Our focus is you

Wherever you are on the property ladder, whether you are a first-time buyer, you’re looking to downsize or you’re an investor adding to an existing property portfolio, we provide cost-effective and practical advice with minimum fuss.

Property transactions can be complicated. Often there are many variables at play: multiple parties in a chain, hurdles to overcome relating to finances, issues around property surveys, planning queries and unclear results from local authority search results.

We understand this can be stressful for you. We are known for our calm and reassuring approach, giving you objective and clear advice at every stage of your transaction.

Your key questions answered

How long does residential house conveyancing take?

Recent figures from one of the largest online property portals indicate that the average time it takes to complete a sale or purchase is 20 weeks. But this only tells part of the story. So much depends on the type of transaction and the other parties involved. Factors that can impact the length of time it takes for residential conveyancing include:

  • The type of property. For example, is it freehold or leasehold?
  • How many linked transactions are in your chain?
  • The local authority responsible for responding to searches. The time it takes for local authorities to deal with searches varies widely across the country
  • How efficient any lender is in dealing with your mortgage application
  • The time it takes to survey the property

At DMH Stallard we have the depth of experience, resources and technology to move your transaction forward in line with your expectations.

What are the legal fees for residential conveyancing?

The fee you pay for conveyancing will depend on several factors, including the type of property you are buying, whether it is a freehold or leasehold, and the price. The fee will usually be greater if the property has been newly built or is a leasehold.

At DMH Stallard we will provide you with a personalised fixed fee quote once we know the nature of your transaction. This will be the fee you pay unless there is additional work required that was not envisaged at the outset. We would discuss and agree any further fees with you in advance. Unlike many high-volume call centre conveyancers, our property solicitors offer a service that is highly professional and tailored to your needs.  They will take the time to consider all elements that may impact the purchase or sale of your property and if any obstacles are encountered, they will advise you of the best way forward.

You should be aware that as a purchaser and/or seller you will be responsible for a number of charges in addition to solicitor fees. These ‘disbursements’ include stamp duty, Land Registry fees and fees payable to local authorities to carry out searches on any property you are buying. We will provide full details of these charges with our fixed fee quote.

Do I have to use the same solicitor for buying and selling?

There is no obligation to use the same solicitor for both transactions. However, in most cases it makes sense to do so, particularly when you are simultaneously buying and selling a house. Not only will it usually be much cheaper to use one firm of solicitors rather than two, but both transactions are likely to go much more smoothly when a single firm has oversight of both transactions.

It’s often a delicate exercise to coordinate multiple parties, lenders, and others to ensure contracts are exchanged appropriately, mortgage funds are released at the correct time and searches are updated ahead of completion, so it helps if one solicitor is acting in both the sale and purchase.

Note that the same solicitor should not act for a seller and purchaser of the same property: solicitors must always act in the best interest of their clients, and to act for a seller and purchaser simultaneously is likely to jeopardise that. They also owe a duty of confidentiality to each individual client.

What does a solicitor do when purchasing a house?

The solicitor’s responsibility is to ensure that a purchaser obtains legal ownership of a property, free of any unknown restrictions. To do so the solicitor will carry out a number of searches on the property being purchased to clarify the situation around relevant planning applications, restrictions on permitted developments, road schemes, and contaminated land, amongst others. A Land Registry search will also be carried out to check the position as regards ownership of the property to confirm that the seller has the capacity to sell.

Once it has been prepared, the solicitor receives the draft contract for sale from the seller and will raise any issues of concern with the client. If you are getting a mortgage your solicitor will deal with the formalities necessary for the release of funds in time for completion. Once the contract is approved and all searches and enquiries are satisfactorily answered, a completion date is agreed. At this point, the exchange of contracts takes place, and the solicitor proceeds to transfer the deposit to the seller All matters necessary to ensure completion occurs, as agreed, are dealt with.

What does a solicitor do when selling a house?

The solicitor’s job when acting for the seller is to transfer the legal title of the property from the seller to the buyer. As a seller you will be asked to provide the solicitor with extensive details about the property, including details of boundaries, the occupants of the property and the circumstances of any disputes that may have arisen with neighbours or others during your period of ownership. The solicitor will draft the contract and respond to any queries from the seller’s solicitor. Once contracts are exchanged, a completion date is set and all parties work towards dealing with all outstanding issues to ensure completion occurs as agreed.

Does my conveyancing solicitor need to be local?

No, you do not have to use a solicitor that’s close to where you live because the conveyancing process is standardised across the country, and most communication can be done electronically. However, it’s often useful to engage a solicitor with knowledge about the localityand the kinds of issues that typically arise in conveyancing transactions in the area. This could include knowledge about local planning issues and an understanding of the local authorities approach to services that may affect the property.

At DMH Stallard we have a network of offices across the South East and our solicitors have in-depth knowledge of local markets across London, Sussex and Surrey, as well as excellent relationships with local estate agents.

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Becky Miller

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