We usually carry out residential conveyancing work for a fixed fee which will be provided in a quotation setting out our legal fees and the additional costs/disbursements we pay on your behalf and  the amount of VAT payable.  Please note that VAT is always charged on our fees which are based on a scale according to property price and other factors including whether the property is freehold or leasehold, whether the property is a new build and other variables.  A copy of our fee brochure can be viewed here 

Additional costs/Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as Land Registry fees.  We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.  Typical disbursements are set out in our fees brochure which can be viewed here 

What is Included in Our Fees Estimate?

Included in the fixed fee transaction prices are the following: –

On a sale, the fee given includes all attendances and correspondence with you from the opening of the file until the file is closed shortly after completion, dealing with estate agents (if any), issuing of contracts, dealing with enquiries raised by the buyers and their solicitors, dealing with any mortgage company and redeeming the mortgage upon completion, dealing with the transfer documents, replies to requisitions and effecting exchange/completion and all associated documentation.

On a purchase transaction, the quotation provided includes all correspondence with you and all telephone calls and attendances with you during the transaction, dealing with the sellers’ solicitors, raising enquiries, considering replies to enquiries, raising searches, checking search replies, providing you with copies of the searches and replies to enquiries and any comments on the same, reporting to you and dealing with any mortgage offer/instructions, reporting to you on the same, arranging your signature with advice on the contract, transfer and mortgage effecting exchange, dealing with post-exchange work, including pre-completion searches, dealing with completion, and dealing with land registration matters and advising you of registration.

Factors that could increase or decrease our overall costs estimate

There will be occasions when a transaction becomes protracted or more complex than originally anticipated. In those circumstances then we reserve the right to increase the fee that we charge for the work involved. We will inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary and let you know in writing the estimated cost of that extra work before incurring extra costs. We will attempt to agree an amended charge with you.

Further examples of factors which may increase the overall costs estimate include:

  • If a lease extension is required or a Deed of Variation to your lease because of an issue within the lease that would involve a formal deed with the landlord/managing agents, then an additional fee with apply. This would usually be around £750 but will depend on individual circumstances.
  • If you are obtaining a help to buy mortgage (by way of second charge on the property) or a help to buy ISA then an additional fee will be payable by you as the buyer. This would usually be £150 (second charge) or £50 (help to buy ISA).
  • If a title defect becomes evident during the transaction and needs to be remedied for example, a crucial right of way is not shown on the title to the property or on a leasehold flat the ground rent is excessive. The cost will depend on the remedy and documentation required and the likely cost will be £100–£900 depending on the issue.
  • A Declaration of Trust: if you are purchasing a property in joint names and wish to hold the property as tenants in common in unequal shares, then a Declaration of Trust would be recommended. This will confirm the arrangements for the sums put into the equity in the property, and what is to happen upon any sale or transfer of the property in the future. The complexity of the Declaration of Trust will depend on the individual circumstances as will the costs. The cost of a Declaration of Trust starts at £250.

(Please note all of the above figures are exclusive of VAT which is currently 20%).

Aborted Transactions 

There will be occasions when a transaction does not complete. This can be due to any number of factors. In these circumstances then we will charge you for the work we have completed up to the point the transaction ends. Our charge in an aborted transaction would not exceed the fee that has been provided to you at the outset for all of the work to be undertaken.

Key Stages

The precise stages involved in the sale and purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances, however a typical transaction will look like this 

Typical Timescales

Every transaction will differ according to the extent of the chain, whether parties within the chain require a mortgage or a survey, and how quickly mortgage, survey and searches can be obtained. On a freehold transaction, we would anticipate on average, 14-16 weeks from the date that you instruct us until completion. Your individual transaction may be more or less than this average.

Experience/qualifications of those who will carry out the work

Sapphire Aldham has overall responsibility for supervision of the property department. Your transaction will be dealt with by a named contact, but any member of our property team may advise on the day to day conduct of your matter under the supervision of Sapphire.  Please see the biographies of our team here