Our rural residential property team specialises in the sale, purchase and financing of high value or complex residential property transactions, ranging from farm cottages to country houses with land. We offer a highly bespoke service tailored to the individual needs of our clients and their particular transaction. The value of the properties we deal with varies hugely; a farm cottage might be worth £250,00 and a large country house might be worth £10,000,000. Much of our work is for institutions and rural businesses or investors but we also act for consumers buying residential property for their own use and occupation and this note is aimed at those consumers.

The rural residential team is supervised by Alastair Morrison, Partner. The team members who may be working on your matter are Alastair Morrison, Ross Simpson, Thomas Mark-Bell, Tristan Williams, Abi Longman, Alice Newsome, Kirby Duddridge, Conal McLoughlin and James Farani. Their contact details and relevant experience and qualifications are set out below. The team has comprised accredited members of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme since 8 March 2012.

Residential transactions in towns and cities are handled by a separate team of residential property lawyers

Alastair Morrison: Partner – Alastair specialises in commercial, agricultural and residential property in the countryside, with a particular interest in the sale and purchase of large country houses and the associated issues around residential tenancies, employees, clawback and stamp duty. Current hourly rate: £475 (plus VAT of £95)

Ross Simpson: Partner – Ross joined Burges Salmon in [2016] and is qualified to practice in Scotland as well as in England and Wales. Like Alastair, his expertise covers all forms of rural property including, in Ross’s case, strategic land. Current hourly rate: £365 (plus VAT of £73).

Thomas Mark-Bell: Senior Associate – Tom trained as a residential property lawyer and now combines that with other rural property transactions, such as farm sales and sporting leases. Current hourly rate: £345 (plus VAT £69).

Alice NewsomeAssociate. Alice specialises in rural property matters and handles the sale, purchase and re-financing of agricultural property and land. She qualified in September 2016 and joined the firm in January 2019. Current hourly rate: £310 per hour (plus VAT of £62)

Tristan Williams: Senior Associate. Tristan has acted on a wide variety of matters including residential sales and purchases of both freehold and leasehold properties along with residential remortgages and transfers of equity. Current hourly rate: £220 (plus VAT of £44).

Kirby Duddridge: Trainee Legal Executive. Kirby has assisted on and managed a variety of residential property matters including cottage sales and purchases. Current hourly rate: £165 (plus VAT of £33).

Because of the nature of rural property it is rare for the rural residential team to be involved with the purchase or sale of leasehold residential property. Where such instructions arise they are likely to be referred to the urban residential property team.

Quick links

Purchase of a freehold rural residential property

Sale of a freehold rural residential property

Mortgage of a freehold rural residential property


Purchase of a freehold rural residential property

Our fees cover the work required to complete the purchase of a residential freehold property on your behalf including acting jointly for your lender if you are purchasing with a mortgage, dealing with the registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if the property is in England or Land Transaction Tax (LTT) if the property is in Wales.

Our fees are based on hourly rates. The team member’s current hourly rates are set out above.

We anticipate a residential property purchase transaction of the type that we typically deal with will take between 10-50 hours (depending on the complexity of the matter) at the hourly rate of the team members dealing with the transaction.

The exact costs will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter and the factors as set out in the 'List of potential issues' below. A detailed fee quote based on your particular transaction can be provided on request and will be provided at the outset of any transaction on which we are acting:

Fees and disbursements on the purchase of a rural residential property

Legal fees £2,000 – £20,000 (plus VAT of £400 – £2,000, if applicable).
Search fees £500 plus £100 VAT approximately – this varies from property to property depending upon which precise searches are needed. If there is land being acquired with the house then additional searches may be required with additional costs of between £250 (plus £50 of VAT) and £500 (plus VAT of £100).
HM Land Registry fee £40 (for property purchase price £0 – £80,000)
£80 (for property purchase price £80,001 – £100,000)
£190 (for property purchase price £100,001 – £500,000)
£270 (for property purchase price £500,001 – £1,000,000)
£455 (in respect of properties worth in excess of £1,000,000).
Telegraphic transfer fee £25.00 (plus £5 VAT per transfer).
SDLT or LTT This will depend on the purchase price of the property, and will also be dependent upon the individual circumstances of the buyer. Please see the section on SDLT or LTT below.

