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Auctions, Beginners Guides, Boundary Disputes, Contract, conveyancer, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, First Time Buyers, flipping, full structural survey, help to buy, help to buy ISA, Property Auctions, Property Market, property owner, Property Report, property searches, Quicker conveyancing, restrictive covenants, searches, signing contracts    No Comments

When we talk about ‘flipping’ we’re not talking abut pancakes! We mean buying a fixer-upper to do up and ‘flip’  (do it up and sell it at a higher price to make a profit) to boost your savings. But it’s important to remember that you have a lot to think about before you go ahead and buy a property to ‘flip’. There may be some obstacles in your way…

Do You Need Planning Consent?

If you’re planning to extend then you should check before you buy that you can get the planning consent you need for the work you want to do.  Often small extensions and conservatories don’t need planning consent, but if some extension works have already been done or your planned extension is large then you will still require planning consent from the Local Authority.  It’s always best to check this before entering into any Contract, especially if your purchase is based on being able to extend. You should also think about the costs of applying for planning consent.

If the property is a listed building, a conservation area or in an area where development rights have been restricted, then there may be even more hoops to jump through!

Building Regulations – Do You Know What Needs Sign Off?

Structural work to a property needs to comply with building regulations. There are costs of getting your plans approved from the Local Authority and extra costs for building inspectors to sign off the work once it’s completed. You’ll also need a Completion Certificate which legally confirms that building regulations rules have been complied with. As well as extensions you also need a building regulations certificate of compliance for electrical installation, gas installations, new double glazing, removals of chimney breast, removals of internal (supporting) walls and re-roofing.

What Are Restrictive Covenants? 

Even if you have the planning consent and the building regulations you need, you could still be prevented from extending or altering the property under a Restrictive Covenant. A Covenant is a legal promise in the Deeds to the property which can be enforced by a developer, a council or even owners of neighboring properties.  A Covenant can apply to modern or very old properties.

Covenants can prevent new owners making any changes to the property and owners can be sued for doing something that breaches it. It’s common for there to be a Covenant about adding a new building or extending or altering any existing building on the property without the consent of the original developer. Failure to apply for consent under the Covenant could result in the owners being taken to court, being forced to pay a fine, having to return the property to its original state or delays selling the property. Your Conveyancer who will be able to tell you whether there is any risk of breaching a Covenant in the property.

If You Have Questions About ‘Flipping’, Don’t Get In A Flap – Get In Touch 

If you’re a first time ‘flipper’ or are thinking of buying a property that have a Restrictive Covenant, then we can help you. Simply call 01623 45 11 11. For more about our Conveyancing services or an instant quote visit our website.

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Beginners Guides, conveyancer, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, Japanese Knotweed, Property, Property Market, Quicker conveyancing    No Comments

What Is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) has reared its ugly head in the news again lately reminding us all of the terrible problems this weed can cause for homeowners. This troublesome plant is renowned for growing at a ridiculous rate of up to 10-20cm a day during the summer months and is classed as an invasive species in the UK. Left untreated the roots of Japanese knotweed can be considered a risk to the structural integrity of a building, mortgage lenders are very wary of it, prospective buyers may not get a mortgage and it can sometimes make the property unsellable.

It’s A Serious Business!

Due to its fast growing and destructive nature, it is an offence under Section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to plant or cause it to grow. It is also classed as controlled waste and requires specialist disposal to prevent spreading; substantial fines or even prison sentences can handed to people disposing of the weed irresponsibly if it results in a spread in the wild.

What Happens If You Want To Sell Your Property?

Although it is not illegal to have Japanese knotweed growing in your garden, you are under a legal duty to disclose it when you sell. Not disclosing it would be classed as a misrepresentation and a buyer can take a seller to court for compensation if its proved the sellers deliberately withheld information or tried to hide its existence.

Don’t despair…

If you think your house is affected by Knotweed, it can be treated effectively. It has a large underground network of roots which need to be destroyed to kill the plant using chemicals, although it can take up to five years to be totally eliminated.

