At Posada & Co, we have a team of property experts dedicated to providing a personal, fast, efficient and effective service. We understand how the stress of moving and we want to make sure our clients are aware that their lawyers are on their side.
We have written this to article to provide you with helpful tips to ensure your house move proceeds as quickly, and more importantly, as stress-free as possible.
If you would like more information about our services please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
1. How long will it take?
The average lifespan of a conveyancing transaction is 6-8 weeks from instructing a lawyer to moving in.
Naturally, this timescale can vary depending on the chain, and any problems that may be encountered along the way.
2. Instruct your solicitor
A lawyer should always be involved early on, preferably even before you find a buyer. The lawyer will be able to arrange for all the property forms to be completed so that contracts can be forwarded as soon as a buyer is found.
BUYING A PROPERTY
3. Can the seller change the purchaser price?
Until contracts are exchanged, negotiations on the purchase price can take place. However, it is important to note that any change in price will require you to obtain a revised mortgage offer, which can delay proceedings.
4. Sort out fixtures and fittings at the start
You should consider what fixtures and fittings you wish the seller to leave behind early on in the transaction, so negotiations over this does not hold up the overall progress of the move.
The purchase price of a property includes the value of the house and any fixtures or fittings that may come with it. It is possible to agree additional figures for fixtures and fittings, exempt of Stamp Duty Land Tax. However, such a figure must be a reasonable valuation of these items as the HMRC can challenge the transaction.
5. Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common
It is important you understand the difference between the two terms.
A Joint Tenancy is where the property is owned by all joint owners but with no-one person having a separate and distinct share. If one owner dies the property automatically passes in whole to the survivor(s) despite the terms of the deceased’s will.
A Tenancy in Common is when each owner has a separate and distinct share. This form of ownership is often appropriate if you have contributed to the purchase price in unequal shares. If one person dies then their share is not automatically transferred to the survivor(s) but will instead pass according to the provisions of the deceased’s will or, if there is no will, under the Laws of Intestacy.
6. To survey or not to survey?
A detailed survey will provide an important insight into the condition of a property. We would always recommend that a buyer has a survey of the property before committing to purchase.
Purchasers often make the mistake of only proceeding with a basic valuation survey, which will only detail information the lender needs and will not disclose details about the actual condition of the property.
It is therefore important that you consider obtaining a Home Buyers Report or structural survey. This survey will create a contractual relationship between you and the surveyor and which places him under an obligation to provide advice regarding the condition of the property.
Any advice given by the surveyor will be backed by professional indemnity insurance meaning you should be covered if any problems are overlooked in the survey.
If structural defects are found in the survey you should always speak with the surveyor to obtain advice and quotations about remedying the defect.
7. Financial advice
An independent financial adviser is a valuable service in a conveyancing transaction. They will analyse the whole of the market to advise you on the most appropriate way to finance your purchase and explain the most competitive mortgages that meet your needs.
You should also consider speaking with an independent financial advisor about products which are available to cover you in the event that you become unemployed and are unable to pay your mortgage. This is vital as it could mean your house is repossessed if you do not keep up with your monthly payments.
8. Insure, insure, insure
When considering what buildings and contents insurance to proceed with you should always take proper advice on the matter and shop for competitive deals. Do not always take the option of taking out the lender’s buildings and contents insurance as it may not be the most economical.
9. Utility and service providers
On completion day, you should always ensure that all utility and service meters are recorded. This avoids any future disputes that may arise and will certify that future bills are accurate.
It is also advisable to check the council tax band because if the property has been extended since the last valuation this may have caused an increase in the Council Tax.
10. To extend or not to extend?
If you are considering to extend the property after you have purchased it, you should inform your lawyer.
Your lawyer will be able to advise you on issues that you may not have considered. For example investigating to see if there are restrictive covenants against the property which may prevent certain types of development or complying with other legislation.
11. If there's a Will...
Your new home is a huge financial asset in your overall wealth. It is thereofre important to have a Will in place to not only be tax efficient in the event of your death, but also to control where your property will go.
If you require any advice on this matter, please contact us for further information.
SELLING A PROPERTY
12. The early bird catches the worm - complete the form!
Your lawyers will send you the property information forms to complete as soon as you instruct them to act in the sale of your property. We strongly recommend that sellers complete them, even before a buyer is found.
13. Gather information
Sellers should gather together any additional information that is referred to in the property information forms as soon as possible. Such documents may include building or planning consents, guarantees (eg. windows, doors, damp or timber guarantees), boiler and electrical service certificates. If you believe these documents exist but cannot locate them then it is better to contact the relevant company earlier rather than later in order to obtain copies that will be required by your buyer.
If you have had alterations or repairs carried out to your property which would have required local authority approval (this can include certain plumbing and electrical work) but do not have the necessary consents then we recommend you speak to us so that we can advise you on the best way to remedy the situation.