Offices now in Sudbury and Braintree, with the acquisition of Steed and Steed Read More
Solicitors in Essex, Colchester, Chelmsford, London – Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors in Essex, Colchester, Chelmsford, London – Fisher Jones Greenwood
Petal Services for you

Our solicitors offer friendly and professional legal advice over a wide range of areas and issues. From our network of offices across Essex and London we are able to help you and your family in all walks of life, no matter when it is that you are in need of a solicitor.


There are many aspects to selling or buying a house and a number of different people involved. The Conveyancing Solicitor or Conveyancer, apart from their legal responsibilities, sits at the centre making sure that everything is done and co-ordinates both the individual transaction and the chain of transactions. That’s why it’s so important to get the right conveyancing solicitor and at Fisher Jones Greenwood our aim is to guide you through moving home, handle the sale and/or purchase of your house in a professional and efficient manner, keep you informed at all times and make the whole process as stress-free as possible.

Our team of qualified Solicitors and Conveyancers offer a wealth of experience in handling house sales, purchases, leases, and land transactions, having dealt with around 6000 transactions each year.

We are conveniently based in Colchester, Chelmsford, Billericay, Clacton-on-Sea, and Holland-on-Sea – our Colchester Business Park office is near the A12 (this office has free parking). Additionally, we have an office in London.

Comments by our Conveyancing clients:

  • “I was very pleased with the service. It was easy to understand and I always knew what was happening. An excellent, professional, helpful, and friendly team.”
  • “This is the 5th property I’ve bought and this was by far the easiest, mainly due to your company”. “Excellent and friendly. Thanks for ensuring the smooth sale of my property.”


The following explanation aims to explain what is involved and what each party does.




Offer/s accepted

Once you have had an offer accepted on a house you are buying then this is when you contact a solicitor (us) for a quotation. You will then give the estate agent your solicitors (our) details.


Searches and enquiries

Your solicitor will ask you to provide money on account for searches (on a purchase property), full ID documents which will be verified by our team, and signed client care letter which will be emailed to you once you instruct us.  Once the draft and legal paperwork is received from the seller’s solicitor your solicitor will apply for searches, report to you on the documents, and raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. As the search results arrive with us you will receive an email in respect of each result.  We aim to drip feed you information throughout the transaction rather than overwhelm you with everything at once.


Signing the Contract

We will ask you to sign the contract and send us your deposit funds once all enquiries have been answered, search results received, mortgage offer received (if applicable) and once you are happy with everything.  The contract can now be signed electronically therefore there is no need for you to attend our office unless of course you wish to do so.



On exchange of contracts your solicitor will call you to check they have your authority to exchange and your agreement to the proposed completion date.  Once every solicitor in the chain has their clients’ authority and agreement to a date then the solicitors exchange on the telephone; they do not need anything further from you.  Once we have exchanged contracts we will advise you to insure the purchase property, book removals etc.  We will request your mortgage funds (if applicable) and any help to buy ISA money.



Your solicitor will arrange to transfer the funds to the sellers solicitor (if you are selling as well as buying then we have to wait until funds are received on your sale first) and when these have been received they will notify the estate agent who will then hand over the keys to you and you can move in!



We will register the property into your name at the Land registry after Completion when final documents have been received.  Once it has been completed (this can take a couple of months) then we will send confirmation and any other relevant documents to you.





Offer/s accepted

Once you have had an offer accepted on a house you are buying then this is when you contact a solicitor (us) for a quotation and to instruct. Then you give the estate agent your solicitor (our) details.



Once we have submitted the buyer’s solicitor with the draft Contract, title documents (from the Land registry) and any other paperwork that you have such as boiler service reports then the buyer’s solicitor will conduct searches on the property and will raise enquiries with us.  There will usually be some questions that you need to answer so we will send you these.


Signing the Contract

We will ask you to sign the contract once it has been approved by the buyer’s solicitor.  The contract can now be signed electronically therefore there is no need for you to attend our office unless of course you wish to do so.



