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Transfer of Equity in London

A transfer of equity occurs when a property owner wishes to change the legal ownership of the property. Reasons include marriage, divorce and tax planning.

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Remortgage Solicitors London

Homeward Legal's panel of solicitors carry out remortgage conveyancing for London clients every week.

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The Conveyancing
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Conveyancing in London Q & A's

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Updated: 20/01/17

Conveyancing and the London Property Market

At the time of writing (29/05/13), the London property market is continuing to buck the national trend with continued growth in asking prices.

The average price of a house in the capital is reckoned to be over £500,000. Camden, Westminster and Kensington, three of London’s largest Burroughs, have seen increases to the point where an average house will cost in excess of £1m.

As a result, property journalists continue to speculate bout a bubble set to burst, this being a standard headline month in month out for about 10 years. It may well be that a degree of artificiality underpins the market (as a whole) with the government backing lending to the tune of £130bn and along with other schemes such as ‘Help to Buy’.

However, being based in London and having years of intimate knowledge of the market, Homeward Legal’s ears are very close to the ground.

What is clear is that demand massively outstrips supply and current economic turmoil seems to be exacerbating this disparity.

The situation might change rapidly of course, but with over 500 London clients buying a month through Homeward Legal, we can (anecdotally) report continued home buyer bullishness.

Homeward Legal has a national focus with offices throughout the UK. Despite this we frequently advise clients that it is not necessary to visit your solicitor’s offices as the conveyancing process can usually be completed by phone post and email.

The one exception to that is London as the pace of the market and the peculiarities with dealing with local authorities, managing agents and high concentration of leasehold should necessitate choosing a lawyer with local knowledge.  Solicitors based outside London tend not to have enough exposure to the London Market to offer the best and most pragmatic advice.

With our headquarters based in London, Homeward Legal attracts a disproportionate number of London based clients. As a result we have an excellent working knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of buying and selling in London such as leasehold and short leases.


How do we find the cheapest London conveyancing quote?


Both high-street and online solicitors offer theoretically 'the cheapest conveyancing quotes'. However extra fees will be included in the small print. Third party costs, termed disbursements, to be paid ought to be defined on the quote Any costs listed in terms and conditions should be fair and reasonable. Homeward Legal quotes offer a clear statement of your legal fees for a standard conveyancing transaction.


We need to move in within six weeks - how long will the conveyancing take?


Six weeks is not an impossible time-frame to work to. The average time (estimated) for the conveyancing to complete is around 8 weeks, so 6 weeks is well within the range.

However, there are any number of factors, predictable or not, that can draw out the process. Our advice is to call us so we can assess the specifics, and give you a better idea of whether your preferred time-frame is achievable.

In any event, make sure you instruct a solicitor ASAP and quickly complete and return all forms and paperwork. If you are selling a property, make sure you supply all documentation requested as soon as possible. Finally, choose a solicitor that uses the fastest means of communication available, i.e. email rather than posting letters.


Would the residential property's fixtures and fittings form include things such as cupboards?


Usually, fixtures are fixed to walls, floors or ceilings and fixtures are easier to detach or remove. Early agreement of a list of fixtures and fittings will avoid later disputes, confirming what will be sold with the property.


Will my new home be affected by the proposed HS2 route?


It is fair to say that the final HS2 route across London is far from confirmed. Initial plans to knock down nearly 20 bridges have been abandoned in favour of an 8-10 mile tunnel.

If you are planning on buying in West London this should come as a welcome relief as this area was to be a particularly disrupted with an estimated 5 years of work, bringing potential misery to local inhabitants. Traffic in the area could have been particularly disrupted, with Hangar Lane being subject to a complete reconfiguration.

Controversy around the HS2 project continues, with some speculating it may never actually commence.

Either way, your solicitor will carry out searches that will reveal any potential impact that the route might have on your new home purchase.


Should I employ the property solicitor suggested by our estate agent in London?


An agent will be able to influence a conveyancing solicitor they refer many clients to, and can therefore exert pressure on your behalf. If the agent is paid a referral fee, however, it may be the case that the agent recommends the solicitor willing to pay the highest referral fee, not the law firm with the best reputation.


I am buying a property in a disadvantaged area - how do I go about claiming stamp duty relief?


Unfortunately, the Government scheme offering disadvantaged area stamp duty relief came to an end on 06/04/13 with the start of the 2013/14 tax year. This means that if your property 'completes' on or after this date, no stamp duty exemption may be claimed even if you qualified under all other criteria.

If you are yet to claim relief and your purchase completed before this date, you should seek further guidance at HMRC website. You have until 5/05/14 to make a claim after which time claims will not be considered.


Is contaminated land an issue in the Capital and what investigations occur during the legal process?


Contaminated land is land containing substances that might endanger human health or the environment.

When representing a home buyer, a solicitor will carry out an environmental search which will provide information on any contaminated land. It is possible to fail an Environmental Search and this may be due to the land being contaminated. If this happens, then details will be reported in the 'Report on Title'.

Local councils are responsible for policing the law in relation to contaminated land. In practice this means maintaining a strategy, identifying those responsible for contamination, and ensuring remedial procedures are carried out. Councils also keep a formal register of known contaminated plots.


Will my conveyancer conduct any property searches on a Fifties detached building I am intending to purchase?


If purchasing and taking out a mortgage, in all probability your mortgage lender will expect your solicitor to apply for at least the following searches: Local Authority, Drainage and Water Search and Environment Search, and possibly less common searches for example Official Search of Whole with Priority (OS1).

If you are not taking out a mortgage you don not have to take out searches. You may however wish to apply for searches in any event as they contain useful and sometimes critical local information. Your solicitor will advise accordingly.