Solicitors in Westminster, London
LBMW has an unparalleled reputation as one of London’s leading Residential Real Estate Solicitors.
Our solicitors understand that no two transactions are the same and we believe in delivering a tailored and flexible service. Whether you are buying a property as an investment vehicle or for personal occupation you will find our service levels second to none for both availability and discretion.
We pride ourselves on handling all of our clients' purchases and sales in an efficient and friendly manner so that the process is as stress-free as possible. We discuss your requirements at the outset, liaise with all interested parties and keep you informed as the transaction progresses. We also have strong relationships with other professionals within the property market.
Our highly experienced solicitors offer the following advice:
- In relation to freehold and leasehold sales and purchases
- Regarding joint ownership arrangements and buy-to-let schemes;
- Planning issues;
- Transfers of Ownership
- Right to Buy
- Help to Buy
- Plot sales
- Property management, equity release issues and ‘lock out’ agreements;
- Ownership, redevelopment and use of basements or vaults.
- Licence to Assign
- Licence for Alterations
Client care is at the heart of what we do; as are the practical solutions we tailor to help achieve our client’s property requirements. We keep you up-to-date with developments throughout your transaction, and will help guide to you through the process. Our approach ensures that all our clients are full kept fully abreast of the transaction. We always ensure that each client has a dedicated person will always deal with your transaction, allowing you to have a familiar and consistent point of contact.
As part of our service, we also act on behalf of all major building societies and lending institutions. We hold the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation.
Selling/Buying Your property – a guide to a typical transaction
SELLING YOUR PROPERTY
A residential sale transaction is the process of legally transferring a property from you to your Purchaser. The purpose of this factsheet is to briefly guide you through the process of a typical sale transaction.
INITIAL STEPS: Once you have accepted your Purchaser’s offer, you will need to instruct us in relation to your transaction, if you have not done so already. We will send you our Letter of Engagement and Terms of Business which will set out our instructions. This will allow you to download our Application (“App”) on your mobile telephone. This App contains a number of documents that will need to be completed by you, together with an identity check (if applicable). For ease, you can complete and sign all of these documents via our App. On receipt of your formal instructions we will issue a contract pack to the Purchaser’s solicitor. Further documents will be supplied in relation to a leasehold property. Some of these documents, including a management pack, will be requested once you have completed your documents and transferred to us money on account as requested in our letter of engagement.
CONTRACT PACK: Our contract pack will usually contain the following:
Draft Contract: Official Copies of Land Registry documents including an official copy plan, together with any documentation referred to in the official copy entries
Property Information Form: Fittings and Contents Form Energy Performance Certificate (if applicable)
Where the Property is leasehold, it will also include:
Official Copy Lease: Management Pack produced by the Landlord and/or Managing Agent (Please note that this pack can take a number of weeks to be received). Landlords/Managing Agents usually charge a fee for providing a management pack. Once we have received confirmation from you as to who the Landlord/Managing Agent is, we will find out what the fee is and will let you know. We may have to ask for additional funds on account or you may decide it more expedient to transfer the fees directly to the Landlord/Managing Agent.
RAISE ENQUIRIES: On receipt of the search results, the Purchasers' solicitor will usually raise enquiries within 1-2 weeks. They would also send us any suggested amendments to the contract and request that we send them the contract in its final form. We may have to refer enquiries to you to answer and also to the Managing Agents. Once we have replied to the enquiries and we have the contract in its final form, we shall make arrangements to send you the documents for signing, in readiness for exchange and completion. We may also invite you to attend our offices to sign the contract and transfer should you prefer. We can discuss any queries you may have in relation to the transaction at any time.
MORTGAGE: If you have a mortgage, we will also request a redemption statement for you. You are advised to check if an early repayment penalty will be payable.
EXCHANGE CONTRACTS: Once the Purchasers are satisfied with all replies and you are happy to proceed, we will look to exchange contracts. On exchange of contracts, both parties are contractually bound to complete the transaction on the completion date. The Purchaser usually pays a deposit on exchange of contracts which is equivalent to 10% of the sale price. This deposit will be held as stakeholder, which means that this will be held in our client account, unless you have a related purchase, in which case the deposit can be transferred to your Seller’s solicitors. Failure to complete on the completion date would render the party at fault to be in breach of contract, and will result in repercussions in relation thereto.
COMPLETION DATE: On the completion date, we will receive the completion funds from your Purchasers' solicitor and once we are in receipt of the same, we will release the keys, which means that we will call the estate agents and advise them that they can now release the keys to your Purchaser. On completion we will send your signed Transfer documents to the Purchasers' solicitor, redeem your current mortgage registered at the Property, pay any estate agent’s commission, and account to you with any balance of funds.
Further information: The above is a summary and not an exhaustive list of the additional considerations when selling a property. Nothing in this factsheet is intended to provide specific legal advice.
If you require any further information or advice in relation to any of the information contained in this factsheet, please do not hesitate to contact us.
