Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my transaction take?

At Davis & Co we will always strive to complete your transaction as soon as possible, however a lot will depend on the other Conveyancers in the chain and how quickly the other party and their Conveyancers respond to our enquiries and deal with matters on behalf of their client. Also, the length of the chain will have a bearing on the timescales as the longer it is, the longer the transaction generally takes. On average a typical purchase transaction will take between eight to twelve weeks to complete. However, if you are purchasing a leasehold property, then the timescales will be longer as leasehold is more complex than freehold. You can expect therefore that these transactions can take up to twenty weeks (or in some cases even longer). Also, brand new properties will take longer than standard properties if they are in the course of construction when the offer is made.

Rest assured, whatever type of property you are selling or purchasing, Davis & Co will aim to get you completed as quickly as possible.

When will I exchange?

There are three stages to the conveyancing transaction. Stage 1 is right at the beginning and covers the period between you instructing us and signing your contractual documents. This is known as the “pre contract” stage where even though contractual documents may have been signed, they are not legally binding and either party can walk away from the transaction. Stage 2 is the stage which changes everything to make it legally binding and this is known as “Exchange of Contracts”. Once we have exchanged contracts on your behalf, the transaction becomes legally binding and the parties are respectively obliged to sell and buy the property.  Stage 3 is the completion stage and that is the date the transaction is legally completed, and you move into your new home.

Can we act for both parties?

As Licensed Conveyancers we are able to act on both sides of a transaction provided that at the outset we do not consider that there is a conflict of interests or a conflict of interests is likely to arise and provided both parties consent to us acting on both sides of the transaction.

Each party would be represented by a different qualified Conveyancer within the firm and if at any time during the transaction a conflict of interest did arise, we would have to cease to act for both parties.

Do we offer a no sale no fee?

This is not something Davis & Co offer. If work has been started on your file, and the matter does not proceed for any reason, then you will be liable for a proportion of our fees depending on the amount of work carried out on your file to date. Normally firms that offer “no sale or no fee” arrangements tend to charge higher fees to clients to compensate for this. We prefer to be transparent on our fees hence our approach.  We are happy to discuss further with you if you are concerned about this.

Do we pay referral fees?

Referral fees are often paid by Conveyancing firms to Agents in return for the Agents “recommending” their services to their clients. This means that the Conveyancer is effectively “buying” the work in from the Agents and are paying up to £200 per client for the privilege of doing so!  We feel very strongly about this topic and refuse to pay these types of fees. Firstly, because we feel they are unethical as the client normally ends up paying the additional fees (whether knowingly or not). Secondly, we pride ourselves on our outstanding reputation and feel that if we had to resort to effectively paying for work, we may as well tear up our Practising Licences and go home. Our clients return to us time and time again due to the exceptional level of service we provide, and it is a fact that most of our work comes either from existing clients or recommendations. If your Agent has recommended us, you can be assured that this is on the basis of our superb level of service and not because they are receiving a grubby backhander hidden in the small print of their terms and conditions.

Do we require payment at the outset?

We request a payment of £100.00 upfront in respect of a sale transaction and £400.00 upfront in respect of a purchase transaction to cover the third-party fees, such as Land Registry documentation and search fees, which we incur on your behalf during a transaction. Any money paid at the outset will, of course be reflected in the final figures which we calculate once exchange of contracts has taken place.

How much will we charge you if the transaction does not proceed?

This will depend on the amount of work carried out up until the time the transaction aborts. In general terms, if we are halfway through a transaction when it becomes abortive, then you will be liable for half of the fees initially quoted to you at the outset. If you are almost at the point of exchange of contracts before it falls through, then most of the work will have been carried out on your file so most of your initial estimate will be due. If you are purchasing, the fees incurred for the searches will also be lost as these fees are spent right at the beginning of the transaction. It may be possible to offer these for sale to a future buyer but please bear in mind that the searches are only valid for 6 months.

If you decide to use Davis & Co Property Lawyers again, we would be delighted to offer you a discount on the conveyancing fees if you have had a previously abortive transaction with us.

When do you need money from us?

There are three points at which money is required:

1. The initial payment of money on account.

2. When you reach exchange of contracts. A payment of 10% of the purchase price is needed (we refer to this as the deposit). If you are selling part of this 10% will be made up from the money you receive from your buyer.

3. The balance to complete. This is the total cost of purchase (price plus all fees and
disbursements (stamp duty, Land Registry fees etc) less the money paid on account,
the deposit and the mortgage (if any).

You should note:

1. All payments must be cleared funds at the time they need to be used. For this
reason payments by bank transfers are preferred.

2. We do not accept payments from third parties, credit cards or debit cards.

3. Bank transfers cannot be made from outside the UK.


If you are buying a house, you must insure the property from exchange of contracts. You will

need to obtain a quote just before exchange. This will give you reassurance that insurance is

obtainable against all the usual risks at a reasonable premium. If this is not the case, the

property may not be mortgageable and, even if you are a cash purchaser, you should consider carefully whether to proceed with the purchase if you are unable to obtain insurance on the property. If you are purchasing a leasehold property, the insurance is arranged by the Freeholders although you should insure your belongings from the date of completion.

When should you give notice on your rental accommodation?

We strongly advise that you do not give notice to your Landlord until contracts have been exchanged otherwise you may run the risking of having nowhere to live. Once contracts have been exchanged, the contract becomes legally binding and it is at this point you should serve notice on your landlord.

What’s the difference between a freehold and leasehold property?

When you purchase a freehold property, you purchase the property and the land on which it is situated. You are free to deal with the property as you see fit and can make alterations to it without recourse to any other party (subject to obtaining the usual consents). You would be responsible for maintaining and repairing both the interior and exterior of the property yourself.

When you purchase a leasehold property, you are leasing the property for a specific period of time, (from 999 years down to 125 years (or less))  and you do not own the land on which the Property is situated as that is owned by the Freeholder.  Most apartments are leasehold tenure and the Building in which the apartment is situated is owned by the Freeholder. You have to make additional payments of service charge (and sometimes ground rent) to the freeholder to pay for the maintenance and repair of the Building. If you want to make any alterations to your property you will first need to seek the consent of the Freeholder before you do so. Leasehold is a complex area of law and so you should expect to pay more for your conveyancing than you would if you were purchasing a straightforward freehold property.

Should you have a survey carried out?

If you are having a mortgage your mortgage lender will carry out a basic valuation of the property. This is to assess whether the property is sufficient security for the loan which you require. The valuation does not provide detailed information and we would therefore recommend you instruct a professional surveyor to carry out a survey. The surveyor should be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).