Thank you for looking at our property services. Whether you are a first-time buyer or an investor, we are here to take the stress out of buying residential property.
We will guide you through each step of your transaction and offer a service that that fits your exact requirements.
At a time where money really matters, we always provide a quality service at a fair price. We will keep you up-to-date with all of the relevant information so you can make informed decisions and have complete confidence that every detail has been properly taken care of.
Why Huggins Lewis Foskett
We have an experienced team who understand the stress involved in buying your property. Our approach is simple; we provide a first-class service from our expert team who make the difference by removing confusion and uncertainty, dealing with all of the legal details of a property transaction on your behalf.
Our team is made up of highly qualified conveyancers and solicitors who have the legal and technical “know how” to resolve any issues as they arise in a professional and efficient manner. We also recognise that communication is key, especially where there are complex issues to deal with, so will ensure you are always kept up-to-date and get answers to your questions in plain English.
We want you to feel confident that you are a priority, with our aim being that any member of the team is available to speak with you when you need some clarity and certainty at any stage in the process. We feel this provides reassurance and gives you an outlet for any concerns that you may have. We know property is often the biggest investment you have, so we want to offer a reliable, first-class service to protect that investment, while giving you value for money with no hidden fees.
We are proud to hold Lexcel and CQS Accreditations, issued by the Law Society. This involves the firm undergoing a rigorous audit process which ensures we maintain high levels of client care.
Joint Tenancy v Tenancy in Common
When you purchase a property jointly, there are two ways in with you can own the beneficial interest in it; (1) as joint tenants and (2) as tenants in common.
Joint tenancy means that you each own 100% of the legal and beneficial ownership in the property. When one of you passes away, the surviving owner automatically becomes the sole owner of the property – this happens under a legal principle called the ‘doctrine of survivorship’. Even if you leave everything you own (including the property) to a third party in your Will, your share of the property will pass to the surviving joint owner.
In contrast, when you own property jointly as tenants in common, whilst you are both joint legal owners, you each own a specific share of the beneficial interest (e.g. 50:50) which you can then choose to leave to a third party in the event of your death (or which will pass to your beneficiaries under the intestacy rules if you do not make a will). If you proceed to purchase as tenants in common, it is sensible to record the nature of each person’s share of the beneficial interest in a separate document called a ‘declaration of trust’ deed so that future disputes as to the size of each person’s share or the amount each person is to receive from sale proceeds when the property is sold can be avoided. We can prepare Wills (£215 (single Will) - £395 (mirror Wills) plus VAT) and declaration of trust deeds (£350 - £450 plus VAT) and so please do let us know if these are services you would like us to undertake for you.
As the way in which you intend to hold property will impact upon the conveyancing work we do, please let us know how you wish to own your property as soon as possible. If you would like additional information on each of the ownership options, please let us know
For convenience, we have set out more detailed information in our Residential Conveyancing Terms and below: -
We charge a standard professional fee for acting on your purchase which incorporates the basic work required to complete your acquisition. Our fees are based upon the value of your property and reflect the level of financial responsibility we undertake when progressing your Matter.
Our standard professional fees are as follows: -
Value of the property
Standard Professional Fee
£1,100.00 plus VAT
£501,000 - £600,000
£1,145.00 plus VAT
£601, 000 - £700,000
£1,200.00 plus VAT
£701,000 – £800,000
£1,250 plus VAT
£801,000 - £900,000
£1,350 plus VAT
£901,000 – £1,000,000 plus
£1,400 plus VAT
£1,000,001 - £1,200,000
£1,500 plus VAT
£1,200, 001 and above
We would prefer to discuss this with you so that we can provide a quote on a more personal basis
In addition to our standard professional fees, we may have to undertake additional work on your behalf in the course of progressing your Matter. These additional fees are as follows: -
Preparing a general power of attorney enabling a third party to execute documents on your behalf
£150 plus VAT
Supplementary fee where your property is leasehold (covering the additional work completed by us)
£150 plus VAT
Supplementary fee where your property is unregistered land (covering the additional work completed by us to establish your ownership to the satisfaction of the purchaser)
£150 plus VAT
Preparing Statutory Declarations (for e.g. defects in title, missing deeds, possessory title applications)
£150.00 plus VAT per hour
Requesting historical files from our Archive or deeds held in our Secure Deeds Store
£25.00 plus VAT per file/Deed Record
Dealing with third party lawyers (in e.g. matrimonial disputes)
£150.00 plus VAT per hour
Acting for your Lender in a mortgage
£150 plus VAT
Where completion is required in 14 days or less
£100 plus VAT
Abortive fees where your matter does not progress to completion
£pro rata based upon the amount of work done prior to withdrawal
Bank Charge for arranging same day electronic payments (sterling)
£30 plus VAT
Bank Charge for arranging overseas payment (i.e. non GPB) electronic payments
£60 plus VAT
Preparing Declaration of Trust Deed
£350-£450 plus VAT
£215 (single) - £395 (two wills) plus VAT
Preparing and submitting electronic Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Return
£60 plus VAT
Dealing with Help to Buy ISA
£50 plus VAT
Help to Buy Supplemental Fee
£300 plus VAT
Shared Ownership Supplemental Fee
£175 plus VAT
Dealing with Newbuild Properties (including off plan)
£250 plus VAT
When you purchase a property, we will obtain a number of searches on your behalf in an effort to thoroughly investigate the property and any rights and restrictions affecting it. The most common searches and their estimated costs are explained below.
