Property Questions & Answers

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Q. I bought a house and completed over a month ago. I haven’t yet received the Title Deeds from my Solicitor. Surely they should have arrived by now.
A. No, not necessarily. After completion, the Transfer Deed has to be sent to the Inland Revenue for stamping. Once returned, your title has to be registered at the Land Registry. That in itself can take 6 – 8 weeks. It’s only after the registration process is complete that the deeds are ready. Of course, if you have a mortgage, your won’t get the deeds anyway – they’ll be sent to your lender.

Q. What is stamping?
A. Just another way for the Government to get money out of you. Stamp Duty is a tax on property payable by a buyer. Currently the rates are 1% (for properties purchased for between £60,000 and £250,000), 2% (properties purchased for between £250,000 and £500,000) and 3% (£500,000 and above).

Q. I’m thinking of selling my house but want the sale to go through very quickly – any ideas to short-cut the system?
A. Yes, instruct your Solicitor before you even find a buyer. It’s amazing how much he or she can do. Your Solicitor can obtain the deeds, prepare the contract and produce a full package of papers ready to send out as soon as you find a buyer. Your Solicitor can also do a search of your property and sell on the results. There’s no need to wait. If you see your Solicitor first you should save masses of time.

Q. I’m thinking of selling my house but want the sale to go through very slowly. Any suggestions?
A. Yes, just ask your Solicitor to do what you think he’s best at.

Jeremy Lewis is the Senior Property Partner at Alexander Johnson, Solicitors. Fax your questions to him on 0171 538.2442 or e-mail aj@london–