Buying and Selling a Home FAQs

What is remortgaging, and why would I consider doing it?
A re-mortgage is where your mortgage product/deal has come to an end and you are looking to obtain a new product at a new rate for a specified term. You will require a Solicitor/Conveyancer to act for you in this regard. If you are simply carrying out a product transfer (continuing with your same lender) you WILL NOT require a Solicitor/Conveyancer. If any of the following conditions apply, a re-mortgage may be beneficial;
  • The mortgage product is coming to an end;
  • The desire to ‘lock’ in a fixed rate (you must be within 3 months of moving onto the lender’s standard variable rate);
  • The requirement to borrow more money against your home;
  • The requirement to take money out of the property (release equity);
  • Altering the term of the mortgage (reduce/increase the number of years remaining on your property).
How do I choose the right remortgage solicitor?
This depends on what your lender is offering you. If your lender is offering free ‘legals’ they will essentially employ a law firm on your behalf to carry out the work. Ensure the fine print is read to ascertain what work is and isn’t covered by their scope.
What are the steps involved in the remortgage process?
There are 6 main steps to conveyancing; Instructing a Solicitor/Conveyancer, Providing Current Mortgage Details, Mortgage Offer, Report to lender, Completion and Post Completion (after the re-mortgage has completed).
When is the right time to consider remortgaging my home?
A new mortgage can be ‘locked’ in within 3 months of your current mortgage term expiring. Most mortgage offers are valid for 6 months however, there are some lenders that only offer 3 month mortgage offers. It would be prudent to start looking into re-mortgaging a minimum of 6 months prior to your current product expiring.
What factors should I consider when choosing a remortgaging solicitor/conveyancer?
Timescales, location (if you prefer to have face-to-face contact as opposed to all phone and email) and in particular the Solicitor/Conveyancers areas of expertise.
What is the role of a remortgaging solicitor in the remortgaging process?
The Solicitor/Conveyancer, will review the mortgage offer, review the title documents and ensure the current mortgage (if any) is paid off and the new mortgage is registered.
Can I use the same solicitor I used for my initial mortgage transaction for remortgaging?
Yes, you can use the same solicitor you used for your initial mortgage transaction when remortgaging your property, but it’s not compulsory. Some people choose to use the same Solicitor/Conveyancer for both transactions because they are familiar with the property and circumstances which can make the process smoother. However, you are not obligated to use the same solicitors, and you have the flexibility to choose a different one if you prefer.
What documents and information will I need to provide to my solicitor for remortgaging?
Initially, you will be required to provide to your Solicitor/Conveyancer evidence of your ID and details of the property you are intending to remortgage. Your Solicitor/Conveyancer will arrange to obtain a copy of the legal title from the Land Registry. If you have an existing mortgage registered on your property you will need to provide confirmation of your account number so your Solicitor/Conveyancer can apply for a redemption figure and ensure that your existing mortgage is fully discharged upon completion of your remortgage. The documents and information requested from you may differ depending on the requirements of your new, and potentially, existing mortgage lender. Depending on the type of property you are remortgaging you may also be required to provide to your Solicitor additional, supporting documents, for example, management company information, tenancy agreements, consents from an existing lender or landlord, buildings insurance details and source of funds information.
How long does the remortgaging process typically take, and what can cause delays?
A ‘straight-forward’ re-mortgage can take between 8-10 weeks. Delays can come from discrepancies in the mortgage offer, searches being submitted (where the lender will not accept indemnity insurance), an unexpected entry on the title register, transferring the property into different names.
Do I need a Solicitor/Conveyancer to remove a charge on a property?
You can redeem your mortgage but you will also need the charge to be taken off the legal title to the property to make it clear that there is nothing left to pay to the lender. It is best to ask a solicitor to assist with this to ensure that the land registry updates the title to show that this has been fully discharged. If you are redeeming a “Help To Buy” charge the requirements can be cumbersome so we strongly advise instructing Solicitors/Conveyancers for this type of redemption.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What is conveyancing, and why do I need it when buying or selling property?
Conveyancing is the name given to the area of Law relating to the transfer of ownership of land or buildings from one person to another. This legal process comprises of a number of vital steps to ensure clients sell and buy property with a sound legal title and free from incumbrances and restrictions. The conveyancing process provides both protection and assurance to clients and mortgage lenders (if applicable) alike. Whilst parts of a property transaction can be managed independently, some aspects can be complicated. By instructing a suitably qualified Conveyancer who has professional experience and expertise in dealing with such matters will ensure your property transaction runs smoothly and efficiently.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
How long does the conveyancing process typically take?
