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Home Ownership

Home Ownership

Analysing whether or not is now a good time to buy a house in the UK


Buying a home is a major decision that people in the UK have to confront one time or the other. Most of the elderly population of the UK that own homes bought their houses when they were 35 years old or younger. This is back in the day when house prices were lower and incomes relatively higher. Time has seen property prices rise as compared to incomes. Now, only 44% of people under 35 years own their own homes. It can now take up to 20 years for a buyer to save enough money to buy a house.

Causes of Brexit

Property prices in the UK have been quite unstable since Brexit of June 2016. Price increases have fluctuated and are expected to remain volatile until Brexit is fully finalised. Property prices have generally fallen by 2%. The low property prices mean that buyers can have a better deal now than some time back. With the finalisation of Brexit approaching and given the fact that property prices are expected to rise again after Brexit, it may be wise to buy property now. The best part about buying houses now is that interest rates have fallen. A buyer will enjoy low-interest rates as well as low property prices.

Foreign investors have even a lot more to enjoy if they buy houses now. Brexit caused a decrease in the value of a pound. Foreign investors can take advantage of this by purchasing a house and selling it when the economy stabilises, and the value of the pound rises. Domestic transactions have fallen since Brexit. More properties are now in the market. It is easy for a foreigner to get a property to buy now than it was earlier.

Properties in London

The ease of buying a house depends on the location of the house. London real estate market is viewed by many commentators to be different from those of other parts of the UK. You can verify this position by analysing the wide margin of property prices between London and the rest of the UK. The average price for a residential property in London is £750,000 while that of other parts is £290,000. This is true even in properties with similar architecture. High property prices in London can be attributed to the abundance of opportunities in the city and the popularity of buy to let properties.

Approval criteria for buy to let properties are different from those of residential homes. A buyer of a buy to let property is only expected to pay over 25% or more of his achievable income. Mortgage for residential properties, on the other hand, is issued depending on buyers’ levels of income. This has been a disadvantage to low-income earners who make the largest population of the city.  Many low-income earners in London have now been forced to rent rather than buy their own homes. As a result, people are now moving out of London to buy property in outer boroughs and other places where prices are still low. 

So, if you were saving up for a new home, it does look like the prices are in your favour at least outside of London. However, the full effects of Brexit are yet to be seen, and it is unsure what changes it might bring. It depends on your expected future depletion of the housing market or capitalising on current drops in rates.

How establishing legal title secures your property


Legal title guarantees a buyer that a property belongs to him and no one else. There is nothing as important having a property in your own name. The UK property market has experienced a lot of feuds that arise from unclear ownership rights. A buyer will never know when his chosen property will be subjected to ownership disputes until after he pays for the property. The very first duty of a buyer during conveyance is establishing legal title of a property beyond any reasonable doubt. The buyer can then rest assured that the property he is buying is owned by the seller and has rights to sell it. After the conveyancing completes, he can rest assured the property will be under his control.

Solicitors are responsible for conducting ownership research. However, there are cryptic home ownership details that even solicitors find difficult to uncover. Most of these pieces of information cannot even be found in Land Registry records where solicitors do most of their property ownership research. These pieces of information could be private agreements that a previous owner of the property had with a neighbour or a relative and are now affecting new owners.

Importance of establishing legal title ownership

The importance can not be stressed enough during a property transaction. The rights of the property reside with the owner of the property. He has to prove the legal title deed is in their name. To sell it without disputes he must show the verification documents. This will ensure smooth conveyancing for both buyer and the seller. Solicitors will be able to verify legal ownership and root out fake or misleading documents for establishing legal title.

Disputes eliminated by establishing legal title

One type of properties whose ownership rights may lead to conflicts are those properties that have been owned by a single family for many generations. Land Registry records only contain details of properties that have been sold or those whose owners have come forth to register their ownerships. Properties that have been owned by a lineage for a long time and have not been registered can be a problem to identify their ownerships. Anyone in the family can take and develop the property when other family members are not within reach. A rightful owner may then show up and cause many ownership disputes. Properties that are taken over by adverse ownerships face similar problems.

The other difficulty that presents itself during ownership research is liens. Liens are forms of security against properties that are granted by property holders in case of debt or other obligation. Liens are similar to mortgages. A property holder may use his home to get a debt from his neighbour. This makes the neighbour have the right to own a property if the borrower fails to pay his debt. Buying a property that is in lien may cause ownership disputes between a buyer and the lender.