On exchange of contracts your solicitor will call you to check they have your authority to exchange and your agreement to the proposed completion date.  Once every solicitor in the chain has their clients’ authority and agreement to a date then the solicitors exchange on the telephone; they do not need anything further from you.  Once we have exchanged contracts we will send you a completion statement showing the amount that will be due back to you on completion (after repaying your mortgage and estate agent fees etc.).  We will ask for your bank details (these must be verified over the telephone to prevent fraud).



On the day of completion we will wait for funds to be received from the buyer’s solicitor.  Once they have arrived we will telephone you to let you know and to ask you to make sure the keys are with the estate agent ready to be handed over to the buyer.  We will then arrange to repay your mortgage, estate agent fees and send you the balance of funds.


Still have questions about our Conveyancing services? Contact us today to find out more or visit or Conveyancing FAQs page.

After finding a house the buyer must tell the estate agents which solicitors/conveyancers are to act. The agents then tell the buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer which solicitor conveyancer is acting for the seller. The two sets of solicitors/conveyancers then make contact.

The buyer’s solicitor will ask for some money from the buyer up front to cover the cost of the local and drainage searches.

The seller’s solicitor sends the buyer’s solicitor the draft contracts (see above), copies of the title deeds and the Property Information and Fixtures and Fittings Forms. The buyer’s solicitor reports to the buyer on these documents (usually sending copies). Local and drainage search requests are sent off.

The buyer must arrange finances at this stage. This will usually mean a mortgage. Surveys are done and any necessary life assurance proposals are made. The mortgage offer is then issued. Usually this goes directly to the buyer from the mortgage company. A copy is sent to the buyer’s solicitor together with instructions to the solicitor on any particular research the mortgage company wants.

Only when the mortgage is arranged and it is known that all conditions can be met, the searches are returned and clear, the life assurance and buildings insurance are in place can exchange of contracts take place.

The buyer signs the contract and gives the deposit to the solicitor. Deposits used to be 10% of the purchase price but commonly 5% is acceptable. It is important to understand the word “deposit” in the legal sense. Most people regard “deposit” as the difference between the purchase price and the mortgage i.e. the money that is being put into the purchase. In the legal sense it is an amount of money paid to the seller’s solicitor to guarantee performance of the contract. If the contract is broken, the seller can in some circumstances forfeit the deposit. Whatever is paid by deposit is deducted from the moneys paid over on completion; if a deposit of 5% is paid, the balance of 95% is paid on completion.

Each party signs an identical contract. Exchange of contracts takes place by the solicitors dating the contracts and swapping copies. Before exchange the completion date must be agreed and it is inserted in the contract at the time of exchange. The seller and buyer do not need to be present at exchange.

The buyer’s solicitor now requests the mortgage monies and sends a completion statement to the buyer showing how much more money is needed. Final searches are made. These are a bankruptcy search against the buyer and a Land Registry search to make sure that nothing has been added to the copy title deeds which the buyer’s solicitor has already seen.

On the morning of completion the buyer’s solicitor telegraphs money to the seller’s solicitor and on receipt the keys are released to the buyer.

Thinking of buying a house but not sure about the conveyancing costs? Visit our Get a Conveyancing Quote page to find out exactly how much our services will cost you.

Fisher Jones Greenwood now offers Conveyancing from the Colchester, Chelmsford, Billericay, Clacton-on-Sea, and Holland-on-Sea offices.

When selling a house the owner will have found a buyer either privately or through an estate agent. The solicitor/conveyancer should be instructed as early as possible (even before a buyer is found). The solicitor conveyancer must get the deeds which are usually held by a mortgage company. This in itself can take a couple of weeks depending on the lender so it is a waste of time to do this after a buyer has been found. The mortgage company might make a charge for sending deeds but if the property is to be sold anyway it is well worth getting them early.

The seller must complete a Property Information Form and a Fittings and Fixtures Schedule. These forms will be sent to the buyer giving information about the property and a list of what fittings are included in the sale price (and what is available for separate negotiation). Again these can be completed at an early stage.