Typically, a sale or purchase can take around 12-16 weeks to complete, but this does depend on the various matters such as if a mortgage offer is required or the length of the chain. First time buyers can take longer to receive a mortgage offer than a previous property owner. Leasehold matters can take longer as Management information needs to be reviewed and the process can be slowed whist this is awaited.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What are the costs associated with conveyancing services?
The total costs are made up of the conveyancing fees for the service, vat, stamp duty and searches. Additional costs can arise for complex and leasehold matters, such as managing agents or landlord fees. There are also potential mortgage costs, possibly an arrangement fee if you use a broker plus a survey fee.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
How do you purchase a lease in a block of flats?
All the same searches are carried out as if you were buying a house to check for things like planning issues but in addition when you are buying a flat, enquiries are made with the landlord about how the block of flats is looked after. This will include checking what rent and service charges are due and how the landlord then uses this money to repair, insure and maintain the block and importantly how fire and safety aspects are covered.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
Can a property lawyer assist with both residential and commercial property transactions?
Most legal companies have separate departments dealing with residential and commercial matters, and Tollers employ specialists in each area.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What should I consider when entering into a lease agreement?
The length of the lease is important to ensure that a mortgage lender is happy that there is sufficient time left on the lease. You will want to understand what the annual rent and service charge payments are likely to be and how this money is used to manage the building and commonly used facilities. It is advisable to check how well maintained the building looks to be and that safety and fire regulations are covered.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
How can I resolve a property dispute with the help of solicitors?
Tollers have a dedicated team of dispute lawyers who can help with issues such as boundary problems, disagreements over rights of way and enforcement of covenants. These are outside of conveyancing transactional matters.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
Do I need legal assistance when transferring land ownership?
It is recommended that you are represented in these matters. You can act for yourself but the legal process can be complex and dealing personally with Land Registry and HMRC presents its own set of challenges. Using a solicitor would give you piece of mind and allow the matter to proceed in the hand of professionals who deal with these matters every day.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What legal aspects should I be aware of when buying a house?
You should always check that the plan that comes with the deeds accurately represents what you are buying. Rights of way are a big issue, these will be checked to ensure the correct rights are available to access the property and garden/land. Houses are often subject to covenants, which are promises made by property owners to do or not to do certain things on the property, for instance maintain a specific fence or seek permission before extending or altering the property.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
How can a property law solicitor help with selling property?
A solicitor will collect information about the property from you then prepare a draft contract for the sale, generally assist with any enquiries that may be raised, exchange contracts, pay off any mortgage that is held and also pay the estate agents fees from the proceeds of sale.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
Are there any specific land searches or property law restrictions that I should be aware of?
The main searches a solicitor will carry out when you purchase a property are a local, drainage and environmental search. A local search will reveal information about whether the road used to access the property is adopted and maintained by the local authority, if there are any planning issues or any other information held in the local authority records which may affect your purchase. A drainage search will show if the property is connected to foul and surface water drainage and to mains water.

A property title can contain restrictions about how you can use the land/property so it is important to check that these do not contravene the way in which you want to use the property, for example if want to use the property to run a business this must not be prohibited.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
How do I choose the right property law solicitor/conveyancer?
There are many ways to select the right solicitor/conveyancer to assist you with you purchase, sale or remortgage, including:
  • You can research a Solicitor/Conveyancer to ensure they are the right choice for you;
  • You can use tools such as Law Society's "Find a Solicitor", CLC – The Specialist Property Law Regulator (clc-uk.org);
  • You can read reviews on the firm and the individual solicitor/conveyancer;
  • You can check for the firm or the individual solicitors/conveyancers accreditations;
  • You can clarify the firm fee structures to ensure you fully understand all the costs involved;
  • You can seek out recommendations from friends and family.
Whomever you decide to select to assist with your matter should ideally specialise in conveyancing matters and of course be suitably qualified.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What are the steps involved in the conveyancing process for buying a property?
The conveyancing process encompasses various, essential steps which must be followed in their entirety to ensure a property is transferred with a sound legal title and free from any matters which would affect or prohibit the registration of the property at Land Registry. In regards to sale transactions the various steps of conveyancing include:
  • Obtaining the legal title from Land Registry and preparing draft Contract papers;
  • Responding to enquiries raised by a buyer’s Solicitors and redeeming any existing mortgages registered on the property.
In terms of a purchase transaction the steps include:
  • The Solicitor/Conveyancer carrying out a full investigation of the legal title, submit various searches and check results;
  • check a client’s mortgage offer (if applicable) and ensure full compliance with lender’s requirements;
  • check source of funds evidence to ensure Money Laundering Regulations can be complied with;
  • assess stamp duty liabilities.