PURCHASING YOUR PROPERTY
A residential purchase transaction is the process of legally transferring a property from the Seller to you. The purpose of this factsheet is to briefly guide you through the process of a typical purchase transaction.
INITIAL STEPS: Once the Seller accepts your offer you will need to instruct us in relation to your transaction, if you have not done so already. We will send you our Letter of Engagement and Terms of Business which will set out our instructions. This will allow you to download our firm's Application (“App”) on your mobile telephone. This App contains a number of documents that will need to be completed by you, together with an identity check (if applicable). For ease, you can complete and sign all of these documents via our App. Once we are formally instructed by you, we will inform the Sellers' solicitor that we are instructed. The Sellers' solicitor would then send us a sales pack which will include land registry documents, the draft contract and information forms duly completed by the Seller. Further documents will be supplied in relation to leasehold property. Some of these documents, including a management pack, may not be provided at the outset of the transaction as they are prepared by the Landlord and/or Managing Agents managing the building.
SEARCHES: On receipt of money on account, we will instigate searches on the land. It usually takes about two to three weeks for the results to be returned. The usual searches conducted are the local authority search, environmental search and a water and drainage search. Other searches may be requested depending on the location of the property.
Local Authority Search: The local authority search details any planning applications or building regulations that have been applied for in respect of the Property, it also provides information such as whether or not the road is adopted or whether the Property is located within a conservation area. Please be aware that this search relates specifically to the property searched and will not tell you about neighbouring planning applications.
Water and Drainage Search As the name suggests, the water and drainage search provides details on the water and drainage at the Property such as whether or not there are any public sewers located within the boundaries of your Property and whether the property is connected to a water meter etc.
Environmental Search: The environmental search provides information with regards to environmental issues concerning the Property. This usually comes back with a 'passed' or 'referred' result. If it has been referred, it may be that the past environmental use of the Property or of the land is questionable such as where the land was previously used for an industrial purpose. It will also highlight whether the Property is at risk of flooding and/or subsidence. It also includes useful information on the future climate change risk for your Property.
Chancel Repair Liability: A chancel search confirms whether the Property falls withing a parish which continues to have a potential of chancel repair liability i.e. repair to the local church. However, it is now practice to obtain an indemnity insurance policy for chancel repair liability at the outset in lieu of obtaining a chancel search as this is more cost effective for Purchasers.
RAISE ENQUIRIES: On receipt of the search results, we will send our enquiries to the Sellers' solicitor. We would also send them any suggested amendments to the contract and request that they send us the contract in its final form. Upon receipt of replies to our enquiries, we would normally be in a position to report to you. Our report would contain all the information gleaned from our investigations. This report will also contain a Fittings and Contents Form which sets out what will be left at the Property on completion. We shall make arrangements to send you the documents for signing, in readiness for exchange and completion. We may also invite you to attend our offices to sign the contract and transfer should you prefer. We can discuss any queries you may have in relation to the transaction at any time.
MORTGAGE: If you are reliant upon mortgage finance, your mortgage offer will usually have been received at this stage. We will need to check through your mortgage offer and check the conditions and arrange for you to sign a mortgage deed, in readiness for completion, which will be sent to the Land Registry after completion to register the mortgage against the title to the property. We will usually act for your lender as well as you, so long as we are on their panel of solicitors. If we are not on the lenders' panel, the lender will instruct their own independent solicitors at your expense.
EXCHANGE CONTRACTS: Once we are satisfied with all replies from the Sellers' solicitor and you are happy to proceed we will look to exchange contracts. Purchasers are obliged to pay a deposit equivalent to 10% of the purchase price on exchange of contracts. This deposit will be held as stakeholder, which means that this will be held in the Sellers' solicitor's client account. If you have a related sale you may use the 10% deposit on your sale and transfer any additional sums required for a 10% deposit on your Purchase. Failure to complete on the completion date would render the party at fault to be in breach of contract, and will result in repercussions in relation thereto.
COMPLETION DATE: On the completion date, we will be in receipt of your funds and will send these to the sellers' solicitor and once they are in receipt of the same, they will release the keys, that is they call the estate agents and advise them that they can now release the keys to you.
STAMP DUTY LAND TAX: We will prepare and submit the Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) return and calculation of the total SDLT payable. Whilst we are able to advise on SDLT, our advice is limited to SDLT payments to HMRC that are made without any application for relief, or any other form of SDLT relief which might be available to you. Such advice is excluded from our retainer and should you be considering any form of SDLT relief or mitigation, you should seek specialist tax advice. We would be happy to discuss this further.
REGISTRATION AT LAND REGISTRY: Following completion, we will proceed to register your ownership of the Property at the Land Registry.
Further information: The above is a summary and not an exhaustive list of the additional considerations when purchasing a property. Nothing in this factsheet is intended to provide specific legal advice.
If you require any further information or advice in relation to any of the information contained in this factsheet please do not hesitate to contact us.