Similar to liens are covenants of record. Covenants of record are agreements signed between a property holder and another party to give the other party a right to use the property in question in a given way. The agreement may permit the other party to use the land for grazing his cattle, or for the construction of a borehole. The individual with the right to use the property does not become an owner of that property. He may sue a new owner of the property if ownership he fails to adhere to the pre-signed agreement.

Verification of legal title deeds

There are many ways that a buyer could get verify legal property ownership. The very first one is conveyance research at the Land Registry. Solicitors have the responsibility of going through any available records when doing property research. Their research should leave ownership rights unquestionable. Most ownership titles can be verified by property analysis alone.

There are other ways that a buyer can protect himself from ownership disputes if conveyance research fails. A buyer can write a contingency to force the seller to prove that he indeed owns the property. The buyer can then opt out of the conveyance if the owner fails to prove his ownership. A buyer may also insure a property against ownership disputes. Insurance firms have policies that protect new buyers from disputes of ownership.

Are there any Shared ownership risks


Shared ownership enables low-income earners to get homes at reduces prices. All they have to do is pay between 25% to 75% of the price of the house. The rest of the cost of the house is catered for by a financial institution. The buyer must then pay a rent to the financial institution with which he enters a shared ownership scheme with.  The percentage of the shares held by buyers are normally paid for by a mortgage and lender. This money does not come from the buyers own pockets. They buyer may increase his shares of the property by staircasing. Staircasing involves the gradual purchase of the shares that are owned by a financial institution until the time that a buyer owns 100% of the property. He may then seize to pay rent to the financial institution. All these facts about shared ownership make the scheme seem very appealing. However, there are shared ownership risks that a buyer must be prepared for before entering into the scheme.

The Staircasing process

Staircasing your way into full home ownership is not easy. A buyer has to pay some money for every share he buys. Shared ownership is for low-income earners and is mostly funded by mortgages. This implies that a buyer of a shared ownership property may not have enough money to buy the shares of a housing association. This is because this buyer has the financial obligations to the house which include payment of rent and mortgages. He may be so financial constrained that he will never be able to buy all the shares of the property. Cases have been documented of buyers staying in shared ownership for the rest of their lives rather than taking advantage of staircasing. Staircasing can only be possible if the buyer gets an increase in his incomes.

Failure to pay regular rent for unowned portion of the house

Shared ownerships are very much like rented properties. A buyer must pay rent to the housing association or financial institution with which he enters into tenancy with. The rent is usually 3% of the shares held by a housing association. A buyer must also make a monthly instalment of mortgages If he bought the house through a mortgage. These expenditures are made on a regular basis. A buyer who fails to make rent payments may lose his property in the long run. Mortgage lenders chip-in to rescue buyers with mortgage arrears. Even so, the buyer must repay the lender the amount of money that was used to foot his rent arrears.

Maintenance costs

Maintenance costs of shared ownerships are divided between a buyer and his financial institution. This is one of the ways that shared ownerships is similar to assured tenancy schemes. The proportion of the cost of maintenance can rise steeply if major repairs are to be undertaken. Buyers who have flats owned by freeholders rather than housing associations are even at a greater risk of paying more for maintenance. This is because they are viewed as tenants by their freeholders and are not seen as shared ownership partners. 

One must consider these shared ownership risks by any buyer that is considering entering into the scheme. Although they are not high risk, they inevitably can cause you unwanted trouble during your stay. Reviewing these risks help you make a better decision for getting the most benefit out of shared ownership houses.

Becoming a member of the home owners alliance


The Home Owners Alliance (HOA) is an organisation that advises, supports and encourages current and prospective homeowners in the UK. Home owners alliance is a consumer groups. Consumer groups usually help their members solve matters specific to those consumers. A member of this organisation stands a chance of enjoying the benefits of real estate ownership. He is kept up to date on matters related to conveyancing. Membership is open to pre-existing home owners and aspiring home owners. It is not obligatory to join the alliance. Those who want to join must pay a fee. Membership currently costs £45 per year.

Home Owners Alliance membership

Home owners alliance advises its members on matters related to the conveyance. This is usually the job of solicitors. However, the alliance also has a team of highly trained staff that can answer any question related to the conveyance. It has a helpline through which a member may make calls. A member can also send an email or visit one of its offices. The advantage of seeking the advice of the alliance rather than that of solicitors is that you will be forgoing solicitors’ fee. It is a great bargain for homeowners who are conscious of their finances. Members enjoy one free phone call a year. Any other calls that members make are charged at £30 per call. A member can ask a maximum of five questions in a year. Responses to the questions are available within three working days. This is still way better than hiring solicitors down at the high street. Services are available from 10 m to 5 pm Monday to Friday.