Once the Solicitor/Conveyancer has carried out all of the necessary legal work for the sale or purchase, they will liaise with the parties in the chain and formerly exchange the contracts which will make the transaction legally binding. It is upon exchange of contracts that the completion date is set which is the date upon which the property is legally transferred from one person to another and keys are handed over. Finally, a Solicitor/Conveyancer will arrange to register the transfer of ownership at Land Registry.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
Can a conveyancing solicitor/Tollers help me with new build properties?
Tollers have an experienced team of new build conveyancers who deal with new properties all over the country. There are certain complexities involved such as planning issues and completion timetables which we can help a client navigate.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What are the common challenges in property transactions, and how can a solicitor help me overcome them?
The process can take quite a few weeks due to length of chain or transactions and time taken to obtain a mortgage offer. Whilst some of these are out of solicitors/conveyancers hands, a pro-active approach is taken to try and minimise delays. Maintaining open channels of communication is vital, addressing document discrepancies and following up is vital to keep transactions from falling through. We provide legal guidance and can help negotiate a way through these challenges. We would stay in regular contact with lenders where there are several important conditions in a mortgage offer. We may suggest seeking specialist advice were necessary for if complex issues of for example planning and or stamp duty arises.
How much will a remortgaging Solicitors/Conveyancers services cost?
The cost of a remortgaging Solicitors/Conveyancers services can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the transaction, the lender’s requirements and the value of the property. Typically, as a guide, you can expect to pay anywhere from £500 to £1,500, however, it can be more than this based on the complexity of the factors involved. It’s a good idea to obtain quotes from several Solicitors/Conveyancers and clarify their fee structure before proceeding with the remortgaging process to ensure you have a clear understanding of the costs involved.
Should my Solicitor/Conveyancer be on the lenders panel?
When you buy, sell or remortgage a property, the solicitor you appoint to deal with your matter, will also act for your mortgage lender. Because of this most mortgage lenders will only work with solicitors who are on their panel of approved conveyancers. If the solicitor or conveyancer you appoint is not on your mortgage lenders panel this can lead to long delays, as well as additional costs, as another firm will be needed to separately represent the lender.
How does remortgaging work?
The process is carried out over six steps:
  1. Instructing a Solicitor/Conveyancer (Contact Tollers to obtain a quotation and instruction pack).
  2. Providing Current Mortgage Details. (We will request full details in the instruction pack).
  3. Obtaining Mortgage Offer

    Once the new mortgage offer has been received, it will be reviewed to ascertain whether or not conveyancing searches (local authority search, drainage and water search, environmental search) are required. In the event these searches are not required, indemnity insurance will be obtained in lieu of the searches.

    The title documentation is investigated to ensure there are no untoward entries. Tollers are obligated to confirm to the lender the title is marketable and meets their requirements. When the mortgage offer has been reviewed and the above points satisfied, the re-mortgage report and mortgage deed will be forwarded to you for signature.
  4. Reporting to the lender

    If there are any discrepancies with the mortgage offer this will be reported to the lender for their approval. Once any discrepancies have been dealt with, the request for mortgage monies will be requested via the Certificate of Title.
  5. Completion of the re-mortgage

    Your new mortgage lenders money arrives with us and we redeem your existing mortgage.
  6. Once the re-mortgage is complete

    An application is submitted to the Land Registry to have the new mortgage registered against the property.
What are the potential benefits of remortgaging my property?
The potential benefits are;
  • locking in a fixed rate to enable you to budget/manage bills more easily;
  • borrow money and have this secured against your home rather than other forms of lending;
  • take equity out of the property – we have seen a lot of money being released for the Bank of Mum and Dad in recent years and house renovations;
  • altering the term of the mortgage (reduce/increase the number of years remaining on your property) to pay more or less.
New Build Conveyancing
What is completion on notice?
This means as the property is in the course of construction, the developer cannot commit to a fixed completion date and therefore this has to be on notice. The notice period is usually 10 working days and the notice will be served once the plot has been signed off under building control. Once received your Conveyancer will then undergo the completion preparations.
New Build Conveyancing
When should I instruct a solicitor?
When buying a new build, time is of the essence and therefore it is prudent to instruct as soon as you reserve the new build. If you can liaise with a solicitor before you even reserve, this would be ideal so you can conclude all the due diligence ahead of time so you are ready to proceed as soon as you source your new home.
New Build Conveyancing
What is a reservation fee?
