Residential Property: Buying a Property

Buying a house will probably the biggest and most important investment of your life. The journey from having your offer accepted, through exchange to the day you get to put the kettle on can be can be full of twists & turns. It is important that you choose the right solicitor.

We at Courmacs are here to make life easier for you by guiding you through every step of the transaction keeping you informed and be on hand to answer any questions that you may have.

We will review the contract package prepared by the Seller’s Solicitor carefully and tell you everything you need to know about the property. We can do this at your convenience, whether that means you want to pop in to one of our offices or you would prefer to speak to us on the phone. We will conduct property searches and advise you of the important details and if you need a mortgage we will review the offer. We can give you legal guidance regarding any survey you have had done. We may have to ask the Seller’s Solicitors questions to give you more information so that you can decide if the property is right for you.

If you are also selling we will make sure that both your sale and purchase Complete on the same day and liaise with both sets of solicitors and agents to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Even when your journey is at an end we will still be working for you to ensure the property is registered in your name. We will keep you informed of the progress of your purchase every step of the way and will be on hand to answer any of your questions and give you the best legal advice.  

Call our conveyancing team on 0161 749 9606 to see how we can help.

Guide:Pitfalls of Buying Leasehold

So what’s the difference between Freehold and Leasehold? Sometimes there is not a big difference, if for example you are buying house with a lease that is 999 years old, you are almost buying a Freehold property. But if you are buying a property with a short lease, for example 99 years or 125 years there can be a big difference. First of all, the length of the transaction will likely go from 4 to 6 weeks to 8 to 12 weeks, this is because there are more papers to consider, and more third parties to deal with such as the Landlord or a Managing Agent. If you are planning a quick purchase it may be best to avoid a leasehold flat. There are more costs. Legal Fees for most, if not all solicitors are more for leasehold properties due to the increased legal work. We will charge an additional £100 plus VAT. There will also be more costs due on Completion. The Landlord will want a notice of assignment (a piece of paper telling them the owner has changed), in order to process this the landlord can charge anything from £50 to £150. The landlord could also want a notice of charge (for the mortgage) and a Deed of Covenant Fee. There are restrictions. You will not be able to alter the property with the Landlord written prior consent. You may not be able to bring your pet cat along. You may not be able to sell the property without the Landlord’s Consent. The Landlord may from time to time undertake to do a major renovation. The cost of covering these works can sometimes be taken from a reserve fund, but if not the Landlord can ask each leaseholder to make a proportionate contribution, if the works are substantial there could be a big invoice coming your way in the future. When the lease gets to 85 years remaining, it becomes ever more expensive to extend the lease. You may think that you do not need to extend the lease as you plan of living there for the rest of your life, but if you do come to sell you will probably find it difficult to find a buyer who wants a short lease. Extending the lease can be a tricky and expensive process and you should always seek legal advice before you decide to try to extend your lease. Finally, when you come to sell the property, you will have to pay the Landlord for a legal pack to be given to the Buyer’s Solicitor, this could be anywhere in the region of £200 to £500. You may also have to retain money on account if the accounts have not been produced. It is always a sensible idea to be prepared before you embark on buying Leasehold property, we can guide you through the process from start to finish and ensure that you are best placed to make the best decisions.

Guide: Declaration of Trust

When two or more people purchase a property it can either be held as joint tenants, so that if either person dies their share will be vested in the other person automatically or tenants in common. When the property is held as tenants in common and a person dies their share is passed down to beneficiaries of a valid will or it follows the Rules of Intestacy and shares can either be equal or unequal. If the property is sold there is a presumption that the shares are equal. If the shares are unequal this could be problematic for the person with the greater share as they may lose some of their money that they invested when they purchased if the property is sold. Even if the shares are noted on the Transfer, the Land Registry does not normally retain the Transfer. The best way to protect your shares in a property is by entering in to a Declaration of Trust. This is a document that we can draft on your behalf from your instructions, and it is executed before exchange of contracts. On Completion you are sent a Certified Copy of the Trust and we will lodge a restriction on the Title Documentation so that the property cannot be sold without compliance with the terms of the Declaration of Trust. We know that people purchase property as tenants in common they do so with the best intentions, and we hope that when the property is sold there are no issues with regards to the shares, however we strongly advise that it is best to be safe than sorry and the creation of a Declaration of Trust will ensure that even if things are not amicable at the time of sale, the intentions of all the parties at the time of the purchase of respected. Let us know if you think a Declaration of Trust is right for you.
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