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Property survey

Property survey

Using pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes

12/04/2017

A pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes is a document that outline procedures to be taken in case of differences in building construction and engineering. The procedures facilitate dispute resolution by the parties involved without having to engage the court. The purpose of the protocol is to create an amicable environment for conflict resolution and to avoid costs related to legal proceedings. The court is only involved when relevant parties to a conflict do not come to an agreement or when one of the parties breach the terms of the protocol. Parties to a pre-action protocol are usually the owner of a building, a construction company, a civil engineer and an architect.

The person initiating procedures of the protocol is referred to as a claimant, and the one a claim is made against is a defendant. The protocol begins with an applicant sending a letter of claim to a defendant. The defendant must acknowledge receipt of the letter within 14 days of receiving it. This is done in writing. Failure to acknowledge the letter within 14 days gives a claimant the right to initiate court proceedings. A defendant may then raise any issues that he has with the claims that are put forward by the claimant. His objection must be raised within 28 days of receiving the letter of claim. A defendant can object the claims on the grounds that:

  • The court in question does not have jurisdiction over the matter
  • That the issue should be referred to an arbitrator
  • Alternatively, that he is the wrong defendant.

The objection must clearly identify parts of the letter of the claim that is being contested. The defendant must also be clear on the grounds he used to come up with the objections. A defendant who fails to send a letter of objection within the stipulated period may be allowed to object in future. However, the court can impose financial penalties on a defendant who fails to object on time. A defendant may also withdraw his objection if he finds it fit. In such case, the defendant and the claimant will still adhere to the procedures of the protocol. The protocol stipulates that a letter of claim be deemed to be received by a defendant on the day when the defendant withdraws his objections.

A defendant who does not see it fit to make an objection must send a letter of response within 28 days of receiving a letter of claim. The defendant and his claimant may agree to extend this period, but the extension must not exceed three months. The letter of response explains which items in the letter of claim a defendant agrees with and which ones he does not. A defendant may also mention any contributory negligence on the part of a claimant. He must include the grounds of accusation he used to conclude that the claimant was also negligent. The letter of response also mentions experts that have already been instructed by a defendant and the issues the experts will be addressing. The letter of response may also contain a counterclaim. 

All you need to know about what is shared ownership houses

16/03/2017

The biggest question on the minds of most first time buyers considering shared ownership scheme is what is shared ownership houses. The reason behind this question is that shared ownership houses are cheap to buy and are at the same time rented. A buyer pays a portion of the price of the house and rents the remaining. The rent is paid to a housing association or the financial institution that paid the rest of the cost of the property. A buyer can own a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 75% of the house. He may increase his shares through staircasing.

Staircasing with shared ownership houses

A buyer is neither obliged to stay in a shared ownership scheme for long nor required by the law to the staircase. They can only staircase when their situation allows, for example, if you get additional sources of income and want to spend it on the property. Most buyers usually purchase their shares of the property by mortgaging. You must ensure that your mortgage instalments are taken care of before staircasing.

Can you sell shared ownership houses?

Shared ownership properties restrict owners power to the property. An owner of a shared property cannot sell his property before informing the housing association or financial institution with which he co-owns the house. Housing associations and financial institutions have the Right of First refusal that prevents a buyer from selling a house before informing them. They have the right to put the property in the market for a given period of time and can only allow a buyer to sell after the expiry of that.

Who’s responsible for shared ownership houses?

The authority of the housing associations and financial institutions come with obligations. These institutions must take responsibility for property maintenance. This is a responsibility that is bestowed upon them by the state. A buyer is not expected to pay for property maintenance. The cost of repairing floors and walls goes to the institutions. These institutions do not suffer losses despite such obligations. The rent that is paid to them is sufficient to pay for any expenses they incur during your stay. They are just like landlords but with a limited share to the property.

Institutions can own shared ownership properties as freehold or leasehold. You can find out about ownership schemes when you talk to a relevant financial institution. Shared ownership properties are available all over the UK. The number of properties that are owned by institutions differs. It is important to find out what an institution has before you buy.

Selling shared ownership houses

When you get to sell shares of your property, the shares you owned goes to a new buyer. The buyer then gets into an arrangement with the institution you co-owned the property with. The property has to be evaluated before it is sold. Valuation is conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Evaluation help mortgage lenders in calculating the amount of money a buyer needs to pay for a property. A buyer of a shared ownership property must be a first-time buyer. No pre-existing homeowners are allowed into the shared ownership scheme. A shared property owner may get into the scheme if he does not own any other property as a freeholder or leaseholder. 