Local Authority Search
This search provides information relating to the property you are buying but does not include proposals for development of adjoining properties or surrounding areas. It includes planning history, building control history, enforcement actions, nearby road schemes, rights of way, tree preservation orders, radon gas information, village green and other designations and CIL information. These searches are usually ‘official searches’ carried out by an officer of the local authority in which your property is situate. Whilst you can understand this search yourself by contacting your local authority planning department, please bear in mind that you will still be required to pay a fee and you will need to provide us with a copy as soon as possible, Our search provider usually charges in the region of £100 - £150 for this type of search.
This contains information and risks relating to environmental factors including flooding, landslides, landfill, contamination, waste sites, historical land use and other hazardous substances (normally within a range of around 500m). Please note that in accordance with paragraph 26.3 of our Terms of Business we cannot advise on contamination issues. Our search provider usually charges in the region of £40 - £100 for this type of search.
Drainage and Water Search
This contains details of the public sewer system and whether there are any sewers within the boundary of the property. It also shows whether the property is connected to mains sewage and water, has a metered water supply, whether the sewers are adopted (i.e. maintained by the local authority) and the location of public water mains which could be very important if you are planning on carrying out redevelopment work. Our search provider charges in the region of £70 - £80 for this type of search.
Bankruptcy Search /Winding Up Search
Before we complete your purchase, if you are obtaining mortgage finance, we will need to perform a bankruptcy search against each individual borrower (or a winding up search against any company purchaser). Bankruptcy searches cost approximately £2 each and a winding up search is in the region of £17 - £20
This search shows whether the roads around your property are private or adopted, whether any rights of way affect your property and if there are any planned highways works in the vicinity of your property. Our search provider charges in the region of
Just prior to completion, we will also perform an Official Search in your name(s) (or in the name of your Lender if you are purchasing with mortgage finance). This will tell us whether any additional entries have been entered on the property register since the time we obtained office copy entries and will protect you from anybody else attempting to register an entry against the title to your property from the date of your search for a period of 30 days. The cost of an official search is £3.
Depending on the location of your property, there are a number of other searches which we can obtain and which will provide additional information about your property and the surrounding area including chancel repair, utility searches, flood searches, hazard surveys, mining and planning searches. Land Charges searches will also be necessary when a property is unregistered. If it looks like you may benefit form additional searches, we will discuss the options and costs with you prior to obtaining these.
Land Registry Fee
Once your purchase has completed, we will register your ownership by submitting an application to Land Registry to add your names (and the details of any legal charges) to the register. The fee Land Registry charge is based upon the value of your property and an estimate will be provided as part of our online costs calculation and will be included in our engagement letter.
As set out in paragraph 9.1 of our Terms of Business, we are required to verify the identity of each client. Huggins Lewis Foskett Solicitors charge an Enhanced Electronic ID verification fee of £14.95 + VAT per person for each check completed and this amount will be added to your final bill when your matter completes. We have partnered with Thirdfort to give our clients the flexibility to complete the necessary identity checks in an efficient, timely and secure manner. Thirdfort is an FCA regulated business that use cutting edge ID verification technology and bank level encryption to allow you to complete the enhanced ID verification process from the comfort of your own home in a matter of minutes using your smartphone.
