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Buying and Selling Commercial Property

Commercial property is often a major investment for a business or someone building a property portfolio and the process of acquisition can be more complex than the purchase of residential property.

There are often many restrictions and liabilities to be aware of as well as the issue of dealing with commercial leases in respect of any tenants who may be in occupation.

Because of the challenging nature of dealing with commercial property and the importance of achieving a good return on your investment, it is essential to have the guidance of genuine commercial property experts to ensure that no details are overlooked.

At Symes Bains Broomer, our expert commercial conveyancing solicitors can advise and represent you throughout the sale or purchase of a commercial property to ensure that your rights and interests are protected and that the transaction proceeds without delay.

We have local teams in Scunthorpe and Goole and work with clients across Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.

If you would like to have an initial no-obligation conversation with our commercial property team please call us on 01724 281 616.

The process of buying commercial property

Finding a property

Most commercial properties are offered for sale by commercial property agents instructed by the seller. They will deal with the preliminary issues such as arranging viewings and answering queries, as well as communicating offers made by buyers to their seller clients.

Negotiating heads of terms for buying commercial property

You will agree on the heads of terms with the seller, which are the main agreed points of the purchase. While these are not generally legally binding at this stage, they will form the basis of the contract in due course and can be viewed as a roadmap for the transaction.

As well as fundamental details such as the address and extent of the property and the purchase price, the heads of terms can also include information about the permitted use, conditions of assignment of any lease and preferred timescale.

Instructing a solicitor when buying commercial property

Once you have agreed the heads of terms with the seller or their agent, you will need to instruct a solicitor to deal with the transaction on your behalf. If you ask us to act for you, we will contact the seller’s solicitor and ask them to provide the initial contract documentation.

Reviewing the contract package

The seller’s solicitor will then provide us with the contract package, which will include a copy of the title, planning consents, any lease which may be in place, information about permitted use of the property and replies to standard enquiries.

We will go through this on your behalf and draw your attention to any issues of concern that may need negotiation.

Conveyancing searches and building surveys

We will also apply for the necessary searches from the local authority, the relevant drainage and water company, environmental and flood risk search and anything else that may be appropriate for your property.

It is usually advisable to commission a thorough survey report at this stage to ensure that the property is in a sound condition.

Commercial property finance agreements

If you will be obtaining funding, your lender will send us the documentation in respect of that and we will make sure that we go through this with you so that you are aware of the implications.

Exchange of contracts

Once you are ready to proceed, we can negotiate a completion date and exchange contracts. Once contracts have been exchanged, the transaction becomes legally binding. You will pay a deposit to the buyer and you must insure the property at this point and the date for completion is set.


We will arrange for any mortgage advance to be sent to us in time for completion and send the balance of payment to the seller’s solicitor on completion day to finalise the transaction.

The process of selling commercial property

Instructing a solicitor for selling commercial property

As soon as you decide you intend to sell your commercial property you can start putting everything in order so that you are ready to go ahead once a buyer has been found.

If you ask us to act for you, we can guide you through the documentation that you will need, to include a copy of the title, any lease, planning documentation, information about use classes and replies to standard enquiries.

Drawing up heads of terms for a commercial property sale

Once you have found a buyer, if you are not using a commercial agent, we can draw up the heads of terms for the agreement, including details of the intended transaction. This helps to ensure that everyone understands what has been agreed and is working towards the same goal.

Dealing with buyer enquiries

After the heads of terms have been agreed, we will send the contract papers to the buyer’s solicitors and go through any enquiries they raise with you.

Exchange of contracts

We will deal with the exchange of contracts on your behalf, at which point you will be legally bound to go ahead with the sale.


On completion, we will arrange for payment of any outstanding mortgage and other liabilities from the purchase monies.

Common questions about the purchase and sale of commercial property

How long do commercial property sales take?

The time taken for a commercial transaction can vary widely depending on the complexity. While a purchase can sometimes go through in just a few weeks, if there are more complicated issues, it can take substantially longer.

Are there any restrictions on how I can use a commercial property once I own it?

A commercial property will have a designated use class, for example, business, industrial or retail. You can only use your property in accordance with its use class, although it may be possible to apply for a change of use. We can advise you as to your likelihood of success and explain the process to you.

Can I sell or buy a commercial property with a tenant in situ?

Commercial property is often sold with a sitting tenant. If you are buying a property with a tenant in place, we can advise you on the terms of the lease and the additional liabilities you will be taking on.

It is essential to check that the lease is properly drafted and understand whether the tenant has security of tenure, or the right to stay on after the end of the term of the lease.

Can the term of a commercial lease be changed?

While you cannot insist on a change in the terms of a lease, the tenants may be open to negotiation if you wish to make alterations. If the terms you want will be less favourable for them, however, you will need to offer them something in return by way of compensation.

How much will it cost to buy a commercial property?

Costs for commercial property conveyancing generally include professional fees for your solicitor and surveyor as well as additional expenses including search fees, Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty.

You should also budget for the expenses that you will incur once you own the property, to include insurance, utilities, business rates and maintenance costs.

We offer a range of flexible pricing options in respect of our legal fees to suit your business’s needs and budget, to include fixed fee agreements where appropriate.

For more information about the way we charge, see our pricing page.

Contact us about buying or selling a commercial property

If you are contemplating the sale or purchase of a commercial property and you would like some advice from one of our expert commercial property solicitors, please call us on 01724 281 616, email us at or fill in our enquiry form.

We have local teams in Scunthorpe and Goole and work with clients across Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.