My agent has offered a property solicitor whom they usually use. Is it risky to instruct this firm?
Estate agent recommendations are a common path for purchasers to get a solicitor. However, if the agent is paid a fee by the solicitor, it may be the case that the agent recommends whichever firm pays the most per referral, not the most appropriate choice.
Is the buyer or seller responsible for the searches?>
It is you, as the buyer, who is responsible for checking that all is well with the property you are buying. This is why your conveyancing solicitor will order a set of standard searches (Local Authority, Water and Drainage, Environmental, and Chancel Repair – these are also the searches requited by your mortgage lender), plus additional searches dependent on the property, recommendations from the surveyor in the survey report, and the location and history of the area.
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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.
What specific things do I need to look out for if I’m buying a house on the coast?
With worsening weather and floods now becoming increasingly commonplace, with the media remarking on it in depth, buying a property that has a likelihood of flooding is a difficult decision to make. Not only is there the issue of cleaning up if it does flood, but insurance premiums will be much higher (and perhaps even prohibitive).
For homes in coastal areas, there is also the problem of coastal erosion, where some properties have been seen to literally fall into the sea.
However, the good news is that picking a home in a coastal region doesn’t automatically mean that it’s going to be subject to flooding or that it’s eventually going to slip into the sea. The searches ordered by your conveyancing solicitor will identify the level of risk associated with the property and, based on this, your solicitor may recommend that you take out specialist reports (e.g. from Landmark or other organisations) to get a more in-depth description of the risks and options. These are in addition to the standard set and will be charged to you as a disbursement at cost.
Your surveyor will also be able to identify evidence of previous floods and other problems during their inspection and provide advice in their report. If the problems are considered sufficiently severe, the surveyor may also note the specifics for further investigation by your conveyancing solicitor.
Is it advisable that we get a chancel search if you are purchasing near a rectory in Westerham?
Potentially amounting to over £100,000 in repair cost obligations, chancel liability should be considered by buyers of Westerham property likely to be affected. Terms used in a property's name, like 'priory', may indicate chancel liability. A conveyancing lawyer will be able to advise further. Westerham church properties include St Mary the Virgin.
Can I agree a sale price without involving an estate agent or solicitor?
This depends on whether you have signed up with an estate agent and what agreement is already in place. While it might seem unfair if you’ve found a buyer outside of the estate agency process and you’re expected to still pay the agent their fees on sale, you should be very careful about stepping outside the agreed terms and conditions since this is legally binding and you may face penalties as a result. Therefore, if you want to follow this course, it’s worth checking the details with a solicitor to ensure you’re following the letter of the law.
If you’re not with an agent, you can publicise your house details with a number of publications and online sites (some are free, others require a fee), but you’ll need to do all the legwork and administration. For a legal standpoint, you don’t need to appoint a solicitor to perform the conveyancing, but it would be an unwise option to pursue as you will probably have neither the training or experience in some its complexities, and you won’t have the protective indemnity insurance in the event of a problem arising with your work.
As a result of the fact that an estimated 2 8m people are at risk from surface flooding we are anxious that conveyancing searches may not be sufficient?
A qualified conveyancing solicitor in Westerham will recommend that you also get flood risk searches if the environmental search establishes a significant risk Westerham flood risk.
You could also speak to a future neighbour for that more comfort or regional Kent flooding repair expert such as: A & F George Ltd, Rosemead Cottage Berrys Green Road, Westerham, TN16 3AJ Tel: 01959 575096.
Who do I give the appliance warranties to if they are being left at the property I’m selling?
If you are leaving what is generally termed ‘white goods’ at the property you are selling, which are still in warranty, the documentation should be given to your solicitor so that any warranties can be given to the buyer’s solicitor as part of the contract.
Note that, should you be leaving any electrical (or other) items at the property, this should be made clear on the Fixtures and Fittings Form (TA10) and agreed as early as possible between you and the buyers, particularly if you want financial recompense in so doing.