First-time buyers: Cooke Painter offers legal support to first-time buyers as numbers hit all-time high.
For the first time in over a decade, 2017 hit record high numbers of first-time buyers, according to figures released by UK Finance, the trade body for Britain’s banks.
According to the official figures, a total of 365,000 buyers, an annual increase of 7.4%, took ownership of their first home in 2017. Property experts say that schemes such as the governments ‘help-to-buy’, lower deposits and cheaper mortgage deals have all contributed to this trend. The data also showed signs of a less buoyant ‘buy-to-let’ market, which continues to be impacted by tax and regulatory changes.
More good news for homebuyers came in January with data from the Halifax, showing a ‘swift deceleration in price growth’. The firm reported that house price inflation had moderated to 2.2% after price falls in early 2018.
With the current year showing positive signs of being a good time to get on the property ladder, Wajid Darr, Cooke Painters conveyancing expert, offers his guidance to property buyers on taking care of the legal side to moving home. This simple guide explains what you should expect from your lawyer and what part you, as the buyer, will play in the conveyancing process:
The buyer is responsible for communicating any key details or concerns to be checked out.
Help your legal professional to understand and identify any issues. Communicate clearly if you have any concerns or worries about the new property so that your lawyer can ensure the proper checks are made. For example, if you plan to run a business from your new garage or love the outlook from the field next door, make sure you mention this to your legal professional so that they can check any planning requirement or restrictions.
The role of your lawyer in the conveyancing process.
A lawyer’s role is to look into the legal aspect of the purchase and be the conduit between you, your estate agent and any building society, bank or mortgage provider. This would include planning permissions, issues being investigated, checking entitlement for the sale, boundary responsibilities as well as financial obligations and buyers rights to property usage. They will not be able to help with any building, structural or working orders and you will need a surveyor to report on these issues. They can, however, advise on the feasibility of future building projects by reviewing any legal restrictions that may apply.
Cover all the bases.
A reputable conveyancing professional will explain the part they play in the process from the outset, in plain language, answering any queries or concerns that you may have. Make sure that you ask any and all questions as early as possible. Once contracts are exchanged, it is generally too late to do anything about issues raised as you will be legally committed to the purchase as the buyer of that property.
What should you be doing to protect yourself?
Technical checks and surveys should be left to professionals such as solicitors and surveyors, however, this is your new property and there are steps that you can take to feel secure in your property purchase decision. Visit the house a few times to look for practical issues that you can highlight to your appointed professionals; look out for shared right of way, problems with walls, roofs or windows etc. Remember your solicitor will not visit the house so they won’t be aware of things like bus stops outside or overhead power lines unless you tell them. Going back to the property or street on different times and different days could help to provide an alternative aspect on what living in the area would be like. Your lawyer will usually send you a ‘title plan’ showing the boundary for the property in red. It’s a good idea to take the plan along with you to the property and make sure that the shape on the plan is in accordance with the physical situation on site.
Arranging payments and fees.
Most lawyers these days are upfront with their fees and payment process. Discussing your funding arrangements with your solicitor from the outset will help to alleviate any issues that may occur later on. You will both be clear on any expectations around the amounts to pay and how these funds will be transferred to your lawyer.
At Cooke Painter, we undertake all types of property transactions, from the purchase of a house or flat for a first-time buyer, to complex commercial property transactions. Find out more about our conveyancing services.
Our conveyancing experts will guide you through the process and explain all the costs in full, including disbursements, which is any money we pay on your behalf to a third party, and agents fees where applicable. Our team will ensure that you understand from the start all the steps and fees involved so that there are no sudden surprises. We offer fixed fee work in the majority of straightforward conveyancing transactions, please use the contact us form to ask for a free estimate.