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Smith Gadd & Co Residential Conveyancing

Residential Conveyancing

Sales and purchases of Freeholds, Leaseholds,
New Builds and Share Ownership
Transfers of Equity

Lease Extensions

What is residential conveyancing?

Residential Conveyancing refers to the legal process of purchasing or selling a property. It is the action of transferring the contractual title of a property from one owner to another. 

Why Smith Gadd & Co. for Residential Conveyancing?

Buying and selling a property can be an exciting prospect, but without help it can also be a daunting process. The team at Smith Gadd are here to help you avoid potential problems and to protect your interests at every step. 

We will explain how the buying and selling process works, handle the process on your behalf, give expert advice at every stage, communicate with the solicitor on the other side of the transaction and resolve any legal issues along the way. 

What your conveyancer will need from you

Your conveyancer will ask you for information including:

  • personal identification and proof of address

  • the address and price of the property

  • how you are planning to pay for the property

When buying a property we also need to know if you:

  • have applied for a mortgage

  • want to buy leasehold property

  • plan to carry out building work

  • are buying with someone else

  • are selling a home

  • own any other residential properties

When selling a property we will also require:

  • your home’s title documents

  • planning permission for any building work

  • proof of gas and electrical checks

If you’re selling a leasehold property such as a flat, you’ll need to give your conveyancer some extra information.

  • the number of years left on the lease

  • the terms of the lease

  • any service charges or ground rent


If you are taking out a mortgage to buy a property you will usually need a satisfactory offer of a mortgage before exchanging contracts. You should be sure that you can meet any conditions in the offer, read the offer letter and mortgage conditions very carefully and your conveyancer can explain them to you if there is anything you don't understand.

If the property you’re selling is mortgaged, you’ll need to pay off the rest of the mortgage when you sell. This can be paid when you complete the sale. Speak to your mortgage lender to find out how much is left to pay. There may be extra costs for paying it off early depending on your type of mortgage.

Searches and enquiries

Before you exchange contracts, the buyer’s conveyancer will carry out searches and make enquiries.

This may include checking whether the land is subject to any right of ways or confirming whether any unregistered charges affect the property. Similarly, a professional survey or a series of surveys may be carried out to confirm whether there are any issues relating to the structure or its function.

The main searches you’ll require are:

  1. Local Authority searches 
    This search highlights:

    • Planning issues

    • Building control issues

    • Highways issues

    • Pollution issues

  2. Environmental searches
    This search highlights:

    • Flooding issues

    • Landslide issues

    • Subsidence issues

    • Contaminated land issues

  3. Water and drainage searches 
    This search enquiry is made to the local water company and highlights:

    • Who owns and maintains the sewers, drains & piping

    • If the property is connected to a public water supply and sewer

    • Whether the water supply is metered or rateable

    • The location of public sewer and drainage pipes

    • Whether you’ll need permission from the water company to extend the home

  4. Title searches 
    These are checks made of the Title register and Title plan.

    • The title register will tell you:

      • Who previously owned the property

      • What price they paid for it

      • What charges or debts are registered against the property

      • Give details about any rights of way over the property

    • The title plan is a map that shows:

      • The location of the property

      • The general boundaries of the property

Exchange of contracts

Once the seller and the buyer have agreed to the terms of the sale, both sign the contracts.


The sellers conveyancer will exchange the contract the seller has signed for the contract the buyer has signed with the buyer’s conveyancer.

Usually, the buyer will pay a pre-agreed deposit to the seller at this stage. In practical terms, the buyer transfers funds to their conveyancer, who arranges for them to be transferred to the seller’s legal representative.

Before exchanging contracts, the seller and the buyer have the right to decide not to go through with the sale. After exchanging contracts, the agreement is legally binding.

It is not until the transaction is completed, that the title is actually transferred. At this point, the buyer becomes the new owner and legal titles are transferred.


This is the final stage of the conveyancing process. The buyer’s solicitor will transfer funds to the seller’s solicitors and the sellers will vacate the property so that the buyers can take possession. 

If your transaction is part of a property chain, there could be delays on the day of completion. We will keep you up to date and resolve any legal issues as needed. The seller must move out of the property and give the keys to their estate agent for the sale to be completed.

After completion has taken place the buyer can move into the property however there is still some work to be actioned as part of the process. Any outstanding mortgages on the property are paid by the sellers conveyancer using the funds that have been transferred from the buyers. The seller’s solicitor will then pay any outstanding estate agency fees from these funds and transfer the remaining balance to the sellers.

On the other side, the buyer’s solicitor will verify the deeds and check any paperwork they receive following the completion date. They will also notify HMRC of the transaction and arrange for the relevant amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to be paid. Finally, the buyer’s solicitor will confirm to the buyer and their mortgage company that these checks have been carried out and forward the relevant paperwork.


Before taking your instructions, we will discuss the transaction with you to ascertain the complexity of the matter and let you have a written quotation setting out our fees and the costs of known disbursements.


In addition, there are a number of other expenses which have to be paid to third parties to enable us to progress your transaction. These charges are also be paid by you.


The other usual expenses are:

If we find that additional expenses are likely to be incurred after we have received the details of the title from the Land Registry we shall let you have details. If, for any reason the transaction is aborted we will let you have details of any costs incurred.


Our fixed price will be calculated on the basis that:- 

  • if the property is freehold it is held under a single freehold title at the Land Registry with no title defects

  • if the property is leasehold it is held under a single leasehold title at the Land Registry with no title defects

  • one contract is submitted to one purchaser

  • the sale will be on the basis of an unconditional contract and the property is sold with vacant possession

  • completion takes place on the date agreed in the contract


If it becomes apparent that there are unforeseen circumstances in connection with the sale we may have to increase our charges, but if that is the case, we shall inform you before we incur any additional costs.

Costs, Fees, Disbursements and Estimates correct April 2023

Work involved

On a Sale the work consists of the following: 
  • obtaining details of the title to the property from the Land Registry or, if the property is unregistered, from the title deeds;

  • drafting and negotiating a sale Contract;

  • negotiating a Transfer Deed;

  • dealing with additional enquiries raised by the buyer's solicitors;

  • meeting with you to go through the terms of the Contract and financial details relating to the sale;

  • proceeding to exchange of Contracts and then completion of the sale;

  • preparing a completion statement setting out the financial details relating to the sale

  • dealing with the transmission of funds on completion, redemption of the mortgage and payment of your Estate Agents (if any) and accounting to you for any proceeds of sale;

  • dealing with the redemption of the mortgage on completion (if applicable) and the submission of evidence of discharge of the mortgage to the buyers solicitors.


On a Purchase the work consists of the following: 

Investigating the title to the property, to include:

  • carrying out searches with respect to title and local government information for the property

  • reviewing replies given by the seller to pre-contract enquiries

  • negotiating a purchase contract

  • negotiating a transfer document

  • advising you in respect of your mortgage offer (if applicable)

  • meeting with you and reporting to you on the title and other information provided by the sellers

  • proceeding to exchange of contracts and then completion of the purchase

  • transferring funds by telegraphic transfer to the seller's solicitors and for relevant taxes

  • calculating stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on the purchase and preparing and submitting to HM Revenue & Customs the appropriate SDLT forms

  • registering the purchase and the mortgage (if applicable) at the Land Registry

  • on a leasehold property giving notice of change of ownership and mortgage to the Landlord and obtaining Share Certificate in the Management Company.

Useful Links

Stamp Duty Land
Tax Calculator


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