Residential Conveyancing Q&As

Please use the menu on the right to locate the relevant section.


How fast can you purchase a house

This is very much an “it depends” question. Our record here is one hour from instructions to completion. However this is highly unusual and a more typical time is perhaps four weeks to exchange and two weeks after that for completion. You are likely to be able to move faster if the chain of buyers and sellers is short and the communications between solicitors is good.

I bank with HSBC and I have been told that my own solicitor cannot act for them in securing a mortgage over the house I have just agreed to buy. They have always done so in the past. Why is that

HSBC have made a decision to use separate solicitors to act for them in a mortgage than are acting for you in the purchase. They believe this cuts down the possibility of fraud, but some believe there are other reasons. There is no doubt at all that this will slow down your purchase transaction considerably and make it more expensive

I have agreed to buy a house for £251,000. I have been told that below £250,000 the Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable at 1% whilst above that threshold the rate is 3%. Is there anything I can do to pay at the lower rate

There may be. What you certainly cannot do is secretly hand over the money to your seller under the table nor can you divide the property up into say house and garden and pay separate amounts. However there is the possibility that as well as the house you are also buying perhaps carpets, curtains, furniture and loose white goods in which case it is perfectly acceptable to apportion some of the price to those items as long as the amount attributed is a fair second value for them. This is a good example of tax planning rather than tax avoidance.

I have been told by a broker that I can save large amounts of Stamp Duty Land Tax by using a particular scheme but I will have to pay him a fee. Do such schemes work

In our opinion no. The Revenue have now said that they are illegal and they will track down and charge everybody who has used one of these avoidance schemes.

Why do you need to carry out searches and check all the paperwork when you buy my house? Is it not just a matter of completing a few forms

In the English law you buy your house warts and all. If there are problems you will inherit them. So if there are no rights of way, or somebody else’s mortgage is still secured on the house, or you do not own the garden then there is nothing you can do about it. This is why everything has to be checked out carefully – in America they call it “due diligence”. It is a vital part of the conveyancing process

To speak to one of our experts please call us on 01749 836100 or Ask us a question


    How can we help you?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can