Collinson Hall - In brief

We are an experienced and successful independent estate agent, letting agent and property management company based in St Albans with a second office in Chiswell Green. From these offices the business serves the wider mid Hertfordshire district.

Estate Agency is highly competitive in St Albans and Collinson Hall are well known for providing dependable advice and achieving exceptional results for our clients.

The higher profile activities of the business include .......

..... residential property sales & lettings. We also have a very active  property management business, commercial department, block-management department and a land sales / development department providing advice to a large portfolio of clients.

The company relies on its reputation and received a constant source of recommendation from existing clients.  It is, therefore, crucial for us to consistently deliver on promises. There are a number of testimonials on this website from clients who have experienced working with the business and have been very pleased they chose Collinson Hall.

The company aspires to be the best in everything they do - without cutting corners. Quality and integrity come as standard.

Gabriel Square

Collinson Hall are the appointed agents for the new garden square development opposite the cinema in London Road, St Albans. If you are interested and would like to be kept up to date we would suggest that you register your interest on the dedicated development website (click on the "more" button to get to the link).Failing that you can get in touch with us and we will be pleased to add your details.

In outline the scheme comprises 80 new homes comprising predominantly 3 and 4 bedroom houses but also includes a number of 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments and duplexes.The natural contours of the site allow for parking to be beneath the central area leaving the square car free and will be beautifully landscaped (and lit by a specialist designed lighting scheme in the evening) .....

This is a fantastic development which is due to be complete in the summer/autumn of 2017.

Registering your interest through the development website is the best way to stay in touch and we will keep you updated as and when there is further information we can share about release dates and pricing. 

For the neighbours and people interested in the construction side of the project we have maintaned an information site. where we post information and progress reports from the main contractor Higgins.

The conveyancing process explained

This article is reproduced from the Home Owners Alliance website We think it is excellent.

This is a guide explaining the conveyancing process when buying a home. Conveyancing involves legally transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer. It starts when your offer on a house is accepted and finishes when you receive the keys. Understanding what it involves will help ensure there are fewer surprises along the way.....

Who does the conveyancing?

A solicitor or conveyancer usually conducts the conveyancing process, but it is possible (although difficult) to do it yourself as long as you are not taking out a mortgage.

First stages

1. If like most people you are too worried or time poor to do the conveyancing yourself, the next step is to find a solicitor or conveyancer and “instruct them” to do it for you. Avoid using the estate agents recommended conveyancer as it will likely be a commission based recommendation and cost you more. With HomeOwners Alliance Conveyancing you can compare conveyancing quotes from the cheapest, nearest and best rated conveyancers from our panel of 150 quality assured firms.

For more on selecting a solicitor or conveyancer, see Finding the right solicitor or conveyancer?                                                

2. Your appointed conveyancer will then draw up a draft contract or terms of engagement with you, setting out their charges and deposits required.

3. Your solicitor will write to your sellers solicitor to confirm they are instructed and request a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the property’s title and the standard forms.

Legal Work

4. Your solicitor will examine the draft contract and supporting documents and raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. You will be expected to go through the forms the seller has completed and let the solicitor know if you have any queries or concerns. In particular you will want to double check the tenure of your new home: is it leasehold or freehold? If  leasehold, don’t rely on your solicitor to check for the length of the lease. Leases below 80 years are a problem, can be costly to extend and you need to have owned the property for 2 years before you are eligible to do so. Leases under 60 years are best avoided.

5. Property searches. There are things you may not know about the property just from viewing it with estate agents or even getting a survey. The conveyancer will do a set of legal searches to ensure there are no other factors you should be aware of. Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor for all purchases and others will be required by the mortgage lender to protect them from any liabilities that the property may have:

  • Local authority searches: are there plans for a motorway in your new garden? How about radioactive gas? This costs between £70 and £400 depending on the Local Authority and usually takes 1-2 weeks, but can take up to 6 weeks
  • Checking the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ at the Land Registry– these are the legal documents proving the seller’s ownership. The title register check costs £3 and the title plan check costs £3. Both are legally required to sell.
  • Checking flood risk – this can also done at the Land Registry. If you are getting an Environmental Search you might not buy this one separately as the environmental search will contain much more thorough flood information and maps.
  • Water authority searches – find out how you get your water and if any public drains on the property might affect extensions or building works.The water authority search will cost between £50 and £75.
  • Chancel repair search – to ensure there are no potential leftover medieval liabilities on the property to help pay for church repairs. This is a necessity and costs £18. However, you may decide to take out Chancel repair insurance instead for £20 or so. The laws around Chancel repair changed in October 2013 so now the onus is on the Church to establish and lodge liability with the Land Registry.
  • Environmental Search – this report is used on the vast majority of transactions and is provided by either Landmark or Groundsure.  Depending which product your solicitor usually uses, the report will give information about contaminated land at or around the property, landfill sites, former and current industry, detailed flooding predictions, radon gas hazard, ground stability issues, and some other related information.  The cost should be around £50 to £60 including VAT.
  • Optional and location specific searches – sometimes extra searches are required or recommended depending on the location or type of property or due to particular concerns raised by the buyer.  These could include:
    • Tin Mining searches in Cornwall
    • Mining searches in various parts of the UK and Cheshire Brine searches
    • Additional Local Authority Questions such as Public Paths, Pipelines, Noise Abatement Zones, Common Land, etc.

Your mortgage

6. You will need to get your mortgage in place. This will include ensuring you have the financing available for a mortgage deposit. Your solicitor will receive a copy of the offer and go through the conditions. For further information on mortgages, see Mortgages made simple  and What type of mortgage should I get?

7. You will need to get a mortgage valuation. This is carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know that the property provides sufficient security for the loan. You normally have to pay for it, but a mortgage company might throw it in for free to attract business

8. You will want to have any other necessary surveys done. Whether you have a survey done and what sort of survey you choose will depend on your specific circumstances. See What sort of survey should I have?

9. Before exchange of contracts can take place your lender will require you to get Buildings Insurance for your new home. You are responsible for the property as soon as contracts have been exchanged so it is in your interests to do so.

Signing Contracts

10. Signing the contract. Since receiving the draft contract from the sellers solicitor, your solicitor will have have been in correspondence  with you about what is covered. Before signing the contract your solicitor will need to ensure:

  • that all enquiries have been returned and are satisfactory
  • that fixtures and fittings included in the purchase are what you expected
  • completion date has been agreed between the two parties, which is usually 4 to 12 weeks after exchange of contracts
  • That you have made arrangements to transfer the deposit into your solicitors account so that it is cleared in time for an exchange. You may want to negotiate on the size of the deposit, which is normally 10% of the value of the property. However even if you agree to pay less than 10% you are still liable for 10% of the value of the property if you later pull out of the agreement. Therefore if you pay a 5% deposit and pull out of buying the property you will not only lose your deposit but also legally owe an additional 5% of the value of the property

11. Go to the property with the estate agent and the fixtures and fittings inventory list to ensure that everything you paid for is still there and the house has not been damaged in any way

Exchanging contracts

12. You and the seller will agree on a date and time to exchange contracts at any time on any given day

13. Your solicitor will exchange contracts for you. This is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers reading out the contracts over the phone (which is recorded) to make sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post.  For more see How do I exchange of contracts?

14. If you are in a chain your solicitor/conveyancer will do the same thing, but will only release it if the other people in the chain are all happy to go ahead. This means if one person pulls out or delays, then everyone in the chain gets held up. For more, see How do I break the housing chain?

15. Once you have exchanged contracts you will be in a legally binding contract to buy the property with a fixed date for moving. This means that:

  • If you do not complete the purchase, you will lose your deposit and owe the seller more if the deposit was less than 10%
  • the seller has to sell or you can sue them
  • the seller can no longer accept another offer (you no longer need to worry about being gazumped)

Between exchange and completion

16. Your solicitor will lodge an interest in the property which will mean that the deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days to allow you to pay the seller and lodge your application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name.

17. The seller will move out (although they may leave this to the day of completion)

18. You should organise the moving

19. The solicitor will send you a statement showing the final figure to pay, which will ned to be cleared into your solicitors bank account at least one day before completion.

