Fighting For Our homes

A Buyer’s Step by Step Guide for DIY Conveyancing

Although it is always recommended to hire a professional conveyancer, you can do their job and be your own solicitor in the process of either buying or selling a home. The popularity of DIY conveyancing has since increased, as more people want to save on fees and learn the process on their own for future purposes.

Doing it yourself is okay if there are no issues with the property ownership and land title or if you don’t need to take out a mortgage. If you’re buying a freehold property, the DIY way is likely a fairly safe option. If you’re buying leasehold or shared ownership property, it’s better to hire a professional.

Anyway, below are conveyancing steps when you have finally decided to buy a freehold property in a one-off payment.

1. You contact the seller or their solicitor to make your interest in buying the property known. The sales agent will provide you their contact information.

2. The seller’s solicitor will send you a draft contract, which you need to read thoroughly prior to approval. Upon reading the contract, make sure you understand and agree with the terms and conditions. If you’re not sure, consult a lawyer or at least look up the legal terms. Sale of land and house is accompanied by standard legal conditions to protect the interests of both the seller and buyer.

3. They will also send you copies of other documents, like property plan and title. Look into the land registry title. Make sure it bears the seller’s exact name and address. Any slight discrepancy in these details should be brought to the awareness of the seller’s conveyance solicitor. They have to make a sound explanation. Examine all the documents. Know exactly what property you’re buying to avoid regrets.

4. Do local searches. Don’t rely on the documents sent by the seller. Do your own local authority and land registry searches to know the ownership status of the property and its physical attributes. Compare data with what was sent to you. Again, report any discrepancy to the seller. These searches are not free. There are fees to be paid to corresponding offices. Anyway, this step is vital to your own conveyancing, especially if you don’t want to be tricked by your seller. Licensed conveyancers carry them out to find if the land is currently occupied or is being leased out or whether it’s on mortgage.

5. Write a formal letter to the seller, detailing all your queries regarding the documents submitted to you. Then wait for the response to your enquiry letter. You may continue with the settlement if there is no outstanding issue or if all your questions and doubts are resolved.

6. Contract signing becomes the conclusion of all this tedious paperwork. Both you and the seller take part in signing of the contracts. You and the seller will exchange contracts. At the same time, you will have to put a deposit, which is a small part of the total cost of the property (usually 10%, but may be as much as 30%), to the escrow account of the seller’s solicitor.

7. From the date you exchanged contracts, you have 30 days to pay off the remainder amount. During this time, you may conduct an inspection of the property or order a full structural survey at your own expense. This is also the time for you to move out.

8. Upon completion, you must have paid the remaining balance, thereby sealing the contract. It’s a legal procedure that serves as a proof that sale of property has occurred and you’re the owner of the property now.

Downsides

If you’re doing this for the first time, cross your fingers and hope everything goes fine. While you may save on conveyancing fees and you may actually learn several things in the experience, the risks are especially intimidating for newbies. Keep in mind, you will be liable for any mistakes you make. Furthermore, some sellers will be unwilling to make transactions with you. Worse, the seller may take advantage of your naiveté.

7 tips for renting property

Renting is your best option in having a place to live in if you cannot afford to buy your own home yet. This also proves to be very beneficial if you’re work constantly require you to move and stay from one place to another for a period of time.

It also gives you limited liability in terms of sorting the maintenance and repair work needed to be done in the property.

But before you even finalise your decision to rent, here are 7 highly effective tips to make it less troublesome for you and help you make up your mind.

1. Find out how long you need to rent a property for.

Whether you need to rent because of work or something else, you need to know how long you’re going to need it for. Most tenancy agreements have a minimum period of six months but some landlords are amenable to a shorter lease term.

2. Work on your budget.

Whether the rent is inclusive of utility bills or not, determining a budget for it will help you narrow down your search.

3. Choose the area according to your need.

This is just like finding a house to buy. You need to know where you’re at and where you are going every day. Find out if you are near a great school if you have children or if the location is a convenient commute to and from work.

To help you locate the best property in an ideal location, try to search the Internet or ask your friends and relatives for an efficient letting agent. They can present great options for you while also informing you of the things you need to know in the process.

