Conveyancing - Buying a Property

Experienced solicitors for when you are buying a house

Are you considering purchasing a property? It is important to make sure you instruct an experienced solicitor when you are buying a house. Here at Hart Brown, we understand that buying a property is likely to be one of the largest purchases you will make. Therefore, our expert house buying solicitors are here to help you make informed decisions throughout the process. Whether the property is freehold, leasehold, new build, or any other type of property, the process can be legally complicated and stressful. It is vital to make sure you choose experienced solicitors for your house purchase. Our property buying solicitors understand how stressful the process can be and we will deal with the legal transaction and paperwork in a straightforward manner so you do not need to worry. Our team works hard to ensure that contracts can be exchanged in a timely manner and you can enjoy your new property with minimal delays.

At Hart Brown our experience covers:

  • the purchase of agricultural land
  • buying at auction
  • buy to let
  • leasehold including retirement properties
  • shared ownership

If you are purchasing agricultural land, there are many pitfalls you need to be aware of including planning constraints, tenancies and other limitations of use and access. Our specialist property buying solicitors will investigate the title thoroughly and will fully explain the situation so you can avoid difficulties when using the land in the future.

If you are considering buying a property at auction you should look at the paperwork in thorough detail before you buy as once the hammer falls, you are obliged to purchase the property regardless. When buying a property, our house buying solicitors are able to investigate the title for you before the auction and raise enquiries for you which may inform your decision to purchase the property.

Buy to let properties can be a good financial investment, however, as a landlord you have certain obligations and legal responsibilities. We regularly act for individuals purchasing buy to let properties and our property specialists will advise you on the financial implications, the mortgage, and any contracts you may need in place for your tenants. Our solicitors are also able to help after the house purchase, by dealing with any difficulties with your tenants in the future should issues arise.

If you are purchasing a leasehold property, we will explain the terms of the lease to you, including the covenants and restrictions. We are rigorous in our legal checks as leases can be complicated documents and any mistakes could make it difficult for you to sell the property at a later date. Retirement properties often have similar restrictions imposed on them such as the age of occupants and the ability to live independently. It is important to make sure that you seek advice from experienced solicitors when buying a house or retirement property to help you to fully understand what you are buying.

Purchasing a property through shared ownership may have unwanted hidden costs. Our property solicitors will make sure that you are fully aware of the immediate financial costs and any future fees that you might incur before purchasing the property.

To discuss buying a house with one of our solicitors in more detail, call us on 01483 887766, email us or get in touch via live chat today.

Our Fees


Our legal fees for the purchase of a freehold property:

Minimum fee: £1,500 including VAT at 20%.

Average fee: £2,200 including VAT at 20%.

Our legal fees for the purchase of a leasehold property:

Minimum fee: £1,860 including VAT at 20%.

Average fee: £2,340 including VAT at 20%.

The purchase of a new build property will incur an additional fee of £420 including VAT at 20%.

Our fees are calculated based upon various factors that include the purchase price, the complexity of matters that affect the property, the desired timescale for the transaction and capacity at the time of instruction. Please contact us so that we can provide an estimate of costs tailored to your intended transaction.

Our estimate of fees detailed above assumes that the transaction is straightforward, without unforeseen complexities and that:

  • the property is held under a single title at the Land Registry with no title defects;
  • one contract is submitted to one buyer;
  • the property is being purchased in your name;
  • the purchase is subject to an unconditional contract;
  • the property is acquired with vacant possession;
  • completion takes place on the date agreed in the contract; and
  • if you are buying a leasehold property, there is an existing lease (not the grant of a new lease), in an acceptable form with an effective management set up and not requiring formal variation of the provisions or an extension of the lease term.

Depending upon whether you are purchasing a freehold or leasehold property, you can also expect to pay the following additional fees:

Stamp Duty Land Tax return submission fee: £4.80 including VAT at 20%

Local search fee (estimated): £264 including VAT at 20%

Drainage search fee: £72 including VAT at 20%

Environmental search fee: £69.60 including VAT at 20%

Land Registry search fee:  £3.60 including VAT at 20%

Land Charges Registry search fee £4.80 including VAT at 20%

(Leasehold properties) – average landlord’s notice fee: £180 including VAT at 20%

Our money transfer fee for completion: £39.60 including VAT at 20%

Stamp Duty Land Tax:

The amount of SDLT you will pay depends on a variety of factors. Please click here to access HMRC’s Stamp Duty calculator.

Land Registry Fees:

These are available to view on the Land Registry website which you can access by clicking here.

What work do our fees cover? To:

  • investigate the title to the property;
  • carry out searches and check these;
  • review replies given by the seller to our enquiries;
  • for a leasehold property, review the lease, freehold title, and management information;
  • negotiate the purchase contract;
  • negotiate the transfer document;
  • consider our instructions from your lender and advise you on your mortgage offer;
  • prepare a report on the searches, title and, if relevant, lease;
  • proceed to exchange contracts and then complete the purchase;
  • calculate the stamp duty land tax, prepare and send to HM Revenue and Customs the return and the tax; and
  • register the purchase, and mortgage (if applicable), at the Land Registry.