Contact a specialist

If you discover your property is affected , you will need to contact a Japanese Knotweed specialist who will be able to assist with a Management Plan. This plan can be submitted to Mortgage Lenders and Valuers and often assists in gaining lending that may otherwise have not been offered. In addition, on advice from the Institute of Chartered Surveyors many larger lenders have relaxed their rules as some evidence suggests that surveyors have been unsure of how to assess the risk of Japanese knotweed, resulting in inconsistent valuations.

Get In Touch 

If you have question about this issue or would like a Conveyancing quote – please give our specialist team a call on 01623 45 11 11.

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Beginners Guides, Case Tracker, Contract, conveyancer, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, Do your own conveyancing, property owner, property searches, Quicker conveyancing    No Comments

After weeks of paperwork and to do-lists you’re now ready to get the keys to your new home. Have a look at our handy checklist below to avoid any delays on moving day!

  • Make sure you’ve sent your fees and purchase money to your Conveyancer in plenty of time for Completion day.  The last thing you need is to be organising a bank transfer today!
  • Be ready to hand over or collect the keys once you’ve Legally Completed. It’s in your Contract that this should happen by 2pm – but this can sometimes be a bit earlier or later.
  • Make sure you’ve organised for all your mail to be forwarded to your new house from today.
  • Don’t forget to read your meters on your old house and your new house, make a note of the readings and call your utility providers as soon as you can to give them the information.
  • Label all your boxes – especially the important ones like “Kettle” and “Mugs” (or wine glasses and bottle opener!) so you can make a cuppa while your unpacking the less important stuff!
  • Keep a list of the items you are taking and what you are leaving behind such as curtains, blinds and kitchen fittings.
  • There could be a bit of waiting a round – Make sure you phone is charged and you are ready for the call from your Conveyancer to confirm you can collect your keys. In the meantime, have a plan and don’t put yourself in a position where your sat in a van for hours waiting for the call. Remember it could be gone lunchtime before you get your new keys.
  • No-one expects your old house to be left spotless but it’s advisable to leave it in a condition you hope to find your new one in – it’s only courteous!
  • Get your friends and family to help with packing, unpacking and cleaning.  Many hands make light work and you can always bribe them with the offer of a pizza or two for supper!
  • Keep your pets fenced or locked in or if they are liable to make a run for your old house every time you open a door. Get a friend to look after them for the day while you are moving.
  • Remember that it’s only one day of madness and you have the rest of your lives in your new home to organise and unpack. Rome wasn’t built in a day, just get the basics sorted.
  • Be flexible. Depending on the amount of people in your chain, Completion can be chaotic and there may be some waiting around. There’s no harm in your buyers moving their furniture into the living room while you’re still emptying the garage!

 

If you need advice or help from our specialist and experienced Conveyancing team – simply give us a call. We’re used to the ups and downs of moving day and are happy to talk you through anything that’s worrying you. Call us on 01623 45 11 11 or visit www.fidler.co.uk to find out more.

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Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, Deposit, First Time Buyers, help to buy, help to buy ISA, Property, Property Market, Quicker conveyancing    No Comments

What is a Help to Buy ISA?

A Help to Buy ISA is a new type of ISA which have been created to help first-time buyers save for a deposit for their home. As you are busy saving for your deposit you’ll receive a helping hand from the government to boost your savings amount and help you to get onto the housing ladder. The government will add a generous 25% on to your savings, up to a maximum of £3,000 on savings of £12,000 (this is per first time buyer. So, if you and your Partner both open an account you could receive up to £6,000 on top of your own savings).

Find out more and get organised!

As soon as you decide you want to start saving for your first home you need to set up an ISA account with your bank. This means you start saving as soon as possible as the more money you save the more you will benefit from the scheme.

Make sure you know the limits of the scheme

  • The government boosts your savings by 25% (i.e. a bonus of £50 for every £200 you save)
  • You can save up to £200 per month
  • The maximum bonus you can claim is £3,000 so to get the best bonus you would need to save £12,000
  • The house you purchase must cost a maximum of £250,000 (or £450,000 in London)

 

When you have found a house to buy…Tell us you hold a HTB ISA as soon as possible. Our initial information forms will ask you about this

  • Complete the forms we send you

Once we are aware you wish to take advantage of the scheme, we will send you a form to complete giving us information about your ISA account and asking for your authority to apply for the bonus on your behalf.

