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Transfer of Equity Solicitors

Nicola Ryan

Written by

23rd Jan 2023 (Last updated on 3rd Aug 2023) 6 minute read

Transfer of equity is when a party is either added or removed from the ownership of a property. Those looking to change ownership will need to instruct a solicitor as the property transfer process is more complex.

There are specialist conveyancing solicitors who can provide you with independent legal advice. They will ensure all legal documents are submitted correctly and on time.

In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about the transfer of equity process and what to expect.

  1. Do I Need a Solicitor for Transfer of Equity?
  2. Conveyancing Process for Transfer of Equity
  3. How Do I Transfer Ownership if There is a Mortgage on the Property?
  4. How Long Does a Transfer of Equity Take?
  5. Do I Have to Pay Stamp Duty for Transfer of Equity?
  6. Finding a Conveyancer

Do I Need a Solicitor for Transfer of Equity?

Hiring a solicitor is required for those receiving the transferred equity. However, the current deed holder does not legally require a solicitor although it is highly recommended. In most cases, both parties tend to have legal representation due to the paperwork involved.

A specialist transfer of equity solicitor will be able to guide you through the process. Some firms have an expert panel of solicitors or a conveyancing team that solely works on transfer of equity cases.

There are a variety of reasons why homeowners proceed with a transfer of equity. You can choose to transfer full or part ownership of a property.

Here are some of the most common cases:

Adding Another Person to the Title

This typically occurs when marrying or entering into a civil partnership. Adding a new partner or spouse to the title gives them a financial interest in your home. If you are transferring equity to an existing partner, one of the existing owners must be listed at the time of the transfer. This is especially important in instances of unequal shares and if you are transferring equity in joint names.

Removing Someone From the Title

When splitting or divorcing from a former partner, you may want to remove them from the transfer deeds and separate your finances.

Going From Joint to Single Ownership

Transferring a jointly owned property to sole ownership can be complex. However, your solicitor will liaise with the parties involved and guide you through the process.

Gifting Full or Part Ownership

You may want to gift full or part ownership of the property to a family member or child for inheritance or tax reasons. Gifting ownership to your children can help to reduce the amount of inheritance tax that will be owed and is common when tax planning. Bear in mind that there may be tax implications if the transfer falls through.

Use as a Deposit

Those looking to invest in a second property may sell part of their equity to use as a deposit. Other people may use the money to make improvements to the property in a bid to raise its value. This can be beneficial considering moving house.

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Conveyancing Process for Transfer of Equity

You'll need to hire a conveyancing solicitor to transfer equity to take care of the legal side. Below are the steps in the transfer of equity legal process:

Transferring equity takes between one and two months on average to complete. However, there is a chance of delays that can prolong the process.

1. Appoint a Solicitor

If someone is joining the title, both parties can be represented by the same solicitor. If someone is leaving the title, the transferor and transferee need separate representation. Your solicitor will then obtain an official copy of the title deed for the property from the Land Registry.

One of the primary documents your solicitor will complete is a TR1 form.

Your solicitor will require identification and any relevant documents pertaining to the property. For example, if the property is leasehold, your solicitor will need a copy of the lease. You will need to hire a leasehold solicitor to do this.

2. Review the Mortgage

Your solicitor will check any outstanding mortgage or other property charges. If there is a mortgage on the property, you’ll need the existing mortgage lender's consent to go ahead with the transfer. This is because all parties listed on the legal title are equally liable for the mortgage.

The same applies if you are removing someone from the property deeds and becoming the sole owner. The mortgage lender will want to be sure you can afford the mortgage on your own. If they don’t agree to the transfer, you’ll need to repay the mortgage cost.

3. Completion

When the transaction is complete, your solicitor will arrange the transfer of any funds between parties.

Your solicitor will file the relevant documentation with the Land Registry. The average Land Registry fee is £438, depending on the value of the property.

Read more about Transfer of Equity Costs

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How Do I Transfer Ownership if There is a Mortgage on the Property?

The new owners will be responsible for the mortgage payments when you transfer equity. The remaining owners will have to apply for a new mortgage offer.

They will have to pass the mortgage lender’s eligibility and affordability checks in the same way you need to when you buy a home. The lender will also check you have residency rights in the UK and are within the appropriate age range as it is a credit agreement.

If you plan to solely own the property, you will need to ensure that you earn a high enough income to pass the affordability checks. Many people remortgage for a higher amount than their existing mortgage. They then use the surplus cash to pay off the other person.

You may also have to pay off some of the loans with cash savings or remortgage to a different lender, depending on your circumstance.

How Long Does a Transfer of Equity Take?

If there’s no mortgage on the property, the transfer of property ownership can be completed in a matter of days or a couple of weeks. You can speed up the process by arranging for both parties to sign the transfer papers at the same time.

It normally takes longer to transfer equity if there’s a mortgage to sort out. For example, if you need to remortgage to buy out a partner the timescale will be dependent on the remortgage process and can be up to six to eight weeks.

Complex cases such as separations or divorces can also slow things down, especially if one party doesn’t consent to the transfer. Make sure you consult with your solicitor to avoid any legal implications.

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Do I Have to Pay Stamp Duty for Transfer of Equity?

Stamp Duty Land Tax may be payable and the amount differs between property transactions. For example, if you are giving and receiving something of monetary value, you will likely have to pay SDLT or Capital Gains Tax. This is known as a “chargeable consideration”.

You will have to pay SDLT when:

  • Transferring equity to a spouse or partner
  • Buying out another party
  • Receive a property with an outstanding mortgage

You will not have to pay SDLT if:

  • The value of the transfer is under £125,000
  • Receive a property with no mortgage
  • Equity transfers are a result of divorce, legal separation or court order

It’s best to discuss SDLT payments with your solicitor beforehand to avoid any unexpected costs. You will then receive a Stamp Duty certificate.

Use our Stamp Duty Calculator to find out how much you owe

Finding a Conveyancer

At Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 licensed conveyancers to assist you with your transfer of equity. Fill out the comparison form to compare conveyancing quotes and save on your fees.

All our conveyancing partners must provide proof that they are regulated by one of the following regulatory bodies:

  • Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
  • Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
  • Law Society of Scotland (LSS)
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI)
  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)

Another way to find a solicitor is to ask friends and family for recommendations. They can provide a first-hand account of their experience. Regardless of how you find your conveyancer, always check reviews online.

Nicola Ryan

Written by Nicola Ryan

Nicola focusses on all things moving house at Compare My Move where she writes articles for the advice centre, guiding users through everything they need to know about moving house.

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