What is stamp duty and land transaction tax?
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a proportion of the final sale price of a property payable to HMRC by the buyer. The current trigger threshold is for any property priced at £125,000 or over (unless you’re a first-time buyer, in which case you pay less or no tax for properties priced at less than £500,000). Your solicitor will handle the transfer of the tax as part of the final tasks on your conveyancing.
In Scotland, buyers have to pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and, in Wales, the Land Transaction Tax is triggered at properties priced over £180,000.
In all cases, the amount payable is based on a sliding scale as the price goes up as a proportion of that range added together than an overall flat tax amount or percentage. So, the higher the price goes up, the greater the amount of tax you have to pay.
If I want to build an extension or do other works once I move in, can I get a builder to visit to give me a quote?
There is nothing stopping you trying to organise this, so long as you set a date and time that’s acceptable to the vendor (or via their estate agent if they are unable to be there) and try to establish how long the process will take, so that this can be booked in.
This becomes particularly critical following a surveyor’s inspection where remedial works are identified and recommended. You can use the quote from the builder as a renegotiation tool on the asking price, if the work required is going to be particularly costly. If you decide to go down this route, it must be done before exchange of contracts (where you’re committing to the sale price) and you should inform your solicitor if you’ve had private discussions and agreements with the vendor over price for inclusion in the terms of the contract.
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.
Which individual search enquiries will the conveyancer in East Riding of Yorkshire get when buying a East Riding of Yorkshire flat?
The normal procedure will be to get Local Authority (personal or official), Drainage and Water Search (CON29DW or personal) and Environment Search and perhaps specific local East Riding of Yorkshire searches for example Chancel Check.
What are searches, and how do they differ from a survey?
Searches are a set of enquiries carried out by your surveyor to various authorities such as the local council, HM Land Registry, etc., and focuses on the impact of the local area on your potential enjoyment of living at the property, while a survey (a HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey) is focused on the structural integrity of the home and its permanent outbuildings and constructions.
While each may throw up similar issues (such as missing planning consents or boundary issues), they are very different and achieve very different purposes.
Our solicitors at Homeward Legal are willing and happy to explain anything you don't understand in the conveyancing, because you need to know what you're getting for our competitively-priced fixed fee. Call our team on 0800 038 6699.