Examples of hidden cost of buying a house

08/03/2017

Buying a house can be very expensive. The most obvious cost of buying a house is the actual price of the property. Most buyers get into conveyance with only this cost in mind. They fail to realize that there is one or more other hidden cost of buying a house. The result is that the buyer is confronted with bills he did not expect. The worst thing is that these additional expenses have to be paid from the buyers own pockets and not with loans or mortgages. It is important for any buyer to get into conveyance with sufficient knowledge of the expenses he will have to cater for.

Solicitors Fees

The very first cost of conveyance that you will be confronted with is the solicitor’s fees. Solicitors’ fees are payment made for the services of solicitors. Solicitors are experts in real estate transaction. They help buyers and sellers in exchanging properties. Property transaction cannot sail through smoothly without the input of solicitors. They help buyers and sellers draw contracts, perform property investigations and file relevant documents. They usually charge about 800.

Disbursement Fees

Search and Surveys Fees

The other cost of conveyance is the cost of property survey and valuation. Property survey help elucidate the cost of a property. The survey takes into consideration size, location and age of the property. A buyer cannot get a mortgage without having a valid property survey report. There are many types of survey reports. Each of these serve a different purpose and cost different amount of money. The most important one is the Standard Property Survey. It gives a brief account of the condition of the property and the possible market value of the property. The law requires that a buyer conducts at least the Standard Property Survey.

Land Registry Fees

As a new owner of the property, you need to change the legal ownership of the property at the Land Registry. Only after completing the process you will own the title dee of the property. You will need to fill up forms and pay the required land registry fees to make the transfer of deeds complete.

Stamp Duty Tax

Stamp duty land tax is the other hidden cost of conveyance. Stamp duty is like an income tax. Strangely, it is charged on the buyer rather than the seller who is indeed the recipient of the price of the house. Stamp duty is charged on any newly built residential home that is worth more than £125,000 or any other property that is at least £40,000. That is, if you are buying your first home, you will be charged a tax when your home is at least £125,000. If the home you are buying is the second or subsequent home, or when it is a buy to let property, taxation begins at house prices of £40,000. Stamp duty taxes, like income taxes, are grouped into various bands with each band having a different rate. The higher the price of your house, the more stamp duty you will have to pay.

Other Fees

You should also expect to pay mortgage arrangement fees. These are the cost of processing a mortgage. Mortgage arrangement fees vary from one lender to the other. Some of these lenders have refundable arrangement fees while others do not. The arrangement fees include mortgage application fees, mortgage broker fees and mortgage transfer fees. Other conveyance fees include estate agent fees and life insurance processing fees.

The house price index in 2017

08/02/2017

House Price Index (HPI) is a measure of periodic increases in the prices of residential housing. These estimates are calculated after a given period of time. They offer a snapshot of the trends in the price of residential properties. HPI is obtained through various mathematical and statistical concepts. These include the Hedonic Regression Model, simple moving average and repeat-sales regression model. England uses the Hedonic regression curve to calculate its HPI. HPI is calculated monthly in England.

Other countries such as Northern Ireland calculates there HPI quarterly. The body responsible for calculating house price index in England is the Office of National Statistics. This office uses data from the Land Registry, Registers of Scotland and Land and Property of Northern Ireland to arrive at its figures.

The Office of National Statistics generates the house price indices every month. However, they can come up with data any other time of the month. Their offices analyses the data and prepare and report for House Price Index. They may also generate these data at when requested to or during the Council Tax fairs.

Before the advent of the internet, HPIs were just available in the Office of National Statistics. There are now many websites that post HPIs. Some of these data can be trusted while others are doubtful. The most reliable website is that of the government of the UK. You will see it when you search for HPIs online. Its web address will show you clearly that it is a trusted government website.

The government website gives you two options for getting HPI information. You can search the HPI data online or download them. If you choose to search them online, you will be directed to a page where you will get a particular group of HPI data. The data are regularly updated so that even those of the immediately previous month are available.

The government has gone an extra length to ensure that its HPI website serves its clients correctly. A user can simply type in his query and results will be generated instantly. There even examples of queries that have been included posted on the website. The sample queries guide users in wording their search terms. The government website uses SPARQL to generate a report of the query entered in the search tool. These outputs are in different formats with the format capable of suiting every user. Other trustable websites are the Open Government License and Open Data License websites.

The Office of the National Statistics has updated and posted house price index of February 2017. This is an incredible fete given that February started just a few days ago. These data were available right at the beginning of the month. Average house prices of residential properties are expected to around be 225 000. This is a rise of about 10 000 of house prices in February of the previous year. The 10 000 is the annual increase in property prices from last year to this year. House price index for February 2017 is 118, a rise of 3 from the 115 figure of February of last year.