On completion day

20. Completion is normally set around midday on the specified date although in practice takes place when the seller’s solicitor confirms that they have received all the money that is due. Once this happens the seller should drop the keys at the estate agents for your collection. You can then move in. For more see Completion: What to Expect

After completion

21. Your solicitor will tie up some loose ends:

  • Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf. See Five things you need to know about Stamp Duty
  • You will receive your legal documents about 20 days after completion after your solicitor has sent them to the Land Registry
  • Send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender, who will hold them until you pay your loan off
  • Notify the freeholder if the property is leasehold
  • Give you a bill for their payment

22. You will want to collect together all your paperwork from the purchase of your new home, including the estate agent’s brochure, to file away and keep safe for when you move again.

School Awards 2016

We are extremely pleased to be involved with this event and delighted to see so many people deservedly recognised for their efforts and achievements in the school environment. The awards evening was a tremendous success and the winners have been announced ......

...... congratulations to everyone who won their awards.

A full list of the finalist and winners can be found here

What are the pictures at the top of these pages?

All of these pictures were taken in and around St Albans. Hopefully they showcase some of the more interesting and attractive parts of this lovely city and the countryside that surrounds us....

 .... we will keep changing them through the year as opportunities catch our eye.

If you don't recognise the location of any of these and would like to know - get in touch.

If you have a picture you think might be suitable do let us know. Happy to pay (a modest sum) for anything we use. 

Are traditional agents better than internet only? - Ask Which

Fewer than four in ten home movers end up buying a property they found on a portal.
Consumer organisation Which? said that in research among 2,000 recent home movers, just 37% had discovered their new home by searching a property portal.
However, a further 6% did so via an automated email from a portal and 2% found their new home via a smartphone app notification......

....Even so, just 45% found their new home via a modern method, compared with 55% who used traditional methods such as looking in an estate agent’s window or local paper, or spotting a For Sale board.

First-time buyers, despite their younger age group, were even more unlikely to find a home on a portal, with 60% using traditional methods rather than portals or apps.

According to Which? this is how the figures break down:

Estate agent’s window 11%

Searching a property portal 37%

Phone call or email from estate agent 11%

Email from a property portal 6%

‘For Sale’ sign outside property 10%

Other electronic alert, eg app notification 2%

Word of mouth 9%

Local newspaper 6%

Other traditional method 4%

I approached the property owner directly (eg by leafleting) 3%

Property auction 1%

Which? is now advising property hunters to put their laptops away.

The organisation says: “In parts of the UK where markets are fast-moving, with demand outstripping supply, the best properties are often snapped up before the agent has had the chance to list them online.

“That’s why it’s advisable to put your laptop away and get out and about.

“Take a walk down the high street and register with all the estate agents selling the types of properties you’re after.

“Spend time talking to them, explaining your situation and what you’re looking for.”

The same Which? research also revealed the importance of getting a portal listing right.

Around seven in ten respondents said they decided not to view a property after browsing its online listing, with the main reasons being that the location wasn’t right (35%) and/or that it was too expensive (35%).

However, 9% of home buyers in London and the south-east discounted a property before viewing it because they did not want to deal with the agent it was marketed with. The figure was 7% nationally.

Around one in five (19%) said they did not view a property either because no photos were made available or there were not enough photos.

For first-time buyers, this figure rose to 22%.