How long can you expect your purchase transaction to take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process currently takes between 8 to 12 weeks.

It can be quicker or longer, depending on the number of parties in the chain. For example, if you are a first time buyer, purchasing a new build property with a mortgage offer in place, it could take 6 weeks. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 3 to 4 months. In such a situation, additional charges would apply.

Who to contact

Lawrence Stolworthy

Partner, Head of Residential Property

Partner, Head of Residential Property

Lawrence Stolworthy

Lawrence is a Partner based in the Guildford office, and he is also Head of the Residential Property team at Hart Brown LLP.

Lawrence qualified as a solicitor in 2001 and has extensive experience in a broad range of residential property work, including very high value transactional work and acquisitions for international investor clients. He also has considerable experience in dealing with property work originating from, or ancillary to, private client matters and family/matrimonial matters.

He is committed to providing a proactive, friendly and positive approach and he strives to communicate clearly and effectively with all those involved in the transactions he deals with in order to achieve the best outcome for his clients. He endeavours to find pragmatic and commercially viable solutions to problems wherever possible.

    Debbie Beswick

    Partner, Residential Property

    Partner, Residential Property

    Debbie Beswick

    Debbie, who is a Partner, specialises in residential property. After joining Hart Brown in 1984 she quickly progressed through the ranks qualifying as a Legal Executive in 1996. She was admitted to the Fellowship in 1997. Debbie is well known in the Godalming area and receives high praise both from clients and agents who come back to her time and time again.

    Her most memorable case was the purchase of a property for clients who were looking for a quick turnaround. It was a mere 3 working days from instructions to exchange of contracts.

    Debbie often receives excellent feedback from her clients, here are just a few of their statements:

    "This is the second time we've used Debbie at Hart Brown, and yet again she has given us fantastic service. Shall certainly be using you again."

    "It's a quick, efficient and friendly service - just right for the somewhat fraught process of buying and selling property."

    "We had our smoothest sale ever thanks to Debbie Beswick."

    "Second time we've used you, second time we've been impressed."

      Emma Moore

      Partner, Residential Property

      Partner, Residential Property

      Emma Moore

      Emma is a Partner in the residential property department at our Cranleigh office. She has over 20 years' experience in helping clients move house as smoothly as possible.

      Emma qualified as a solicitor in 1998 after studying for an LLB (Hons) Law Degree.

      Her specialism within residential property involves dealing with a wide range of sales and purchase of houses and flats, ranging from first time buyers to high net worth properties.

      Emma is a proactive member of the team, moving transactions forward as quickly as possible. She strives to find solutions to a range of problems that arise, ensuring her clients achieve their desired goals.

      An example of feedback received from clients:

      "Thank you for all your help with this. It's a pleasure to work with you. You are responsive, action oriented and straight forward - all behaviours which I value!"

        Jeremy Jupp

        Partner, Residential Property

        Partner, Residential Property

        Jeremy Jupp

        Jeremy has extensive knowledge in Residential Property having qualified in 1992.

        He is committed to providing a proactive, friendly and positive approach, with nearly 30 years’ experience as a residential property specialist. Jeremy strives to communicate clearly and effectively with all those involved in transactions he deals with, in order to achieve the best outcome for his clients. He endeavours to find pragmatic solutions to problems wherever possible.

        Jeremy believes in building up a strong relationship with his clients in order to understand their aims and needs, and work with them to achieve these so far as possible.

        Memorable cases Jeremy has worked on include completing a purchase within a week from instruction where his client was given a great incentive on a new build property if he completed that quickly.

        In 2014, Jeremy was involved the sale of a property where a Local Authority had acquired a strip of land along the frontage in the 1960s for potential road widening. They had granted a license over the land in exchange. The road widening never took place and the scheme had been abandoned, however, the buyers’ solicitors were not happy with the license arrangement that remained in place. Jeremy drafted a conditional contract clause which gave his client 9 months to resolve the issue with the Local Authority and to pay any premium agreed out of the exchange deposit. After lengthy negotiations with the Local Authority which involved taking Counsel’s Opinion in relation to the status of the license, an agreement was reached with the Local Authority just in time to enable him to give notice to the buyers’ solicitors to complete the sale.

          Peter Howe

          Associate, Residential Property

          Associate, Residential Property

          Peter Howe

          Peter’s specialism is residential property.

          He qualified as a Solicitor in 1991 and worked for a number of firms as a locum and then full time before joining Hart Brown in 2000. His experience as a locum he says gave him a good insight into the kind of firm that he wanted to settle down in. “It is amazing how different firms are in terms of the service they offer their clients” says Peter.