HOA and Conveyancing

Home owners alliance also offer conveyancing services. This organisation is connected to a panel of £150 highly qualified solicitor law firms. The solicitors are capable of handling any matter related to the conveyance. Members are given a 10% discount on the solicitor fee.  Members get a discount code when they join. The code is used to access the discounted solicitor fees.

The alliance champions for better deals and policies for homeowners. Traditional solicitors usually stick to their business without really caring whether their clients are fully satisfied with the conveyance. They are professional with no personal relationship with clients. A client who has a problem with the law or policy cannot air out his view. Home owners alliance give home owners an incentive for voicing their concerns. The alliance liaises with the government and other stakeholders in real estate to develop laws and policies that are beneficial to homeowners.

Becoming a HOA member

An existing homeowner or an aspiring one can become a member by simply making a call or sending an email. He does not have to visit the home alliance offices. Membership details including membership number are forwarded to the applicant via email. The email has a link to the organisation’s conveyancing quote comparison tool. A member can find out about the solicitor fees that are charged by the alliance by entering his detail and membership number in the comparison tool.

Membership is automatically renewed after one year. A member must pay another 45 for his membership to be renewed. Those who want to opt out can do so at will. 

The conveyancing legal aid you need during property transaction


Conveyance involves a lot of legal issues. Things can get awful if the law is not followed during conveyance. A poorly conducted conveyance may mean that buyers and sellers lose a lot of money on litigation or during the property purchase itself. Solicitors offer conveyancing legal aid to anyone who wants to buy or sell a house. The pieces of advice that are provided by solicitors guarantees buyers and sellers that their transaction will be clean. It also helps them in avoiding making poor decisions and in preparing themselves adequately for conveyance. These pieces of advice can be offered before, during or after conveyance.

Legal aid for different property ownerships

There are many kinds of home ownerships in the UK. Each type of home ownership is regulated by a given set of laws. A buyer must know the rules that govern home ownership before buying the home. A person buying a commonhold property may be seriously surprised and even disappointed if he finds out that his powers in the property are limited. Commonhold properties are governed by rules of leases as well as Commonhold Agreements. Each of these regulations clearly states the responsibilities of the buyer towards the property as well as the way a buyer must relate with other commonhold owners of the property. The same applies to other kinds of home ownerships.

Advice to reduce costs and time

As you choose experienced solicitors and conveyancers, they are often familiar with ways to reduce costs from the conveyancing process. While you may assume a path you take is in-expensive in your DIY conveyancing quest, it may not be the right choice in the long run. Solicitors firms with long running relationship with banks and lenders also help reduce time you need for your mortgage application to process.

An important advice that buyers and sellers must seek from solicitors is the cost of conveyancing. Almost all costs of conveyancing are paid for from the pockets of buyers and sellers. The buyer and seller must know these costs before getting into the conveyance. Failure to pay these costs in time may delay or even terminate conveyance altogether. Fortunately, most of these costs are paid for before buyers and sellers exchange contracts, which is before they make a commitment to sell. Otherwise, they may lose quite a lot of money at the end of conveyance if they exchange contracts and fail to complete conveyance.

Advice to better finance your purchase

Solicitors help buyers decide how to finance their property purchase. Homes cost a lot of money. Buyers are never able to pay the full price of properties from their own pockets. They must rely on other sources of money when financing a property purchase. Solicitors know all methods of financing property purchase in the UK. Some of these home buying schemes have strict admission criteria that are only apparent to solicitors. The solicitor will advise you about a scheme that best fits your need. You do not have to worry about the solicitor admitting you into a scheme that will suit him financially. Solicitors work professionally and impersonally. Most of them have nothing to benefit from anyone of the home purchase schemes available in the UK.

Conveyance sometimes goes bad especially when one of the major parties fail to disclose relevant information or if he acts against the interest of others. A solicitor will handle a case that requires litigation in the courts. Cases of litigation can be avoided if solicitors perform thorough research. Examples of conveyance research are Land Registry research, mining research and water and sewerage research. These investigations play a major role in the outcome of conveyance.

Tips on Conveyance


Conveyance is about transferring property and its ownership in a legitimate way. In UK, it’s immensely important to involve assurance in dealing with property transfer. Conveyance is a service that works for the best interest of the client in transferring ownership. People who are having a first time experience in conveyance often lack patience to keep it up with the process all the way through; for them, this article includes some basic tips on conveyance that can best help you out if you are having a first time experience in this service.

