrer out of our fee.
When do I have to pay all the fees?
Fees for conveyancing, and other related costs are payable just before completion, but searches are paid for by you up front when you’re ready for us to start them.
If I don’t purchase a property is there a fee?
Will I have a direct contact number and email for my conveyancer?
What are the key stages of the conveyancing purchase process?
Once you've had an offer accepted, made a mortgage application (if necessary) and instructed your conveyancer there are several steps which must be completed before you can get the keys and move into your new home. The main stages are:
- You instruct your conveyancer and the usual Identity and Anti Money Laundering checks are undertaken
- A Contract pack is requested and then received from the seller’s conveyancer. It's then checked by your conveyancer and any pre-contract enquiries are raised
- The required conveyancing searches and ownership checks are carried out. If a buyer wishes to proceed quickly these can be undertaken whilst you have your survey carried out and you're progressing your mortgage application. You need to pay our fee for obtaining and advising on the searches before that work is undertaken as we have to purchase the information
- Pre-contract enquiries are answered by the seller’s conveyancer
- You receive a written offer of mortgage and your lender sends a copy to us with details of its legal requirements
- Your conveyancer reviews the pre-contact enquiry answers, the results of the searches and the mortgage documents and reports to you in writing on the Contract and property generally so that you can raise any issues that you might have
- We send you a full completion statement dealing with all financial aspects of the transaction
- Once you're happy with everything you'll be asked to pay your deposit to us in preparation for the exchange of contracts. You sign the Contract
- A completion date is agreed between you and the seller through the parties’ conveyancers and the contracts are exchanged by the conveyancers during a telephone conversation. Once contracts are exchanged you're legally obliged to go through with the purchase on the agreed completion date. You should insure the property from this point unless it's a flat insured under a joint policy
- Your conveyancer will carry out final pre-completion searches and obtain the balance of any monies due from you together with any mortgage funds from your lender
- On the day of completion we send the balance purchase monies to the bank of the sellers’ conveyancer. Once the funds are received the transaction is completed and you'll officially be the owners of your new home and will be able to collect the keys at a time and place as agreed with the seller or the sellers Estate Agent
- Once the purchase is complete your conveyancer will register the property in your name and you'll receive a copy of the title and proof of ownership from The Land Registry
How long does the conveyancing process take?
Unfortunately nobody can say for sure how long the process will take – every transaction has its own different circumstances. The length of the chain of properties and the speed at which other parties involved in the transaction work will all be relevant. Furthermore, if a new mortgage is required by one or more parties involved that can also cause delay as, generally speaking, mortgages appear to be taking longer than people expect.
For a straightforward purchase, completion should take place within 8 – 12 weeks of instructing a conveyancer provided it's not subject to any major hold ups, however, the longer a chain the more likely there'll be delay as if one party or property causes delay it will affect all of the transactions in the chain. Generally speaking, where a flat is involved – rather than a house – the transaction is likely to take longer because of the additional legal work involved.
Can I speak to someone out of office hours?
What is Stamp Duty Land Tax?
Stamp Duty Land Tax – SDLT – is a tax on land that is payable to HM Revenue and Customs. You can find out how much stamp duty is to be paid on a property by visiting the government website.
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