Buying business property

Buying property: concluding the sale


There are a number of steps you need to take before completing the purchase of the property and you become the owner of the business premises. Once you are committed to buying the commercial property you will need to exchange contracts. This is when the solicitors representing the buyer and seller of the property post the signed contracts to each other.

Exchanging contracts when buying property

You will be ready to exchange contracts with the person selling the property when:

  • both sides are happy with the contract
  • the surveyor or solicitor has made all the necessary checks and land searches on the property
  • any planning permission, if applicable, has been granted
  • you have raised the necessary money to purchase the property

Once you have exchanged contracts, the purchase becomes legally binding.

Deposit for buying a property

If you are paying part of the purchase price up front - known as a deposit - you do this when you conclude contracts. Once the solicitor has received the agreed deposit from the buyer they will pay this to the seller. The deposit is non-refundable.

Completing the sale

Once the contract is agreed you can make arrangements for the completion date. You are then ready to complete the purchase and become the owner of the property. Prior to the completion date, make sure you have adequate commercial property insurance in place. On the completion date, your solicitor will hand over the purchase price - paid by the mortgage company or lender - to the seller's solicitor. Your repayments to the mortgage lender begin. See commercial mortgages and lenders.

Stamp duty and land registry

The last things to do after completion are to:

  • pay Stamp Duty Land Tax - find out how much you are likely to pay using the Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator. You must send a Stamp Duty Land Tax return to HM Revenue & Customs and pay the tax within 30 days of completion or you may face penalties and interest. You should note that you may still have to send HMRC a Stamp Duty Land Tax return even if no stamp duty payment is due.
  • register your ownership with the Land Registry - see land registration

Your solicitor receives the deeds to the property - papers giving details of the property and the owner. The deeds are then sent to the lender.