In House Solicitors

Michael Cook Law Firm Limited is a boutique commercial law firm based in Houghton-Le-Spring, Tyne & Wear.

Our client sectors vary from individual private clients, partnerships, limited companies, LLP’s, pension funds and charities. Our primary focus is on providing an exceptional level of service to our clients.

Our specialist conveyancing services include but are not limited to the following: –


Residential Conveyancing

Sales, Purchases, Transfers, Right to Buy, Transfer of Equity, Leases


Commercial Property/ Real Estate

Sales & Purchases, Commercial Leases, Transfers of Commercial Property, Lease Surrenders and Renewals, Business Sales and Purchases (including asset and share)


The Conveyancing Process for Buyers

Typically, the conveyancing process will take around eight to twelve weeks to complete (although it can be quicker or longer). The various tasks and processes involved are listed below:

The Initial Stages

Once the seller has accepted your offer on a property, you will appoint a solicitor to carry out your conveyancing work. Your solicitor will immediately get in touch with the seller’s solicitor and request a copy of the draft contract and any supporting documents. They will then investigate these documents thoroughly and highlight any concerns which will then be raised with the seller’s solicitor.


Legal Checks & Searches

Your solicitor will carry out a number of property searches on your behalf in order to make sure there are no other factors related to the property that you should be aware of:

  1. Land Registry Checks– Checks will be carried out to ensure that that the seller legally owns the property you are buying and has title to sell the Property. This will be achieved by checking the title deeds and title plan at the land registry. This is a legal requirement of sale and the checks cost just a few pounds each.
  2. Local Authority Searches – For these searches, your solicitor will liaise with the local authority to the property who conducts local area searches on the property and surrounding area. The searches are fairly wide-ranging and include things like investigating any conservation, development and pollution issues which may affect the property or surrounding area. The time taken to complete these searches and costs can vary. They are usually completed within 2 weeks, but can take up to 5/6 weeks. Costs can be anything from £100 to £400.
  3. Environmental Search – This report provides information on any environmental factors that might affect the property which might include flood risk, land contamination, local landfill sites, issues with harmful gases and ground stability. This search costs in the region of £50.
  4. Chancel Repair Search – This search covers medieval church land rights. It examines whether the property has any obligation to pay for local church repairs. The report costs in the region of £18 or alternatively you can take out a specialist insurance policy for approximately £20 to protect you against any possible future church liability.
  5. Water Authority Search– The water authority search establishes where the water to the property comes from and leads to and whether there are any public drains on the property (which could affect future renovation work). This search cost around £50-£75.
  6. Additional Searches – You may require extra searches that are specific to your property or the location of it, such as Mining Searches for ex-mining areas.


It is your responsibility to get your mortgage offer in place (if you are buying a house with a mortgage) and mortgage valuation. You will need to get all necessary house surveys completed before the contracts are exchanged. Your solicitor will go through your mortgage offer and any survey recommendations and legally advise you on them.


Contracts – Signing, Exchanging & Completion

Once you sign and exchange contracts for buying a property, you are then committed to buying that property and cannot walk away without incurring penalties, therefore it’s essential to ensure that all the necessary work leading up to this stage has been completed adequately. This includes:

  • Completion of searches and all enquiries, including any further negotiation based on the outcomes;
  • Agreement of exchange and completion date by both parties;
  • Make sure you have in writing everything that’s included in the offer (e.g. fixtures and fittings);
  • Purchasing buildings insurance;
  • Transferring your deposit to your solicitors account in time for the exchange.



Your solicitor will complete the exchange of contracts on your behalf at the previously agreed date and time. This is usually done over the phone with the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors adhering to a legal formula which results in a binding contract being created. Your solicitor will then posit each parties signed contract to the other.

Once this process has been completed, you are then legally bound to buy the property and cannot withdraw from it without losing your deposit. Similarly, the seller cannot withdraw from selling you the property and nor can they sell it to anyone else.



You should arrange for the amount that you owe for the property to be in your solicitor’s client account no less than one day before completion.

On the date that you have agreed for legal completion, the seller’s solicitor will confirm that they have received the full amount due for the property. The seller will then release the keys and you can move in!

After completion, your solicitor will prepare and lodge a Stamp Duty Land Tax return and pay any stamp duty due on the property on your behalf (if applicable) and notify the freeholder of the change of ownership (if the property is leasehold). You will receive your legal documents confirming change of ownership from the land registry, about 20 days after your solicitor has submitted the application for registration (although this is an estimate only).

For free impartial advice and to receive our extremely competitive quote or to simply find out more about our specialist in-house conveyancing service, please contact us on:


Tel: 0191 511 8487


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