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Buying Land: Land Conveyancing Solicitors


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11th Nov 2022 (Last updated on 12th Apr 2024) 5 minute read

If you are looking to buy land in the UK, you will need a licensed conveyancer to transfer the ownership of the land to you. They will handle paperwork related to the purchase and the completion of the sale.

Buying land can be a great investment, whether it’s for a self-build home or a business. A Specialist Land Conveyancing Solicitor can assist you with your purchase. From small plots to agricultural land, below we review conveyancing for buying land in the UK.

  1. Do I Need a Conveyancer to Buy Land?
  2. How Does Conveyancing Work for Buying Land?
  3. Planning Permission for Buying Land
  4. Buying Land Solicitors Fees
  5. What Searches Will You Need
  6. Do I Need a Solicitor to Buy Land at Auction?
  7. What are the Risks of Buying Land Over a Property?

Do I Need a Conveyancer to Buy Land?

When you purchase land, no matter the size of the plot, there will be a legal process. Land is expensive, so it is highly recommended that you hire a specialist conveyancer.

Land Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of land from one person to another. A conveyancer will handle all the legal aspects, including required checks and searches.

If you want to develop the land, your conveyancer will need to arrange for checks so that any plans can go ahead.

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How Does Conveyancing Work for Buying Land?

1. Once you have identified a plot of land you want to buy, you can appoint a specialist conveyancer.

2. As the purchaser, you will need to apply for a loan (if needed) and then make an offer on the land.

3. Your conveyancer will review the plot for sale, including:

  • Plot Boundaries and any boundaries with neighbours
  • Public Footpaths (if any)
  • Right of access
  • Rights of Way
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Overage Agreements
  • Amenities (sewage, electricity, water etc) if you are planning to build on the land

4. Next, your solicitor will address any issues with you. If necessary, they will negotiate the contract.

5. Similar to buying a house, contracts will be exchanged and you will need to pay a deposit.

6. A completion day is set and the remaining amount of the purchase is paid.

7. Stamp Duty is paid within 14 days of the completion date.

8. Land Registry will need to register your ownership - this will need to be done within 2 months.

Planning Permission for Buying Land

If you are planning to build on the land you are buying, be aware that you will need to apply for planning permission. Some plots are sold with planning permission. However, you will need to ensure that these cover what you are looking to build.

Land without planning permission is usually valued lower. This means it could be cheaper to buy. However, keep in mind that it may not have planning permission because it was denied in the past. This will likely be an issue if you are looking for land to build on. It may also make it difficult to sell in the future.

Your solicitor can assist you, but planning permission will be your responsibility. To obtain planning permission you will need to contact your local authority. Whether you are granted planning permission depends on the location, suitability of the land, and local wildlife.

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Buying Land Solicitors Fees

Your solicitor fees for buying land will depend on a number of factors. It will depend on the size of the plot, how complicated the transaction is, and the location. It can also depend on the conveyancer you opt for. For example, online conveyancing can be cheaper.

If you want to develop the land for residential purposes, the conveyancing process needs to be more detailed. As a result, it is likely to cost more.

Keep in mind that the cost will involve more than just the legal work completed by the conveyancer. Fees can include a number of disbursements. These include essential searches and Stamp Duty Land Tax.

What Searches Will You Need

Your conveyancer will conduct essential searches on the plot and surrounding area. These include:

  • Local Authority Searches
  • Environmental Searches
  • Water and Drainage Search
  • Title Search

Your conveyancer may need to arrange for specialist surveys depending on the location. For example, if the land is in an area with a history of Coal Mining, a coal mining report will need to be completed.

For more on the searches arranged during a land or property transaction see: What Are Conveyancing Searches?

Do I Need a Solicitor to Buy Land at Auction?

When land is sold at auction, a legal pack is requested from the vendor’s solicitor. Legal packs are made available for inspection before the auction takes place. They will also be available on the day itself.

It is highly recommended that you ask a conveyancing solicitor to review these documents as auction conveyancing is a complicated process. Auction purchases take place under the assumption that all documents have been read and understood.

The legal pack will contain a number of relevant documents including:

  • Special conditions of the sale
  • Title deeds and plans
  • Details of the relevant local authority search
  • Leases (if applicable)
  • Replies to any pre-contract requirements

A conveyancer can review the legal pack and highlight any concerns. They can also explain any legal jargon. This can be a huge advantage when it comes to buying land at auction.

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What are the Risks of Buying Land Over a Property?

When you buy land rather than a property, there are a few risks involved. You may be faced with restrictions when attempting to develop the land. For example, you may be restricted by government or local authorities in how you can use it. You may encounter environmental issues and wildlife protection measures.

Self-Build vs Renovation

If you are buying land with the hope of building a home, ensure that you have done all the necessary research. This includes calculating the costs involved, which could add up quickly. You will also need to consider current supply-chain issues and labour shortages.

If you want a customised home, you may want to consider a renovation project on an existing property. In this instance, you would need a residential conveyancer for the purchase.


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