Will tax advice (save for managing the payment of SDLT or LTT on straightforward purchases) be required? No

Sale of a freehold rural residential property

Our fees cover all the work required to complete the sale of your freehold property including the redemption of up to one mortgage (if applicable).

Our fees are based on hourly rates. The team member’s current hourly rates are set out above.

We anticipate a typical freehold residential sale transaction of the type we usually deal with will take between 10 - 50 hours (depending on the complexity of the matter) at the hourly rate of the team member dealing with the transaction. The exact costs will be dependent on the individual circumstances of the matter and the factors as set out in the 'List of potential issues' below. A detailed fee quote based on your particular transaction can be provided on request and will be provided at the outset of any transaction on which we are acting

Fees and disbursements

Legal fees £2,000 – £20,000 (plus VAT of £400 – £2,000, if applicable).
Official copy title and plan fees £6.00 (per title).
Obtaining official copy of document £4.00 (per document referred to as filed in the registered title).
Telegraphic transfer fee £25.00 (plus £5.00 VAT per transfer).
Estimated total fees

This estimate relates to a property worth £1m and is based on the assumptions referred to below in the list of potential issues
£4,240 including VAT (but excluding SDLT/LTT payment due)
Made up of:
Fees of £3,500 (plus VAT)
Document fees of £10 (no VAT)
Transfer fee of £25 (plus VAT).

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as search fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. 

How long will the property sale take?

How long it will take from your accepting the buyer’s offer until completion will depend on a number of factors. The average the process takes between 4 – 12 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain and whether the buyer requires a mortgage.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the sale of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. Below are some of the key stages which a transaction would usually include:

  • Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice and scoping of the transaction.
  • Contacting your existing lender to obtain redemption figures.
  • Obtaining your replies to property information forms and a fixtures and fittings form.
  • Drafting the contract and obtaining copies of your property title from the Land Registry and sending contract pack to buyer’s lawyers
  • Obtaining from you or the Council planning portal copies of planning documentation and building regulation documentation for the property in respect of works you may have carried out.
  • Replying to enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitor and agreeing the contract terms
  • Sending the final contract and transfer to you for signature.
  • Agreeing the completion date
  • Exchanging contracts. The contract becomes binding at this point and the completion date formally agreed.
  • Completing the sale, redeeming any existing mortgage, paying the estate agents fees and paying the net sale proceeds of sale to you.

List of potential issues

Our fee estimate will take into account the answers to the following questions:

Assumptions for fee estimate above  
(a) Will a lockout agreement be required? No
(b) Is the title unregistered or are there any anticipated title defects (eg accesses without written rights of way)? No
(c) Is the property being sold subject to overage (also known as development clawback) provisions? No
(d) Will the sale be with vacant possession and will existing tenancies need to be terminated before completion? No
(e) Is the transaction to be concluded in a timely manner without any specific need for urgency or delay? Yes
(f) Is the sale by way of a conditional contract? No
(g) Will indemnity policies (requiring additional disbursements) be required? No
(h) Is the property a new build property in whole or part? No
(i) Is the property in residential use only? Yes
(j) Have works been carried out which required planning permission and building regulations consent? No
(k) Is the property listed in whole or part? No
(l) Are there any subsidiary dwellings or any existing tenancies or occupancies which the buyer will take over? No
(m) Are there any private arrangements for water and foul drainage? No
Estimated total fees

This estimate relates to a property worth £1m and is based on the assumptions referred to below in the list of potential issues
Fees and disbursements payable £6,900 including VAT but excluding SDLT/LTT payment due.
Made up of:
Fees of £5,000 (plus VAT)
Search fees of £500 (plus VAT)
Transfer fee of £25 (plus VAT)
Land Registry fee of £270 (plus VAT).