  • Go to your bank to close the account before completion happens (we will talk to you about this)

Your money will be sent to another account for you. You will need to instruct your bank that you wish to close the account and they will transfer your savings into another account of your choosing. They will then provide you with a closing statement.

  • Provide us with the closing statement

We need to submit this to the government website to prove to them the amount of savings you had in your ISA.

We will submit your signed authority form and closing statement to government website with a request for funds a few days before you complete your purchase and you will receive a letter from the government, through us, confirming the bonus has been approved and is being transferred to us.

  • We will ask you for your deposit less the sum we expect to receive from scheme

Don’t worry if this means you have less than a 10% deposit. Most sellers will agree to a lower deposit in these circumstances. You will receive statements from us showing the bonus sum we expect to receive.

  • We receive the HTB Bonus before completion and use this towards the purchase price.

 

If you are a first time buyer and you’re interested in a Help to Buy ISA…

We have a specialist team who have processed hundreds of Help to Buy ISA’s and would be happy to help you with any questions you may have. Simply call us on 01623 45 11 11.

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Beginners Guides, Buy to let, Buy your freehold, Case Tracker, Contract, conveyancer, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, Do your own conveyancing, First Time Buyers, leasehold, Leasehold Conveyancing Quote, Leasehold extension, Property Report, Quicker conveyancing    No Comments

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What is Freehold Ownership?

Freehold means that you will be the sole owner of the property as well as being the owner of the land the property sits on and is surrounded by. This is often preferred for many buyers as you will not have to pay any additional ground rent or service charges. As the freeholder you are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the building but you will have control over when the repairs are made.

What is Leasehold Ownership?

Leasehold means that you are buying the right to use the property from the freeholder or ‘Landlord’ (the person who owns the building and land it resides on) for an agreed number of years. Leasehold is typically how flats and maisonettes are sold but is also used for houses both new and old.

If you own a leasehold flat or house you are likely to be required to pay ground rent, maintenance fees and annual service charges either on a monthly or annual basis to the freeholder. Sometimes these rents can be very low especially on very old properties but the fees can also range up to and over ₤1000 year and even more in London.

All leases are different so make sure your Conveyancer explains this thoroughly and you understand your responsibilities to the Landlord

  • You may have to gain permission from the freeholder if you want to undertake any major works on your property such as replacing your windows or extending the property
  • You may need to gain permission if you wish to rent the property out
  • Leases can be as short as 40 years or as long as 999 years – but the longer the better
  • If you require a mortgage then the lease usually needs to be to be at least 80 years
  • Leases can be extended or you can apply to buy the freehold of the property from the Landlord but the shorter the time remaining on the lease then the then more costly this becomes

Are you somewhere in the middle?

In the world of Conveyancing, there’s always another option to consider. Often freehold houses, especially on new build estates are sold as freehold but there is a clause in the title giving the responsibility to maintaining the communal areas on the estate such as shared drives, car parks and open spaces to a Management Company. Generally you would, if there is a Management Company, be liable to pay a yearly service charge to the company for its services. Remember to check the small print for any hidden costs even if a property is advertised as freehold.

Have any further questions?

Our specialist team have extensive experience dealing with both leasehold and freehold properties. Simply give us a call on 01623 45 11 11 and we will be happy to help you further.

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Beginners Guides, Buy to let, Case Tracker, Contract, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, First Time Buyers, Landlord, property owner, property searches, Quicker conveyancing, renting, Stamp duty, Stamp duty land tax, Uncategorized    No Comments

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Can you believe it’s been a year since the last round of stamp duty changes? Things have settled down since the initial frenzy of changes and most people know the main rules. But if you’re not sure of the changes, here is a round up of the vital information you need to know before you decide to hop on to the buy-to-let train yourself.

  1. If your spouse owns another property the Inland Revenue treat that as yours too and you are liable for the higher rate even if you don’t have any interest in their house, unless you are divorced or legally separated (for example by a court order).
  2. If you own a property in a different country, you still own a property and this means you are buying the property in the UK as a second property and you are liable for the higher rate.
  3. Companies buying a property are always liable for the higher rate, even if they have never owned a property before. The government makes the assumption this is an investment property.
  4. If you are selling the property you live in and buying a new property to live in (for examples swapping main residences), it doesn’t matter about your buy-to-let portfolio and you will pay the lower rate. But if you are buying a property to live in but not selling one, you must pay the higher rate. You can however sell your old main residence within 3 years and make a claim for a refund from the Inland Revenue.
  5. The higher rate is charged on second properties purchased for more than £40,000.

