When buying or selling your home, you need solicitors you can trust to get the job done efficiently.
mfg Solicitors LLP is accredited under the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), a scheme designed to demonstrate compliance with the highest standards of service when acting in a sale or purchase.
Our commitment to CQS reflects the importance we place on service to our clients, being proactive in the way we deal with any issues that may be anticipated, or arise, to progress your transaction to completion as smoothly as possible, whilst keeping you informed each step of the way.
Our Residential Property teams cover our offices in Worcestershire, Shropshire and Birmingham, offering expertise in all residential property transaction types, including:
- Country properties
- Shared ownership
- Right to Buy
In addition, our services are supported by experts throughout the firm able to advise on matters than can arise when considering selling, or buying a property, such as the creation of Wills and Trusts, tax planning, pre-nuptial and co-habitation agreements and property litigation.
To request a conveyancing quotation, please use our conveyancing quote form.
Get in touch with our residential property solicitors in the West Midlands
Residential property FAQs
How long does a standard sale or purchase transaction take?
A typical transaction usually takes anything between 8 and 12 weeks. However, exact time scales will depend on factors such as:
- Whether there is a chain
- The buyer’s ability to get a mortgage
- Whether the property is freehold or leasehold
- Whether the property is a new build
- Whether the buyer is using the Help to Buy scheme or funds from a Lifetime ISA
- Whether there are any issues with the searches or survey that need further investigation or negotiation
We will make sure to discuss timescales with you, so you have a good idea of how long your transaction is likely to take. We will also inform you and take action promptly if we do encounter any challenges which might delay the transaction.
How much deposit do I need to pay in order to exchange contracts?
Usually 10% of the purchase price. For example, if you are buying for £200,000, then the deposit required will be £20,000.
How does the conveyancing process work?
There are 3 main stages to the conveyancing process:
- Offer and acceptance
- Exchange of contracts
Offer and acceptance
This is, of course, when a buyer makes an offer on a property which is accepted by the seller. The transaction is not legally binding at this stage so either the buyer or seller can back out without incurring any penalties or fees (other than their own costs). The transaction is instead referred to as being “subject to contract”, which means the buyer and seller agree to enter into a legal contract later on.
Between offer/acceptance and exchange, the buyer and their solicitor will conduct investigations into the property to make sure it is suitable and the purchase price offered reflects its true value. These investigations include:
- Carrying out searches, such as Land Registry searches, local authority searches, and water and drainage searches
- Making enquiries with the seller about certain aspects of the property, such as access, the fixtures and fittings, and what is included in the purchase price
- Conducting a survey (separate to the mortgage lender’s own valuation) to check the structure, condition and quality of the building
The buyer also needs to start sorting out their finance as this stage (if they need a mortgage). The seller will complete standard questionnaires about the property and its fixtures and fittings for the buyer to rely on during their investigations.
Once the buyer is happy with the outcome of their investigations, they will be ready to exchange contracts with the seller. Once contracts are exchanged and the deposit paid, the transaction becomes legally binding and neither party can back out without incurring hefty penalties.
The buyer should arrange their buildings insurance around this time.
Completion is when ownership of the property officially changes hands. The buyer’s solicitor will transfer the remainder of the purchase price to the seller, submit the relevant transfer forms to the Land Registry, and arrange for payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax. The seller’s solicitor will ensure the seller’s mortgage is paid off. The seller’s estate agent will be responsible for releasing the keys to the property to the buyer.
When is payment of Stamp Duty fees etc required?
Typically, for purchases, we require that the deposit monies are transferred to us prior to exchange of contracts. The remaining costs, including our fees, third party fees and Stamp Duty, is required prior to completion.
In a sale, the fees are taken from the sale proceeds on completion.
What is the difference between freehold and leasehold?
Freehold and leasehold are ways you can own property.
Owning on a freehold basis means you own the entirety of the property outright, including the land it stands on. You do not have to leave the property after a period of time unless you choose to sell, you die, you transfer the property away, or your mortgage lender takes possession.
Owning on a leasehold basis means you actually own a long lease to occupy the property but you do not own the property itself or the land it stands on. A separate freeholder will own this. Most flats are leasehold and so are some houses (although the Government is planning to ban new leasehold houses soon). As a leaseholder, you will have a written lease under which you will have to pay ground rent and service charges to the freeholder. You may also be restricted from doing certain things, such as making alterations without the consent of the freeholder.
Can I extend my lease?
As long leases decrease in length, the value of the property usually also decreases. Once a lease falls below 80 years it is likely to become very difficult to sell or remortgage. Fortunately, most leaseholders have the legal right to extend their lease for a fair market price after they have owned the property for 2 years.
You will need to get the lease extension valued by an independent specialist and we can help you with the legal aspects of the process, including liaising with the freeholder on your behalf.