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How to Find a Buy-to-Let Solicitor

Adele MacGregor

Written by

29th Jul 2022 (Last updated on 15th Aug 2022) 6 minute read

A conveyancing solicitor will handle the legal side of buying or selling a Buy-to-Let. Their role is to transfer ownership of the property from the existing owner to the new buyer.

If you are buying the property without a mortgage it is possible to do the conveyancing yourself. This is not recommended, however, due to the time-consuming nature of the process and the complexities involved.

Whether you are a new or existing landlord, a conveyancer can guide you through the process. We suggest opting for a solicitor who has knowledge of Buy-to-Let properties. They will have an understanding of the steps involved and how best to advise you.

This article will cover the following:
  1. How to Find a Buy-to-Let Solicitor?
  2. What is the Buy-to-Let Conveyancing Process?
  3. Conveyancing Fees for Buy-to-Let
  4. Stamp Duty for Buy-to-Let Properties
  5. Capital Gains Tax
  6. Buy-to-Let Mortgages
  7. What to Do If You Inherit a Buy-to-Let Property
  8. Legal Requirements for a Buy-to-Lets to Rent Out

How to Find a Buy-to-Let Solicitor?

One of the best ways to find a Buy-to-Let solicitor is to compare quotes from local conveyancers.

Compare My Move can match you with up to 6 trusted conveyancers in your area. This way you are only connecting with professionals, verified by us and reviewed by our users.

We would recommend opting for a conveyancer solicitor who is experienced in Buy-to-Let transactions. They can guide you through the process and advise you on the steps to take after completion.

A Conveyancing Solicitor Will:

  • Check for any problems or potential issues that could impact the sale or the property itself.
  • Review the terms of the contract and ensure they are understood by both their client and all other parties involved
  • Ensure the sale and contract meets your requirements
  • Handle documents and paperwork, ensuring everything is completed and submitted correctly and in a timely manner.
  • Handling the transfer of funds between parties and ensuring fees are paid for searches, Stamp Duty and other costs.

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What is the Buy-to-Let Conveyancing Process?

Once you have found a property and have made an offer, you will need to instruct your solicitor. If you are selling, the process starts when you accept an offer.

  1. Your solicitor will take you through the following steps, from accepting the offer to completion:

    Once an offer is accepted and the conveyancing process begins, the buyer’s solicitor will request the contract pack from the seller’s solicitor.
  2. The buyer’s solicitor will then check over the details of the contract pack and raise any queries. At this point, they will also arrange for the necessary searches on the property including a Local Authority Search and Environmental Searches.
  3. Having checked there are no restrictions when it comes to renting the property or any issues raised in the searches, they will also check that the buyer has the correct type of mortgage for the property. They will then draw up the contract.
  4. At this point, any documents such as a deed or trust of tenancy in common agreement will be reviewed by the seller and their solicitor.
  5. The next step is exchanging contacts and agreeing upon a completion date.
  6. A transfer deed is sent to the seller’s conveyancer and a completion statement is drawn up. Any pre-completion searches will be arranged.
  7. Funds are sent to the seller on completion day and any fees such as Stamp Duty on the buyer’s behalf and any Capital Gains Tax on the seller’s behalf will be paid.
  8. The buyer’s solicitor will then register the property in their name with the Land Registry.

Conveyancing Fees for Buy-to-Let

The conveyancing fees for buying a home are £2,271 on average. This includes the fees for the solicitor and the costs the solicitor pays on behalf of the buyer. For selling a property, fees are £1,656 on average.

This is based on a freehold property costing £277,000. It also includes disbursement fees and other potential costs.

Solicitor legal fees

These are the fees you pay your solicitor for the work and time spent on the property transaction. For buying, we found these were £1,320 on average and £1,270 for selling. Keep in mind this will differ depending on the complexity of the transaction.

Disbursement fees

These fees are costs which the conveyancer pays to third parties on your behalf.

For buying these include:

  • Local Authority Search
  • Environmental Search
  • Water and drainage search
  • Land Registry Fees
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
  • Chancel Liability Search
  • Bankruptcy Search

For selling they include:

  • Title deeds
  • Transferring ownership
  • Property fraud fees
  • Bank transfer fee

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Stamp Duty for Buy-to-Let Properties

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is paid when purchasing a home worth more than £125,000 in England and Northern Ireland. Wales and Scotland have their own equivalents. Be aware that Stamp Duty is higher on Buy-to-Let properties. These are considered second homes, for which stamp duty is increased.

In 2015, the government announced an additional 3% Stamp Duty rate on all second homes in England and Northern Ireland. In Wales and Scotland, the rate is 4%. You will need to factor this in when preparing for the cost of selling the property.

For a full breakdown of Stamp Duty in different parts of the county, see: How Much Stamp Duty Will You Pay on a Second Home?

Capital Gains Tax

Be aware that when selling a Buy-to-Let property you may need to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT). This is payable if the property has increased in value since you purchased it. You are only taxed on the gain and not the total sale price of the house.

The current CGT tax-free allowance is £12,000. As of April 2020, CGT must be paid after 30 days of selling the property.

Buy-to-Let Mortgages

For a Buy-to-Let Property, you will need a specialised Buy-to-Let Mortgage. These come with criteria which you must meet in order to be eligible.

This includes:

  • Your age: Most lenders will have an age limit for when the mortgage term ends. It’s likely you will need to be 45 or under to qualify
  • Salary: You must earn over £25,000 per annum
  • Owning a property: You must have owned your own home for 6 months (with or without a mortgage)
  • Location: The property must be located in the UK
  • Credit score: You must have a very good credit score to apply

The minimum deposit for these properties is usually 25% of the property’s value but it can vary between 20-40%

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What to Do If You Inherit a Buy-to-Let Property

If you inherit a Buy-to-Let Property, you will still need the services of a solicitor. People who inherit an investment property like a Buy-to-Let are sometimes referred to as “Accidental Landlords”. This means that they did not plan to be a Landlord, but find themselves as one after inheriting a property.

You will need to decide if you want to take on the property as a Landlord or if you want to sell it on. Either way, you will want to enlist the services of a conveyancing solicitor.

Be aware that you may have to pay income tax on any profit you make from the property. This is in addition to inheritance and Capital Gains Tax.

Legal Requirements for a Buy-to-Lets to Rent Out

As the Landlord of a property, there are legal requirements that must be met. These include:

  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Gas safety checks
  • Electric safety checks
  • Correct insurances in place
  • A multiple occupation license
  • Up-to-date fire safety standards

For more tips and advice when buying a Buy-to-Let property see: Buy to Let Property Advice: 10 Essential Tips.

Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.

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