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Approach to costs
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. always aim to approach legal work in a financially-disciplined way. We offer competitive rates. Our charging approach is both transparent and geared to the options open to our clients. Our solicitors generally charge by reference to time spent but we can often agree fixed fees for specific work or in some cases risk-adjusted funding structures.

Send us a summary of your circumstances and objectives for a quick response.

Shared ownership solicitors : specialists

Solicitors for shared ownership properties across England & Wales: legal fees for buying shared ownership properties (share to buy): First Steps London Scheme: Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme: immediate no-surprises itemised quotation

“We were fully intending on using Humphreys & Co. for the sale but unfortunately we were forced into using a panel solicitor our estate agent. We will without question use Humphreys as our family solicitor from here on in due to the consistent high quality service we receive from you and your team.”

We are specialist solicitors in shared ownership purchases, staircasing & resales for clients right across England & Wales - London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Swansea, Norwich, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Leeds, Maidstone, Oxford, Milton Keynes ... 

[or click HERE for buying, selling or staircasing LONDON PROPERTIES] 

Our conveyancing team covers the whole of England & Wales:

"Excellent service would definitely recommend and use again." (Brighton purchase)  

"I would like to thank you also for all the work you have done for me on this purchase. I found it a very easy and great experience working with you on this."  (leasehold purchase)

“Thanks for all your hard work and assistance when dealing with our house purchase and sale.  Sorry if I was a bit impatient at times, it's just we were excited to move into our new house.  We couldn't have dont it without you!”  - Shared ownership sale with simultaneous staircasing (Coventry) and straight purchase (Birmingham)

Our specialist conveyancing lawyers:

    • Work as individual professionals looking after individual clients' transactions
    • Do not "process" clients' transactions like they were cans of beans
    • Have specialist shared ownership & shared equity experience
    • Provide regular updates on your shared ownership purchase or sale
    • Work very hard to make your purchase or sale get through
    • Explain difficult & technical material in plain English (including lease liabilities)
    • Are available to speak to one-on-one & explain by email and letter
    • Use high spec IT equipment to speed communication
    • Put your best interests (as the client) first
    • Offer detailed house legal fees quotations with no hidden extras
    • Are expert in shared ownership and shared equity transactions
"Really impressed with service I received, response times to emails were excellent, will recommend you to others in the future." (Southampton)

What types of Affordable Housing are there?

There are a number of schemes available for those looking to purchase a home, including shared ownership, shared equity (e.g. the new Help To Buy scheme), FirstBuy and HomeBuy.

In London the Mayor of London’s First Steps portal provides guidance for buyers looking to purchase their first home and covers shared ownership, First Buy and HomeBuy schemes.

Ian Adams (senior associate)
Iain Robinson (associate solicitor)
Dwayne Roystone (solicitor)
Fran Elsby (staff lawyer)
Magda Stecka (staff lawyer)
Sarah Cave (staff lawyer)
Malgosia Tomczak (admin)

"Would just like to express a huge thank you for all your work and assistance. The service we have received from you has been excellent. Should we ever need the services of a solicitor in the future, we will certainly be giving you a call, as indeed we will be highly recommending your services to others." (London)  


"Thank you. We really appreciate all the advice and quick responses you have given throughout our buying process. We will definitely recommend yourself and Humphreys & Co. to friends and family." (purchase in Reading)
Shared ownership, called part rent part buy and share to buy, transactions are more complex than traditional residential property purchases & sales. Our experienced property team works in affordable housing all the time. They know what's needed to protect clients' interests and get the transactions through, often to tight housing association deadlines. 

Shared ownership, shared equity & Help To Buy


Shared ownership

This involves buying a share in the new home, e.g. 25% and paying rent on the share retained by the Housing Association. You would be granted a lease and pay rent to the Housing Association under the terms of that lease. This can be a stepping stone to full ownership and in time you could increase the amount that you own (potentially up to 100%) thereby reducing the rent you are required to pay in a process called staircasing.


Shared ownership is often used by first time buyers and people who rent council or housing

association properties - however it is also available to people who have previously owned a home but can no longer afford to do so. The terms "part buy part rent" and "part rent part buy" summarise the way in which the scheme works. This type of ownership is worth considering if you are not yet able to fund the cost of a home on your own as the deposit required is much lower than in a traditional purchase. Generally buyers fund their purchase of the initial share in the home by way of a mortgage.

Shared equity

This involves buying a newly built home outright so that no rent is payable. Generally only 5% of the purchase price will be funded by the buyer directly. 20% will be loaned to the buyer by the developer building the home or in conjunction with the Government (under the FirstBuy or HomeBuy schemes). The terms of such loans vary so it can be wise to shop around and certain developers will only lend to priority groups such as first time buyers. The remaining 75% is provided by the buyer's lender by way of a mortgage. This option can therefore provide a foot on the ladder for buyers with very little in the way of a deposit.


Housing Associations have been authorised to run shared equity schemes for people who

have difficulty buying a home. The Housing Associations, HomeBuy or FirstBuy agents, will decide if you can buy a home this way. Usually selection will be based on your household income and factors making it difficult for you to buy a home in your area.


Help To Buy

This new shared equity Government-backed scheme was announced in the March 2013 budget and is designed to encourage lenders to provide 95% mortgages. The government will underwrite the risk on up to 20% of the loan and unlike other shared equity schemes, the guarantee does not require a contribution from developers and applies to all property purchases (not just new build properties).


As with other shared equity schemes buyers will need a 5% deposit with 75% being funded by a lender and the remaining 20& being funded by the Government (to be repaid when the property is sold).