4. Learn more about the area where you are renting and the whole process.

First, you need to know if the property is legally-let. Have your letting agent confirm this. You also need to see if the area you’re moving into is safe and secure. You can’t risk being in an environment that is not safe and friendly. A good letting agent should be able to let you know of everything that affects your decision, including the laws that cover the renting process.

5. Inspect the property.

You wouldn’t want to go through any trouble if there are leaking taps, ceilings that drip, outlets that don’t work, or switches that are faulty. It is always an excellent idea to arrange a viewing of the property with your agent and would-be landlord to make sure that everything about the property is in place.

6. Make sure you understand what is stipulated in the rental agreement.

Shorthold Tenancy Contracts should generally include statements that cover your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. This should also comprehensive discuss your details and your landlord’s, the date of your contract, data protection, information about the safety of your deposit, your rent and when it is due, eviction or leaving notices, and insurance cover among others.

If there’s anything in the contract that you do not understand or you are not in agreement with, discuss this with the owner to make it clear.

7. Move out and move in with proper planning.

Write down the tasks that you have yet to accomplish at least a couple of weeks before moving in to your rented home. Packing usually takes longer than the rest of what you need to complete so make sure you do this ahead of time. List down all the important things that you need to bring in while determining what to do with those you’ll leave behind. Planning everything should at least get rid of the trouble when it’s time to move.

Taking note of these tips and following them should make things easier for you throughout the entire process.

The Drawbacks of Using Conveyancing Forums

When searching for a conveyancing solicitor, it is likely that you have a considerable amount of questions that you would like to find the answers to. There are a few things that you can do, if you want to get these questions answered. However, one of the things that many people will do is to use an online conveyancing forum. The problem with this is the fact is that although there are some benefits, there are also plenty of drawbacks that need to be considered as well. Here are a few of them.

You cannot always treat the information that you get as reliable

One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people will make is to take everything that they read on a conveyancing forum as gospel. However, this is not the case. There is no way to tell that the person or people that you are talking to are experts in conveyancing, and this can often cause problems for you in the long run. So, be sure to take everything that you read with a pinch of salt, or at least try to verify the information that you receive.

You need to watch out for conveyancing firms who are subtly advertising

One of the major problems that you will find with conveyancing forums is that a lot of conveyancing companies will try to use these forums for subtle advertising. Unfortunately, these companies are usually not worth bothering with. If you want to make sure that you don’t fall into this trap, then it is important that you keep an eye out for any conveyancing companies on these forums who are trying to get you to use their services.

Although there are these drawbacks that you need to keep in mind, there are also plenty of benefits as well. If you want to make sure that you are getting good information, then be sure to back it up with information from your own research as well. By doing this, you are giving yourself the best chance of getting the right conveyancing solicitor for the job.

Avoiding Fatal Mistakes in Conveyancing

Buying a property is a complicated undertaking. You have to look for a suitable property, one that satisfies your family’s needs. You don’t want to commence purchase transactions without making sure you’ve found the right option. Conveyancing, the legal procedure involved in property sale, can be an equally taxing process. Even small details in documentation matter, and you don’t want annoying surprises along the way that delay or forfeit the whole transaction.

What Snags Should You Expect?

Mortgage Issues

Many property buyers have to take out a loan in order to have funds to finance the purchase. It’s a huge purchase, running anywhere above a hundred thousand pounds. Hardly any middle class citizen has that kind of money in the bank. So usually the option is to apply for a mortgage.

The tricky part of applying for a mortgage loan is that it takes time. If you’re obtaining a loan at the same time that you’re buying a house, you could be in some serious stress. You will have to process your loan application with the bank or lender, who in turn will assess your financial capability to repay.

If you inform the bank that you need the money to purchase a property, the bank will have to look into the property and conduct their valuation survey. During this time, you are expected to process the contract of sale, which you present to the bank. The bank wishes to find out about the transaction and may, in many instances, appoint its own conveyancer to oversee the process (to make sure their money is protected). If you want to appoint your own conveyancer, you could try finding one online. With conveyancing 24-7 you can compare conveyancing quotations across a number of established conveyancing solicitors to give you a good deal and save you some money.

