Questions, Quality, Small Print and the Internet

Property Buying with Confidence and Care

Many of my clients tell me that buying a property today appears more complicated. It seems to generate more paperwork and head scratching compared to 10 years ago, so, why is this and what can we do about it?

In all likelihood the added brain work rests with all the decisions that buyers need to make.  After the most important decision of which property to choose, you must consider how to fund your purchase. Do you take out a mortgage and, if so, with which lender?  Do you qualify for a ‘Help to Buy’ scheme?  Do you need a survey and what type would be appropriate? Not forgetting who will deal with the legal process? Which solicitor or conveyancer? How much will it cost? Is it worth shopping around?

Many of these questions can be answered by searching on the Internet.  An amazingly useful tool, be aware that sourcing information and expertise solely online may mean you won’t get all the information you need, it may also be out of date or simply incorrect.  Even worse you may not even be looking at a bona fide website. You certainly will not get information tailored specifically to your needs, especially given the new lending criteria implemented on 1st April 2014.

Beware the online ‘too good to be true deal’…

Many law firms and Conveyancing businesses offer fixed price deals over the Internet. It’s wise to check that the fee quoted includes ALL payable fees and disbursements, plus, the firm has the Law Society Conveyancing quality kite mark ‘CQS’ and the person handling your transaction is qualified. Often the work is carried out by an admin team (albeit overseen by a legally qualified person) who see it purely as a ‘paper exercise’, not the careful investment of your hard earned cash.  In these instances it can be difficult to speak to the same person twice and you may find alarming gaps in their ability, available time and conveyancing experience.  Further down the line what else could crop up during the course of your transaction?

How about those ‘Help to Buy’ schemes?  Whilst enabling many to get a foot hold on the housing ladder, these schemes have conditions attached; small print that you need to understand before you commit. For example: “no letting of the property is permitted”, so, if a temporary relocation is required for a new job, no rental income would be available to help you subsidise your additional rent – ouch!   Are you in a flood risk area? More of us appear to be and the availability and affordability of insurance cover should be explored carefully.  Many properties also have the benefit of “a green deal”, which means there may be leases of solar panels (unacceptable to some lenders) or outstanding loans attached after the installation of green energy technology.

All in all, any information gleaned from the Internet should be checked thoroughly and, without doubt, the advice of an independent mortgage adviser, surveyor, experienced and accessible solicitor will go a long way to make your house buying experience more straightforward and successful. Either now or in another 10 years’ time.

If you would to speak to Barbara about one of her articles, or are looking for advice on the sale or purchase of a property, please feel free to call us.