Ackroyd Legal

By Carlin Peton

1. Finding your dream home

It is always recommended to view the property you have your heart set on a second or even third time as you may notice things you didn’t quite catch the first time around. It might be worth having a friend accompany you to get a second and unbiased opinion on the property. Once you have made an offer on the property, it would be beneficial to get an independent survey performed. Once this is completed, everything about the property will be much clearer to you and you will have a better understanding of any hidden problems that the property may have such as:

  • Is there damp or mould?
  • Is all the plumbing working?
  • How old is the house?
  • Is the property structurally sound?
  • Are the windows in good condition, does it have double glazing?
  • Are there electrical points and are they working properly?

2. Selling your home

The first obstacle to overcome is finding a suitor to purchase your property so you can move into your dream home. Your estate agent could be doing everything in their power to get as many people to come and view your house as possible, but if you don’t ensure that your property is looking spick and span from top to bottom, that dream house may stay just a dream for longer than you would want.

Potential homebuyers tend to judge a property most on the kitchen and bathroom. Ensuring that these rooms are looking their absolute best will help you to secure that sale in no time. You don’t need to have any drastic work done, just a simple clean up, some fresh fragrance and maybe some flowers can go a long way. Your front garden is the first thing potential homebuyers will see. It is essentially your shop window, so make it is very clean, grass trimmed, and inviting.

3. Understanding terminology

When moving home, you will converse a lot with estate agents, solicitors, surveyors, etc and when they talk it can sound like they are using a lot of jargon. It is worth brushing up on the terminology they use to make it easier for yourself to understand them.

  • “Disbursements” – These are essentially extra, non-negotiable fees on top of what you pay your solicitor. Examples of disbursements are Stamp Duty, Land Registry and Search Fees.
  • “Part Buy, Part Rent” – As part of the governments Help to Buy scheme, it is now possible to only buy half of the value of the property. You will still require a deposit and mortgage approval to do this. The remaining half of the property is owned by the current landlord or owner. You are then expected to pay an agreed rental amount to the landlord, as you would if you were normally renting a property.
  • “Offers in the region of” – This term is used when describing the asking price for a property. It can be challenging to know how high or low to make an offer. Seek advice from your estate agent or solicitor as they know better than anyone else.
  • “Freehold” – This refers to when the property you are purchasing includes the ownership of the land is it built upon. This is common practice with residential property as they are normally sold on a freehold basis.
  • “Leasehold” – This refers to when the property you are purchasing does not include ownership of the land. You are normally required to pay ground-rent to the landlord in these cases.

4. Secure The Right Conveyancing Solicitor

It is all too easy to pick an estate agent and any solicitor and have all the hard work done for you, without you actually having to put much thought into the legal process. While this is partly true, it is important to secure the right conveyancing solicitor who will provide you the best service. Do your research before you pick one and ensure that they can provide the following:

  • Communication: You are able to contact your solicitor over the phone, by email or by post and they have a client services team that can assist you shall you not be able to reach your solicitor.
  • Transparent fees: All too often are there hidden fees when it comes to property transactions. Ensure that your solicitor is going to be transparent with you at all times regarding the costs of things such as search fees.
  • Bonus services: Choose a solicitor that adds incentives, such as sourcing removal firms, sourcing surveyors, sourcing mortgages, update wills with new property details, etc.
  • Highly rated: Ensure that you choose a solicitor that highly rated by other people, reviews from clients is a sure way of finding the best of the best.

5. Get clued up on the legal process

Moving home can be daunting. A lot of issues can arise when there is miscommunication between you, your buyer/seller, solicitor and your buyer/seller’s solicitor. It is in your best interest to be clued up about what legal documents and procedures take place during the conveyancing process.

6. Informing your suppliers

It is important to inform all of your contractors and suppliers that you are moving home. Your gas, water and electric suppliers will need to know as soon as you are moving so they can determine what the procedure is for them.

7. Communicate

Your solicitors are working tirelessly to get your house sale completed and at times they may need to contact you to confirm agreements with the buyers of your property. The last thing they need is for you to have jetted off on holiday or decided to turn your phone off for a week. Try to respond to any phone calls, voicemails, emails as soon as you can as this will ensure the process runs smoothly, avoiding any delays. If you don’t understand something make sure to raise a query as issues can easily arise when important information is missed or not communicated properly.