Buying a Property

Buying a home can be both exciting and daunting, especially if you are a first-time buyer. But at Burd Ward we will help you through the process by offering you a simple step-by-step explanation of the process and guide you through any legal issues that may come up.

Buying a property involves the legal transfer of the property (from seller to buyer). How long it takes depends on several things, such as how many buyers and sellers are involved in the process, but it can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months.

The process involves obtaining Searches which your solicitor will undertake on your behalf and on behalf of the mortgage lender. If anything is found on the searches our experts will explain it to you and advise of what actions should be taken. In addition it is advisable for you to obtain a Surveyors report.

Our Conveyancing experts will carry out all necessary investigations and help resolve any property-related issues before the Exchange of Contracts and Completion.

Searches include Local Searches which ascertain wany works that have been carried out to the property which may have required Building Regulations/Planning Permission, this also shows if there are any financial charges registered on behalf of the local authority.  Various other information such as adoption of roads by the local authority, a drainage search will also be applied to for to ascertain the property is connected to main drains and sewers and also where the drains run through the property to ensure nothing has been built over the.  A Flood Risk Essential report which will ascertain any issues with flooding, contamination and various other matters at which point, your Conveyancer,  will report to you within one week of receiving the same to inform you of any issues that maybe problematic to the property and advise you accordingly.

A Land Registry/Land Charges search will also be carried out to ensure have been no further charges registered since receiving the contract pack which is essential for both yourselves and your mortgagees.  We also have a duty of care to carry out a Bankruptcy search against your names to ensure no Bankruptcy proceedings have ever been taken/pending.

Surveyors Report is a survey carried out by a specialist usually instructed by your mortgage lender. This survey may highlight any problems with your potential new home such as structural damage, damp, removal of walls etc. Please note that a report obtained by your lender is for the benefit of the lender only and will be to ensure that the property you are buying is of adequate value for the amount which you are borrowing. It is therefore advisable for you to obtain a private Surveyors report. If any problems are found, then you may wish to go back to the seller to see if they will reduce the price to take into account the work that needs to be done to fix any problems.

Exchange of Contracts is when you enter into a binding agreement (contract) for the purposes of purchasing the property from the seller. The contract will include a date for when the purchase is to be completed. Once the Contracts have been exchanged, they become legally binding and there may be financial penalties if you or the seller were to pull out. These will be explained to you by your Solicitor.

Completion includes the transfer of funds between the solicitors for you and the seller. You will get the keys to your new property, and we will make arrangements for any Stamp Duty to be paid. Finally, we will register your name as the new owner of the property with the Land Registry office.

Our charges

The cost of buying a house is affected by numerous factors such as whether the property is leasehold or freehold. We will at the start of the conveyancing process provide you with a detailed quote providing our fees and the likely disbursements that will be incurred on your behalf.

To give an idea of the likely charges we’ve included an example of fees below.

Up to £180,000
Our fees on a purchase of a freehold start at £700.00 plus VAT of £140.00
Our fees on a purchase of a leasehold start at £1,200 plus VAT of £240.00

From £180,0001 to £300,000
Our fees on a purchase of a freehold start at £750.00 plus VAT of £150.00
Our fees on a purchase of a leasehold start at £1,500 plus VAT of £300.00

From £300,001 to £500,000
Our fees on a purchase of a freehold start at £895.00 plus VAT of £179.00
Our fees on a purchase of a leasehold start at £1,600 plus VAT of £320.00

From £500,001 to £1,000,000
Our fees on a purchase of a freehold start at £1,000.00 plus VAT of £200
Our fees on a purchase of a leasehold start at £1,800 plus VAT of £360.00

From £1,000,001 to £3,000,000
Our fees on a purchase of a freehold start at £2,000.00 plus VAT of £400
Our fees on a purchase of a leasehold start at £2,700 plus VAT of £540.00

Additional charges

In addition to the above we charge additional fees, when appropriate for the below:

Purchase of shared ownership of an existing lease £200 plus VAT of £40.00
Purchase of a shared ownership on a new lease £350 plus VAT of £70.00
Purchase of a Buy to Let £350 plus VAT of £70.00
If dealing with a Help to Buy ISA a fee of £50 plus VAT of £10 will apply
If dealing with a Lifetime ISA a fee of £100 plus VAT of £100 will apply
If dealing with a Help to Buy Mortgage a fee of £350.00 plus VAT of £70.00 will apply
If dealing with a New Build a fee of £250.00 plus VAT of £50.00 will apply
Bank transfer fee of £25.00 plus VAT of £5.00 will apply
Submission of SDLT / LTT fee of £50.00 plus VAT of £10.00 will apply
Identification / AML / Source of Funds check fee of £25.00 plus VAT of £5.00 per person will apply (powered by Thirdfort)



You will likely incur other costs and disbursements that are payable to third parties which may include: (where applicable VAT is included at 20%)

Official searches £3.00
Bankruptcy searches £2.00 per person
Local Authority Searches £135.60
Land registration fees – please refer to the Governments’ Land Registration services fees page
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or Land Transaction Tax (LTT) please refer to the Government SDLT Calculator or the Welsh Revenue Authority LTT Calculator if buying a property in Wales.