They can be completed, printed out, signed, and sent to us. It is best not to email them to us as the buyer will want to see an original signature on the forms.

To find out how much conveyancing costs would be for selling your house, visit our Get a Conveyancing Quote page, enter your details, and we will reply to you as soon as possible.


Not everyone has to pay Inheritance tax. The main exemptions are as follows:

  • Transfers between spouses. These are wholly exempt where
    a) both parties are domiciled in the UK; or
    b) if both parties are domiciled outside the UK; or
    c) if the transferee(the person to whom the gift is made) only is domiciled in the UK
  • Charities. There is no limit on the amount that can be given to charity and gifts to charities are wholly exempt up to any amount provided certain conditions are not breached. We can advise on these
  • Gifts to political parties. Again, there is no limit on the amount which can be given so long as certain conditions are not breached
  • Gifts for national purposes etc. There is a list of 19 bodies and institutions specified in Schedule 3 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 and a few examples are set out below. Gifts to any one or more of these bodies are exempt without limit. The National Gallery; The British Museum; any other similar national institution; any library, local authority, government department, university or university college in the United Kingdom
  • Gifts for public benefit. Gifts without limit can be made to bodies not established or conducted for profit such as land which is of outstanding scenic, historic or scientific interest


Both business property and agricultural property receive favourable treatment.

  1. Business Property relief. To qualify, the property must be “relevant business property” and must have been owned by the transferor for the period of two years immediately preceding death. Where death occurs after 10 March 1992, relief is given by reducing the value of the asset by 100%. Prior to 10 March 1992, the relief was 50%. We can advise on “qualifying relevant business property”.
  2. Agricultural Property relief. Agricultural property is defined as “agricultural land or pasture and includes woodland and any buildings used in connection with the intensive rearing of livestock or fish if the woodland or building is occupied with agricultural land or pasture and the occupation is ancillary to that of the agricultural land or pasture; and also includes such cottages, farm buildings and farmhouses, together with the land occupied with them as are of a character appropriate to the property”. Where death occurs after 10 March 1992 relief is given by reducing the value of the property by 100% certain conditions apply. Prior to that date the relief was 50%.

At Fisher Jones Greenwood, we understand the deadlines involved with buying a new property and have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process.

We have a dedicated new build team and we provide the following service:

  • Open Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 7pm and Saturday morning.
  • Experienced in achieving developers’ tight deadlines to exchange contracts.
  • Expertise with all aspects of the Help to Buy Scheme, from ISA to repayment of the loan.
  • A dedicated member of staff to provide regular and comprehensive updates on your case from
    reservation to the day you get your keys to your new house.
  • Liaising regularly with the developer’s sales teams and the builder’s legal team from the point of
    reservation to completion.
  • Providing all legal documentation and new build warranty documents after you have moved into your new house.
  • Assist with any related sale (by way of part exchange, independent sale, assisted move scheme by the

Call our dedicated New Build Team on 01206 835223, email [email protected] or click here to get a quote.

Fisher Jones Greenwood now offers Conveyancing from the Colchester, Chelmsford, Billericay, Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea, Braintree and Sudbury offices.

For more information call 0845 543 5700 or email [email protected].

How long will it take to complete the whole conveyancing transaction?

This is an unanswerable question as it completely varies from one transaction to another.  If it is a straightforward Freehold transaction then we estimate between 6-8 weeks.  However, this does depend on how quickly the solicitor acting for the other party acts and many other contributing factors such as the time needed to process a mortgage.

I do not understand the questions on the instruction sheet, what should I do?

Complete this as best as you can and return to us we will ask you for additional information if it is needed.

Why are you asking me for £300 on account for searches when you have told me the searches cost less than this?

£300 is a round figure and it makes things easier for us to keep track of what clients have paid and also means we have funds immediately available for any small additional payments that might be necessary. This £300 will be deducted from your final completion statement so you only pay the amount that the searches cost and this is deducted as a payment received when we send the accounts to you.

What does having my ID certified mean?