Save in relation to the information set out below, as set out in our Terms of Business at paragraph 26.1, we are unable to advise you on tax advice in connection with the sale of your property. Should you require guidance on tax issues arising our of your transaction, please consult a professional accountant or advisor.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
When a chargeable transfer occurs, Stamp Duty Land Tax (‘SDLT’) is payable by the purchaser(s) on the consideration (i.e. the purchase price). In order to complete the required SDLT Return form and pay the SDLT due on or immediately following the day of completion, we will need the national insurance number and date of birth of one purchaser who will act as the ‘lead purchaser’ for the purposes of SDLT. Before the Return form is submitted, we will ask you to check the details as payment of SDLT remains your responsibility. HMRC have imposed a deadline for submission of SDLT returns and tax (currently 30 days but is due to decrease to 14 days in April 2019) after which fines will be imposed and so it is vital that we have the necessary information from you as soon as possible. Please note that if we cannot submit the SDLT return because you have not provided us with information we have requested, we will not be responsible for paying any fines imposed.
Current rates of SDLT on residential property purchases are as follows: -
Proportion of Purchase Price
Buy to Let/Additional Property Rate
Up to £125,000
£125,001 - £250,000
£250,001 - £925,000
£925,001 - £1,500,000
Remaining value over £1500,001
Current rates and SDLT calculators can also be found at https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/
In some instances, SDLT is not payable or the rates are reduced (certain geographical locations, first time buyers with residential properties worth less than £500,000, multiple property purchases) – we will advise you of this during the course of the conveyancing process. Where you already own a property and your purchase is an additional property, the surcharged rates will apply. SDLT rules for mixed use and/or commercial property purchases are more complex and so please contact us for more information.
Even if SDLT is not payable, in most instances an SDLT Return (‘nil return’) will still need to be filed. Examples of where returns are not needed include purchases where no monies are paid, gifts in Wills/intestacy, re-mortgages, and matrimonial (divorce) related transactions but please contact us if you are uncertain as to whether SDLT applies or not.
We do not currently charge additional fees for:
- Preparing Deeds of Gift
- Reviewing new/amended Mortgage offers
- Completing Occupiers Consent Forms
- Dealing with Buy to Let mortgages
- Service of Notice of Assignment/Reassignment
- Preparing Deeds of grant or variation of rights
- Removal a registered caution
- Obtaining copies of planning or building regulations consents (where the documents are in the public domain)
- Preparing statutory declarations
- Administering a retention of funds upon completion
- Requesting historical files from our Archive or deeds held in our Secure Deeds Store
- Dealing with third party lawyers in e.g. matrimonial disputes
During the course of your Matter, there will be third party costs (called ‘disbursements’) which we have to pay and for which we are allowed to recover the cost. Possible disbursements incurred during the sale of your property include:-
Official copies of your property title documents (including title, plan, leases, deeds, agreements etc)
£3.00 per document
Cheques returned unpaid
Indemnity insurance to cover defects on your title, unknown covenants, missing planning permissions or building control certifications etc
premium to be advised upon obtaining quotations for the same
Freeholder Management Pack (where your property is leasehold your freeholder is likely to charge a fee for providing up to date insurance, service charge and other information requested by your purchaser
fee to be advised upon making contact with your freeholder
Should additional disbursements be likely, we will advise you of the cost before these are incurred.
Purchases involving Help to Buy Schemes can involve additional steps and we will be happy to advise you of these in the event that you are
For any transaction, the timescales are subject to change depending on when your offer is accepted, and factors involved such as:
- Number of parties in the chain
- Whether you have a mortgage in place
- Whether you are buying a new build property
- Whether you need a lease extension for a leasehold property
A typical transaction will take between 10-14 weeks. However, if any of the above apply, or there are other factors we need to take into consideration, it may increase the time by a further 4-6 weeks and additional charges may occur. We will discuss this with you at the earliest opportunity so you always have a clear picture of how long things are likely to take.
With every transaction there are key milestones, which may vary according to individual circumstances. They may be as follows:
- Taking your instructions and give initial advice based on the information you have provided
- Checking finances are in place to fund the purchase and contacting the lender’s solicitors if needed
- Receiving and advising on contract documents
- Undertaking searches
- Obtaining further planning documentation if required
- Making any necessary enquiries of the seller’s solicitor
- Providing advice on all documents and information received
- Advising you of the mortgage offer conditions
- Finalising contracts and sending to you for signature
- Agreeing a completion date (the date from which you will legally own the property)
- Exchanging contracts and notifying you that this has happened
- Ensuring all monies have been received from you and the lender(s)
- Completing the purchase
- Dealing with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax
- Completing and submitting an application for registration at the Land Registry
For further information on purchasing residential property and re-mortgaging/transfer of equity, please see our Residential Conveyancing Terms