Do you recommend taking action to bypass paying SDLT?
SDLT is usually payable for home purchases priced at over one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds. We firmly advise against any stamp duty avoidance. Such schemes are often uneconomical and often likely to fail.
How much can fees for our searches come to?
The cost of conveyancing searches varies appreciably, and will be dependent on your lender's requirements. Searches are paid out to a 3rd party, and will not be included in a quote for solicitor's fees.
Why is it silly to buy a leasehold with less than 99 years to run?
In large part, if a leasehold drops below 90 years, it’s because mortgage companies will not be willing to lend money to purchase the leasehold. They will almost certainly have a stipulation on the length of the leasehold as part of their criteria for lending.
Most buyers are very aware of this and the trend is for an insistence of the sellers to provide an extension back up to the 99-year or 125-year thresholds before considering its purchase. Otherwise, even if you can finance it, eventually you’ll have to consider the legal cost of extending the lease yourself.
Can I change the purpose of use for a purchase as part of the conveyancing procedure?
Putting in a planning request to change the use of part or all of a property is a straightforward process and you can deal directly with the local authority, which authorises plans and requests. However, tying it in with a planned purchase of a property has its own problems, since you don’t yet formally own the property, and the length of time to get through the planning process (with no guarantee of success) will need to be factored into the purchase duration, which the seller may not agree to.
We would advise you to either buy the property and then put in the planning request after completion (or exchange at the very earliest), or buy a property that’s already fit for your purposes. Or you might be lucky to find a property that already has the relevant planning consents in place.
What do I get for my money from an estate agent?
A good estate agent will be able to bring their local knowledge into your transaction and reduce the amount of stress you might experience as part of the whole moving experience.
Although it might seem that agents do very little for their clients, they will help you set the sale price for your home by using their knowledge of similar properties, a large part will involve marketing your home by expressing it in its best light online and through fliers, phone calls and emails, etc., they will conduct viewings with ay interested potential buyers, manage the negotiations on the offers as they come in and, by law, they will also have to take all necessary steps to ensure the buyer is serious about entering into the contract to purchase the property when an offer is made.
However good you believe your chosen estate agent to be, you should take time to read through the terms and conditions thoroughly to understand what you’re paying them and what you’re going to get for your money.
How can I buy the freehold of the building in which I’m purchasing a flat?
When you buy a leasehold flat (usually for a lease lasting a long time), it means that you don’t own the building or the land on which it is built. If you want to buy the freehold of the building (either yourself or with other flat-owners), you’ll need to meet a few legal criteria before that can happen (such as the number of flats, the purpose to which the majority of the building is put to, and the number of flat-owners willing to by the freehold).
One additional point to note is that the shorter the lease on any flat, the greater the price of the freehold is likely to be.
You should talk to other residents about your plan as well as finding out how much the freehold will be and getting a professional valuation. Once you are in a position to move ahead, you’ll need to appoint a solicitor to manage the legal aspect of the planned purchase.
Homeward Legal's solicitors are well-versed in dealing with all types of freehold and leasehold purchases. So call us now on 0800 038 6699 and we'll guide you through the process and assign you to one of the best solicitors.