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Transfer of Equity Solicitors

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23rd Jan 2023 (Last updated on 16th May 2024) 7 minute read

Transfer of equity is when a party is either added or removed from the ownership of a property. The legal process to do this is highly complex. Therefore, an expert transfer of equity solicitor will work on your behalf to ensure it is completed as efficiently as possible.

Some specialist conveyancing solicitors can provide you with independent legal advice. They will ensure all legal documents are submitted correctly and on time. If you are looking to transfer equity on a property you own, we can help you compare conveyancing quotes from a trusted panel of solicitors instantly.

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

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

Do Both Parties Need a Solicitor for Transfer of Equity?

Hiring a solicitor is legally required for the transferee (the party receiving the transferred equity). The transferor (the party giving the transferred equity) does not legally have to hire a solicitor. However, it is highly recommended. In most cases, all parties tend to have representation due to the legal 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.

Conveyancing Process for Transfer of Equity

Below are the steps in the transfer of equity legal process:

1. Appoint a Transfer of Equity 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. This document transfers ownership of a property from one party to another.

Your solicitor will require identification and any relevant documents on 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 mortgages 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 when 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 outright.

3. Completion

When the transaction is complete, your solicitor will arrange the transfer of any funds between parties. They will also file the relevant documentation with the Land Registry.

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When Do I Need 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

Adding a new partner or spouse to the title gives them a financial interest in your home. This typically occurs when marrying or entering into a civil partnership.

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. Both parties will need to negotiate how much will need to be paid to buy out the remaining equity.

Going From Joint to Single Ownership

Transferring a jointly owned property to sole ownership can be complex. This is because additional changes will need to be made to the existing deed. 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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Transfer of Equity Costs and Fees

Transfer of equity costs an average of £5,298 plus 1%-5%, depending on the circumstances. Many factors can impact the total cost including whether you have a mortgage.

Here is a breakdown of the average cost*:

ItemApproximate Cost

Solicitor’s fees Item

£540

Anti-money laundering checks

£5

Bank transfer fee

£40

Land registry fees

£438

Freeholder consent

Up to £250

Stamp duty

£3,850

Remortgage

£175 plus 1%-5% of property value

Total

£5,298 plus 1%-5% of the property value

*Costs taken from our Average Conveyancing Fees data and are based on the average UK house price of £277,000

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

When you transfer equity, the new owners will be responsible for the mortgage payments. 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 like 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 own the property solely, 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 circumstances.

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How Long Does a Transfer of Equity Take?

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

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.

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

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) may be payable and the amount differs between property transactions. This tax is paid in England and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, it is called Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and in Wales, it is Land Transaction Tax (LTT).

For example, if you are giving and receiving something of monetary value, you will likely have to pay this 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.

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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 up to 70% 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. This ensures you find a reputable company that is right for your needs.

Need a Surveyor?

Once you've found a conveyancer, you soon might need the help of a RICS property surveyor. Simply fill in our integrated conveyancing and surveying comparison form to get connected today.

You can compare companies through our integrated conveyancing and surveying form by filling out a few extra steps. We will then connect you with local conveyancers and surveyors to save on the whole process.

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