Buying or selling your existing home, or remortgaging can be one of the most important transactions that you can make. It can also turn out one of the most complex and stressful experiences; which is where Tiger Law team can help you with specialist advice and service that will give you peace of mind and ensures that the process is as straightforward and easy as possible.
Tiger Law are experienced in dealing with all aspects of residential property including and not limited to:
* residential property conveyancing
* mortgages and re-mortgages
* unregistered land
* first registrations of title,
* transfers of equity
* deeds of variation
* landlord and tenant issues
* “right to buy”, “buy to let” and investment properties
* leasehold enfranchisement
* legacy and trust properties,
* block and estate management
We can also recommend someone to assist you with the tax implications of the purchase and disposal of property and land and any immigration issues affecting overseas buyers.
Why Choose Tiger Law?
We are a new breed of law firm, focused on protecting you, your family and your business.
We may be young and boutique, but nevertheless entrepreneurial and deliver legal services bespoke to your needs and achieve successful results for our clients.
Our experienced lawyers can help you navigate through the most complex legal matters and will keep you informed at all stages of the transaction.
We are also Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme accredited.
WHAT IS CONVEYANCING?
If you’re a first time buyer looking to buy your first home or an experienced investor buying your numerous property, you’ve probably heard the term ‘conveyancing’ or ‘the conveyancing process’ by now.
Conveyancing is simply the process of transferring the legal ownership in a property from one person to another. However, that process has three main stages, all of which have to be done properly so that there are no problems in the resulting legal title.
Once you have viewed a property that you like, had an offer accepted and got that excited tingling feeling, the real work begins! When you instruct your solicitor they will begin the three stages leading to completion. Here is a run down of each stage:
The pre-contract stage involves all the work that is carried out before contracts are exchanged.
A buyer’s solicitor will receive a contract pack from the seller’s solicitor that includes:
* A property information form, that will list a lot of information regarding the property; from any information on whether any extensions have planning permission and building regulation certificates, issues such as neighbour disputes, even who are the current utility providers. This is important, especially for your solicitor, as further questions can be raised or any issues rectified before completion.
* A fixtures and fittings list of items that come with the property. This is important to check to ensure you are expecting there to be items such as a washing machine, but they are not actually included. It will give you an opportunity to either negotiate a price for any items you may like to remain or prepare for moving in.
* A copy of the title. This is the information that Land Registry holds on the property, it will show any mortgage on the property, who the legal owner is, and any ‘charges’ over the property that need to be addressed, for example a loan secured on the property. Your solicitor can then ensure these are all sorted or paid off before you take on the property.
* The contract of sale. This confirms the details of the property and what has been agreed, as well as all the parties involved (seller, buyer and any other interested parties).
When all this information is received from the seller’s solicitor, we will go through and raise any questions, also known as ‘requisitions’ to issues that are seen. At the same time we will also be conducting ‘searches’, again to make sure any issues are flagged before you commit to buying the property.
You may have seen on your quote the term ‘searches’ and wondered what you are being asked to pay for. These can prove very useful and possibly save you a lot of money in the future. Have a look here for how important searches are.
Once the searches are complete, we have had answers to all the issues raised, and your mortgage provider has sent through the mortgage offer, we will the draft contract will be returned to the seller.
Then, it’s time for the contract exchange!! It is at this point that the sale and purchase become binding, to exit the contract you may be liable to fees and any deposit already sent to the seller’s solicitor. It may also be that your mortgage provider requires you have buildings insurance in place at this point, as you will be responsible for the property
The post-contract stage
This is the time that we send the draft purchase deed to the seller’s solicitor. This includes all the information needed for the land and property to be legally registered. Once approved, both buyer and seller will sign a copy of the purchase deed, this is known as the TR1, this is sent to Land Registry after completion.
It is usually at this stage that a completion date is set.
The seller’s solicitor will at this point confirm the amount needed for completion, which will need to be sent to your solicitor before completion; this may come from just yourself or with funds from your mortgage provider.
Once all the money is received, we will send it to the seller’s solicitor, and once it has been confirmed they have received the full balance, they agree to send the signed deeds back to us and completion is agreed!
The post completion stage
Congratulations – this is the point that you can collect the keys, pack your boxes and start making your home, into your home.
Its not the end of our job however, we will be dealing with payment of Stamp Duty and we will apply to the Land Registry for your legal title on the property to be registered, and notify you as soon as registration has completed.