This is a fee paid to the developer to reserve the new build. The fee is paid to the developer on reservation – this sum is then usually deductible from the deposit or on legal completion and therefore isn’t an overpayment but is offset against the final sums due.
New Build Conveyancing
What is the Consumer Code for new builds?
This is a code developed by the home building industry to make the home buying process fairer and clearer for purchasers. Information should be transparent to help you make an informed decision. There are three stages to the code, pre-purchase, during the purchase and then post completion. At each juncture this places an onus on the developer to be reliable and provide realistic information so informed decisions can be made. There are useful videos on the Consumer Code for Home Builders website.
New Build Conveyancing
What is covered under a construction warranty?
New home warranties do differ slightly but for the most part you should find deposit protection insurance which protects your deposit in the event the developer were to go into liquidation or the build did not complete for any reason this is the first benefit. The remainder of the protection comes into effect post completion. Your new home is covered under warranty for latent defects & structural issues which may arise – this tapers off during the 10 year term with less being covered the older the property gets. The warranty will not cover wear and tear, neglect or items which as appliances of the boiler – this relates to the structure of the property.
New Build Conveyancing
What information or documents are needed when buying a new build?
It is prudent at the first meeting with the developer to look at their plans, layout of the development, view the show home and get a feel for what is being constructed – you can check the specification of the build depending on the stage of construction. The Contract pack from the developer’s solicitors will be useful and will provide a full set of information. Your Conveyancer will advise you on the Warranty which is usually a 10 year guarantee. The developer will also provide a hand over pack to you on completion with certificates and warranties for any white goods and so forth. You will need to consult with a mortgage broker with respect to the financial aspects. It may also be prudent to engage a RICS surveyor who can discuss with you a snagging survey to be dealt with post completion.
New Build Conveyancing
What is included in the contract pack?
This is usually a full and comprehensive pack of legal documents. It does depend on the development but you would usually expect an information sheet explaining the development, Contract, the title documentation, planning, building regulations, warranty details, information on services and confirmation of how the communal areas will be maintained i.e. management company documentation and a fee schedule. There will also be plans showing the extent of the property being purchased with the supporting deed whether this be TP1 or Lease.
New Build Conveyancing
When will completion take place?
This depends on the build schedule. When you reserve the new build you will be provided an estimated completion date and as part of the legal work the Conveyancer will advise on timescales so you are fully informed before you commit to an exchange of contracts. There can be delays with new builds so it is prudent to ensure you are fully aware and able to wait if such a delay ensues.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What searches are involved in conveyancing?
There are three searches which are always required by mortgage lender, these being the Local Authority Search, the Drainage and Water Search and the Environmental Search. However, certain areas of the UK may require other searches be undertaken (eg coal) and your conveyancer will advise you if they are necessary.

The Local Authority provides details as to planning permissions, building regulations, Listed Buildings consent and road and rail schemes which may have an impact on the property, together with additional information that may be relevant. The Drainage and Water Search will confirm where the pipes which benefit the property are situated and if the property is connected to Mains water and sewerage.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
How do I speed up the conveyancing process?
The best way to speed up the conveyancing process is to respond promptly to enquiries raised by your solicitor, although this is dependent on all the other parties within the chain doing so as well. Unfortunately, the conveyancing process can sometimes be lengthy, especially if there is a Management Company or other third party from whom information is required.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What is a conveyancing environmental search?
This search provides information on exactly what it says it does, environmental matters which could adversely affect the property. It is usual for such searches to include information in respect of potential Radon gas, flooding, ground instability or energy and infrastructure matters which could have an impact on your use and enjoyment of the property. Please note, these searches do not always take into account the topography of an area and a property may be considered to be at risk even if you do not believe it to be physically possible for it to be.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What is a notice fee conveyancing?
There are two types of Notice fees in conveyancing. One is payable in respect of a notice sent to a landlord/Management Company confirming that you have bought the property and advising of the details of the new owner and any mortgage registered against the property. The second type of Notice fee is usually only payable if a Notice to Complete is served on someone due to a breach of the contract, meaning completion has had to be delayed. The Notice fee is paid to the solicitor which has been required to prepare and serve the notice on the solicitor acting for the person who has caused the delayed completion
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
What is a conveyance document?
A conveyance document is something which transfers the ownership of land between parties. In the past, these would have included Conveyances and what were known as Indentures but with the advent of registered land, most transactions now use Transfer Deeds and Leases to effect a change of ownership. In the event that a property is being transferred to beneficiaries under the terms of a Will, the conveyance document used is known as an Assent.