Get in touch – we’re happy to help

Fidler and Pepper have a dedicated team of Conveyancing specialists who are always happy to help explain the second property stamp duty rules. Simply give us a call on 01623 45 11 11.

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Case Tracker, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, First Time Buyers, Quicker conveyancing    No Comments

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So, you’re selling a property, your Conveyancer has been in touch with an abundance of forms for you to fill in and sent you the Contract to sign and you have sent it all back as quickly as you can and then…nothing… You call for updates and are told that they are waiting for your buyers to confirm they are ready…what’s going on? It’s a common situation that can scare a Seller into thinking their Buyers aren’t proceeding, have ran off without telling anyone or have been abducted by aliens….well OK, so maybe not that last one!

Don’t panic, no-one has forgotten about you

What’s really going on here is actually much less dramatic. The problem is that a seller does lots of work at the beginning of the transaction giving all the information about the property over and then really doesn’t have anything to do then until their buyer is satisfied they are ready to complete. While everything is quiet on the sale front, your buyers solicitors are frantically running around behind the scenes organising searches (which can take 3-4 weeks) , checking the title for defects and reporting everything to the buyer and their mortgage lender. Your buyer may also organise their own home buyers survey or structural surveys which will also be done during this time. Most Conveyancing transactions actually take about 8-12 weeks to complete.

Your conveyancer will be happy to keep you up to date

Moving house or selling a property can be a stressful and emotional time. If you’re worried, have questions or just want to check in on how things are going – then give your Conveyancer a call. They will help put your mind at ease, give you an update on where they are in the process and you can relax and have a cuppa!

Fidler & Pepper offer a free, online, secure Case Tracker to all of our clients. This allows clients to check on the progress of their case day or night to see what stage they are at and helps put your mind at ease.

For more information about the conveyancing process or our frequently asked questions then visit our website or give us a call on 01623 45 11 11.

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Beginners Guides, conveyancer, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, Declaration of Trust, First Time Buyers, Quicker conveyancing    No Comments

First time buyer

 

Moving in with your partner or buying a house together is an exciting time and there is a lot to think about. But as well as deciding which side of the bed you’re sleeping on and choosing between vanilla mist and coffee dream for the living room walls, you need to think about something much more important. It may not be something you want to think about at the time, but what would happen if your relationship breaks down?

Things to think about in case you break up…

  • The contributions each of you are making towards the purchase of the property. Are you contributing the same or is one party contributing more? Would the person contributing more want their full share back if you split up?
  • Are you both going to have an equal share in the property or is one of you going to have greater contribution? Are you happy to own more or less of the property?
  • Are there children involved or could there be children in the future?
  • Is the property going to be purchased in your sole name for mortgage purposes even though you could both actually be contributing equally?
  • What would happen to the property in the event either of you should die?

What does joint tenants and tenants in common mean?

When purchasing your property you can own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common. Joint tenants means that in the event one of you dies the remaining share will automatically pass to the other partner. Tenants in common means that if one of you should die your share will pass to whoever you nominate in your Will.

The Bank of Mum and Dad

It’s very important to think about where your deposit is coming from. Are you going to be receiving a gift from your parents or other family member towards the deposit? That parent might be happy giving that gift to you but they may want some formal protection that the gift amount will go back to you if you sell the house in the future as a result of you breaking up. Giving some thought to the above at this early stage can avoid problems in the future. When purchasing your property your Conveyancer can draft a legal document called a Declaration of Trust to give you piece of mind, then if there is a dispute in the future and emotions are running high, what will happen with the property and the equity in it, is clearly set out.

Get in touch – we’re happy to help

For more information about the Conveyancing process and protection for your money through a declaration of trust, simply call one of our specialist team on 01623 45 11 11. For other helpful information visit our website. 

