Expert View: Hints and tips to follow when buying and selling property

Kirstie Tompkins, HRJ Foreman Laws

Kirstie Tompkins, HRJ Foreman Laws - Credit: Archant

Kirstie Tompkins, a trainee licensed conveyancer at HRJ Foreman Laws solicitors, provides some expert tips to help you buy and sell

First time buyers

It can be daunting. What should you be doing? When should you be doing it? Your solicitor will guide you through each step and there is no such thing as a silly question, or too many questions.

Research the ‘Help to buy ISA’. The government will contribute £50 for every £200 you save, up to a maximum of £3,000 per person. Tell your solicitor if you have saved this way. A survey is also recommended. Whether you choose a full survey or a Home Buyers Report, it is a worthwhile investment that could save you thousands further down the line.

Property transaction chains

A property chain usually consists of a number of buyers and sellers, all dependent on the other. Your solicitor will be working with other party’s solicitors to co-ordinate the process. However, they won’t have contact with all the other parties in the chain; therefore open communication is essential, so it travels throughout the chain. Let your solicitor know about key dates that will impact your completion, for example, rental notice periods, holidays or personal circumstances.

Prepare for a minimum 8-12 week process to allow for; surveys to be completed, finances to be confirmed, documents checked and any hiccups ironed out before completion.

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Choosing the correct solicitor

Moving house is costly, so you want to save money wherever you can. Just be aware of so called ‘cheap conveyancing’ deals. Often there are hidden or add-on costs that aren’t clear from the outset. A qualified conveyancer will provide you with an upfront quotation, without any surprises, and have the experience to deal with any eventuality. Many towns, such as Welwyn Garden City or Letchworth Garden City have unique processes, so you should instruct a local and knowledgeable high street solicitor that has experience in your area. They will also have working relationships with other professionals involved in your transaction.

Unregistered land

If you’ve lived in your property prior to 1990, it may not be registered at the Land Registry and won’t have computerised title deeds. This may be off-putting to potential buyers. Registration is recommended. A solicitor will be able to guide you through the process. The Land Registry also offer a reduced fee on voluntary registrations.

House held on long lease

Some landlords, often local authorities, will offer residents the opportunity to purchase the freehold on their property. They will write to you with an offer. Such offers are worth considering and an experienced solicitor will be able to advise you. You will negate the need for future payment of ground rent, dispense with any leasehold constrictions and remove doubts for any future buyers reluctant to sign up to a leasehold scenario. Tel: 01462 458711.