What you need to know about property survey

20/12/2016

One of the researching jobs that is requested of solicitors by buyers is property surveys. Solicitors conduct property survey to determine the structural and physical qualities of the properties before the buyers purchase the property. Results of search surveys enable the buyers to know their position with regards to the conveyance of that property. Buyers can proceed with conveyance if they find the property fit to buy. The property may be in relatively good conditions, but still in need of minor repairs. In this case, the buyers may negotiate for a decrease in the price of the property to accommodate for expected costs of renovation. If the buyers find the property totally uninhabitable, they will request for a termination of conveyance.

Solicitors never actually undertake the actual property survey. This job is better left to building and construction specialists, also known as property surveyors. What solicitors do is organise for property surveyors to review the building or structure in question. The buyer must be aware of this arrangement because he is paying for it. The cost of property survey is different from the solicitor’s fee and are accounted as disbursements. The cost varies from one surveyor to the other and is to a large extent dependent of the size and type of the property being surveyed. Larger buildings and older buildings attract more surveyor fees.

The seller must be present during property survey. He is the one that authorises the survey. Property survey cannot be carried out without the seller giving his approval. The seller can sometimes prevent the surveyor from accessing some parts of the property. This usually happens when the seller fears that some parts of his properties are so damaged that they will reduce the total cost of the property. A survey is expected to report his findings to the prospective buyer. If the seller prohibits him from reviewing some parts of the property, then he must notify this to the buyer. The buyer will then find out from the seller the reasons why his surveyor could not access those parts of the property.

The surveyor cannot report on everything about a building. Structural issues such as the inability of a pillar to support a building are better reviewed by a civil engineer. The seller cannot advise on extension plans on the building or other structural changes since this is the work of architectures. However, they can measure the shapes of various rooms or parts of the property and report these findings to the buyer. The buyer can then decide if he needs extensions, reductions, or if these rooms are large enough for his needs. The surveyor can also not report on the intricacies of electric and electricity systems that are used in the building. This job is for electrical experts. They can, however, mention whether lights and other electrical devices in the property work as expected. They can find this out by simply turning on and off the various electrical appliances. Experts like civil engineers and electrical engineers are rarely engaged during property survey for conveyance.

There are different kinds of property surveys that the solicitor might suggest. These property survey allow you to analyse the intricacies of the building, which may not be visible easily. A proper property surveyors will make a report that you can analyse to check if your investment is going to be worth what the seller is offering it for.

Learn about House survey needed for Conveyancing

05/10/2016

Investing in a property might be the biggest investment in a person's life. You want a safe and welcoming home, but one of the most important aspects is the house durability. Are you investing in a made to last property or you are burdening yourself with a mortgage for no reason?

What is House survey?

It is important to conduct a house survey once your offer is accepted. You should know what are you paying for and which problems you might be facing in the future. With a house survey, you will have a good idea about the property condition, if any fixtures have to be carried out or if there are issues you were not told about.

Which house survey should I choose?

  1. Mortgage valuation: Basically, this type of study has only the purpose of “valuation”, without any details on the condition of the building. It gets you a comparison between how much the house is worth and how much should you pay for it.
  2. RICS condition report: The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors regulates the house surveys, whilst providing the surveyors with the opportunity of fitting the templates to their needs. It is a general perspective on the home condition, without getting into details. Recommended when the house is (relatively) new and you just want reassurance that everything is in order.
  3. RICS HomeBuyer's report: Recommended for most buildings (flats, bungalows and houses) in reasonable condition, the house survey details issues like a dump, subsidence, any repairs, maintenance and includes a market valuation and the rebuild case. Mentions if the property meets the current building regulations.
  4. RICS building survey: A rigorous report, which analyses the structure and has a more intrusive check, like looking under the floorboards, behind the furniture or verifying the attic. Recommended for buildings over 50 years.
  5. New-build snagging survey: Is important to conduct a new-build survey before you move in, that will identify any cosmetical or structural issues in your new property, so you can still benefit from the two-year developer warranty

One of the largest networks of RICS regulated chartered surveyors is SamConveyancing. Their services include subsidence and damp inspection, infestations and asbestos in all the house surveys.

Moreover, you can select a wider range of services suitable to your needs, from lease extension valuations, property valuations to a structural engineer or defects reports. Their national network and local knowledge allow you to choose a local RICS regulated surveyor to conduct the type of house survey you need, so you know exactly what are you paying for.

