The survey revealed that no planning consent was obtained for an extension: What are the issues I’ll face?
The chartered surveyor inspecting the property will check any extensions or works that have occurred and highlight any concerns for the attention of your conveyancing solicitor, who will make enquiries with the local authority to establish whether the consents and building regulations are in place.
If the building regulations agreement is not in place, the vendor is not legally allowed to sell the property until they are, since the title deeds cannot be transferred to your ownership. If building requiring planning consent is present at the property but without proof of consent approval, the local authority might be willing to accept a retrospective approval, although this could take a long time, and, even then, they may instruct you, as the new owner, to return the building to its former state, which could be very costly.
Your solicitor will be able to advise you on the most appropriate course of action to take, including whether the retrospective planning or the reversal of building works can be renegotiated from the agreed sale price.
Can I withdraw my offer on a property at any time?
When you make an offer on a house that has been accepted by the vendor, you can ask them to take it off the market as part of the acceptance. If you are selling, you can show your intent by agreeing to remove it from other potential buyers’ interest.
As a buyer, you can withdraw your offer at any time (and, as a seller, you can reject an offer at any time) up to the exchange of contracts, which means you are now legally committed to go through with the transaction at the agreed price. You should check your contract with both the estate agent and your conveyancing solicitor as there may be fees and other penalties associated with pulling out of the transaction after the offer was initially agreed.
If you decide to withdraw from the contract after exchange, then you are in breach. This means, if you’re the buyer, the seller is entitled to keep whatever agreed sum has been set for the deposit, and could claim damages; as the seller, you will be liable to pay interest accrued during the Notice to Complete period as well as the deposit, and the potential for claiming losses, and the buyer has to return everything about the property at the seller’s expense.
Do I have to be present at viewings?
No, you don’t. It used to be the case that estate agencies were happy to leave the homeowner to show prospective buyers around. However, this has now been dispensed with because they won’t necessarily have the property skills and experience of dealing with and selling to a buyer. Therefore, the preference is usually that you should not be present in the home at all, although this can obviously be difficult with infirmity, working from home, and childcare.
The best option is to discuss this with the estate agent when you appoint them, so that you are aware of their expectations for each viewing, and they will be able to work around you if you have to be present in the home. Whether you are present or not, you should still take care not to be too messy and tidy up as much as possible prior to the viewing appointment, so that good impressions are maintained.
Our fixed fees and the 'No Completion, No Fee' guarantee alongside our results-focused solicitors mean that Homeward Legal is your best choice for the conveyancing. Find out more on 0800 038 6699.
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.
What do I do if new and severe damage is found after moving in?
You should reasonably expect the home into which you’re moving to be cleared, clean and without additional damage. Of course, things can happen as removals can chip plaster, scratch or tear wallpaper, etc., but if there is significant damage that was not present before, it would be advisable to talk to your solicitor to see if there is any recourse for you on your seller.
You may also like to think about writing a clause into the contract that money will only be released after a cursory inspection of the premises to confirm that you are happy. This needs to be agreed with the seller’s solicitor, but the expectation is already raised. Beware that, in the chaos of the moving day, you can’t afford to delay things too much, so it’s a fine balance.
Which factors assist with getting fast legal work?
As is often argued, a fast conveyancing transaction is key is to employing a proactive, diligent solicitor. There are several tasks you, as the purchaser, can also do to get moving sooner, including, requesting status updates from the solicitor regularly, answering any queries raised by your solicitor as soon as possible and clarifying your mortgage lender's requirements.
Flood risk searches are calculated from archived records and when you factor in recent flooding for example the fact that 2012 was second wettest year since records began, are they still appropriate to determine sufficient information about the Northfleet flood risk?
Property environmental searches carried out by a property solicitor in Northfleet should include a more informative Landmark flood search if the risk warrants it.
If you remain still worried you could contact a close neighbour.