We need to meet you to confirm you are who you say you are as early as possible during the transaction. Ideally, you will attend one of our offices with photo ID and a proof of address dated within the last 3 months so that we can take certified copies.

Do I need an appointment to bring my ID in to be certified?

No, you can pop in at any time and someone will be able to assist you.

I do not understand the buyer’s enquiries which you have sent to me to answer, what should I do?

Answer them to the best of your knowledge and just be honest. If you do not know the answer, you can answer it by saying you do not know. We will assist you as best as we can but obviously some questions only you, as the owner of the property can answer.

You have sent me the Contracts to sign but I don’t want to sign until all enquiries and outstanding matters have been dealt with.

Signing the contract has no affect until the solicitors’ exchange. We will hold your signed contract on file until all outstanding matters are resolved. We will not exchange and tie you into the sale or purchase until we speak to you and obtain your authority to exchange anyway.

When is a completion date set?

When the whole chain is close to exchange we can discuss completion dates. There is little point discussing dates until everyone is at the point of exchange because things may change which may mean the date initially agreed is not achievable. We will let you know when we think the parties are close to exchange and will invite you to suggest any completion dates which work for you.

What is the difference between Exchange and Completion?

Exchange of contracts can only take place when everyone is ready and a Completion Date has been agreed and it’s when a binding contract comes into existence, after which time neither party will be able to withdraw from the contract without incurring liability for breach. Completion is the day you get the keys and can move into the property.

I have more than a 10% deposit, why are you asking me for only 10%?

We only need 10% of the purchase price in order to exchange. We will send you a completion statement and the extra money you are contributing will be payable on Completion.

Do I need to be at your office for Exchange?

No, this is done via the solicitors in the chain on the telephone. We will just need your authority to exchange (by phone or email), on the day of the exchange.

What time is completion?

It depends on when the money passes through the chain. We usually complete by lunchtime but it can vary. The Contract usually provides a latest time of 2pm.

Where do I collect the keys? / Drop the keys?

If there is an Estate Agent then from then. If not, you can make arrangements with the seller/buyer direct.

We have completed, is that it now?

Yes, you do not need to do anything further.  We will pay the stamp duty on your behalf (purchases) and register the property into your name/s at Land Registry.  Once this is completed we will write to you sending you a copy of the updated title registers together with any other documents in our possession (e.g. certificates, guarantees etc). Please note that this can sometimes take the Land Registry several weeks if the registration is not straightforward.

How much does conveyancing cost?

Please contact us for a quote – click here to get a quote.

The FJG Conveyancing team run a free Conveyancing advice clinic every Tuesday morning from 10am until 1pm. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the service will be running virtually until further notice; appointments can be booked as a telephone call, or video call using one of the following platforms – Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp or Zoom. It is now necessary to call or email ahead to arrange your appointment.

How it works

You will be contacted at the pre-arranged time via telephone or video call when you will have 15 minutes with one of the Conveyancing team who can answer any questions which you may have relating to a property issue. Whilst it will not provide you with in-depth specific legal advice on a matter, it can help give general advice and point you in the right direction.

For example, our Conveyancing clinic can help provide advice on the following;

  • Thinking of moving house?– maybe you’re thinking about moving, and just want an idea of the costs involved in moving, or perhaps you just want some more details about the conveyancing process. We will happily run through this with you, and provide you with a quotation for our services.
  • Boundaries – perhaps you cannot remember what boundary you are responsible for maintaining. If you show us the title documents relating to your property, we should be able to help you.
  • Joint ownership – have you forgotten how you and your partner/spouse own the property? If you bring your title documents into us, we’ll be able to tell you if you hold your property as joint tenants or tenants in common.
  • Thinking of extending? – we won’t be able to give you specific planning advice but we would be able to tell you if there was anything in your title preventing you from doing an extension or erecting a conservatory for example.

Simply contact us to book a free 15-minute appointment – call 01206 8352493 or email [email protected].

Here at FJG, we have set up a Coronavirus Legal Advice hub with information on the legal issues that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.