Is it easy to sell a house without using an estate agent?
It’s relatively straightforward to sell your own home without involving an estate agent, although you should be warned that it’s a time-consuming process (which is why agents set a certain fee to pay for their time in getting your home sold).
First you need to get a proper valuation of your home, which can be done by paying a chartered surveyor and registered valuer, or you can research the house prices in the area for similar properties to get an idea of how they are selling.
Once you are happy with the price, you can advertise the property (there are several free sites that allow you to do this). Legally, you’re required to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate for the property before putting it up for sale, so you’ll need to organize a registered energy assessor to create this for you. Then you can start arranging viewings and negotiate an agreed price with anyone who is interested.
We would recommend, however, that you sign up with an estate agent as they can do all the leg work for you. The key thing, though, is to understand their fees and rates before signing an agreement with them.
Fixtures and fittings include what exactly?
In general, fixtures are fixed items, such as light fixtures to walls, floors or ceilings and cannot be easily removed and fixtures are free-standing items, such as rugs. Completion or agreement of a fixtures and fittings form is unfortunately often left to the last minute, when a dispute may jeopordise the transaction, and this makes a fixtures and fittings form so necessary.
The home I’m buying has been empty for two years; what questions should I be asking the solicitor, the estate agent, and the surveyor?
If a home has been empty for a considerable period (such as the two years mentioned here), there’s usually a reason for it. There is estimated to be around a quarter of a million properties in the country that have been empty for more than 6 months.
The primary reason is that the owner hasn’t the funds to renovate the property, or they’ve started gutting the place and run out of money to take it further, or perhaps there’s been a significant problem (e.g. fire or flood are common instances). Most likely, these properties will come up at auction.
Your estate agent will be aware of its history if the property is on their books, so you can find out a lot from them, the council will have an empty property officer, and the Land Registry will have information on the deeds. As far as the solicitor is concerned, they will establish the position on the property as part of the conveyancing, while the surveyor will have experience of checking out such properties, with the advice that you order a Building Survey (the most detailed of the options) to check out its structural integrity. Note that mortgage lenders will be more reluctant to offer a loan on such homes.
Ultimately, the ball is in your court and, if you want to pursue buying such a property, you need to be prepared to do the research, which can take up a lot of time.
The moving process can be bewildering and stressful. Let Homeward Legal look after the legal side of things for you and we'll guide you through the process from start to end. Call 0800 038 6699 to find out more.
For a fast completion on the purchase of a £864,000 residence, what can we do to accelerate our transaction?
Essential to a faster move is to instruct a proactive and experienced lawyer. There are, in addition, a range of things you, as the purchaser, can also do to accelerate the legal work, such as, calling or emailing your lawyer, and chase them if you suspect any delays, promptly completing and return any forms and confirming your mortgage offer.
Will a property report prepared by the North Yorkshire conveyancer advise us on the rates of the council tax on a Band A building before exchange of contracts?
A conveyancer will speak to the council to discover the appropriate council tax charges which should be detailed in the conveyancer's title report. The latest tax charges for residents of North Yorkshire are detailed on the local authority site.
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.
Do we need to choose the firm of solicitors put forward by the agent?
Agent referrals are a common way for home buyers to find a solicitor. These referrals should be compared against alternatives, such as local solicitors, or firms found online, as it may be the case that the agent recommends the conveyancer who pays out the highest referral fee, not the most suitable for you.