What’s the difference between residential and commercial conveyancing?
In essence, there is very little difference between the tasks needed for residential conveyancing against commercial conveyancing. The real difference comes in the type of property and the purpose for which it is intended to be used.
The majority of residential transactions are freehold, whereas commercial transactions are almost exclusively leasehold, and commercial property conveyancing searches will tend to be more expensive because the structure and land will occupy a greater space on average than that for residential property.
How does a Help to Buy scheme work for me?
This government-sponsored scheme aims to assist homebuyers with three ways of purchasing a property:
- Help to Buy ISA - if you are a first-time buyer and don’t own any other property (anywhere in the world), and you don’t have another cash ISA opened in the same tax year, when you buy your first home, the solicitor will apply for the government bonus on your behalf when closure of your Home to Buy ISA used to buy the property is confirmed.
- Help to Buy: Equity Loan - if you have no other property and are buying a newly-built home, the government will provide 20% of the cost of the house (up to a maximum of £600,000), leaving you with the saved 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage to cover the remainder. This is open to current homeowners and first-time buyers, and the home cannot be sublet nor can it be used in a part-exchange deal.
- Help to Buy: Shared Ownership - if your household earns less than £80,000, you could be eligible for this scheme, which allows you to buy between 25% and 75% of the home’s value, while the government pays the remainder on which you would then pay rent.
(information retrieved from HM Government’s Help to Buy website on 16 April 2019).
Contact the Money Advice Service, the government’s Help to Buy website, or your local ‘Help to Buy’ agent for more information.
How much is stamp duty and land transaction tax?
The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is based on a trigger threshold of £125,000, followed by a calculation of increasing percentages against the price bands, which are then added together:
- Less than £125,000 = 0%
- £125,000-£250,000 = 2%
- £250,000-£925,000 = 5%
- £925,000-£1,500,000 = 10%
- More than £1,500,000 = 12%
For example, a house bought for £450,000 will trigger SDLT at £12,500 (£0 for the first £125,000, £2,500 for the next £125,000, and £10,000 for the next £150,000 as the price falls in the first three bands).
Which environmental factors can impact land in North Sheen. Are these checked for comprehensively?
A broad range of contaminants may reduce the value of land, and an environmental search will reveal the extent to which a specific property is impacted by local contaminants such as shallow mining or local historic industrial processes.
Could North Sheen topsoil be contaminated by caesium (Cs)?
Metal contamination may have occurred throughout North Sheen, but if significant harm could be caused to people or protected species by the contamination, it is likely to be labelled contaminated land. Data on many contaminants, such as water contaminants such as industrial chemicals and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), will be included in an environmental search.
Our estate agent in North Sheen has named the property lawyer. Must I instruct this firm?
It is not uncommon for agents to refer a solicitor, however, these referrals need to be considered carefully, as the agent may prefer to suggest the solicitor willing to pay the highest referral fee, not the most suitable for you.
Should I get my short lease extended before selling?
Buyers are becoming increasingly wary of buying leaseholds with less than 90 years to run because, first, the cost of increasing a leasehold is becoming far more expensive, and, second, mortgage companies are becoming increasingly reticent to lend money to buy leases that have dropped below the 80-year mark (indeed, this will be one of the criteria that they set to ensure their investment is protected).
As a result, buyers will often insist that the leasehold be extended back up to the 99-year or 125-year typical thresholds before going ahead and buying it. So, as the current leaseholder, you will almost certainly be expected to do the legal work required to extend the lease to a level that buyers will be happy with.