Tips to Know

  • Conveyance is a service that is designed in a way to serve its customer with providing assurance in transferring property in a legitimate way. Service is never a job that can be done overnight. It often takes time to accomplish. From that end, conveyance requires a minimum of 2 weeks to get the first quote on your desired property.
  • The quotes are set after making you complete a specially designed questionnaire by you and if not then after having open discussions with you. The quote is the most important part of a conveyance process whether you are to buy or sell your property. In both the cases, the effectiveness of the service done is measured by the quotes brought by the conveyancer.
  • Check on the authenticity of the conveyancer you are working with. It’s important that you work with a license holding conveyance or property solicitor. This leaves you tension free on the ground that whatever the result be, these people will work professionally.
  • The cost part is one of the most important parts of a conveyance service. You should pay attention to their mode of charging as well as to their deed of contract. The conveyancer includes all the necessary clause on costing and you should check whether there lays any hidden cost beneath the clause or not. Cheap conveyancing often cost you by charging with several hidden costs. This is a mere nightmare for you to count pounds for charges you never heard of before.
  • Before striking a deal, check on the property by yourself. It’s always imperative that you take a look at the property whether it is sound or not and whether it matches the one your conveyancer mentioned.
  • Survey is one of the major inspections that you can conduct to check on the property being sound or not. If you hire conveyancer for this purpose, you can get it done in a legitimate way and trust me, they are professional in doing this job and can leave you tension free with that.
  • One important thing you should keep in mind is that, the property you are buying should at least be for more than eighty years on lease. This is important to understand that, whenever you find cheap quotes at places where you really want to hold your property in, the lease period in these cases are lower than a quote at a level above. Lease period makes the value of the property go up. Therefore, cheap quotes are drawn to befool the buyers of property. A conveyancer can definitely help you reduce the opportunity cost in this case.
  • If you are selling a property, check on the documents and attestations by yourself. It’s important that you take active participation in checking on the identity of your fellow buyer. Fraudsters are at random these days and therefore it requires you to pay extra attention on this ground.
  • Most importantly, have patience all through the way of conveyance and get the best possible quote on transfer of property.

Launch of the housing white paper


Housing white paper is a recent government statement that outlines new policies for improving housing in the UK. The white paper has plans and purpose for ensuring that citizens of the UK find affordable housing. The housing crisis has been plaguing the UK for some time now. The government has taken all the blames for housing problems. This is despite the state establishing housing schemes to help people from all economic backgrounds to secure housing. The white paper is meant to address the current issues affecting housing including lack of accommodation, poor living conditions as well as the effects of building construction on the environment. Its target is residential rather than commercial housing.

The problem being addressed

Housing problem in London has necessitated more drastic actions towards ensuring that houses are built faster. A third of houses that were granted building permissions between 2010/11 and 2015/16 are yet to be built. The housing white paper requires builders to implement planning permissions quickly. Housebuilders must now start home construction within two years, rather than three years, of being granted building permits. Those housebuilders who delay planning permissions usually argue that building on site is not practical. They are now given a choice of building houses off-site and transferring the newly built homes to their relevant locations.

How the Housing White Paper helps

Of the courses in delay of building residential houses are the housebuilders who are so strict on their business plans that they cannot boost their productivity or risk their business models by recruiting some homeowners representative into their operations. The white paper has 3 billion Home Building Fund to encourage smaller builders, who are more receptive of homeowners, to participate more actively in home construction. The government has also created incentives that encourage custom build and self-build homes. These incentives are expected to increase housing market by a significant percentage.

One of the limitations of home construction is a lack of land on which to construct homes. A good number of lands in the UK belong to individuals and are therefore not available to first time home owners. Land cost money to buy and are necessary components of home construction. Those who do not have lands to build homes will be rendered homeless even if they have the money to construct self-build houses. The white paper has policies that increase access to land and promoting Right to Build from the National Custom and Self Build Association. Anyone wanting to build a home can now easily find a local authority register and access land for building homes.

Issues with the Housing White Paper

The issues of access to land are controversial since most of the land that is allocated by the white paper is that one which is considered a national heritage. These properties include woodlands and the Green Belt and are the pride of the country. These land could be used for home construction at the expense of losing their natural beauty. Even with the pressure of delivering more housing, the government has been slow to give out the woodlands for home construction. Various government agencies have come up to oppose government bid to use woodlands for home construction. There is hope that the state will meet the housing needs of its citizens and prevent encroachment into the forests.