All this takes time. You best hope the bank approves your loan and releases the funds before the settlement date. Otherwise, you incur penalties.

Property in Bad Condition

There are many reasons for this. It may or may not be intentional. The seller may have been dishonest from the start. In most cases, it’s not intentional. For instance, the seller or real estate agent was oblivious of the true condition of the house. It may also negligence on the part of the property custodian, which resulted in poor upkeep. Needed renovations were not implemented. The house may look great on the outside and in pictures, but an ocular inspection in the flesh reveals otherwise.

In some cases, something happens to the property sometime before the completion of sale. Untoward incidents like fire, flood, natural disasters, or vandalism can affect the condition of a house and render it uninhabitable for a while. Buyers may postpone sale until appropriate restoration measures are accomplished.

Unfair Conveyancing Contracts

Sometimes the seller wants to get more out of the sale and dupe the unsuspecting buyer. Inexperienced buyers are vulnerable to such fraud. Something can happen during the conveyancing process that puts innocent buyers at risk to getting overcharged or hoodwinked. When they realise the mistake, they already bought the property and it’s too late to come after the notorious seller. Conveyancers representing buyers can keep this from happening.

Some fraudulent practices you need to be wary of include incorrect description of the property, lack of inspection, overpricing, and canceling the sale after receiving the deposit. Disappearing acts of bogus property sellers are not uncommon.

Typos in Documents

Any mistake in the documents should be corrected. This is why you have to read the contract. Look at your name, the name of the conveyancer, the name of the seller and their conveyancing solicitor, details of the property, and all other information. Make sure every detail is correct before signing. Mistakes on documents involved in purchase of land or house (contracts, certificate of title, tax information, etc.) are difficult and expensive to reverse.

Looking for conveyancing quotes online

Finding the right conveyancing solicitor to help you out in the legal aspect of your property transaction can be just as stressful as the conveyancing and the buying/selling process itself. Especially if you don’t have a clue where to begin with. As it is, conveyancing is probably the most crucial aspect of the transaction as it involves the process to oversee the legal transfer of property ownership, paying of taxes and stamp duties, and other important paperwork.

It is also in this process that searched on the property is carried out to determine its true ownership, legal eligibility to be sold/purchased, and if there are pending financial liabilities surrounding the property. Pending plans on the property and the local area is also determined during this process.

This is why, as a property investor, you should be able to find not only just a reliable but a very efficient conveyancing solicitor – to make sure that nothing goes wrong in the transaction, avoiding it to fall into a disaster.

If don’t know how to conduct your own search for a conveyancing solicitor, you can consider these five factors that are guaranteed to help you pick nothing but the best to act on your behalf.

Online Search, Recommendations, and Referrals

The Internet is a powerful to conduct a search for firms and independent conveyancing solicitors. You can check the official website of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers to see a list of accredited solicitors. If you’re not as Internet-savvy as the others, it is always best to see if your friends or relatives happened to have worked with a diligent and efficient conveyancer in the past. Their recommendations will surely help you list down a few plausible options. Alternatively, you can search for online conveyancing quotes to find a list of companies who can offer you an instant quote.

Cost Of Services

To narrow down your search further, check each firm or solicitor in your list for the cost of the services they offer and compare it against the amount you’re willing to spend. On the average, conveyancers may charge you roughly £500 to £1700, depending on the complexity of the transaction. Additional services may also be charged on top of the agreed price. It is always wise to ask for a quote from each conveyancer on your list. Some of them may offer a fixed amount for their entire services, while others may charge you by the hour or a percentage of the property’s selling value.

Quality Of Service

The excellent ones are usually very busy as they get endless referrals from a lot of people. But if the basis of the best quality is how much they have on their plates, try to sort things out some more by avoiding those you think to have one too many conveyancing cases in their files. They key here is to find someone you can give you as much time and attention as needed. If they’re handling too many cases, you’re likely to be at the end of their list, causing delays and inconvenience in the transaction you’ve committed yourself to.