Conveyancing and Property Law Services
Do I need a conveyancer for a re-mortgage?
Your mortgage lender will require that you have a solicitor to deal with the transaction but you may find that some lenders will insist on using their own in-house conveyancing team. If this is the case, you will not need to instruct a solicitor directly but, in the event that your lender does not have an in-house team, you will need to do so, as most lenders will not release mortgage monies to an individual. This is so that the lender can be sure that their monies are safe and will only be used to re-pay any existing mortgage secured against the property.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
What are the legal requirements and obligations for landlords in a Buy to Let transaction?
A landlord needs to ensure that a property is safe for anyone who is going to live there such as obtaining a gas safety check every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer, ensure any electrics meet the required standards, a smoke alarm should be in place and you need to have a minimum rating of E for an Energy Performance Certificate and any furniture needs to meet safety standards. If this is a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) then you will need an HMO Licence from the council. A landlord should have a tenancy agreement with the tenants and you may want a letting agent to be involved who would hold a tenant’s deposit under one of the deposit schemes.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
Are there any specific considerations for Buy to Let Conveyancing related to tax implications?
Any buyer purchasing an investment property would be best advised to obtain specialist tax advice on their individual or their company position in relation to various taxes before they proceed. It is important to understand the impact of taxes such as Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax for the rental income, Corporation Tax and Inheritance Tax for the future. Stamp duty rates will also be higher for the purchase of property that is in addition to your main residence as an additional 3% is payable and this will also apply if you are buying the property in a company name.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
Can Buy to Let Conveyancing be handled without professional legal assistance?
It is possible for you to buy a property without instructing a conveyancer but only if this is a cash purchase as a mortgage lender will require a conveyancer to be involved. It is not however advisable to do this as it will complicate the transaction as you are not able to give the legal promises called undertakings which sit behind the work a conveyancer does between firms to deal with things like how money and documents are passed between the firms.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
How does Buy to Let Conveyancing differ from standard property transactions?
If you need a mortgage offer then you would need a buy to let mortgage offer as different interest rates and the loan to value differ from the usual mortgage offers so a higher deposit is required. It is important for a conveyancer to check that there are no covenants preventing the property from being let out and this would particularly apply to a leasehold property.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
What role does a conveyancer play in the Buy to Let Conveyancing process?
A conveyancer will do the usual legal checks and searches for conveyancing but in addition to this for a buy to let property they will ensure that there is nothing in the legal title that will prevent you from letting the property. If the property you are buying is being bought subject to an existing tenancy agreement then the conveyancer will check that this complies with your mortgage conditions and check if any rent deposit was paid at the beginning of the tenancy, rental income will also be split between the buyer and the seller on completion to make sure that this is paid to the correct person.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
Can I use the same conveyancer I used for a previous property transaction for Buy to Let Conveyancing?
Yes, you can and if you are someone who regularly buys investment property then using the same conveyancer can be beneficial as they may already have your identification information or company information if you are buying as a company, this will need to be up to date.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
How long does the Buy to Let Conveyancing process typically take?
This should not take any longer than if you are buying a home to live in and this on average at the moment is taking between 12-16 weeks from the time of instructing a solicitor to exchanging contracts, this can be quicker if you are a cash buyer.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
What can cause delays in the Buy to Let Conveyancing process?
If you are buying in a chain then all parties need to be ready to proceed and this can take some time for everyone to have any queries dealt with and all searches and funding in place. Buy to let mortgage offers may take longer to obtain if your funding is more complicated so it is advisable to start this process early
Buy to Let Conveyancing
How do I choose the right conveyancer for Buy to Let in Corby?
It is always advisable to use an experienced conveyancer with a good reputation and if the property is local to that conveyancer this may assist, although it is not essential, as the conveyancer will have local knowledge of the location of the property. If you speak to a conveyancer or one of the team you will see if you feel you will develop a good working relationship and will obtain the sort of service you are looking for.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
How can individuals in Northampton ensure a smooth Buy to Let Conveyancing process?
If you can have your finances in place early on in the process that will assist and to respond as quickly as you can to your conveyancer when they ask you to complete any forms, sign papers or pay money for searches this will assist in things moving smoothly. If you do need to get a mortgage offer then it is advisable to apply for a mortgage as soon as you find a property to buy and you can have a mortgage in principle ahead of this so you know what borrowing you will be able to obtain.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
What are the steps involved in the Buy to Let Conveyancing process in Northampton?
