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Residential Conveyancing

Bennett Oakley Solicitors will take the stress out of buying and selling residential property. Our highly experienced team will take care of your transaction with minimum disruption to your daily life and complete the process as soon as possible.

Depending on the property, a typical transaction takes between six to eight weeks to complete. If there are any complex issues it can take longer, but we will keep you informed every step of the way, removing any uncertainty.

The legal process involved in the sale and purchase of a house

Once a purchaser has made an offer on a property, their estate agent will ask for their solicitor’s details to pass on to the vendor’s solicitors. This will start the ball rolling. The three main steps to the conveyancing process are:

  • Pre-exchange of contracts
  • Exchange of contracts
  • Completion

Pre-exchange of contracts

The estate agents will provide each parties solicitor with the terms of the sale and the vendor’s solicitor will draw up a contract. They will then send this to the purchaser’s solicitor who will carry out standard searches and enquiries on the property including:

  • Any changes in the locality that may affect the property (for example a new train line or motorway planned which will cut through the garden).
  • Whether the building is listed or in a conservation area.
  • Are there any ongoing disputes over the property (for example has the owner lodged a complaint with the council against their neighbours for any particular matter).
  • What are the exact boundaries of the property.
  • Are there any restrictive covenants, public footpaths or rights of way over the property?
  • Are there any planning restrictions on the property?
  • Anything else which may be relevant to the purchaser.

A mortgage deed will be sent to the purchasers and a completion date will need to be agreed.

Exchange of contracts

Once the contracts are exchanged the purchaser is legally bound to purchase the property and a non-refundable deposit is paid. A transfer document is sent to the buyer, transferring ownership of the property from the vendor to the purchaser. This must be signed by both parties. Final searches are carried out, mortgages are organised, and stamp duties and land registry fees are requested from you.


On the completion date, the remaining money is paid from the purchaser to the vendor and the purchaser receives both the transfer and title deeds, and most importantly, the keys to their new home!

We will then deal with the payment of Stamp Duty and deal with your application for registration at the Land Registry. The difference between freehold and leasehold property

One thing that confuses many people when buying a residential property is the difference between a freehold and leasehold property.


A majority of houses in the UK are freehold. This means the vendor owns the property and land outright and is responsible for all the maintenance and repairs. The owner can do whatever they wish to the property subject to planning permission.


This applies mainly to flats. The vendor of a leasehold property owns it for a set number of years and the property can be bought or sold within that period of time. The owner of the building is the person who owns the freehold, and the ownership of the property reverts back to them when the lease runs out. If the lease has a short time left to run, you may risk losing money on the property if you try to sell it, as the value of the property can decrease dramatically towards the end of the lease.

There are many choices available when buying and selling a home. At Bennett Oakley we ensure the job is done effectively and properly. Property purchase can throw many curved balls - form property covenants through to uncertified work or work not signed-off by Building Control. Employing professionals, who are not governed by a list of checkboxes, ones with your interest at heart, is extremely important when spending so much money on your 'dream' house.

Our Residential Conveyancing Team

Jeannette Staplehurst


Sarah Rowland

Head of Residential Conveyancing

What do people say about
Bennett Oakley?

Just to say thank you for your efforts in allowing us to complete on the house in a stress-free and efficient manner.

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