Can we buy anonymously?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty advises on how to buy a property through a nominee
Rejected offer cartoon
© Merrily Harpur
Question: The house next door has recently come on to the market and my wife and I would like to buy it. Unfortunately, we fell out with our neighbour a year or two ago, over something trivial. All our efforts to improve relations have been rebuffed. As a result, we are sure that they will not sell to us. Is there any way we can buy the property anonymously?

Answer: The simple answer to your question is yes. You would be able to purchase the property through a nominee. This would be somebody whom you know and trust - a member of your extended family or a good friend.

The essence of the scheme is that you would provide the money, the purchase would go ahead in the nominee’s name and there would be an agreement that they hold the property on trust for you.

Ultimately, the nominee will either have to transfer the property into your names or to any other person that you direct. There will be some practical points that your solicitor will have to deal with, for example if you are obtaining a mortgage to fund the purchase, you will need to disclose the existence of the nominee to your lender.

The mortgage cannot complete until the property is in your names. Your solicitors must be satisfied about the source of the funds and will have to carry out the usual money laundering checks both on yourself and the nominee.

It is important to appoint someone you trust as your nominee and to inform your solicitors as soon as possible so that all the necessary documentation can be put in place at the outset.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors

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