For many, buying or selling their home is likely to be the biggest transaction in their lifetime. As such it is a significant investment as it often involves a home for the family.

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Helping clients buy and sell their homes for generations

For many, buying or selling their home is likely to be the biggest transaction in their lifetime. As such it is a significant investment as it often involves a home for the family.      

The handling of such an important transaction should be entrusted to a skilled, qualified and experienced expert to look after your best interests. Fully versed and conversant in all aspects of residential property work,  our specialists aim to take the stress out of moving.

In addition to handling the buying and selling of all manner of properties whether it be a small starter home or a country estate our residential property team has the necessary  experience and knowledge to help.  The team can assist in all types of residential  transactions including the purchase of second homes, new build properties, buy-to-let properties, lease extensions and re-mortgages. Our clients  include  individuals,  trustees, housebuilders, developers, corporate investors and statutory bodies such as local authorities.

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How our lawyers can help

We are among one of the first practices in the West Midlands to receive the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) award, which is testament to our  goal of striving to maintain a gold standard of service.

We can help you with:

  • Buying and selling leasehold and freehold residential properties
  • Buying and selling new build properties
  • Property investment transactions including buy-to-let acquisitions
  • Transfers of equity including disposal / transfer of matrimonial homes following the breakdown of a relationships
  • Assents of property on the death of an owner
  • Remortgages including equity release
  • Lease extensions and deeds of variation to amend an existing lease
  • Purchase of both freehold and leasehold properties
  • Buying property under Right to Buy schemes
  • Buying, selling and staircasing shared ownership properties
  • Redemption of mortgages including Help to Buy mortgages
  • Buying and selling of garden land for development or otherwise

Buying a house

When buying a house, the legal fees associated with the transaction are likely to be one of the smaller costs you face. This should not however understate the importance of what a property lawyer does. The information collated during the conveyancing process can have massive bearing on your decision on whether to proceed with your purchase. It is  imperative that the lawyer you appoint is able to properly, coherently and comprehensively advise you  on  information revealed in  property searches and legal issue disclosed in title documentation. At Higgs the residential property team possesses the knowledge and skill to deliver such a comprehensive service.

The transfer of real estate is quite unlike the sale of other goods and assets. The principle of ‘caveat emptor’ or in layman’s terms ‘Buyer Beware’, applies to the sale of land and property. It is incumbent for a buyer to raise both factual and legal enquiries with a seller failing which the buyer will be  deemed to have accepted  the property and title being purchased as it is. Some issues may be evident on a simple viewing  but many other issues will not. It is therefore important to have a professional legal team in place to undertake a thorough investigation of all property related issues for you.

When you choose to work with us, you will be guided at all stages and kept fully up to date with all aspects of your transaction.  As we work as a team there will always be a residential conveyancing expert available to discuss your matter and provide you with practical advice. Each member of the team assigned to deal with your matter will be able to give you clear and timely advice to ensure your queries are addressed as when they arise.  

Selling a house

We appreciate that selling your property can seem a daunting, complex and expensive undertaking. We strive to provide you with clear and concise  advice from the outset of your matter. We provide a personal service, which recognises your personal circumstances and seeks to meet your specific requirements. Our overriding focus is to make the process of selling your property as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

During the sale process there are often many transactional requirements which you as a homeowner may not necessarily be aware of. These requirements are often legal steps / tasks to be performed in order to secure completion of a sale, such as obtaining a redemption statement or securing consent to the sale from a third party which  has some interest in the Property (such as a restriction holder or management company). We ensure that all required legal processes  are addressed  during the sale  process to ensure  the sale  goes through without any delay or complications.

When you choose to work with us, you will be fully informed of progress of your transaction.  We work as a team so there will always be a residential conveyancing expert available to discuss your matter and address any concerns you have. Each member of your assigned team will take time to understand your situation and requirements. This will enable you to plan ahead with confidence.  

"From acting for me in the purchase of the land to the ultimate sale of the property that I built on it Gurvinder provided consistently driven service, with a tenacious approach and a willingness to communicate out of traditional office hours."

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Transfer of equity

The term ‘equity’ in terms of property refers to the percentage of your property that you own after taking mortgages and other peoples shares in the property into account.

A transfer of equity is a transaction where you choose to transfer your share in a property to another party, or vice versa, but this does not amount to a sale of the property as such. The transfer can be for value, or it can be for no value such as a gift. Circumstances that can trigger a transfer of equity being include, but are not limited to, a relationship breakdown or a gift of property from family members to other family members.

It is important to remember that a transfers of equity is not always just a straightforward transfer of property; there can be a number of issues to be determined and resolved  before the transfer can be completed. For example:

  • Where there is a mortgage registered against a property you will either need the lender’s consent to go ahead with the transfer of equity or look to redeem that mortgage and enter into a new mortgage
  • where there is a restriction registered against the title of the property, for example, for the benefit of a management company, you will need to ensure that you have complied with that third parties’ requirements to enable the transfer to complete.
  • Where parties don’t agree with the division of the equity or the value of the shares. We can refer you to colleagues in our other departments to assist you in settling any disputes to allow the transfer to proceed.

Our team at Higgs have expertise in transfers of equity and will ensure that all matters that require attention are properly addressed.


Our legal team can assist you if you are  looking to re-mortgage. Remortgaging involves a similar legal process to buying a property  especially where you are looking to change lender and or add another party to the title register.

