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Why you need a specialist London solicitor:

Conveyancing solicitors acting for buyers and sellers of properties in London face unique challenges.

Many issues affecting London property are rare in other parts of the UK. Solicitors based outside of London may be unfamiliar with these issues.

The following is a list of just some of the ways in which a specialist London conveyancer could make the buying and selling process much smoother. In some cases, a London solicitor's local knowledge may even save your house purchase or sale.

The 2021 London Property Market

In the past few years, the property market in London has been particularly sensitive to uncertainty in the UK’s economic and political outlook.

London Skyline

Following the years of Brexit uncertainty, the London property market bounced back. Buoyed on by the 'Boris Bounce', confidence returned to the market, and buyer and seller activity increased dramatically.

Once the market reopened post-lockdown, reports of homeowners selling up and leaving London were common in the media. The figures tell a different story, however, highlighting steady growth in prices through 2020 and accelerating growth in the first quarter of 2021.

2021 overall proved to be a boom period for property sales, despite ongoing COVID uncertainty. The Omicron variant that emerged in late 2021 did not appear to stall the market and prices continued to rise in Q1 2022.

As interest rates rise, it remains to be seen whether the property market will continue to surge or slow down.

Delays in the conveyancing process can only increase the probability of the buyer attempting to renegotiate or perhaps even pulling out of the purchase.

Obtaining managing agent information was always one of the biggest causes of delay with a leasehold sale. Unfortunately, successive lockdowns have led to even more serious backlogs in the supply of this managing agent information.

A London solicitor will know the importance of sourcing managing agents' information as early as possible, perhaps even before you find a buyer. This alone can shave weeks off the conveyancing process.

High percentage of leasehold property

Leasehold is fundamentally more complicated than freehold and there are many more factors that can jeopardize a sale or purchase.

Absent freeholders, short leases, unresponsive management companies, freeholder disputes are but a few of the issues that make a leasehold sale or purchase more complicated.

Many law firms outside London are not exposed to enough leasehold legal work to be truly proficient in it. Choosing a London conveyancing solicitor for your move will ensure solicitor competency in leasehold transactions.

Further reading: Don't get caught in the leasehold property trap

London estate agents

Successfully buying or selling a home is often down to teamwork between all parties involved.

In particular a solicitor and agent with an established working relationship can be a formidable force in helping get your sale or purchase through. Working in tandem with the majority of London’s agents, your solicitor will work to anticipate and resolve issues before they become problems.

See also: What to check before signing an estate agent contract

London local authorities

Local councils on London are mostly large organisations with large numbers of people. Camden Council, for example, is a huge organisation with nearly 300,000 residents.

Dealing efficiently with London local authorities is much easier when the solicitor is familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the individual authority. Your solicitor will liaise with all councils across London on a daily basis and often know the inside track.

Investment buyers and seller

The diversity of buyers and seller profiles in London is greater than anywhere else in the UK.

Every month we deal with overseas buyers from the EU, Asia, America and the Middle East. Many are investment buyers or sellers, often transacting with people who are not investors. A good London solicitor will be able to translate and coordinate the varying needs and expectations of London buyers and sellers.

Other London specific challenges

London conveyancing solicitors often face very specific challenges common or unique to London.

Legally defective flat conversions, Japanese Knotweed, North London subsidence, short leases, very high value property, unofficial roof terraces are all examples of common issues with London properties.

A good London solicitor will have established procedures for dealing with common London legal issues.


How much are conveyancing fees for buying or selling a home in London?

Conveyancing fees are comprised of the solicitor's legal and disbursements.

Disbursements are the costs payable as part of a conveyancing transaction, incurred on your behalf, such as HMLR fees or local authority searches. Legal fees are for the solicitor's legal work.

Your solicitor's legal fees for buying or selling a house in London are fixed, which means that for a standard transaction, your fixed fee conveyancing quote will have no additional fees

Calculate the conveyancing fees for your London sale or purchase

Our online conveyancing fees calculator gives an instant conveyancing quote including all of the legal costs involved in buying and selling your home.

Read more:

How much should conveyancing fees cost in 2021?

Will I need property searches when buying a property in London?

Searches are questions submitted to a number of authorities by London conveyancing solicitors to identify issues affecting the home you want to buy. Mortgage lenders also usually require conveyancing searches to be purchased.

Read more:

What are conveyancing searches when buying a home and do I need them?

How long does leasehold conveyancing take?

Over 90% of flats in the UK are leasehold. Leasehold houses are less common, but there are still an estimated 1 million such properties across the country. The conveyancing for a leasehold flat can take weeks longer than a freehold property as there is more work involved and the landlord or managing agent are involved.

Examples of delays might include anything from incomplete managing agent information to uncontactable landlords.

Expert leasehold solicitors look after hundreds of leasehold clients every month. With specialist expertise there should be far fewer delays.

Does the conveyancing for selling leasehold take longer?

Yes, it can take considerably longer to carry out the conveyancing on leasehold properties when compared to conveyancing on a freehold house.

The buyer's conveyancer will need to review several leasehold-related documents, such as an up-to-date statement of service charges. The time required by the seller's conveyancer to source this information is usually the cause of these delays.

Your lawyer should get this underway even before you have found a buyer, because these details can take weeks to collect if it is difficult to contact the landlord or managing agent.

Read more:

Selling a leasehold flat? What to do before going on the market

Will I need a conveyancing solicitor if I am remortgaging my London property?

Yes, you will need a remortgage conveyancing solicitor.

The Bank of England base rate is currently 0.75% (May 2019). A good London remortgage solicitor should be able to complete the conveyancing quickly and get you onto your new rate without delay.

Conveyancers are members of most UK mortgage lenders, so no matter whether you are moving to a 95% mortgage with the HSBC or to a fixed-rate mortgage with the Swansea Building Society, a specialist remortgage solicitor can assist.

Check your solicitor can act for your lender

Your next step

If you are buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring equity in a property in London and need an expert conveyancing solicitor, we can take care of the legal side of your move.

We work with a panel of specialist conveyancing solicitors to deliver a stress-free moving experience.

  • No Move, No Fee Guarantee
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  • London experts
  • CQS-accredited panel solicitors
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