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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Entries in Residential Conveyancing (7)


5 Top Tips when Purchasing a Property

Purchasing a property is exciting, but it is undoubtedly a stressful time. Conveyancing Solicitor, Jemma Jones from Greene & Greene, explains how to take the stress out of your purchase by providing several tips to help your transaction run smoothly

1)   Be Prepared

You will, of course, have already considered how you are going to finance your property purchase.

If you are financing the purchase with a mortgage, you may need to seek the advice of a financial advisor or a bank to check that you are able to obtain sufficient funding. 

Perhaps it is the bank of mum and dad or another relative providing assistance.  If so, they will need to have any necessary funding available for use.  You will also need to think about whether the assistance will be a gift, a loan or will they become a part owner of the property? 

More often than not, a deposit of 10% must be paid on entering into the purchase contract.  You should have this ready for use.  If you are also selling a property the deposit may come from further down the chain but please note you may be required to “top up” the deposit to the full 10% if the deposit is less.

You will be required to provide identification to your solicitor.  This should be dealt with at an early stage to prevent holding up the transaction.

2)   Have a Survey Undertaken

The conveyancing process is based on the principle of “buyer beware” and, generally speaking, after exchange of contracts you will have no recourse to the seller for any defects in the property.

A full structural survey should be carried out if it is a period or listed property, if it has been subject to alterations or if alterations are planned.  In other cases a Home Buyers Report may be appropriate. A Surveyor can advise on the type of survey most appropriate to you.

3)   Read and Keep all Documents

During the transaction your solicitor will report to you on all aspects of the purchase, including searches, plans and the title to the property. 

As your solicitor is unlikely to have visited the property you are purchasing, you should check any plans of the property are correct and that any rights or restrictions on the property do not restrict what you would like to do at the property.

You should also retain any certificates or guarantees that you receive during the transaction as you will need to provide these to any purchaser when you sell the property.

4)   Be Patient

The average conveyancing process takes approximately 6 weeks to get to the point of exchange of contracts (when you become contractually bound to purchase the property) and then a further 2 weeks or so to completion.  If you are purchasing a leasehold property, the timescales may be slightly longer.

 Should you be in a chain, any completion dates will need to be agreed by all other buyers and sellers in the chain.  It is important that you communicate with your solicitor in order that you are kept updated on progress.

5)   Choose the Right Solicitor

In order to have your matter dealt with smoothly it is important to have the right legal team behind you.  An experienced and approachable firm who provide an efficient and personal service will help keep the process as stress-free as possible.  You should be able to speak directly with the person dealing with your matter, who should be a qualified practitioner and able to advise you on all aspects of your transaction.

If you would like a no obligation quotation in respect of your purchase or any other conveyancing transaction please contact us at mail@greene-greene.com or call 01284 762211.  For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw

* This article previously appeared in the Winter 2017-18 edition of Rooftops Magazine.


Is your property at risk from fraudsters?

Fraud is an ever growing problem and it can affect all areas of our lives. Jemma Jones, a Solicitor, in Greene & Greene’s residential conveyancing team tells us why property fraud is no exception.

Property fraud can be committed in several different ways. The most frequently reported cases involve a fraudster using your identity to sell your property or securing a mortgage over your property.  You may have no idea that the fraud has taken place until a sold sign is put up outside the property or you receive requests for payment of the mortgage.

There are several groups of people who are more at risk of being a victim of property fraud and these include people who:

  • Have had their identity stolen;
  • Rent out their property;
  • Live overseas but have a property in the UK;
  • Have an empty property;
  • Have an un-mortgaged property; and
  • Own a property that is not registered at the Land Registry.

However, there are a number of ways that you can protect yourself against property fraud:

  • Having your property registered at the Land Registry -   By doing this they will have your contact details and can contact you if they are concerned that a fraudulent transaction is occurring.  When registering the property, you can provide up to three addresses that will enable them to contact you.  You can also include an e-mail address.
  • Sign up to the Land Registry Property Alert Scheme – This is a free service that notifies you if there is significant activity in respect of a property you are monitoring.  You can monitor up to 10 properties. Details of the Property Alert Service can be found at the following link:


  • Keep your contact details up to date with the Land Registry – The Land Registry can only contact you if they have the correct details for you.
  • Adding a restriction to your title – If your property is registered or you are purchasing a property that you will not be living in, a restriction can be added to the title so that if the property is sold or mortgaged, a certificate has to be provided to confirm that the person who is selling the property is who they say they are. 

If you would like any assistance with registering your property or adding a restriction to your title please contact Jemma Jones in our Conveyancing Department at jemmajones@greene-greene.com or by calling 01284 717522 (Direct).

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


Free Residential Property Law Update


Join our expert lawyers, Jonathan Mathers (Agriculture & Residential Property), Ansa Khan (Residential Property) and Natalie Stoter (Private Client & Taxation) on Thursday 16th March at Denny Bros Conference Suite, Bury St. Edmunds for this informative seminar updating you on the latest property law issues.

Areas to be covered include:

  • A review of the last 12 months;
  • Property Fraud;
  • Incoming energy efficiency rules;
  • Issues for buy-to-let investors;
  • Stamp duty exemptions & reliefs; and
  • Looking forward to 2017/18.

You will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers on any property law issues that may be of specific interest to you.