A conveyancer checks the legal title of the property, the searches, the mortgage offer then raises any queries with the seller’s conveyancer. A conveyancer must also check a buyer’s funding to comply with money laundering regulations. If the property already has a tenant then the conveyancer will also check the terms of the existing tenancy agreement. Once all of these points are satisfied and everyone holds signed documents and deposit money then you can exchange contracts and it is at this point that the completion date is set and a binding contract is in place. On completion the conveyancer sends the money to the seller’s conveyancer and you can then have the keys. The conveyancer will then deal with registering the buyer as the new owner with the land registry.
Equity Release
What is Equity Release?
This is a special type of mortgage which can usually only be obtained by persons over the age of 55 years. It allows those people who are retired to release money (also known as equity) from the property, which is usually their main or only large asset.
Equity Release
What are the different types of Equity Release?
There are two main types of Equity Release loan, Lifetime Mortgages and Home Reversion plans. The Lifetime mortgage allows you borrow against the property without the need for any monthly repayments, the interest simply accruing over the term of the loan, although many Lifetime mortgages do now have a facility for payments to be made if you choose. A Home Reversion Plan means that the lender will purchase all or part of your property, thereby releasing the monies for your use, whilst allowing you the right to remain living in the property for the rest of your life. Most Equity Release matters tend, by and large, to be a Lifetime Mortgage.
Equity Release
How does equity release work?
With Lifetime Mortgages, the idea is that the interest ‘rolls up’ over the term of the mortgage, meaning unlike a standard mortgage, you do not have to make any monthly payments. This means that the amount payable at the end of the loan could be quite a lot higher than what was originally borrowed as it will include all the interest due under the mortgage.

The lender will secure a charge over the property, as will all mortgages, and this will only be released when the mortgage ends. Repayment of this type of loan is triggered by three things, the death of the borrower (in the case of 2 borrowers, the death of the 2nd borrower), the borrower (or 2nd borrower) going in to long-term care or if you choose to sell the property.
Equity Release
Can I remain in my own home if I choose equity release?
Yes, there is no reason why you cannot remain in your own home if you choose to take out an equity release loan, but there are some restrictions on whether you can invite an additional person to live in the property with you following the loan being taken out.
Equity Release
What happens to the ownership of my property with equity release?
If you have taken out a Lifetime Mortgage, then there is no change to the ownership of the property, it remains in your name and nothing changes save for the lender securing a charge against the title.

With a Home Reversion plan, you are effectively selling all or part of the property to the lender and they will be named as one of or the sole registered owner of the house and land.
Equity Release
What is a legal charge and how does it related to equity release?
The phrase ‘legal charge’ is simply as different way of referring to a Mortgage. As with all types of mortgage, you will be asked to sign a Mortgage Deed which will then be submitted to the Land Registry for them to change the property deeds to refer to the mortgage or ‘legal charge’
Equity Release
Can I transfer my lifetime mortgage to a new home?
It is possible to transfer or port the lifetime mortgage to a new home, but this is on the basis that the new property meets the lender’s requirements. You will first need to apply to the lender for their consent to transfer the mortgage to the new property and if they do not agree that it complies with their requirements, it may not be possible. The usual criteria include the following:
  • Is the property being bought for a similar or commensurate value?
  • Does it appear to be suitable to the valuer?
  • Are you down-sizing?
Equity Release
How does entering into a lifetime mortgage affect the distribution of my home’s value to my beneficiaries?
As there will potentially be a large sum to be repaid to the lender at the point of distribution of the house’s value, it is likely that the beneficiaries will receive little to no money from the sale of the house once the mortgage has been repaid, although this does, of course, depend on the amount of money originally borrowed and if you have chosen to make any interest payments during the term of the loan.
Equity Release
Why is legal advice on lifetime mortgages important?
This is because the majority of persons obtaining a lifetime mortgage could be considered to be at risk of duress and undue influence and potentially being pressed into the lifetime mortgage by a family member. Obtaining legal advice in these circumstances is very important, so as to ensure that the borrower is fully aware of the risks and obligations imposed on them by this type of mortgage.
Equity Release
How can Tollers help me with equity release?
We have experts in this type of mortgage on staff, who stand ready and able to take you through the process of completing a lifetime mortgage, once you have obtained the offer of loan from one of the many lenders active in this field.
Surveys and Searches
What are the different types of property surveys when buying a home?
Surveyors offer an array of different options depending on the property being purchased. It is best to speak with the surveyor and gain their advice as to what is recommended based on its age, location and so forth. The surveys available are level 1,2 & 3 with different types of analysis involved in each. Level 1 covers the basics being a condition report. Level 2 is a home buyer report which is intermediate. Level 3 is a building survey more advanced with structural analysis too. For those buying a new build they could consider a snagging report.