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Beginners Guides, Case Tracker, Change solicitor, Contract, conveyancer, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, DIY Conveyancing, Do your own conveyancing, First Time Buyers, Property, Property Market, property owner, Property Report, property searches, Quicker conveyancing, sale, searches, signing contracts    No Comments

House with key icon

So, your Conveyancer keeps twittering on about ‘exchanging’ and ‘completing’ but, what is exchange? What happens on completion?  Let’s face it all you want to know is when you get your keys right?  So what are we actually talking about?

Exchange

When your Conveyancer talks about exchange they are referring to the legal ‘exchange of contracts’. In simple terms this procedure legally secures the purchase or sale. It is called an exchange because each Conveyancer has one signed copy of the contract which they exchange with each other. Both Conveyancers agree to the terms in the contract verbally over the phone and confirm the date of legal completion. Your Conveyancer is legally obliged to send to the sellers Conveyancer your 10% deposit at this stage, although in practice this rarely happens and is just held by your Conveyancers on a promise it will be sent with the rest of the purchase monies on completion. Your Conveyancer may call you to get your verbal authority to exchange for you on the day and afterwards you will need to make sure that your buildings insurance for your new property is in place from the date you move in. Make sure that you are absolutely sure before you exchange contracts as if you fail to ‘complete’ after you have exchanged contracts you will lose your 10% deposit.

Completion

This is the day you have been waiting for. It’s the day you get your keys. On the day of completion (or generally the day before) your Conveyancer will have received the money from your lender if you are having a mortgage and will send this money plus any other money due from you to your seller’s Conveyancers by way of a telegraphic bank transfer. This transfer can take anything from a few minutes to a few hours to reach the seller’s Conveyancers bank account. Once they have received the money then completion is deemed to have taken place and usually keys can be released to you at your estate agent, or from the seller directly, soon after. However the contract will often state that the sellers can take until 2pm to move out and arrange for a key hand over if they need more time.

The final part…

While you’re unpacking we carry on working on your file and will pay stamp duty and then apply to the Land Registry to transfer the property in your name. It might be a few weeks until you hear from us again when we send you the deeds to your new home.

Need help with your conveyancing?

If you would like a conveyancing quote, more information or to see our frequently asked questions then please visit our website or call 01623 45 11 11 and speak to one of our experienced team.

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Beginners Guides, Case Tracker, Contract, conveyancer, Conveyancing, Conveyancing Quote, DIY Conveyancing, Do your own conveyancing, drainage search, environmental search, First Time Buyers, full structural survey, Property Market, property searches, Quicker conveyancing    No Comments

Clip Board

Solicitors like Latin. Conveyancing Solicitors like one Latin phrase in particular, CAVEAT EMPTORThis means “Let the Buyer Beware!”

In English Law it is the responsibility of a purchaser to ascertain whether the property is structurally sound, whether there are any physical defects and also whether there are any legal issues. This means your seller is not necessarily legally obligated to reveal defects in the property.

Searches on the property you are buying

Searches are investigations that your Conveyancer carries out as part of their Conveyancing work.  They send a standard list of questions to certain authorities in order to obtain information about the property. The searches most commonly undertaken are:

Local Authority Search which gives information such as whether there have been any planning applications or building regulations applied for the property.  This can indicate whether the works done to the property were undertaken in accordance with statutory regulation.

A Water & Drainage Search shows whether the property is connected to proper drainage and a water supply.

Environmental Reports indicate whether the property is at risk of contamination, flooding, subsidence and other environmental factors.

A Mining Search may be required depending on the property’s location. You may need to have a coal, tin or some other kind of mining report undertaken to check that the property has not been adversely affected by past mining activities.

Surveys

A Survey must be carried out by a surveyor.  It is not generally a legal requirement but is very much recommended.  A surveyor can check that the property is structurally sound, whether there are any defects and even give your Conveyancer some hints as to whether they need to look into a legal matter further. A surveyor will visit the property and see it physically, in person. Remember although a Survey is not a legal requirement, because of the Buyer Beware rule if you find something wrong with the property after completion, you’re stuck with fixing it yourself.

At Fidler & Pepper Solicitors we have our own search company so we can run the searches quickly alongside our conveyancing which makes the process much easier.

Get in touch – we can help or provide you with a quote

Take a look at our website if you would like a conveyancing quote, need more information or want to see our  frequently asked questions. If you would like to speak to one of our experienced team please call 01623 45 11 11.

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