Hoffman Male

Swindon Law Office: 01793 538198

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Pricing & guidance

Buying and selling a property

There are differences between buying a property and selling one, let alone the differences between freehold houses and leasehold flats. Even the process of a buying a new-build house from a developer is a different to buying an existing house.

No two transactions are the same, but we have given examples below of the fees that would be involved on two typical matters.

We would be happy to provide a no-obligation detailed estimate that addresses your particular scenario.

In addition, we can offer a fall-through guarantee, which covers your costs in the event that a transaction does not proceed to an exchange. You are not in way required to take out this, but some clients do like the comfort and security of knowing that this is available if a matter does not proceed for any reason.

As you might expect, lawyers’ language can sometimes be confusing, so we set out below some of the common terms that are used.

Disbursements – These are costs payable to third parties that relate to your transaction.

Freehold - An estate in land which provides the holder of the estate with rights of ownership, the most comomon of which is fee simple, which is effectively absolute ownership of the land.

ID Verification
– In order to comply with the anti-money laundering regulations, we charge a small fee for verifying your identity using an online electronic service.

Leasehold - An estate in land which provides the holder of the estate with rights of possession and use of the land but not ownership. A lease is granted by the landlord, often the freeholder, to the tenant. 

Local authority search
– This is a list of standard questions dealing with matters such as planning, which are asked of the local authority.

Drainage, water and environmental searches – These are enquiries raised of the local water company to confirm whether the property is connected to mains drainage. An environmental search is to confirm that the property is not built on contaminated land.

Stamp duty land tax
– If you are buying in England, you will need to consider whether stamp duty land tax (SDLT) will be applicable to the purchase. SDLT is calculated by reference to the purchase price, and other criteria. For instance, if you own more than one property, a higher rate of SDLT may be payable, but reliefs may be also be available. SDLT needs to be paiod within 14 days of completion and an SDLT return must be made to HMRC even when if no SDLT is payable. We make a charge for preparing the return on your behalf. If you are buying a property in Wales, the equivalent tax is Land Transaction Tax (LTT); we will assist with this process as well. 

Telegraphic transfer fee – We are charged by the bank CHAPS (clearing house automated payment system) to transfer large sums of money on a same day basis, which is necessary for completion. Our bank charge us for each transfer and due to the VAT legislation, when we pass this charge on to you, we have to add VAT to that charge.

Land Registry - The Land Registry is the Government’s centrally maintained register of properties in England and Wales. The Land Registry charge fees for accessing their records, as well as for changes of ownership.

Land Registry Search/Entries – These are the charges made by the Land Registry for obtaining up to date copies of Deeds and the final search of their records we make before you complete your purchase.

Purchase of freehold house for £265,000.00, first time buyers with mortgage

Description                          Costs                 VAT               Total Fees

Our Fees                            £755.00             £151.00                £906.00
Telegraphic Transfer fee      £39.00                 £7.80                  £46.80
SDLT Return                        £65.00               £13.00                  £78.00
New mortgage fee               £65.00               £13.00                  £78.00
Fall through guarantee*     £100.00               £20.00                £120.00

*If taken


ID Verification                     £12.00                    £2.40                  £14.40
Searches                          £220.00                                             £220.00
Registration Fees             £135.00                                             £135.00
Land Charges Search Fee   £4.00                                                 £4.00
Land Registry Search Fee   £3.00                                                 £3.00
SDLT – First Time Buyers    £0.00  

Totals:                            £1,398.00               £207.20             £1,605.20  

Sale of flat (leasehold) for £125,000.00, with redemption of mortgage

Description                          Costs                 VAT               Total Fees

Our Fees                              £650.00             £130.00              £780.00
Telegraphic Transfer fee        £39.00                 £7.80                £46.80
Mortgage redemption fee      £65.00               £13.00                £78.00 
Leasehold Supplement       £150.00               £30.00              £180.00


ID Verification                       £6.00                    £1.20                  £7.20
Official copy entries              £6.00 

Totals:                               £916.00                 £182.00            £1,098.00

We charge an additional supplement for dealing with leasehold properties. These are more complicated than freehold properties, as the terms of the lease need to be reviewed by us to make sure that the terms of the lease are being complied with.

On the sale of a leasehold property, there may be additional expenses for both the buyer and the seller. Landlords and property management companies typically charge the seller for providing information in respect of service charges and ground rent which are a necessary part of the conveyancing process. These costs vary from company to company, but can be between £150 and £300 plus VAT The buyer of a flat may need to pay a notice of transfer fee to confirm their new ownership of the flat. Depending on the lease terms, these can be between £30 to £50 plus VAT. We would notify you of these costs in advance, you would pay the monies to us on account and we would then pay these.


Timing tends to be a key concern for both buyers and sellers, regardless of the nature of the property in question.

It is a difficult question to answer, due to the number of factors involved, for instance, whether there is a chain of transactions, whether a mortgage is needed and an offer made by a lender. On average, the process is between 2 – 3 months, from receipt of instructions, with 4 – 6 weeks for exchange of contracts, and then a further 2 weeks to completion.

On sales or purchases of leasehold properties, the process can take longer due to the need to obtain information packs from the landlord and management companies.

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