Ditch the stress when moving home

With spring the most popular time of year for buying and selling property, Anne Austin, a solicitor at David Gray Solicitors LLP, provides her top tips for making the process run as smoothly as possible

Spring is on its way and, hopefully, higher temperatures for us all. It’s also the perfect time to sell or purchase property. The Government National Statistics Release on UK Property Transactions in February 2018 showed that the highest number of residential property completions take place in August to November. And with transactions taking on average eight to 12 weeks to complete, these figures would seem to reinforce the notion that Easter is the optimum time to begin your property search or to put your property on the market.

Any property sale or purchase has the potential to cause a huge amount of anxiety for all involved. It can be described as one of the most stressful life changes you can make. To help guide you, here are our top tips which should help to make the whole sale/purchase process run as smoothly as possible.

Think about the property

Ask yourself, does the size of the property you’re viewing meet your current needs and anticipated future needs? Does the property need renovating and, if so, can you take on this project?

If it is a leasehold property, what is the term left on the lease? Will this need to be extended prior to completion or shortly after? This can be a costly and time consuming exercise and should not be ignored by any seller or buyer.

Research the local area

With new build developments on the rise, it is always worth checking whether the beautiful field next to the property will shortly become a building site. Are there any planning restrictions in the area? What schools are in the catchment area? Ask your seller about the neighbours. What are the facilities like in the local area?

Be mindful of the associated costs

Estate agent’s fees or an early repayment charge on your mortgage can be high. As can removal costs and penalties for ending energy or entertainment (cable or broadband) contracts early.

Seek clear advice from a solicitor as to the impact of the revised Stamp Duty Land Tax rules. The first time buyer relief only applies in certain circumstances, and the hefty surcharge for additional properties can often impact unsuspecting buyers.

Put the right finance in place

It is advisable to use the services of a recommended independent mortgage advisor, who will be able to give you all-round information about mortgage products available to you.

Choose the right solicitor

Don’t assume that the lowest fee quote will mean that the job will get done properly or quickly. Your legal advisor needs to understand what you expect. The breakdown of solicitor and client relations in property transactions is often down to a lack of communication.

Would you prefer email updates at work or a quick phone call on the way home? Is it more feasible for a family member to be kept updated? Are you happy to deal with a conveyancing team or would you prefer one point of contact throughout your case?

Legal problems may only arise several years later when you attempt to sell your property. Each legal title for a property is different. Is it a leasehold title? Are there covenants on the title you need to know about? These may affect your plans for the property, and it is important your solicitor is aware of these issues.

Do you need to update or make a new will? If you are purchasing the property with your partner, do you need a Deed of Trust to protect your shares in the property? These are issues your solicitor can advise you on.

There is a lot to think about when buying or selling a property and it is important you obtain the correct and relevant advice from professionals. You need to feel confident that on the completion day you have made the right decision and all the legalities are in place.

David Gray Solicitors LLP
www.davidgray.co.uk
@DavidGrayLLP

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