Denny Bros Conference Suite, Kempson Way, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 7AR

8.30am                Registration & Continental Breakfast

9.00am                Seminar followed by Q & A session

10.30am              Refreshments & Close

To book your free place(s) at the seminar please email joolswindermere@greene-greene.com.

Please contact us if you are unable to attend this seminar but would be interested in joining us on an alternative date or running an in-house property update for your leadership team.

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.


New Partner at Greene & Greene Solicitors

Tim Mendes da Costa, a member of the Commercial Property team has been promoted to Partner having joined Greene & Greene Solicitors who are based in Bury St. Edmunds in 2014.

Tim qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and was previously a Partner with a firm in London.  Clients have been impressed with Tim’s “diligence, thoroughness and sound advice”.  He specialises in both commercial and high-value residential property transactions and acts for a broad range of clients, from individual purchasers and sellers, to developers, landlords, lenders and investors.

Chris Thomson, Senior Partner at Greene & Greene, said:

When Tim Mendes da Costa joined us two years ago, we quickly realised that he would be a valuable member of the Commercial Property team.  Greene & Greene has a long standing reputation for delivering the service our clients expect and deserve and Tim’s new role as Partner will only strengthen that.”

For further information please telephone Jools Windermere on 01284 717430, visit www.greene-greene.com and follow @greenegreenelaw.


Help to Buy – Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

Aspiring first time buyers and existing home owners wishing to move have faced a challenging time of late with many finding it difficult to obtain a mortgage loan. At their recent Party Conference the Conservative Party announced that the Government’s new Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, to supplement the existing ‘Help to Buy – Equity Loans Scheme’, would be introduced on 7 October 2013, some three months earlier than originally planned. The initiative is scheduled to remain in place until January 2017.

The Mortgage Guarantee is designed to assist those whose income is sufficient to meet mortgage repayments but do not have a large enough deposit to secure funding from a lender.

In contrast with the Equity Loans Scheme, the Mortgage Guarantee is available to existing homeowners as well as first time buyers and applies to pre-owned homes in addition to new-build homes up to a value of £600,000. It will not be available where the property is a second home or intended as a buy-to-let purchase.

Buyers may access the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme with a deposit of just 5% or more. The Government, together with the lender, will then jointly guarantee up to a further 15% of the property’s value. The rationale is that the added security provided by the Government guarantee will promote increased lending by the banks to further stimulate the housing market.

The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme may provide the help needed for those buyers with a small deposit to get on the property ladder or move further up the ladder. However, those considering whether to apply should exercise caution before doing so.

Despite the Government backing, each mortgage loan will be provided by a commercial lender in the usual manner and consumers should carefully consider their options before deciding what the best deal is for their particular circumstances. It is anticipated that the interest rates on offer to consumers with a 5% deposit backed by the Mortgage Guarantee will be comparable to those available to buyers with a 10% deposit without the Mortgage Guarantee. Prospective buyers with the ability to save enough money to provide a larger deposit, and obtain a more competitive mortgage deal as a consequence, will therefore need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of utilising the Mortgage Guarantee.

For some it may be preferable to take advantage of the scheme and proceed with a purchase in the short term. Yet for many others the prudent decision may be to delay their purchase until they have a large enough deposit to access to the most competitive mortgage terms.

Thomas Andrews is a solicitor in the property department of Greene & Greene and can be contacted on 01284 717407 ~ thomasandrews@greene-greene.com ~ @greenegreenelaw.


Funding help for home buyers

Helping you move up the property ladder.

Moving home can be challenging at the best of times, yet there are many schemes out there to help first time buyers and home movers alike.  The Government’s strategic ‘Help To Buy - Equity Loans Scheme’ has already beaten forecasts in the two months since it was introduced, according to industry figures, so it’s no wonder that potential buyers are keen to know more.

This much-publicised initiative has extended the availability of loans to all buyers of new-build homes up to a value of £600,000.00.  The maximum that can be borrowed under this scheme is 20% of the price of a property, although buyers will still need to find at least 5% of the price, and will also have to obtain a capital repayment mortgage (rather than interest only) with a qualifying lender for the remaining 75%.

The loan is based on the value of the property, so borrowers will pay back more if the property increases in value, and less if the value falls. The loan is free for the first five years, but if the property is not sold within that time, a fee of 1.75% per annum will thereafter be charged on the balance of the loan.  The fee will increase yearly, based on increases in the Retail Price Index plus 1%, although regular payments are not required, and part of the loan, or the whole of it, can be repaid at any time.

Another Government initiative is the ‘Help To Buy - Mortgage Guarantee Scheme’.  This will start on 1 January 2014, and will be open to both first-time buyers and home movers for purchasing new or pre-owned homes.  The Government will be guaranteeing a proportion of the mortgage, rather than actively lending money to homeowners.  Further information will be available later in the year.

Please contact Ansa Khan for further information.  Greene & Greene, 80 Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds.   ansakhan@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717440

Article first published:  Velvet Magazine, July 2013.

Ansa is a highly experienced solicitor and prides herself on her personal touch and is known for going the ‘extra mile’ for her clients. She is the latest recruit at Greene & Greene and deals with all aspects of residential property including sales and purchases, matrimonial conveyancing development work, re-mortgages, shared ownership transactions and buy to let.

Also find Ansa on:      Google +        LinkedIn