How long does conveyancing take?

The average sale and purchase of a house takes about two to three months.

We do our best to push your transaction through as quickly as possible, but the time taken by searches, surveys and mortgage applications is out of our control. Additionally where there is a long chain, there may be a delay agreeing a completion date acceptable to all parties.

Purchases of a leasehold property can take longer, because issues may need to be resolved regarding the lease. We also need to collect service charge and management information from third parties, (e.g. management agents) which can cause delays.

If there are no complications or chain and you are buying or selling, it is likely exchange can be met within 3 - 6 weeks.

Completion generally takes place 2 weeks after exchange, although historically it was 28 days or 4 weeks

In some circumstances we can exchange and complete simultaneously on the same day.

How much does conveyancing cost?

On a purchase, in addition to the price of your property, you will need to pay the following costs:

  • Search fees for local authority, drainage and water, Environmental and Chancel. In Enfield these are approximately £259.12 in total.
    We may also need to carry out other searches such as a coal mining search depending on the location of your property.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax if you are buying a property costing more than £125,000
  • Fees for mortgage arrangement and a survey
  • Buildings insurance
  • Removal service
  • Legal fees

If you are buying a leasehold property, there will be items of expenditure additional to those listed above, including fees to the freeholder/managing agents on your purchase. We will not know at the beginning of the conveyancing process what these costs are likely to be, but will itemise them on your completion statement.

What do your conveyancing fees include?

We will usually give you a fixed cost estimate at the beginning of the conveyancing process, taking into account the value of the property you are buying/selling, and whether the property is leasehold or freehold. The fixed costs cover:


  • general investigation of the title
  • examination of the searches
  • examination of the mortgage offer on your purchase
  • the preparation of the draft contract
  • dealing with enquiries raised by your buyer's solicitors on your sale
  • raising enquiries about your purchase

When you purchase a leasehold property the amount of work involved is considerably higher than that involved in a freehold purchase. We need to:

  • check that the lease does not have defects which would cause you problems in the enforcement of obligations by the other tenants in the block, or by the landlord
  • ensure that the service charges and ground rent have been paid to date and that there are no major expenses envisaged or incurred which have not been paid or need to be paid

We aim to keep within the fixed cost estimate but if the matter becomes protracted or unusually complicated, then we will discuss this with you, indicating where extra costs might arise, and how much they are likely to be.

Do I still pay if the sale/purchase falls through?

This will depend on how far the transaction has proceeded by that time. If we are near to exchange of contracts, or have already set up the file for completion, and the transaction then falls through, we are entitled to charge almost the entire amount of the estimate. However, we are sympathetic and aim to keep abortive costs to a minimum.

What is Stamp Duty Land Tax? Do I have to pay it?

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax raised by the government and paid to the H.M. Revenue & Customs. Unfortunately it is currently payable on all purchases of leasehold and freehold properties over the purchase price of £125,000. There is a sliding scale:

  • 1% for purchases between £125,001 and £250,000
  • 3% for purchases from £250,001 to £500,000
  • 4% for purchases from £500,001 to £1m
  • 5% for purchases over £1m

For the avoidance of doubt this is payable on the entire purchase price. That means that if you purchase a property for £265,000 you will pay 3% on the entire amount, i.e. £7,950.00.

For first time buyers, stamp duty land tax is not payable for properties up to £250,000 until 24th March 2012.

Stamp Duty Land Tax has to be paid to the H.M. Revenue & Customs within one month of completion of your purchase. We therefore have to collect this sum from you immediately before completion of your purchase.

NB There are some designated disadvantaged (deprived) areas in England and Wales where Stamp Duty is not payable on a purchase price below £150,000.

Can you arrange a mortgage for me?

We are able to point you in the right direction but cannot advise you to use any broker or bank in particular. We will help where we are permitted to do so.

Can you recommend an estate agent?

There are a number of very good estate agents in the area with whom we deal on a regular basis and can point you in the right direction if you require our help.

What do we need to know if we are buying in joint names?

If you are purchasing property in joint names, then we will explain to you the difference between joint tenants, and tenants In common. The way in which you hold the property will determine what happens if you were to die. In addition, we will discuss with you whether you wish to enter into a cohabitation agreement, or a trust deed setting out the terms on which the property is held. This covers issues such as:

  • how to divide out any money remaining after you sell the property
  • what will happen if one party wishes to sell the property, and the other doesn't
  • we are able to advise you and draw up a declaration of trust deed. Where unequal amounts are invested into your purchase property and therefore you will effectively hold unequal shares as tenants in common.

Find out more about making a will and setting up a trust.