One in six (16%) did not view a property because no floor plan was provided

Article from Property Industry Eye 2nd Sept 2016


  • P
    Elaine - Just wanted to buy you a drink to say a huge THANK YOU for all you did for me to get my house sold. I have huge respect for your skills and diplomacy and was grateful for the humour! You were brilliant !
  • M
    We are extremely pleased we chose Rod and the team at Collinson Hall to sell our house. From start to finish they went out of their way to make sure everything went smoothly and were always available to give updates and answer our questions. Unlike other local estate agents, they were at all times very professional, yet also friendly and approachable - we knew we could trust them to get the best possible outcome for us. Not only did they make the whole process very straightforward, they helped to secure a great deal with our perfect buyers – all in all we can’t recommend them enough. M, St Albans
  • Ms JS
    Thank you for everything. Your professionalism was outstanding, you understood how difficult selling our home was for us and the emotional journey we were on. Thanks for holding our hand letting us move at just the right pace. We were very pleased with the result and knew that your support and guidance was always there. once again many thanks for helping us to get there. You are brilliant at your job!
  • Mr P C
    Thanks for all your help with this. In truth I am not sure we would have been able to see this through if it had not been for your diligence and patience throughout. We are really very pleased with our purchase. Will be sure to drop you in some bubbly in due course (completion only a couple of weeks away).
  • M&P, St Albans
    Dear Rene, Lisa and team, We wanted to say a very big thank you for all your help and dedication which went into ensuring the sale and purchase of our homes ran smoothly and without any hiccups. From the very first minute we walked into your offices we felt an overwhelming sense of professionalism, commitment and caring, which was comforting and so reassuring leading up to and throughout the property's sale and purchase process. Lisa; from the moment you realised I'd fallen in love with one of your properties you were 100% committed to ensuring we got it, and never gave us a moment to doubt we would. We will never forget you, and how well looked after we were in your capable hands. Thank you for all of the behind the scenes management and negotiation. Rene, you went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the chain ran smoothly and kept us informed and reassured throughout, given the entire chain was managed by yourself. Your service was exceptional and we cannot thank you enough for all your hard work. Your entire team's ongoing communication, thoroughness, and willingness to always go the extra mile for all of your clients is testament to your exceptional reputation within our community and we would not hesitate to recommend your services to anyone who is looking to move or buy within Chiswell Green. Thank you again and best regards, Michelle & Paul
  • Miss G, St Albans
    Hi Elaine, I'd like to thank you and your team for all of your help and support with the sale of my house. I am really pleased that I chose Collinson Hall and would certainly recommend you. All the very best. K.



We're here to help

Use the webform below to ask any your question

We'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Answers to previously asked questions...

  • How much is an annual season ticket from St Albans to St Pancras?

    As at Apr 2016. The standard charge quoted on the Thameslink website is £3,320.00.

  • What are the stamp duty thresholds for buying a property?

    Its all got complicated and now depends if you are buying a property as a principle residence. The most up to date info (as Apr 16) is here

  • I am tenant looking to rent one of your properties. What charges should I expect to pay.
    You can find this information in the tenant section of our website - should it need any clarification please call 01727 794104 and we can run through it with you.
  • Why do you ask for so much information about my property? (From a landlord)
    As your agents, we need to know about a variety of little things to be effective in marketing and managing your property. Each piece of information will enable us to either keep you and your property legally compliant, prevent misunderstandings and wasted viewing appointments, or ensure that your tenants have all they need to properly maintain and look after your property throughout their tenancy.
  • How can I find out about school catchment areas?

    Tricky as the rules seem to change but we use School Guru who come up with very useful info - this link will take you to their website

  • What are "exchange" and "completion"
    The exchange means the exchange of contracts. Many years ago this meant that the buyer and sellers solicitors met and literally exchanged the contracts in identical form signed by their respective clients. Today the exchange usually just takes place over the telephone where each solicitor confirms they are in possession of a signed contract. Exchange is a significant milestone in that the transaction becomes a legally binding contract between the seller and the buyer at that point. One of the terms of the contract at exchange will be the completion date. Referred to as completion. This is the date on which the title to the property is transferred by the sellers solicitor to the buyer, the buyers solicitor transfers the agreed sale price to the seller and the buyer takes possession of the property. This is the date that the new owner of the property usually moves in. There is usually a time period between exchange and completion and this period can vary from a few seconds if exchange and completion take place on the same day or several months, even years. The norm however is usually between 2 and 6 weeks, and it is during this period that each party is able to book removals, make arrangements for the transfer of utilities and post and of course tell friends and family, or not !
  • I understand I need an EPC - how much is it and how long will it take?
    We can organise this through a third party. It takes about 24 hours and costs £50 plus VAT.



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We would be pleased to organise this for you.
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How much is my current property worth?

When asked to give a "valuation" we will offer you our opinion of the likely figure you should expect to achieve should the property be put to the market.... MORE