This page provides information on the process of buying and selling property (known as “conveyancing”); and on planning and property problems.
Buying or selling property
HM Land Registry safeguards land and property in England & Wales. Anyone buying or selling land or property, or taking out a mortgage, must apply to HM Land Registry. Once land or property is entered in the register, any ownership changes, mortgages or leases that affect it are recorded. Anyone who suffers loss because of an error or omission in the register, or because the register needs to be corrected, will normally be compensated. On the site you can search house prices, search property ownership information, find out about boundary questions, obtain copies of title deeds and more.
The National Land Information Service (NLIS) is a government approved and regulated, electronic land and property searches portal, the only one of its kind in the property searches market. NLIS provides its services by way of a ‘hub’ and ‘channel’ model, operating as a convenient single point of electronic access to a variety of offical sources of land and property information. It connects users directly to land and property information held by local authorities, central government and other organisations that provide official sources of land and property data. NLIS Licensed Channels include Searchflow, Thames Water Property Searches. There are however other suppliers of property searches who are not part of the NLIS system.
Conveyancing in England and Wales
The firms below offer information on conveyancing. However, most of them provide legal services in many areas of law and you may have to search through the services they offer to find conveyancing. Several of these offer online conveyancing quotes.
Access Law – Southampton, offer general information on conveyancing as well as descriptions of the main types of searches which could be involved and different types of fees likely to be charged.
Barcan Woodward – Bristol City Centre, North Bristol, South Bristol.
Brethertons – Rugby and Banbury, under the conveyancing section, provide useful information on buying and selling houses.
Clutton Cox of Bristol offer useful information about conveyancing on their site.
Elliot Mather – Chesterfield, Mansfield & Matlock, Derbyshire, provide information on the conveyancing process with a series of fact sheets.
Express Conveyancing provides extensive information on conveyancing, lease extensions, freeholds, property auctions and commercial conveyancing, and offers free initial advice on these topics.
Fidler & Pepper – Nottinghamshire, offers a “Beginners Guide” as well as conveyancing quotes on line.
Thomas Flavell & Sons – Hinckley, Earl Shilton and Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, offers information on buying and selling a house, first time buyers and remortgaging.
Fridays Property Lawyers provide a great deal of information on their site about conveyancing and also provide a service to locate a firm of solicitors near you.
MacNamara King – Warwick, provide information on buying brand new properties from builders, buying other properties and selling properties.
Pearson Maddin – New Malden and Surbiton
SAM Conveyancing – London & Home Counties; News section offers conveyancing know-how, tips and diagrams for everyone from first time buyers to seasoned property investors. Subsections include conveyancing, house surveys, mortgages and probate. Articles frequently provide links to official HM Government source material.
Terry & Co. – Essex.
Which? Mortgage Advisors provide impartial advice on mortgages and will help you find the best mortgage for your requirements. There is a free information telephone number as well.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
GOV.UK has full information on Stamp Duty Land Tax. You must pay SDLT if you buy a property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland. The tax is different if the property or land is in Scotland (pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax) or Wales (pay Land Transaction Tax if the sale was completed on or after 1 April 2018).
Ann Humphrey is a tax lawyer and has published Questions and Answers for Stamp Duty Land Tax since 2016. This is a free resource consisting of real SDLT queries that Ann has answered and is useful for
guidance purposes. A wide range of topics are covered such as multiple dwellings relief, 3% surcharge, first time buyer’s relief and only or main residence queries.
Online conveyancing and property services
abode conveyancing is a company helping people buying and selling their house to find a specialist conveyancing solicitor at a very good rate. They have negotiated prices for solicitors which are far better than the client can receive by contacting the firm direct; solicitors pay a fee of 50 for each referral. The firms involved use email at every opportunity instead of traditional mail and use the abode online case tracking system which emails or sends SMS updates when a change takes place on their file. Clients can also login to check their case progress.
Conveyancing Marketing Services is an agency which puts members of the public looking for conveyancing services in touch with a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. The company, established in 1995, has around 60 firms on its panel. Potential clients fill out a questionnaire online and receive, by email , immediate quotations from CMS on behalf of certain firms on the panel. They are then contacted by telephone (by CMS) to explain the quote. The site apparently generates around 500 genuine enquiries a month. CMS monitor the service through to completion, and can remove firms from the panel if they are not satisfied.
Homebuyer Conveyancing is made up of a panel of licensed conveyancers and solicitors that cover the counties in England and Wales. They provide a comparison service to manage the customer experience when buying, selling or remortgaging with fixed fee Conveyancing Solicitors quotes.
Landlord-Law is a membership service for residential landlords and tenants from solicitor Tessa Shepperson. She provides “packaged” advice to landlords and also to tenants. For example, there are documents and forms which can be filled in online, an extensive set of FAQ’s (based on real questions sent in to Tessa), a number of interactive “trails” allowing users to find the answer to problems by question and answer, and a Q and A page where readers questions are answered. Part of the site is free but access to documents and more detailed information requires a modest subscription payment.
Nationwide Conveyancing provides competitive fixed prices for the legal costs of buying, selling or remortgaging a flat or house in the UK. They monitor prices and regularly undertake surveys to keep their price comparisons up to date. They search from a panel of over 100 specialist solicitors and conveyancers using a well established comparison tool called Econveyancer from ULS group. You can choose by price, service or distance.
onlineconveyancingquote provide a panel of high street conveyancing legal firms believing in personable old school values, while still embracing online case tracking and email if desired. They provide the public with a conveyancing solution at a competitive price using a handpicked national panel of established specialist solicitors.
Allingham & Co. – Edinburgh (Marchmont, Buckstone, Colinton), offer a detailed guide to house purchase and to house sale.
Georgesons – Thurso and Wick, offer good information on home buying in Scotland.
The Glasgow Solicitors’ Property Centre, including free legal advice on property matters.
Duncan Grehan of Dublin, provide information on property purchase (buying and selling) in Ireland and Irish property trends.
O’Donnell McKenna – Donegal, offer a checklist of things to consider when buying a house.
Planning and property problems
The Planning Portal was established in 2002 by UK Government to provide an entry point to online planning information and allow planning applications in England and Wales to be submitted onine. More than 80% of planning applications are now submitted online via the Planning Portal. Topics covered on the site include Do you need planning permission? Descriptions of different types of extension; how to submite a planning application; building control applications; various interactive guides; how to find your local authority.
The site is a bit hard to navigate. The easiest way to find what you want is via the list of topics in the bottom section of the home page.
The Boundary Problems Website has been set up by Jon Maynard, FRICS, on boundaries, rights of way, neighbour problems and related topics, including how to find an expert to assist in solving the problem and lnks to other planning-oriented websites.
Garden Law is a site set up by solicitor Richard Smithies of Bearders Solicitors, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, with lots of free information relating to walls, trees, hedges, fences, boundaries and even whether you can bury a loved one in your garden. There is also a discussion forum were visitors can post questions and receive answers from Richard Smithies or other viewers.
Gary Webber was a practising barrister for 22 years specialising in property law. Since 2003 he has practised as a mediator (accredited by the ADR Group) dealing with property, commercial and family cases. He is the author of two widely used books on possession actions. His property site propertylawuk.net includes substantial papers on property claims and the Civil Procedure Rules, an on-line book dealing with boundary disputes and other material of use to property litigators.