Although we cannot recommend mortgage products, we can put you in touch with a mortgage broker who can help you understand all the ins and outs of the various  options and mortgage products open to you. Once you have been properly advised in this respect, we can then ensure that the remortgage process is completed as swiftly and smoothly as possible.

Purchasing a freehold

It is a common misconception that all leasehold properties are apartments and flats. However, this is not the case. Although a lot less common here are also leasehold houses in the UK.

If you own a leasehold house, you may decide you want to buy the freehold and there is legislation that gives you the right to do so. Where you own a leasehold flat, you may also have a right of collective enfranchisement which is a right, subject to qualification, for the owners of flats in a building, and sometimes part of a building, to join together and buy the freehold of that building. Where such rights are exercised you will require specialist advice which Higgs can provide.

Often a leaseholder will want to buy the freehold to their home  for a number of  reasons including in order to remove the obligation of paying ground rent (which is otherwise paid to the freeholder), to control service charges  and to have control over matters such as keeping a pet or subletting the property.

At Higgs, our team have vast experience in the acquisition of freehold interests  and we will be happy to assist.

New build properties and developments

Buying and selling new properties off-plan brings its own particular issues and considerations. Having worked on many such schemes acting for developers and builders as well as for property purchasers, we understand the intricacies these new build matters involve.

We have a broad range of experience in respect of new build developments which include acting for builders/developers in acquiring land and then setting up new build sites followed by  plot sales. We also have knowledge on acting for purchasers in the purchase of new build properties, including shared ownership properties.  

We will always endeavour to work alongside you to protect your best interests and deliver successful outcomes in the timeframe required.

Lease extensions

Where you own a leasehold property your ownership of the property is governed by a lease. Leases are granted for a set period of time, for example 125 years. As time progresses the term remaining on the lease decrease. Under the terms of the lease when the contractual lease term expires you must return the property to the landlord who is often the owner of the freehold. As a lease term decreases it can affect the value of the Property making it more difficult to sell, especially as mortgage lenders normally have a minimum lease term requirement before the lease is considered as satisfactory security. This varies from lender to lender but is often between  60 to 85 years of unexpired term.

It is therefore important to ensure that the term of the lease does not expire or reduce so much in unexpired residue that it affects the value of the property making it un-mortgageable. The best way to do so is to renew the lease and secure an extension to the term.

You are able to informally request a lease extension but there is no guarantee the freeholder will agree. You can also seek a lease extension exercising certain statutory rights , as long as you have owned the property for at least 2 years. This can be a costly exercise as you will be required to pay a premium for this, together with the landlord’s legal and valuation fees. The premium is calculated with reference to certain prescribed criteria. The lower the remaining term of the current lease the higher the premium payment is likely to be.

A lease extension is a formal document that must be drafted, executed and registered to be binding. As specialists in this field, we can assist. 

Where there is a dispute with the freeholder in respect of the lease extension, such as a disagreement about the level of premium being charged, we can refer you to our  dispute resolution team to advise you whether you are eligible to secure a  lease extension, negotiating the extension and, where necessary, representing you in a tribunal. Once the terms of the extension are agreed ordered by a tribunal our residential property team can then take over the process and take the matter to completion.

Why choose us as your conveyancing lawyers

A well-known and highly respected presence in the residential -property market, we offer a comprehensive service. As a firm with a broad range of legal expertise in multiple legal disciplines, we work with colleagues in all practice areas to ensure all your needs and requirements are catered for.  

Our residential property team aim to provide a professional and efficient service with a personal touch. Known for our pragmatic, down-to-earth approach, you will find a team of dedicated professionals, committed to looking after you and working tirelessly.

This is what we do every day, but we know you are much less familiar with the conveyancing process and property law. We seek to avoid legal jargon, remain down-to-earth and build long-term relationships with our clients, based on mutual trust and excellent service.

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Conveyancing is a branch of law concerned with the conveyance – or transfer – of property. A conveyancing (or property) lawyer is one who specialises in the legal side of buying, selling or leasing property.

‘Residential’ property means property that people live in, such as houses and flats, as opposed to commercial or business premises, like shops, offices and factories.

Following an offer being accepted by the property seller, the main steps are:

  • Instruct your conveyancing solicitor. Once you have accepted an offer, or had your offer accepted, you need to formally instruct your solicitor to begin the conveyancing process to allow the sale to progress effectively
  • The next step involves the seller (through their solicitor) completing a number of questionnaires about the property. This includes details of what is included with the sale in terms of fixtures and fittings
  • The seller will be asked to provide information about the property boundaries, any disputes and complaints, any known proposed developments (like roads or railways), any building work undertaken, council tax details, utilities and sewerage arrangements serving the property
  • The seller’s solicitor will use this information to draw up a draft contract. The contract will specify the agreed sale price, agreed fixtures and fittings, and any other agreed terms
  • Once the contract paperwork is received the Buyers Solicitor will commission searches and raise enquiries of the Seller based on the search results and the contract paperwork. The Sellers Solicitor will then work with their client to resolve these enquiries
  • When all enquiries are satisfied the solicitors for both sides then exchange contracts. This is traditionally done by agreeing all elements of the transaction as embodied in the contract by phone and finalising the completion date. A 10% deposit is payable by the Buyer on exchange
  • Once contracts are exchanged, both parties are in a legally binding contract. If either subsequently pulls out, they may be sued and face financial penalties. Exchanging contracts also means that the seller can no longer accept offers on the property
  • On completion day, the keys are handed over, the outstanding balance of the sale price is paid, legal documents are transferred and the solicitors/other agents should be paid

Meet the conveyancing team