Archive for the ‘Property’ Category

Buying A Property In The UK

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Buying a property in the UK can be a complex and lengthy process, however, with the right legal advice from Bloomsbury law, our specialist lawyers and trained team members will ensure that the conveyancing process is as straightforward and time-efficient as possible.

Below we explain the basics of a legal process of purchasing the property

(1) After selecting a suitable investment or residential property, it has to be decided whether the property will be registered as single or joint ownership. In the UK, there exists a regulatory requirement of providing ID’s and declaring a source of funding, before any negotiations take place.

(2) Finding a mortgage: when it comes to finding a mortgage there are several options: mortgage brokers, individual banks or searching online.

(3) Once you’ve found the property, you will need to make an offer for it. Usually this will be done through the estate agent. You can do this without already having an agreement in principle in place but having one means the offer is more likely to be accepted and everything going through smoothly. If the seller agrees to the offer then the buying process can go ahead. It’s worth noting that you won’t be obliged to go through with the deal if there’s a problem with the survey or contract.

(4) Once you agree with the purchase you normally have to pay 10% of the property value into the law firm’s Client Account and then the solicitors for the seller and the buyer proceed with the exchange of Contracts, completion of purchase and registration of the property under new proprietor’s name at the UK Land Registry. Most conveyancing processes have a timescale of four to six weeks.

(5) Arrange a survey: A survey assesses the property for any potential problems with the property as this may affect the final price. Your lender will also insist on getting the property valued to check that it’s worth the asking price. There are three types of survey you can chose from:

  • Condition report. The cheapest and most basic survey, it tends to be used on conventional homes or new builds. It doesn’t include a valuation or investigate possible future repairs.
  • Homebuyer report. More expensive and thorough, this examines both the inside and outside of the property and includes additional valuation.
  • Building or structural survey. The most comprehensive option, this is more suited to older or unusual properties like converted barns.

(6) If your solicitor and surveyor are satisfied with all conditions, now is the time to sign the contract and exchange with the seller. At this stage you have to pay a deposit; usually 10% of the total price. Once this happens the buyer and seller are committed to the sale. Pulling out of the deal means you’re likely to lose your deposit.

7) Completion: This is where the property actually becomes yours. Recommended time between exchange and completion is around two weeks, however in some instances it is possible to exchange and complete on the same day. When you get your keys and deeds, you have to pay the following:

  • The remaining cost of the property (usually 90%). This is transferred from your mortgage lender to your legal representative and then to the seller’s representative.
  • Your solicitor or conveyancer’s fees.
  • Stamp duty (a government tax). The payments will be arranged by your solicitor or conveyancer. UK stamp duty is explained below.
  • Any removal costs.

Stamp Duty

The Government changed the rate of stamp duty at the end of 2014.  The flat rate scheme based on house price is no longer applicable. Now stamp duty is charged at different rates depending on how much of the purchase price fits into each price band as explained below:

  • Nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price.
  • Then 2% on anything over £125,000
  • 5 % on anything over £675,000
  • 10% on anything over £575,000
  • 12% on the rest

Buy-to-let landlords were hit with new costs as a controversial extra 3 per cent stamp duty charge was introduced and from April 2106 anyone purchasing an additional property must pay an extra 3 % stamp duty.

How To Choose The Right Property Solicitor →

We have a dedicated property team with extensive experience in property law to help guide you through the process. Call one of our dedicated property solicitors now on 0207 998 7777.

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Choosing The Right Property Solicitor

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

It is always important to instruct a qualified property solicitor instead of managing the conveyancing process yourself. Conveyancing is a branch of law that deals with the preparation of legal documents for a sale or purchase of a property, also known as the ‘conveyance’. Some people try to avoid instructing a property solicitor or licensed conveyancer in order to save money, but many people are not aware of the high risks involved. For example, if you go through the process incorrectly, the seller or buyer’s solicitor could take advantage of your inexperience. This may result in you being sued and you having to spend far more in legal fees than you would have done if you originally chose a solicitor. Here at Bloomsbury Law, we have a dedicated property team with extensive experience in property law to help guide you through the process. Call one of our dedicated property solicitors now on 0207 998 7777.

When choosing a property solicitor, you should always think about the type of conveyancing service you require. Legal services are now online and they can offer you great flexibility when comparing quotes and services. When obtaining a quote, you should always be aware of possible disbursements and VAT. Unfortunately, some transactions can fall through for a number of reasons. You should always check with your property solicitor how much you may need to pay if the move or sale does not go ahead.

What to expect from a property solicitor

A property solicitor will be able to handle all the legal aspects of buying and selling a property. They should keep you regularly updated throughout the process, whilst providing legal advice and support throughout. They are at the heart of every residential transaction, so it is always important that you choose wisely.

A property solicitor should generally be able to:

  • Conduct local searches
  • Manage Stamp Duty charges
  • Assess and draw up contracts
  • Provide legal advice
  • Provide recommendations
  • Deal with the Land Registry

Fees and Service

Don’t always choose the cheapest solicitor. This could mean that they are dealing with a high number of transactions and that they cannot provide full attention to your work. Paying a little extra for a more experienced solicitor is always the right choice when dealing with a stressful situation such as selling or buying a property. You should always make sure that the solicitor takes time to explain everything in detail to you.

Some property solicitors charge a fixed fee, while others will charge you a percentage based on what the value of the house or flat is worth. In most cases, there will be additional costs or ‘disbursements’ for paperwork, VAT, postage costs and any complex issues that require any extra work.

After completion

In the final stage of the process, your solicitor should:

  • Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf
  • Send you a complete bill with disbursements
  • Send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender
  • Notify the freeholder if the property is a leasehold

We have a dedicated property team with extensive experience in property law to help guide you through the process. Call one of our dedicated property solicitors now on 0207 998 7777.

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