Since May when the estate agents were given the all clear to open, the property market has gone from strength to strength, with house prices now at the highest rates we've seen in several years.
To help cope with the demand for conveyancing services, our property teams are now back up to full strength across all of our offices and we are currently recruiting for more.
Property transactions are currrently going through in the normal way, however, we are experiencing significant delays in the process as mortgage providers are taking longer to approve applications and also surveyors are booked up for weeks in advance. All of these things are causing delays in the chains, so we are asking clients for their patience as we try to get everyone moved as soon as possible.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) support measures will end 30th June 2021
An investor has pulled out causing our chain to collapse, what can we do?
The current market and national economy is so uncertain that people may choose to wait and indeed remove their risk by pulling out of the transaction. Although there is no reason not to carry on as normal in terms of the legal process we have to consider slower transaction times or hesitant investors or buyers.
At what point in the process is it legally binding?
You can withdraw from a sale or purchase up until the point contracts have been exchanged. Any deposits paid after exchange of contract will then by non-refundable. After contracts are exchanged you are then responsible for the property you are buying and should arrange suitable insurance from this date.
How long are local searches valid for?
A local authority search completed for a house purchase is valid for 3 months.
How long does the conveyancing process take on average?
We usually say 4-6 weeks for an average sale or purchase. Queries and concerns can often come out of the local authority searches which need further investigation and sometimes this leads to re-approval from the Mortgage lender. This can add further time into the process.
What happens if the house I am buying has quarantined owners in it?
Unfortunately, in this situation the seller will not be able to give vacant possession, which will lead to completion delays. As a preventative measure, as per question 1, we can offer to exchange contracts and complete on the same day, which ensures that contracts are only exchanged if all parties in the chain are able to move on that day, thus reducing the risk to all parties. This can be more stressful so we ask that clients be sensible and accommodating of the situation.
What happens if there are disruption to banking services due to coronavirus?
If banks or mortgage lenders are unable to move funds around due to staffing shortages then this will disrupt your completion, however, be reassured that they will be doing everything they can to prevent this scenario.
What happens if we are in a national lockdown and we have exchanged to move?
Unfortunately, in this situation the seller will not be able to give vacant possession, which will lead to completion delays and penalties. If this situation arises, we ask that clients be sensible and accommodating of the unprecedented situation. If contracts have been exchanged then usually it would result in interest and compensation being paid to you, however if you are in a chain the same will apply to your buyers, so to keep the chain going it may be better just to accept the delay. As a preventative measure, we can offer to exchange and completion on the same day which ensure that contracts are only exchanged if all parties in the chain are able to move on that day.
Under normal circumstances, we would not recommend simultaneous exchange and completion as it does have its risks, since there is no guarantee, until the day itself that you will actually be moving. This means that if you are paying deposits to removal companies or arranging for services to be disconnected when we have no legal assurance that you will move. Please be aware that if you do instruct us to carry out a simultaneous exchange and completion this is done entirely at your own risk and Banner Jones Solicitors cannot be held responsible for any losses that you might incur if the transaction does not complete.
What happens if we can’t produce certificates for work we’ve had done on the house we’re selling?
You can indemnify the work by taking out an insurance policy. This means that you can not be held liable for any future fault on the work that was done. We can arrange this for you
What is Stamp Duty and how much will I have to pay?
Stamp Duty is a tax levied by HM Government on a transfer of property. For residential property this tax is calculated at 1% for property values between £125,001 and £250,000, 3% for values between £250,001 and £500,000 and 4% for those of £500,001 and over. Duty may also be chargeable on any rental charge (leases only) - this affects both residential and commercial leases where different thresholds are applied.
What is the difference between Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common?
Tenants is Common is where two or more people are entitled to the proceeds of sale in distinct shares - on the death of one, his/her interest will not pass to the survivor(s) but will be part of his/her estate. Joint Tenants are on the other hand 50/50 Co-owners of land - when one of them dies, his/her rights of ownership pass to the survivor(s).
Will a surveyor/valuer attend the house I want to purchase or are they not carrying out surveys currently due to coronavirus?
Each company will be following their own policies and procedures as well as the government guidelines, which may result in a slower service or more precautions being put in place, or indeed surveys being cancelled.
Will removal companies be happy to enter properties during the coronavirus measures?
As things stand, it will be down to the individual companies who will have their own policies in place so the best thing is to contact our remover and discuss their policy with them.
Will the search providers be able to carry out searches during the coronavirus measures?
The majority of the searches are automated through computer systems and will therefore not be affected, however, the local authority searches are done by visiting the council offices. Please therefore expect lengthy delays on the return of those searches as some council offices are not allowing visitors.