Example of our charges

For a couple purchasing a registered freehold property for £325,000 in England, we would charge:

Our fees £895.00 £179.00
Bank transfer fee (transfer of completion monies to sellers’ solicitors) £25.00 £5.00
Submission of SDLT £50.00 £10.00
Identification / AML / Source of Funds checks for 2 people £50.00 £10.00
Total fees £1,020.00 £204.00
Land Registry searches £3.00 £0.00
Bankruptcy searches for 2 people £4.00 £0.00
Local authority searches £135.60 £0.00
Land registration fee £150.00 £0.00
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) £3,750.00 £0.00
Total disbursements £4,042.60 £0.00
Subtotal £5,062.60 £204.00
Total fees, disbursements and VAT £5,266.60  

Key stages and timescales

Stage 1: Arranging to instruct us

Upon you receiving confirmation the sale has been agreed to yourselves you will need to make arrangements to instruct ourselves to act on your behalf.

The Estate Agents will require confirmation from you of your acting Solicitors and you should ensure you notify them of our details as they will then arrange to issue your acting Conveyancer with a memorandum of sale.

You may be purchasing with the need of a mortgage and your lender/mortgage advisor will also need to be made aware that we are acting on your behalf to enable them to issue a mortgage offer to us.

If you are obtaining a mortgage then the lender will carry out a valuation, however, this will be for mortgage purposes only and will not be a survey. You would need to instruct a surveyor whether obtaining a mortgage or not to ensure the are no significant issues with the property such as subsidence, damp, and any major works that may need to be carried out.

Stage 2: Receiving contract documentation (1 to 2 weeks)

Upon this firm receiving a sales memorandum from the estate agents we will arrange to contact the Solicitors acting for the seller to obtain contract documentation which will include Land Registry title documents, Property information form, Fixtures and Contents form and any other documents pertaining to works carried out at the property.

Stage 3: Contracts being received and making application for searches (2 to 4 weeks)

Once in receipt of searches all the contract papers will be fully reviewed and any necessary enquiries will then be raised with the Sellers’ Solicitor, and you will receive a copy of those enquiries. At that stage you will be able to inform us of any works you maybe aware that have been carried out in particular, extensions, additions or alterations to the property which you would have had sight upon your viewing.

Stage 4: Raising enquiries to contracts (2 to 4 weeks)

The sellers’ solicitors will review the enquiries upon receipt of the same and revert to their clients to obtain responses, if the property is a leasehold, then they may have to refer to the management company/companies or freeholder, similarly any enquiries relating to removal of walls extensions etc, may need to make enquiries with the local authority. There could be various third parties that may need to be contacted but once we receive any response from the sellers’ solicitor, we will keep you informed at that stage of the progress.

Once all satisfactory enquiries have been received we will be able to report fully to you

Stage 5: Receiving your mortgage offer (1 to 2 weeks)

If you are obtaining a mortgage offer then your mortgagees will forward our Solicitors instructions directly to ourselves and we will then be able to review the offer and report to you upon the same and provide you with any information and conditions of that offer.

Stage 6: Documentation for signature (1 to 2 weeks)

When all satisfactory response to enquiries, mortgage offer (if applicable) and searches have been received we will then fully report to you and you will then need to sign the contract papers, mortgage papers and any associated reports we send to you. At the time we will also produce your completion statement showing the balance of funds due to us.

Stage 7: Exchanging contracts and arranging a completion date

When you have signed and returned all signed documentation to us, and we are happy with the response to all enquiries we will arrange to discuss completion dates with yourselves if we have not already done so. You will then need to transfer the balance of funds to us as we will require the same to be able to utilise as your deposit (generally 10% of the purchase price.) Alternatively, if you have a sale all funds may be utilised from that transaction as a deposit.

Prior to exchange a firm date would have been agreed and we will need to make application for mortgage monies prior to ourselves exchanging and obtaining mortgages confirmation funds will be received.

Once exchange takes place all parties will be legally bound by the contract and the completion date, and we must complete on the date inserted in the contract upon exchange.

Stage 8: The day of completion

When you completion date arrives, we will then arrange to transfer completion funds to your seller’s solicitors by bank transfer. Upon receipt of funds by the sellers’ solicitors they will contact the agents to arrange for keys to be released and you will then be able to collect the same to start your moving process.

We will transfer the purchase monies to the sellers’ solicitors by bank transfer; when the funds have been received the sellers’ solicitors will confirm receipt of the same. The sellers’ solicitors will instruct the estate agents to release the key to you.

Stage 9: Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or Land Transaction Tax (LTT) submission (within 14 days of completion)

Once completion has been finalised, we will arrange to electronically lodge the SDLT/LTT return and make any payment in respect of the submission by bank transfer within timescale required.

Stage 10: Registration of the property

Following completion we will receive the necessary completion documentation from the sellers’ solicitors which will include the transfer document signed by the sellers, application will then be made to Land Registry to register the property into you name/names. This process can take anywhere between 10 and 12 months. In matters such as first registrations and newbuild properties the time frame can take up to 2 years which may increase depending on the capacity of the Land Registry. In circumstances where you may be selling the property and it has not been finalised Land Registry may agree to expedite but evidence would need to be supplied of the sale transaction / re-mortgage.

When the Land Registry complete the application, we will forward to you a copy of the registration documentation with your file closure letter along with your lender if applicable to your transaction.