Surveys and Searches
What type of survey do I need for a new build house?
With a new build a survey is not usually required to have a full survey as the build should have a 10 year warranty as well as building control approval. A snagging survey is a good option as this would address any defects which the developer needs to remedy. It is best practice to check with the surveyor to see if anything further is recommended.
Surveys and Searches
What type of survey do I need for a leasehold flat?
Generally a level 2 home buyers report from a surveyor would suffice for a leasehold flat. It is recommended to check with the surveyor as they can determine the best one based on the properties age. If the building is old or in poor condition further assessments may be needed so you are fully informed of remedial works which may be required.
Surveys and Searches
What are the main conveyancing searches when buying a house?
A Conveyancer will undertake an Environmental search, drainage and water and a search of the local authority. There are further searches depending on where the property is location for instance some areas may benefit from a coal mining search.
Surveys and Searches
What is the difference between conveyancing searches and property surveys?
The conveyancing searches help to gather information in relation to the ground, factors in the area, the drainage and water position and with respect to the roads, whether they are adopted or not and previous works undertaken – gas/electrics/planning permissions/building regulations. A survey is a physical assessment of the property and its state and condition which your Conveyancer can then use as part of the enquiries stage to gather as much information as possible so you can proceed making an informed decision. A combination of the searches and survey are best possible way to gather as much information as possible.
Surveys and Searches
Are homebuyer surveys a legal requirement?
A survey is not a legal requirement and the discretion is entirely on the buyer to arrange this. It is best practice to schedule this in once the offer has been accepted so anything adverse revealed can be investigated early on.
Surveys and Searches
What should I do if issues are raised in the survey?
It is best practice to report this to your Conveyancer who can advise and refer any matters onto the seller’s solicitor. It is also prudent to let the estate agent know in the event there need to be any further inspections/quotes from third parties arising from adverse entries in the survey or in the event of price negotiation.
Surveys and Searches
What other reports might I need when buying a home?
A survey is the starting point. This may recommend the electrics are tested, a CCTV survey of the drains, or a boiler service for example. The survey will help determine any further assessments needed.
Surveys and Searches
How much does a property survey cost?
The costs can range from £200 - £1,500 depending on the chosen survey.
Surveys and Searches
How much do conveyancing searches cost?
Usually in the region of £300 as the local search is variable from council to council it can be a little more or less
Surveys and Searches
How does a property survey impact the conveyancing process?
In theory it doesn’t! if the survey is promptly instructed then any entries can be investigated as part of the enquiry stage. The only impact this can have is if the survey is done later on in the process this can sometimes delay matters whilst the entries revealed are investigated.
Surveys and Searches
Can conveyancing searches delay the conveyancing process?
From time to time there can be delays in searches but as they are ordered once the contract pack is received they should be back in time so as not to hinder the process in anyway.
Surveys and Searches
Is it possible to use a previous property survey report?
No – the survey is bespoke to the home which has been inspected. A new survey would be needed for a new house purchase.
Surveys and Searches
How do I instruct a surveyor?
It is prudent to look for a RICS certified surveyor to ensure they hold the accreditations needed to carry out your survey. If you contact them with the details, they can advise on the best survey and offer a quote. if you are agreeable you can instruct them to go ahead and then they will arrange a time to visit the property. The report will then be produced and issued to you.
What does "leasehold" mean?
Leasehold is essentially a long-term tenancy where the leaseholder buys the right to live in the property for the duration of the lease, and ownership is subject to the terms of the lease. Upon the expiration of the lease, unless otherwise extended, the property reverts to the ownership of the freeholder.
How long is the lease typically for a leasehold property?
New leases can be granted for anywhere between 99 to 999 years, although new residential leases are commonly up to 125 years. A lease is not reset for each new owner and will continue to deplete until expiry unless extended
What are ground rent and service charges?
  • Ground rent is the fee paid to the freeholder for renting the leasehold land from them. The freeholder does not provide any services in exchange for the ground rent. The sum due is usually fix for a set amount of years and the lease will define how it increases.
  • Service charges vary according to the type of property and location, and are fees paid to the freeholder or management company for the repair and upkeep of shared spaces and services e.g., maintaining communal gardens, a lift in a block of flats, upkeep of private roads and management costs. Understanding the potential costs is vital on any leasehold purchase.
What happens when the lease term expires?