          Peter receives excellent feedback from his clients:

          "We would like to thank you very much for acting for us in this matter...we have been impressed with your timely and straightforward handling of the various stages of the process and your effective dealing with any issues arising. Once again thank you very much – it has been a pleasure doing business with you."

          "I found all my dealings with Peter Howe very useful, he is very down to earth and explained and answered all my queries very clearly, which took away a lot of the stress. Thank you."

            Irene Singh

            Associate, Residential Property

            Associate, Residential Property

            Irene Singh

            Irene joined us here at Hart Brown in 2021 as an Associate in our Woking Office and specialises in residential property.

            Irene has an LLB (Hons) in Law and qualified as a Solicitor in 1992. She started her career in family and childcare work and following almost 10 years living abroad in Tokyo, Singapore and the USA she returned to work as a Solicitor in Surrey as a Locum Solicitor with long lasting appointments. Irene then worked for the past 7 years in a Surrey and Hampshire based firm and was promoted to Head of the Residential Property department.

            Over the years Irene has dealt with all types of clients and properties, from first-time buyers starting out on the property ladder to people downsizing from larger properties and moving to assisted living accommodation and everything in-between.

            Irene takes a lot of pride in clients returning to her for repeat business and she likes to build relationships with clients and local estate agents to ensure good and effective communication throughout each transaction. Irene’s careful but pragmatic approach makes the house moving process as stress-free as possible.

              Nitasha Thapar

              Senior Solicitor, Residential Property

              Senior Solicitor, Residential Property

              Nitasha Thapar

              Nitasha is a Senior Solicitor and holder of an LLB (Hons.), with over 15 years’ experience dealing with a broad range of legal matters. She has been a Solicitor for over 10 years, having qualified in 2011 and she specializes in Residential Conveyancing.

              Nitasha has widespread knowledge of sales and purchases of freehold and leasehold properties, buy to let investment properties, transfers of equity, re-mortgages, lease extensions, right to buy schemes, new build purchases, auction purchases and equity release transactions.

              Nitasha’s clientele ranges from first time buyers, property investors, corporate and individual clients from the UK and abroad, together with high net worth individuals.

              Nitasha fully understands how stressful moving home can be, so she prides herself on providing a personal level of service with effective communication throughout the transaction in order to make each client's experience a positive one.

                Corinne Flannery

                Chartered Legal Executive, Residential Property

                Chartered Legal Executive, Residential Property

                Corinne Flannery

                Corinne specialises in residential property. She has a wide range of experience which includes acting for individuals and corporate clients on sales, purchases, and re-mortgage transactions of freehold and leasehold properties, and transfers of equity.

                Graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree in Management and Marketing, Corinne then qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2005.

                Corinne believes that understanding a client’s needs, building a strong relationship with them, and good communication through the process, are key in meeting a client’s expectations and ultimate goal.

                Corinne often receives excellent feedback from her clients:

                "Very reassuringly professional and confident conveyancing on our property transaction."

                "...I have appreciated your wise counsel and the efficient way you have dealt with this transaction and managed the process so that the deadlines were all met."

                  Lewis Myatt

                  Solicitor, Leasehold Enfranchisement

                  Solicitor, Leasehold Enfranchisement

                  Lewis Myatt

                  Lewis started his legal career in practices on the outskirts of London and Surrey, gaining a good grounding across a wide geographical area in both contentious and non-contentious property matters.

                  Over the last 3 years he has specialised in leasehold and freehold enfranchisement dealings, applying his previous contentious and transactional experience to a niche area of property law that is replete with pitfalls.

                  Lewis is happy to act for Landlords or Tenants and he has experience in dealing with large collectives of lessees seeking to enfranchise. He is also happy to act for businesses with residential property investments and individuals seeking to protect the value of their home. He can also give good advice in seeking the right valuation advice from the right surveyor when preparing for, or responding to, enfranchisement claims.

                  Lewis started his studies with a degree in Classics from the University of Manchester before studying for his GDL and LPC. In his spare time, Lewis’ interests include cricket, history and cosmology. He also loves the outdoors and is happy to go on a 10 mile hike through driving rain.

                    Sulman Athar

                    Paralegal, Residential Property

                    Paralegal, Residential Property

                    Sulman Athar

                    Sulman is a Paralegal in the residential property department here at Hart Brown.

                    He deals with residential property matters including the purchase and sale of freehold and leasehold properties and otherwise assisting the department in wider areas of property law.

                    He has over 7 years’ experience, predominantly in property, and the matters he assists with have included residential and commercial sales and purchases, development of land, new build, lease extensions and enfranchisement and property litigation.

                    Sulman graduated in 2007 with an LL.B and in 2008 with an LL.M Master of Law from University College London (UCL). He is an Associate member of The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and is currently compiling his professional portfolio for qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive.

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