The INHOUS way of ensuring a smooth property transaction and completing before Christmas | 14 September 2022

Rose Lyle, Director of Private Clients at INHOUS, provides valuable insights into successfully navigating towards an end-of-year deadline.

With a rise in property sales reportedly falling through and the average time to complete on a property purchase increasing to up to 17 weeks or more1, it is essential for those looking to sell to be as prepared as possible in order to facilitate a smooth transaction.

For anyone looking to move before Christmas, there are now just 14 weeks to go, so preparation is even more important to ensure a timely move.

Christmas creates a natural deadline – vendors like to conclude the sale by year end and buyers are keen to get settled in their new home to enjoy the festivities. This gives all parties in a transaction a date to work towards.  When managing a sale, there are several practices we adopt to help protect our clients and minimise the risk of delays and fall throughs, as explained here.

Preparation from the outset

From the moment a client decides to move, our advice is to instruct a good solicitor. We would usually suggest using a London based firm (when buying in London), with an effective conveyancing solicitor. 

We consider a number of factors when recommending a solicitor – professional, competent (of course), and the suitability to our client’s personality (it’s helpful to appoint someone who has a similar approach). Importantly, we also check that they won’t be away on holiday at the precise time we need them – the festive season also means holidays!

Similarly, we ask the buyer to use a London based residential conveyancing specialist.  I recently worked on a transaction where the buyer’s solicitor was a property lawyer, but she specialised in commercial property.  The buyer received some inaccurate advice and the transaction was more arduous as a result.  We eventually exchanged contracts once the buyer got a second opinion from a residential property lawyer within the firm. Knowledge of the residential market really is essential!


Once the solicitor has been instructed, we recommend that the vendor prepares all of the paperwork to formulate a contract, even before we start viewings.  That way, once we agree a sale, all that needs doing is inserting the name of the buyer and the price – contracts can be issued immediately, without delay.

Another advantage of preparing the contract at this early stage is that if a vendor is missing any documentation – relating to building works, for example, they have time to resolve it rather than having to do so under pressure when there’s a buyer in place. It’s these sorts of things that can unnecessarily delay a sale.

Decorative work and staging

Presentation is also vital when selling, particularly if the market becomes more subdued. To ensure the property is presented in the best condition for sale before photography and viewings,
we have our own team who can look after any decorative works and staging required in order to present the house in its best condition for sale.

Agree dates from the outset

When negotiating a deal for clients, we usually include their preference for exchange and completion dates as part of the offer/agreement.  This lays out clear time frames for everyone to adhere to.  I would suggest speaking to both solicitors to agree these dates before issuing a sales memorandum, hence checking that they are not on holiday on any crucial dates.

Once the sale is in solicitor’s hands, providing all the paperwork is in order, there are two other potential stumbling blocks – survey and mortgage valuations.


Where possible, we usually recommend a surveyor to buyers – based on location, style of property and price point.  It is important that buyers are well advised when purchasing London properties which are often period buildings with lots of quirks.  A good surveyor will provide a full report with a succinct recommendations section at the end.  This is really what the buyers should focus on.

Mortgage valuation

Again, preparation is key.  Ahead of a mortgage valuation, it is important to prepare a full report on recent transactions on the street/adjoining roads to provide the surveyor and give context for the price agreed, something we do for our clients.

Good communication
Finally, good communication is essential throughout the transaction.  We liaise with both seller and buyer solicitors and ensure the lines of communication are open to resolve any issues as they arise. 

By preparing as much as possible upfront, appointing a strong team of advisors and communicating throughout the sale, we ensure that the transactions we manage run as smoothly as possible, resulting in the best outcome for both buyer and seller.




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Tenancy charges may vary, depending on the agreement we have with you, so it’s best to ask the INHOUS lettings department.

Permitted Charges in accordance with the Tenant Fee Act 2019

The following payments may apply when entering an Assured Shorthold Tenancy:

First month’s rent In advance
Tenancy Deposit 5 weeks, or 6 weeks if annual rent is over £50,000
Holding Deposit One week’s rent, put towards your first rent due
Early termination when requested by the tenant A charge not exceeding the financial loss experienced by the landlord
Default charge for late payment of rent A maximum of 3% above Bank of England base rate, charged when rent is more than 14 days late
Default charge for replacement of lost key or security device Equivalent to cost incurred
Changing the tenancy documents after the commencement of the tenancy, including change of sharer £50 incl. VAT

The following payments may apply when entering a Non-Housing Act Tenancy:

A Non-Housing Act Tenancy is formed when the annual rent exceeds £100,000 or the property is occupied by a Company rather that an individual.

  Inclusive of VAT
Tenancy Setup Fee drafting and execution of tenancy agreement if supplied by us, collecting and holding the Security Deposit as Stakeholder, issuing protection certificates, if applicable, Open Banking type referencing of tenant and initial Right to Rent Checks £360
Check-in Fee checking into the property and reviewing inventory minimum of £130
Tenancy Continuation negotiating and drafting an extension £150
Change of Sharer – Deed of Assignment £120
Early Termination – Deed of Surrender £120
Guarantor Referencing Fee (each): £30
Deed of Guarantee Fee: £50
Late payment of rent 3% above the Bank of England base rate


How to Rent Guides:

This guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. This guide includes a checklist and further detail on each stage of the rental process.

How to rent – GOV.UK (


Tenancy charges may vary, depending on the agreement we have with you, so it’s best to ask the INHOUS lettings department for a full breakdown of costs. Here’s a list of what you can typically expect to pay:

Lettings Service Only: 10%+VAT (12% inc. VAT) – Including rent collection
Letting and Management Service: 16%+VAT (19.2% inc. VAT)
Short Let (less than 6 months): 24%+VAT (28.8% inc. VAT)
Lettings Renewals Service: 8%+VAT (9.6% inc. VAT)
Lettings and Management Renewal: 14%+VAT (16.8% inc. VAT)
Short Let Renewal (less than 6 months): 24%+VAT (28.8% inc. VAT)


Additional non-optional fees and charges

We will not be charging clients fees for referencing, tenancy agreements or deposit registration.

The costs of a clean, EPC, gas safety, EICR, PAT and inventory are set by third party suppliers and prices may vary. The below schedule is to give you an idea of what you would typically pay.

All fees stated are inclusive of VAT (calculated at 20%):

During the tenancy (if required

INHOUS is a member of and covered by the ARLA/Propertymark Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.

We are also a member of a redress scheme provided by The Property Ombudsman

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