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as search fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. 

SDLT in England or LTT in Wales (on a residential property purchase)

This depends on the purchase price of your property. In addition the level of Stamp Duty Land Tax can vary depending on whether you are a first time buyer, whether your purchase is of several dwellings (eg a large house with cottages in the grounds), whether the purchase is the replacement of your existing home, whether you own a share in another property or other factors. A particular question with country properties is whether the dwelling might fall to be considered as a non-residential property (eg because it also includes farmland) which will lead to a lower rate of tax.

On simple transactions, you can calculate the amount that you will need to pay using HMRC's website or if the property is in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authorities website. However, the rate of tax payable can often be different from what the calculator indicates (higher or lower) and our firm can provide separate tax advice on such matters for an additional fee.

How long will the property purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until completion will depend on a number of factors. On average the process takes between 4 – 12 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the attitude of the parties to the transaction and their advisers. 

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. Below are some of the key stages which a transaction would usually include:-

  • Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice and scoping of the transaction.
  • Checking finances are in place to fund the purchase and contacting any lender's solicitors if the lender is separately represented.
  • Advising you on joint ownership (if applicable).
  • Receiving, reviewing and advising on the contract and title documents.
  • Carrying out searches and reviewing the results.
  • Reviewing any planning or listed building documentation and building regulation documentation.
  • Making any necessary enquiries of the seller’s solicitor and agreeing the contract terms
  • Reporting to you on the title to the property and the information received. Including advising you on any defects in title or matters which could affect the future marketability or value of the property and providing suggestions of how such matters can be best remedied.
  • If applicable, reviewing and explaining to you the conditions of your mortgage offer and the nature and effect of you signing and entering into the mortgage documents.
  • Drafting the Transfer which is the document which transfers ownership of the property to you on completion.
  • Sending the final Contract and Transfer to you for signature and obtaining deposit funds from you. This is usually 10% of the purchase price of the property 
  • Agreeing the Completion Date (the date from which you will become the owner of the property)
  • Exchanging contracts and notifying you that this has happened. This will create a binding contract between you and the seller.
  • Obtaining pre-completion searches.
  • Arranging for all monies needed to be received from the lender (if applicable) and you.
  • Completing the purchase.
  • Dealing with the payment of SDLT or LTT.
  • Dealing with the application for registration at the Land Registry.

List of potential issues

Our fee estimate will take into account the answers to the following questions:

Assumptions for fee estimate above  
(a) Will a lockout agreement be required? No
(b) Is the title unregistered or are there any anticipated title defects (eg accesses without written rights of way)? No
(c) Is the property being sold subject to overage (also known as development clawback) provisions? No
(d) Will the sale be with vacant possession and will existing tenancies need to be terminated before completion? No
(e) Is any lender separately represented? No
(f) Is the transaction to be concluded in a timely manner without any specific need for urgency or delay? Yes
(g) Is the sale by way of a conditional contract? No
(h) Will indemnity policies (requiring additional disbursements) be required? No
(i) Is the property a new build property in whole or part? No
(j) Is the property in residential use only? Yes
(k) Have works been carried out which required planning permission and building regulations consent? No
(l) Is the property listed in whole or part? No
(m) Are there any subsidiary dwellings or any existing tenancies or occupancies which the buyer will take over? No
(n) Are there any private arrangements for water and foul drainage? No
(o) Is any business (farming, equestrian or otherwise) being acquired with the property? No
(p) Is this an auction purchase? No
(n) Is any business (farming, equestrian or otherwise) being acquired with the property? No
(o) Is this an auction purchase? No
(p) Has the property been repossessed? No
(q) Will tax advice (save for managing the payment of SDLT or LTT on straightforward purchases) be required? No

Mortgage of a freehold rural residential property

Our fees cover the work required to complete the mortgage or re-mortgage of a residential freehold property on your behalf (not at the same time as a purchase) including acting for your lender, redeeming up to one existing mortgage and dealing with the registration of the mortgage at the Land Registry.