Upon the expiry of a lease, the ownership of the property reverts to the freeholder and the leaseholder no longer owns the property. The freeholder may allow the tenancy to continue or may seek to regain possession of the property. There may also be options for the now-expired leaseholder to extend the lease, agree a new lease with the freeholder or to purchase the freehold.
Can I extend the lease? What is the process for lease renewal?
  • It is usually possible to extend a lease; however the process can be complex, time-consuming and costly. It is important to seek legal advice when arranging a lease extension to ensure that you are afforded the appropriate protections and do not inadvertently impact your ability to sell the property in the future.
  • The process for renewing a lease includes identifying and notifying the freeholder (or serving the appropriate notice, instructing an expert to value the property, make an offer to the freeholder, pay any required deposit and negotiating an agreement.
What are the restrictions or limitations of owning a leasehold property?
  • Leaseholders own the property for the duration of the lease, but not the land on which the property sits, meaning there are greater restrictions when compared to a freehold property, i.e. structural changes (it could affect other flats), carrying out trade/business in the property, pets and subletting the property being common ones.
  • Leasehold properties are subject to leases that, over time, reduce in duration. A low duration remaining on a lease could impact the ability to sell the property in the future and make it difficult to obtain a mortgage or to re-mortgage the property.
  • Leaseholders may also need to pay ground rent and/or service charges.
  • Occupation of the property is subject to compliance with the lease agreement with the freeholder, meaning that breaches of the lease could result in forfeiture.
Are there any legal obligations or responsibilities associated with leasehold ownership?
Leaseholders must adhere to the terms of the lease agreement, and may also be responsible for the payment of ground rent and/or service charges. A lease will set out any obligations and/or responsibilities of the leaseholder, examples include maintaining the condition inside the property and obtaining permission to make alterations.
Can I sublet a leasehold property?
The lease will set out whether or not subletting is permitted, however leases commonly require that the leaseholder obtain permission from the freeholder in advance and there may be restrictions on this.
What are the rights of leaseholders regarding property management decisions?
  • Subject to eligibility, some leaseholders are able to invoke the right to manage and take over management of their property without the consent of the freeholder.
  • In certain circumstances leaseholders are able to apply to a tribunal to appoint a new manager where a dispute has arisen.
What is right to manage?
Eligible leaseholders in multi-occupancy buildings (such as a block of flats) are able to take control of some management responsibilities without having to prove the bad management of the freeholder, and can either manage the property directly or pay a managing agent to do so on their behalf. There is a process for leaseholders to follow, including eligibility requirements that leaseholders must meet.
What is enfranchisement?
Enfranchisement is the process of eligible leaseholders purchasing the freehold of their leasehold property. Enfranchisement usually only applies to multi-occupancy buildings, and eligibility requirements apply, i.e., the percentage of the building dedicated to non-residential floor space.
Are there any potential pitfalls or risks associated with buying a leasehold property?
  • The duration remaining on the lease may negatively impact the saleability of the property or the ability to obtain a mortgage, i.e., if it is deemed a short lease.
  • Lease extensions can be costly and time-consuming.
  • The lease could contain restrictions or obligations that may impact on your enjoyment of the property that would not apply to a freehold property, i.e., some leases do not permit pets or subletting.
  • Buying or selling a leasehold property may take longer than a freehold property.
  • Leaseholders must pay ground rent and service charges, often with no control over the costs. These costs can spiral, i.e., existing ground rent could double every 5 to 10 years.
What are the steps involved in purchasing a leasehold property?
  • The steps in purchasing a leasehold property are similar to purchasing a freehold property, however when purchasing a leasehold property additional steps must be taken to ensure that the freeholder is verified. The additional steps do prolong the transaction time.
  • Once a conveyancer is instructed, they will review the lease and title, conduct searches, review any management pack, review the mortgage offer, submit enquiries and prepare a report once all the replies are received and are satisfactory, report any issues necessary to the mortgage lender, arrange exchange of contracts and complete on the transaction. Notices will be served on completion to the landlord/Management company.
Are there any upcoming changes in leasehold property laws that buyers should be aware of?
  • The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill introduced in 2023 proposes numerous changes to the rules around leasehold properties. The bill is currently being reviewed and has not yet become law.
  • Proposals within the Bill include increasing standard lease terms, requiring transparency over service charges and extending eligibility requirements for enfranchisement, among others.
What should I check in the lease agreement before purchasing a leasehold property?
  • The term of the lease is a key factor to review before purchasing a property.
  • Administration charges, ground rent and service charges will be detailed in the lease and should be reviewed before purchasing a leasehold property.
  • The lease should be checked to confirm that any obligations or restrictions do not negatively impact on enjoyment of the property.

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