With the ONS (Office of National Statistics) and the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) both issuing reports recently indicating the Northern Ireland property market is on the rise, local home owners will no doubt be pleased.
Following several years of price deflation, and even negative equity for some, home owners have had a tough time with many holding out for the market to improve so that they can trade up to accommodate their growing family or indeed to trade down once the kids have flown the nest.
The good news is that our local estate agent colleagues, who we work closely with on a daily basis, are also seeing an increase in both buyer enquiries and new housing stock being added for sale. Whilst none of us want to see a return to the madness in the run up to the property peak in 2007, when price inflation risked putting home ownership out of the reach of all but the wealthiest individuals, it is good to see movement in the market again.
So, with this increased activity, what happens if you want to move house in time for the Summer holidays? Springtime is traditionally a good time to look for a new property and the brighter nights make it easier to get out & about and start looking. But please remember - once you have agreed a price for your new property this is only the beginning of the legal process. To help guide you through some of the common questions we face we have outlined a few considerations below.
How long will it take?
This depends upon whether your purchase is a one off transaction or caught up in a chain of transactions where the seller needs to buy on etc. A cash purchase of a vacant property will often be much quicker than if a mortgage is required.
Subject to these variables it will usually take about six to ten weeks from going ‘Sale Agreed’ to complete the move from start to finish.
We will always work to minimise delay but should a chain be involved unfortunately we can only go as fast as the slowest person in that chain.
If my lender has commissioned a survey should I pay for another?
The familiar sentiment ‘buyer beware’ springs to mind and it is important to know what exactly you are buying before you make any legal commitments. These things need to be checked out as they can’t be raised post purchase. A valuation survey is carried out purely for the benefit of the lender to make sure the property is worth the price you’re paying before they approve the mortgage. It is not an extensive survey and will not necessarily identify all the repairs or maintenance that might be needed.
It is therefore advisable to commission a property survey to identify any issues prior to your purchase so as to avoid incurring further costs after completion which you hadn’t anticipated.
What about fixtures and fittings – what’s actually included in the price?
This is something you should discuss via the estate agent from the outset. They may help you negotiate a price with the seller should you, as the buyer, wish to incorporate things such as blinds, garden furniture or kitchen utilities.
A full list of usual fixtures and fittings is obtained as part of the conveyancing process and effectively forms part of the contract once agreed.
Do I pay a Deposit?
Generally as a rule of thumb a Deposit is not required but there are exceptions to this in practice as a Deposit is payable in respect of New Builds and Repossessions.
How do I go about paying Stamp Duty?
Stamp Duty now known as Stamp Duty Land Tax is now paid via your solicitor so we will take care of filling your tax return upon completion and forwarding your payment where required. Given recent government changes there are big savings to be made so please don’t hesitate to give us a call and discuss this in more detail.
What about ‘hidden charges’
We have no ‘hidden charges’ as a full quotation is provided prior to our being instructed by you. This details not only our professional fee but gives a breakdown of the outlay which can be expected should you proceed with your purchase. This takes into account those things which can be overlooked when buying a property such as the search fees, registration and stamp duties following completion.
We also provide an information pack upon initial instruction which explains this in further detail.
Should I get a Will?
In short, the answer is yes. A house is a valuable asset and even if you have a Mortgage with Life Insurance a Will should be put in place to make sure your assets go to who you wish to have them. This is something we can take care of for you when dealing with your conveyance.
So if you are thinking of moving home, or even are thinking of remortgaging your home, and need a solicitor experienced in residential conveyancing, get in touch with Hunt Solicitors on telephone 028 9042 8600 or email [email protected] or visit our website at www.huntsolicitors.com. At Hunt Solicitors we offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation and look forward to hearing from you.
This article is attributed to Darren Rainey. Darren is a partner in Hunt Solicitors and is head of the Property department.
This article does not constitute legal advice or otherwise. © Hunt Solicitors 2015. All rights reserved.