Expertise

The not-so-busy conveyancing solicitors don’t necessarily equate to inexperience and incompetence. While you’re crossing out the ones in your list that may not deliver what is expected, always consider how versed the conveyancing solicitor is with the local laws. This may help you further, particularly if you’re having a difficult leasehold agreement on the property. If the solicitor knows his laws and his books, they can make the process fast and stress free for you.

Convenience

Your preference matters in this bit. Do you want to work with someone with state-of-the-art case management and update systems; or someone you can conveniently meet and talk to face-to-face, besides being accessible via phone and email? Effective communication is always the key to convenience. If you fully trust an online conveyancing firm, especially after you have learnt that they’re reputable enough, you can, by all means, employ their services.

But, if you prefer face-to-face talks with your conveyancer, hire a firm or an independent solicitor within the area. Not only will you have that “personal touch” while the tasks are being carried out, you will also have the convenience of bringing in the required documents in time, rather than having to use the post.

While these are just five of the many things you should consider, we reckon these will help you narrow down your long list of conveyancers to choose from. Once you have sorted things out and you’ve got one in mind to act on your behalf through the legal aspects of the transaction, make sure that you understand the terms you agreed with the services they offer. If something seems to be unclear or confusing, you may ask them to explain it further for you.

 

Making The Most Of Home Buying Through Estate Agents

An estate agent is probably one of the very few people that people sometimes loathe – partly because of their sometimes annoying persistence to sell, and then some. However, an estate agent may be the very key to solve your house buying problems without you knowing it.

Even though you cannot find yourself to be on friendly terms with an estate agent, you could still be able to win them over and get the best out of your home-buying activity. The key is to make them feel involved all throughout the process. Estate agents love to be contacted and be sought for sound advice. They also sometimes need to be prodded.

Honesty is also the best policy here. Although some potential buyers feel that estate agents may not be a hundred percent honest with them, some buyers also tend to lie about certain financial situations to agents. This is where the disconnect happens and the entire process just gets ruined.

When buying through an estate agent, you need to tell them right away details that are significant to the home buying process, especially things that have to come from your end. Let them know about your mortgage agreement in principle and who your lender is so they’ll feel that you’re determined to buy the property they’re showing you.  This also leads to encouraging them to help you further. Remember that it’s the seller paying them so if you happen to end up not buying, having spent time with you will be just a waste for them. There’s a handy mortgage calculator online which allows you to determine how much it will cost you per month.

Generally, estate agents also love to hear that they are being sought out for advice. So instead of telling them how much you have and what you want, you can politely ask them to help you get the best home out of your proposed budget. This can lead to them showing you your options.

It will also help of you will constantly stay in touch with them. The point of this is that you want to be informed immediately if there’s a good house for you on the market.

If an estate agent invites you for a viewing, make time for it. If for some reasons you won’t be able to make it due to a mix up in your schedule, inform them accordingly so they can make some adjustments that both of you may find convenient. If you just suddenly don’t show up without notice, they will just lose interest in helping you with your objective.

Now, before contacting any estate agent, try to find as much information about them or the real estate company they are with. It pays to learn about them and how credible they are because your comfortable and safe home depends on what they offer. Try to look for at least three different estate agents that you can compare and choose from.

As soon as you have gotten in touch with an estate agent, you can work with them in narrowing your search radius. Having knowledgeable estate agent with you in property-searching comes in very handy. The agents can show you a list of what is currently in the market, and those that are within a certain radius of the area where you wish to buy a house from.

Remember that agents are dealing with at least 10 other people looking for most likely the same property that you want. So, getting them on your side is going to be a tremendous help. Make sure that they get in touch with you first by showing them how interested you are in their help. You cannot just greet them and then wait for them to contact you.

Whenever estate agents send you an email or try to call you, make time to get back to them. Even if you’re just telling them that you’re not interested in the property they are offering at the moment. There is an unspoken three-strike rule among estate agents, and if you hit it, you won’t probably hear from them anymore.

In a nutshell, estate agents should be seen as helpful people. When buying a home, you need to treat them nicely to get the best of what you want in the entire process. Otherwise, you might just end up in a home-buying disaster.