Our property experts have provided some answers here to some frequently asked questions regularly asked by our clients who are buying a property.

How long until I move in?

All transactions vary depending on the complexity of the legal title, the length of the chain and many more external factors. Therefore, no guarantee can ever be provided.

The average time for a conveyancing transaction is approximately 16 weeks nationally and, in the East, this can be as high as 20 weeks (Source: Today’s Conveyancer, June 2023). Our dedicated team pride themselves on routinely making that timescale much shorter, and we will be working hard to do the same for you.

Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax

Certain land transactions may attract a liability for inheritance or capital gains tax.

For Inheritance Tax purposes where the value of the deceased person’s assets (including the value of property) exceeds the exempt amount a liability may arise.

With regard to Capital Gains Tax, various rates apply depending upon the circumstances.

We are not tax experts and would therefore refer you to an accountant or tax expert if you have any queries regarding potential liability in respect of these taxes.

What happens on completion?

Time must be given for the solicitors to transfer monies. Completion is hoped to be achieved by mid-day, but this is dependent on the length of the chain involved and the speed of which the bank transfers funds. Monies must be received by the seller’s solicitors before keys are released. If you are selling and purchasing a property simultaneously your sale will normally complete at least an hour before your purchase.

What is the Stamp Duty threshold?

£0 – £125,000.00 – no Stamp Duty payable

£125,001.00 – £250,000.00 – 2% of purchase price

£250,001.00 – £925,000.00 – 5% of purchase price

£925,001.00 – £1,500,000.00 – 10% of purchase price

£1,500,001.00 and over – 12% of purchase price

The figures shown are correct for transactions that will not attract the higher rate of Stamp Duty. For instance, a purchase or transfer of equity where one of the parties or a partner/spouse already owns another property would attract a higher rate.

First time buyers

No tax is payable up to £300,000 and then 5% is payable on the portion from £300,001 to £500,000.

Please speak with our Residential Property team for further guidance.

Apportionment of leasehold service charges

In respect of a leasehold property or a property which has a liability to pay any type of service charge, the amounts will be split (apportioned) between the buyer and seller on completion.

The annual charge will be split so that the seller only pays up to the date of completion, and the buyer takes liability thereafter. If you have paid the yearly charges in advance, we will ensure that the buyers share is paid back to you with the completion monies.

When can I collect my keys?

The keys of the property will not be released to you on the day of completion until the purchase money has been received by the sellers’ solicitors’ bank. In accordance with normal procedures, we will pay for the property on your behalf by bank telegraphic transfer (which is immediate cleared funds) on the day of completion. We will ask our bank to send the funds off as soon as possible on the completion date. However, if we have to wait for funds to come in from either you, your bank or building society, or your buyers’ solicitors (if you are simultaneously selling a property), then it may be early afternoon on the day of completion before the keys of the property can be released to you. You may like to consider changing locks when you move into the new property as you have no way of knowing who has had access to keys in the past.

When do you need my deposit?

We will request the deposit from you when we are close to being in a position to exchange contracts. This is normally requested at the same time as we send the contract to you for signature. We will not request your deposit from you until your mortgage offer is received.

When is the balance due from us payable?

The whole balance (to include Fosters’ fees) must be received and cleared in our account by completion.

When should I book my removals?

If you decide to use a removal company it is a good idea to get estimates from more than one company and to make sure their insurance covers them adequately for loss of or damage to your possessions.

If you are moving long distance or over night, it is advisable to speak to your removal company early in the transaction.

It is advisable to delay booking your removals until contracts have been exchanged and a fixed completion date agreed. Some companies will agree a provisional booking, which can be confirmed by you on the day that contracts are exchanged.

Here to help

Our property experts will advise and work with you throughout your matter with us, and keep you informed about how your purchase is progressing and any issues that have arisen.

If you are a current client and have any questions about your property transaction please contact your team directly.

If you would like information about our property services please visit our Property section, or contact our New Business team directly. We can provide a free no obligation online quote direct to your inbox, or over the phone by calling 01603 620508.

Law Society accredited

The Law Society awards accreditations to legal practices and solicitors who meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service in specific areas of law. We are members of their Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), which is the recognised quality mark for legal experts in buying or selling property, and is trusted by some of the UK’s biggest lenders.