“I would like to thank Carol for taking the time to explain the differences between Help to Buy and shared ownership and for talking me through both processes.  I am a first time buyer (extremely nervous) but she put me at my ease as she was very easy to speak to, knowledgeable, professional, warm and with a terrific sense of humour!” (Bristol)


Shared ownership: Are you looking to staircase?

This is something we would be pleased to help with. In order to supply you with our detailed quotation we would need the following information from you:

(1) Is the staircasing being funded by your existing lender?

If funding is being provided by a new lender we are likely to need to carry out searches or obtain a search indemnity policy in order for the lender to release the funds.

(2) When you purchased your initial share did you pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on the premium and initial rent or on the full market value of the property?

The general rule in respect of shared ownership properties is that stamp duty will be assessed when you staircase to a share above 80%. There may be a stamp duty liability when you staircase unless it has already been paid in respect of the full market value.

(3) What is the estimated amount you will pay to staircase and the estimated market value of the property?

This is needed to enable us to calculate the potential stamp duty liability.

(4) Are there any provisions in your lease restricting staircasing?

Shared ownership leases often limit the share that can be purchased at any one time (for example minimum 10% and maximum 25%). It would be helpful if you could supply us with a copy of the lease.

The lease will also contain details of any administrative charges that the Housing Association make in respect of staircasing.

Shared ownership – selling your property

When it comes to selling a shared ownership property, the process depends on whether you have staircased to 100% ownership or whether you wish to sell the share that you originally purchased. In either case you are free to sell the property on - however the terms of your lease will usually state that the Housing Association have the right to take back the lease or to nominate a buyer for the property. Even if you own 100% of your home, the Housing Association will usually retain its right to buy the property back or to nominate a buyer for 21 years after completion of final staircasing.

Shared ownership – choosing a solicitor

Shared ownership (also called “part rent part buy” and “share to buy”) transactions are more complex than traditional residential property purchases & sales. Our experienced property team works in shared ownership property all the time. They know what's needed to protect clients' interests and get the transactions through, often to tight Housing Association deadlines.

You may find that a number of firms send you quotations on the basis that this is a
“standard” leasehold purchase. Shared ownership conveyancing is much more complex than other types of leasehold transactions and the prudent course for you and your lender would be to instruct a firm with knowledge and experience in this particular area.

As regards costs quoted, to be sure of the total amount you are going to have to pay out
(and therefore budget for), you should make sure that any firm quoting is aware that this is a “shared ownership” purchase, as there is a risk that their initial estimate will increase as the matter proceeds on the basis that the transaction is more complex than first anticipated.

You should also be aware that a number of firms make additional charges for filing the
Stamp Duty Land Tax return, acting for the lender, undertaking ID checks, exchanging and completing with 14 days, leasehold supplements and unspecified “administrative” items. When all of these additional charges are factored in, the actual total payable may end up being a lot higher than the initial “headline” figure.

You should check to see that any quotation you receive includes advice on your SDLT liability, as duty is sometimes payable even when the percentage share you are buying is as low as 25%. Duty can be payable on the grant of a new lease in relation to the rental payments, which means that there can be duty payable even if the purchase price does not exceed the £125,000 threshold at which SDLT becomes payable. 


Make a smooth move with Humphreys & Co.

Some of our client feedback:

"Thank you for your tenacity. I am looking to staircase over the next year or two and will see to it I give you a call." (London SW1)

"Sorry Natalie - I have just had an email from Leanne confirming exchange. You lot are so efficient, you respond before I've even asked the question!" (London)

"Many thanks for the prompt response. I would like to proceed with this, I will complete the documentation and get this over to you as soon as possible." (Bristol)

"Wonderful! A big massive thanks to everyone who has been involved. You have all been marvellous and made the journey an interesting one! I have already recommended you to all my former neighbours and will continue singing your praises to anyone who will listen." (London, Peckham)

"Ian, Natalie, Leanne and anyone else who helped me in the sale of my flat. My heartfelt thanks to all of you" (London SE15)
"Natalie that's fantastic news thank you and I await final documents" (Sheffield)
"I would like to thank you and Natalie for the excellent service you have given and would highly recommend you to family and friends." (Bristol BS4)
"Hi Leanne, FANTASTIC news! Thank you for hanging in there with us!" (Oxford)
"I think Leanne Lewis is a credit to your company. Extremely helpful, professional, knowledgeable and friendly. " (Poundbury, Dorset)
"Hi Leanne, FANTASTIC news! Thank you for hanging in there with us!" (Brighton, Sussex)
"Thank you for all your help with the move. I was thoroughly impressed with your efficiency and how easy you made the process for me. I shall be looking to you again in the future if I choose to staircase." (Southampton)
" Would like to commend Alice Altounyan for her amazing efforts, as being a first time buyer this process can be confusing!" (Greenhithe)
"Really impressed with service I received, response times to emails were excellent, will recommend you to others in the future." (Southampton)
"Leanne was a pleasure to work with. Friendly, clear and approachable." (Bath)

Humphreys & Co., solicitors Bristol

We take instructions from UK & international clients. Our independent lawyers are available by email, telephone & fax. With central Bristol offices we are just 90 minutes from London by road or rail and 15 minutes from Bristol International Airport. We can travel to meetings if required.

Independent approach
We are an independent professional law firm here, not a legal factory turning out mass-produced products. In our experience, determined case-handling is more likely to produce effective results.

Turnaround time
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. look to input not only careful legal work and precision but also the determination to keep matters moving. They aim to work in clients' real interests with energy and pragmatism.

Communication skills
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. always try to open up the legal process by giving advice and explaining options to clients in a concise and straightforward way, identifying clear courses of action whatever the technical or legal complexities of the subject.
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