What you need to know about restrictive covenants property agreement


 A restrictive covenants property is a property whose use is limited by a restrictive covenant. A restrictive covenants property agreement is an agreement that is entered into by two property owners one of who agrees to restrict the use of his land for the benefit of other. The covenant usually applies to properties that are adjacent to each other. There is no legal obligation for any party to enter into the agreement. Each party signs the agreement by his own personal will rather than coercion. Once the agreement is signed, it becomes legally binding. Going against the agreement is considered a breach of contract and can be punishable by the law.

A restrictive covenant can be passed on from one property owner to the other if the covenant remains on the title deed. This succession process can be highly inconveniencing to buyers or property inheritors that were not part of the original agreement. These new owners are bound to the agreement just like their predecessors. You may never tell if the property you intend to buy is restricted by a covenant until you see its title deed. The covenant is clearly indicated in the title deed.

It is important for new property owners to adhere to terms of the restrictive covenant of property ownership. Some new homeowners may overlook the covenant and develop a property to the extent that it breaches terms of restriction covenant. This owner is liable for prosecution and may suffer damages to his property. If this property had indemnity insurance against restriction covenant, the owner might not suffer many damages. It is important to find out if a newly purchased property with a restrictive insurance has indemnity insurance. A previous owner may have taken an insurance fearing that he could go against the covenant. You may also take insurance if a property does not have one.

There are other loopholes that you can follow to avoid damages arising from breaching a restrictive covenant. The first is seeking a compromise from the owner of the property that is protected by the covenant. A new owner of this property may not see any importance of the covenant and may be readily willing to let it go. The owner who signed the original covenant may be harder to convince. He may only release the covenant after you pay him some money. It is upon you to decide whether the new development you plan to make is worth the money the other party is asking for.

The very last option for an individual who wants to release a covenant is the Land Tribunal. The Land Tribunal has the authority to release, modify or make partial changes to a covenant. It can only act if it is supplied with relevant information. You must include substantial grounds for making an application to the Land Tribunal. Some of the acceptable grounds that may be considered by the tribunal include:

  • Important changes in the neighbourhood since the covenant was signed
  • Lack of losses of practical value on the beneficiary of the covenant
  • The covenant is preventing the maximal use of another property.

Some of the questions to ask conveyancer


Conveyance is a highly complicated business. It takes the work of a highly trained solicitor to navigate through this business. On the surface, conveyance may seem to be a simple exchange of properties. When you delve deeper, you will realize that there is much more to it. A conveyance must know what type of property ownership you want. He must know everything about the property from how it was built to any obligation of the owner of that property. These are very important pieces of information. They will determine if you will live comfortably or whether you will be bothered by financial and legal woes. These are questions to ask conveyancer before paying for a property

Type of property ownership

There are many different ways of owning a property in London. Many new home owners still do not know the types of property ownership that are out there. Your type of ownership agreement will affect you throughout the period of your stay in the property. In most cases, you will be able to know the type of ownership of a property in the advertisements. The advert will mention only the type of ownership without going to many details. This information can only be sufficient to someone who already knows a lot about that type of ownership. Unfortunately, many buyers do not know much about property ownerships. This is where a solicitor comes in. The solicitor will explain in details what type of property ownership you are thinking of getting into.

Buying Options

You will also need to know how to get money for buying the property. There are many ways of financing property purchase. Each of these has its own eligibility criteria, advantages and disadvantages. There are those methods of property finance that are unavailable to specific kinds of people. People with poor credit rating cannot qualify for mortgages that are issued by private lenders. However they can get help with construction loans from the state. This money is enough to build a house for qualifying individuals. Other means of financing homes that target specific buyers include Help to Buy:ISA, shared property ownership and joint ownerships. A conveyancer will tell you the means of financing a home that you qualify for and that is best for you.

Conveyancing solicitor fees and disbursements

Other than the cost of the property, there are many other things that you need to pay for. These extra expenses are referred to as disbursement costs. The amount of disbursement costs you will pay during conveyancing depends on the nature of conveyancing. The more complicated conveyancing is, the more you may have to pay. You should also think about solicitors fees. A solicitor will evaluate the impending conveyance and estimate what his fees will be. He will then send you a quote of what you should pay him. This happens right at the beginning of conveyancing. He may ask for a fixed fee or variable fee. You can talk to him about the method of payment that will work for you.

There is a lot of information about a property that a buyer will not know before he actually buys the property. These information is so important that it must be dug out beforehand. Solicitors will conduct research and tell you everything you need to know before buying the property. They will tell you about water supply and drainage to the property, mining activities around the property and any new developments that are expected around the environs of that property.