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Buying FAQ's

The short answer is “no”. Although this is many people’s instinctive approach – they do not want to market their property until they have found one that they want – the problem is that they are not in a position to move when they do find their ideal property. If you have already got an offer on your house then the vendor of the house you want to move to is much more likely to accept an offer from you. This is particularly true in a market where property supply is short. We would recommend that you market your property and get it to the point of offer. That way you stay in control of the timing of the sale and are not put in the onerous position of finding your perfect home only to see it sold to someone else.

We know how frustrating it is to find the perfect property only to find out that it has already gone under offer, especially if you were registered with that agent. We do not want to make you promises we cannot keep and would love to be able to say we would call you as soon as we got a new instruction. Realistically this is just not possible. We can have, in excess of, 300 people looking for the same property and cannot promise them all a call. What we suggest is that you set up an alert on the portals for the type of property you are interested in. You will then know as soon as a property goes live, be able to look at the details and call to arrange a viewing if you are interested. If you are unclear as to how to do this, please call us today.

This will vary on how many properties are being sold in the area you are buying. The local councils have to respond and they can get a backlog in busy times. Usually council's strive to get them back within a week but we have known them to take far longer. We would always recommend, to avoid unnecessary delay, that your solicitor initiate the search as quickly as possible. This will usually involve you transferring the fee to them before they instruct the search.

A chain, when used in reference to the process of buying or selling a house, is a sequence of linked house purchases, each of which is dependent on the preceding and succeeding purchase. The chain begins with someone who is only buying, not selling, and ends with a vendor who is only selling, not buying. The 'links' in the chain are the people in between who need to both sell and buy a property. Clearly the more links that are in the chain the more complex the process becomes. We will always advise you of the length of the chain in your prospective purchase and do our upmost to progress the entire chain.

In theory if there is no finance to arrange and vacant possession can be guaranteed, a sale can be completed in a matter of days. The only factors would be how quickly the searches come back and how speedy both sides solicitors are. However, this is not a typical sales transaction. The sales process usually takes an average of 12 weeks – this can be much longer if the chain is complicated or there are issues with any of the contracts.

Also known as a ‘Decision in Principle’ (DIP), ‘Mortgage Promise’ or an ‘Agreement in Principle’ (AIP), a mortgage in principle is a certificate or statement from a lender to say that ‘in principle’ they would lend a certain amount to a particular prospective borrower or borrowers based on some basic information. The information that you provide will allow the lender to check your credit file helping them establish whether you meet their mortgage criteria and if they are happy to lend the amount you require.

 

Before we put through any offer you might make through us we will ask you to substantiate your position. Unless you do not require any borrowing that will include producing an AIP from your lender.

The short answer is “yes” if the current owner is prepared to sell them. However, this does not cover the real issue with this question. The matter of fixtures and fittings can be very contentious, largely because there is no law that specifies what should be left in the house and what should be removed. It is critical that this is clearly negotiated during the offer process and that an inventory of those goods is included in the sales documentation. Our negotiators will talk to you in detail about what you are expecting to be included in your offer and will ensure that both solicitors have the finalised inventory.

How Stamp Duty is calculated changed in April 2016. Before then it was calculated at different percentage rates of the agreed sales price. These were set in bands so for example you paid x% stamp duty if the property you were buying was priced between y and z. This has now fundamentally changed so that stamp duty is paid in portions of the property’s value. Any property valued at £125,000 or below is free from stamp duty and anything over is calculated as follows

 

  • The first £125,000 on properties is free of stamp duty
  • 2% payable on the portion from £125,001 to  £250,000
  • 5% on the portion up to £925,000
  • 10% on the portion up to £1.5m
  • 12% on anything over

 

We would strongly recommend that you use a solicitor on our list of preferred suppliers. Not because we financially benefit but because we have chosen them on the basis they specialise in conveyancing. As with all areas of legal work, those who specialise will better understand the pitfalls and tend to be more efficient, potentially saving you considerable stress. Further, the partners we work regularly with know that we will actively help them with the sale and so we are much more likely to achieve the end result you want – a successful purchase.

 

This is a much asked question but one that is impossible to give a definitive answer. Clearly, it is a constantly changing market and different lenders will offer different products at different times. What we would urge is that you look at a range of products rather than just going to your bank or building society. We have seen many instances recently where a prospective buyer has obtained an AIP only to find that the lender retracted their offer. This is incredibly stressful once the conveyancing process has started. We work with a number of independent mortgage advisers who have access to multiple products and can help you chose the best one for you. Further, they have an up to date, detailed knowledge of who is actively lending and which lenders may be more reluctant.

What is the difference between Tenants in Common and Joint Tenants?

If you buy your property with another person you must decide which type of joint ownership you. Which you choose will affect what you can do with the property if your relationship with a joint owner breaks down, or if one owner dies.

Joint tenants

  • you have equal rights to the whole property
  • the property automatically goes to the other owners if you die
  • you can’t pass on your ownership of the property in your will

Tenants in common

  • you can own different shares of the property
  • the property doesn’t automatically go to the other owners if you die
  • you can pass on your share of the property in your will

You should arrange for building insurance to take effect on exchange of contracts, since you bear the risk of loss if the property is damaged after this date -- even if the vendor remains in the property. (If you need a mortgage, your lender may take care of this for you -- but always check well in advance of the date contracts are exchanged.) The insurance policy should cover the estimated cost of re-building the property if it is completely destroyed (e.g., in a fire), not the current market value.

If you need a mortgage, your lender will ask you to pay for a mortgage valuation report (MVR) to confirm that the property is worth the amount that you have asked to borrow. You cannot rely on this report, however, because it involves only a limited inspection of the property and it will only identify obvious defects that materially affect the value of the property. For added protection, most buyers pay for a more comprehensive survey to be done -- either a homebuyer's report or a full structural survey.

Most buyers ask their mortgage lender to arrange for the surveyor who does the MVR to do the homebuyer's report or full structural survey at the same time. This is generally the easiest and cheapest way to commission a report.

 

In the vast majority of transactions, you will be asked to pay 10% on exchange of contracts. This commits you to the purchase and is non-returnable in the case that completion does not take place.

The short answer is “yes”. We would suggest that you contact one of our lettings managers as soon into the purchase as is practicable. We will then be in a position to advise you on any works that may be necessary and ensure that the property is as attractive to potential tenants as is possible. We will then be able to source a suitable tenant ready to move in as soon after completion as is possible ensuring you don’t have a protracted void period.

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