HM Land Registry Fees
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY – IN DEPTH
Valuations and Surveys
If you are a buyer who is taking out a mortgage, your lender will require mortgage valuation to ensure that the property values up properly against the mortgage amount so that it knows there is sufficient security available. A valuation is not protection for the borrower and will not highlight potential issues such as structural problems, electrical issues, and repairs that might be needed. We would always recommend a survey is carried out (particularly for a house purchase) and this is normally done before exchange of contract allowing the buyer to reassess any major issues and the purchase price.
Types of buyers’ surveys:
* Condition report, is a basic survey that provides a summary of any obvious concerns or risks associated with the property.
* Home buyer’s report, is a more detailed survey that provides information about major problems, and includes a valuation. This is a non-intrusive survey, however, which means the surveyor doesn’t investigate hard-to-reach areas such as underneath floorboards or above the ceiling.
* Building surveys are much more extensive, and offer a detailed report on every inch of the property, along with repair advice and estimates.
What are property searches?
Searches are carried out during the conveyancing process in order to gain important information about the property.
The searches carried out normally include:
This involves contacting the local council to obtain information on any future plans that may affect the value of the property, such as a new by-pass or superstore just by the property.
This search is essential, and is carried out to make sure the land where your property is built is not contaminated in any way.
This vital query is raised to ensure the property has mains water and a drainage system and whether they are in good working order.
We have a list of number of searches that we send to our clients to choose from.
Occasionally we are instructed to buy residential property without carrying out any property searches. If so, it is important that our clients fully understand the implications of that decision.
Tenants in common or Joint Tenants?
What does this even mean?! Well, it’s to do with how joint owners own their property together. Many conveyancers have their default position but this might suit everyone. The two different ways of doing this are:
* tenants in common – this means you own the property in identifiable percentages that can be dealt with independently of each other. For example, you might want to sell your 50% or leave it to your family in your will. We would always suggest have a background ‘declaration of trust’ setting out the precise details as the Land Registry title will almost certainly not list these details, or
* joint tenants – this is where you both own 100% jointly. Sounds odd but essentially the ownership is indivisible so you cannot deal with your ‘part’ independently and if one of you passes by, it doesn’t matter what is in the will, the surviving joint tenant will automatically own the whole property. This many suit married couples with regard to their estate planning.
We would recommend that you seek both legal and financial advice before reaching a decision, which way you wish to proceed.
What are easements?
An easement is a right that one owner has over land owned by someone else. Most often these will be rights of way over shared driveways and footpaths and rights to run pipes for utilities. This sort of right belongs to the land not the owner, so when that owner sells, that right will pass with the land/property that is being sold.
We would always recommend having an easement properly looked at as, you can imagine, there is much potential for a dispute when using someone else’s land for your own reasons.
What are restrictive covenants?
A restrictive covenant is a promise not to do certain things on your own property. For example, quite apart from planning issues, your title documents might prevent you from the following activities:
* running a business from the property
* keeping any animals or livestock on the property
* parking any commercial vehicles, boats, caravans on the land or property.
This sort of right belongs to the land not the owner, so when that owner sells, that right will pass with the land/property that is being sold.
We would always recommend that a buyer is fully aware of any such restrictions prior to buying, if you have a particular purpose in mind and later on find that it is prohibited you will be left with potentially complex and expensive solutions.
What is SDLT ?
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) came in to force during 2003, replacing an older regime.
SDLT applies to any ‘disposal’ or an interest in land, whether it’s freehold or leasehold (like most flats).
There have been quite a few developments around the bands of value of property prices and percentage of SDLT that is payable, and also news for first time buyers and even some relaxation due to Covid-19 and supporting the property market in 2020.
So when is SDLT payable?
SDLT is payable on the purchase of property or land in the UK where the amount paid is above a certain threshold. In 2020, these thresholds are:
* residential properties £125,000, and
* non-residential properties £150,000, but don’t forget
* if the transaction is subject to the higher rate with the 3% surcharge, then the first threshold is £40,000.
Why would your transaction be subject to a higher rate?
How much SDLT do I have to pay?
Lots of different factors come into play, all of the following (and more) will affect how much SDLT is payable:
* If the property residential or non-residential?
* Is the property is freehold or leasehold?
* If the property is residential, does the buyer have other properties?
Are there any exemptions?
Yes, some types of transactions that are exempt from SDLT or where reliefs can reduce the amount payable. For example:
* property that is left in a will (although inheritance tax may apply)
* transfers of property in a divorce or when a civil partnership is dissolved.
There are more exemptions which we can help you to explore with your accountant.
Watch our Guide to Buying Your First Home