Clare Stanbury of Girlings Solicitors sets out the key considerations
There’s a lot to think about when buying a property, whether it’s the first home you’ve ever owned or the tenth time you’ve been through the process, but if you consider the following, then hopefully everything should run more smoothly:
Please bear in mind that there are additional costs beyond the actual purchase price of the property e.g. legal fees, mortgage costs, stamp duty land tax, service charge, rent, bills.
Make sure you have evidence of where the funds for the purchase are coming from. Do you require a mortgage? Are you using savings? Is a relative or friend helping you out? Your conveyancer will need to see original finance documents and identification as proof of funds, and getting this together early can save time and stress later on.
2. Tenure of property
Think about what you are looking for in a property.
With freehold, you will own the property outright and should have more freedom with what you can do to the property.
Leasehold (and shared ownership) can be more restrictive, but the landlord or management company is responsible for buildings insurance and maintenance.
If a management company is involved this is likely to increase costs and the length of time from when you instruct your conveyancer to the day you collect the keys, as it is an additional party to communicate with.
3. Deal breakers
Do you want to run a business or keep a pet? Do you have plans for a conservatory or extension?
Would not having these mean the purchase is over before it’s even started? If so, tell your conveyancer so they can prioritise this and investigate at the earliest opportunity, to avoid wasting money and time for everyone involved.
Consider having a survey carried out over the property, even if it’s new. There may be something about the property that a surveyor spots that you want to ask the seller questions about or have a specialist investigate further.
When do you need/want to move by? Are you relocating, going on holiday, or do you want to fit the move in around school breaks?
If you’re currently renting, can you afford an overlap of payments for your current and new property – and if so, for how long? What’s your notice period?
Tell your conveyancer so they can ensure the seller’s conveyancer is aware and everyone works towards the same goal. This should also flag up any problems early on.
6. Method of joint ownership
For two or more purchasers, consider how you wish to own the property. There are two options:
a) Joint tenants – you will not own specific shares and on the death of the first owner the property will automatically pass to the other, outside of any Will you may have drawn up
b) Tenants in common – you can specify fixed shares, not necessarily 50/50, and on the death of the first owner their share will be dealt with in accordance with their Will or the intestacy rules (if they don’t have a Will)
Your conveyancer needs to know this so they can complete the transfer form according to your wishes.
Thinking things through and being clear on what you want will help you to help your conveyancer when purchasing a property.
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