Our fees are based on hourly rates. The team member’s current hourly rates are set out above.

We anticipate a residential freehold property mortgage or re-mortgage transaction of the type that we typically deal with will take between 6 – 20 (depending on the complexity of the matter) hours at the hourly rate of the team members dealing with the transaction.

The exact costs will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter and the factors as set out in the 'List of potential issues' below. A detailed fee quote based on your particular transaction can be provided on request and will be provided at the outset of any transaction on which we are acting:

Fees and disbursements on the mortgage of a residential freehold property

Legal fees £1,500 – £7,000 (plus £300 – £1,400 VAT, if applicable).
Search fees £500 plus £100 VAT approximately – this varies from property to property depending upon which precise searches are needed. If there is land being acquired with the house then additional searches may be required with additional costs of between £250 (plus £50 of VAT) and £500 (plus VAT of £100).
HM Land Registry fee £20 (for loan  £0 - £100,000)
£30 (for loan £810,001 - £200,000)
£40 (for loan £200,001 - £500,000.
£60 (for loan £500,001 - £1,000,000
£125 (in respect of loans in excess of £1,000,000).
Telegraphic transfer fee £25.00 (plus £30 VAT per transfer).
SDLT or LTT This will depend on the purchase price of the property, and will also be dependent upon the individual circumstances of the buyer. Please see the section on SDLT or LTT below.
Estimated total fees

This estimate relates to a loan of £1m and is based on the assumptions referred to below in the List of potential issues.
Fees and disbursements payable £3,725 including VAT.
Based on:
Legal fees of £2,500 (plus VAT)
Searches of £500 (plus VAT)
Land Registry fee of £125.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as search fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. 

How long will the property mortgage take?

How long it will take from your offer being issued until completion will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes approximately 4 – 6 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on how quickly during the process the mortgage offer is issued and the terms of the offer.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the mortgage of a rural residential freehold property vary according to the circumstances. Below are some of the key stages which a transaction would usually include:

  • Taking your instructions and giving you initial advice and scoping of the transaction.
  • Contacting any existing lender to obtain redemption figures
  • Reviewing the property title and checking any covenants have been complied with and that the title is satisfactory.
  • Carrying out searches and reviewing the results.
  • Obtaining copies of any planning or listed building documentation and building regulation documentation in respect of works you may have carried out to the property and past works.
  • Receiving the mortgage offer and reviewing its terms. Advising you on the terms of the mortgage and the nature and effect of your signing the mortgage documents.
  • Obtaining your signature to the mortgage deed and arranging for any adult occupiers of the property who are not owners of the property to obtain independent legal advice in respect of their signing an occupiers consent to mortgage form. Where there are such adult occupiers you will need to cover their legal fees in respect of obtaining such advice where applicable.
  • Certifying the title to the property to the lender and requesting drawdown of funds usually a minimum of a week before drawdown.
  • Obtaining redemption figures from your existing lender for the completion date.
  • Obtaining pre-completion searches for the lender.
  • Requesting any balancing payment required from you (if applicable)
  • Arranging for all monies needed to be received from the lender (if applicable) and you.
  • Completion of the mortgage and redemption of the existing charge (if applicable)
  • Dealing with the application for registration of the mortgage at the Land Registry and discharge of the existing charge if applicable.

List of potential issues

Assumptions for fee estimate above  
(a) Is the title unregistered or are there any anticipated title defects (eg accesses without written rights of way)? No
(b) Is the property being sold subject to overage (also known as development clawback) provisions? No
(c) Will the mortgage be with vacant possession? Yes
(d) Will the transaction is concluded in a timely manner without specific need for urgency or delay? Yes
(e) Does the mortgage require a guarantee? No
(f) Will indemnity policies (requiring additional disbursements) be required? No
(g) Is the property to be used for residential purposes only? Yes
(h) Is the borrower a company? No

Key contact

Alastair Morrison

Alastair Morrison Partner

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