Survey fee and Mortgage Solicitor

07/07/2016

Conveyancing must be followed when buying or selling properties in the UK. It is mandatory legal process that has been set by law to be abided at all times when dealing for a property. A complex process, it is for every individual who are interest in property buying and property selling. It has certain costs of its own and the process takes about a month or more. The whole conveyancing is done by conveyancing solicitors who are lawyers by profession. Buying a property can be done in many ways, starting from buying it with loan or on mortgage. In the previous articles, we discussed the mortgage conveyancing fees and what are the different fees that are there when buying properties on mortgages. Similarly, in this article, we will be focusing on the survey fee or survey cost of mortgaging and mortgage solicitor.

Mortgage basic and survey basic

Mortgaging requires you to buy a property on loan and conveying that property as security against the loan. Mortgaging solicitor help you to buy the property quite simply and the only headache that you have is to make sure you can pay the loan back on time. As the process is important and legal, there are a few fees related to it. In the previous articles, we discussed the arrangement fee, booking fee and the valuation and in the following article – we will be discussing the surveying fee of mortgage conveyancing.

As we know that surveying a property is done to ensure that the property is in perfect condition. In case of mortgage conveyancing, surveying a property ensures and guarantees to your lender that the property actually exists and has this much value in itself, it will require this repair cost or the other and so on.

Also, as a seller for a property, surveying a property gives your property more credibility and allows you to sell the property off more quickly and increases the demand for it. We will not discuss surveying property in details here but in another article only for surveying of property.

Surveying fee for mortgage conveyancing

Valuation fee and surveying has a notable difference between the two. Therefore, there is no need to confuse oneself that both are the same. While valuation fee is for the benefit of the lender or mortgager, surveying fee is for your personal benefit – the buyer.

As already known, surveying is a thorough inspection of the property. Thus, it will help you understand and know what are the fixes that might be needed in the property. Surveying a property while buying it on mortgage can help you observe and find out any structural problems, issues related to plumbing and any other type of problems. Surveying for mortgage conveyancing is not mandatory but we suggest it because it will help you determine the condition of the house.

Suppose you buy the house on mortgage and do not do the surveying. Afterwards, there might be fixes that you have do to and this will cause you to spend extra money on top of the mortgage loan that you are already carrying on your head. Therefore, surveying helps you find these out and if there are fixes that needs to be done then your mortgage solicitor can vouch for you to the selling party to lower the price or do fixes. This in reality will help you get a better deal.

Also, the reason to why you need a survey is because if the property does require fix in the future and you do not get surveying done, then your lender’s valuation money will not offer any protection to you. Finding a surveyor to survey a property is no hassle and getting it conveyanced is also easy. However, it is in your best interest to find a surveyor as per suggestion from your lender. This will be cheaper for you and must be asked for in the application stage.

There are other ways by which you can skip surveying or survey the property at the last moment. However, it is important to mention again that surveying will always help to lower your cost in the long run. Therefore, even if it seems like that the cost will be higher in the short run it is actually not. So, think carefully before when to survey for a property in the UK. In the next article, we will be focusing on the broker fee of conveyancing when buying a property on mortgage via mortgage conveyancing. For best conveyancing solutions in UK and around – Nigel Broadhead Mynard Conveyancing Solicitors give competitive quotes online and offline.

Surveying a property – the guide before conveyancing

03/06/2016

A new property – especially a new home is an important and a significant investment of your finances that before committing to, needs a proper analysis and check. How does one do that? Check the home that they plan to buy? They need to research and carry out a survey. This is similar but not limited to typical surveys that you know already. This survey is an essential duty that you must commit yourself to before shortlisting or picking out the ideal home that you want to buy.

Also, this survey is also significantly important before you decide to go to a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to handle your papers. It is worth mentioning that conveyancing takes time and surveying a property helps you be aware if the property’s documents are all perfect alright or not. This is because if they are not then the conveyancing will take more time and so it will be more time consuming and may hamper your chances of acquiring the house at all. Thus, before you go to a conveyancing solicitor in the UK – carry out the survey

Reasons to why you need to survey

The new home that you are planning to buy will obviously have its own lawn or open area at the front side and the back side of the house. Therefore, it is best to know the boundary of your would-be property. Many houses have their own boundary line with their own fence. If your property does not have a fence yet then you need to know the boundary line and then you can put up a fence.

On the other hand, the boundary is also important because the property that you are planning to buy maybe located just beside another property or an alley or a road. The boundary line may be such that there might not be any space left between your property and the next. In short, the boundary line may overlap on another property so it is important to do a survey before you start doing a conveyancing for your property.

Moreover, surveying is important going to a conveyancing solicitor because if you are buying an existing property then it might need repairs. Your real estate agent will sell you the property, he or she will act as the broker for your property but he will not be there covering the repair costs. You will have to do that for yourself. Surveying helps to know what you are actually paying for. If the cost of the house comes with all repairs too or is the repairs have to be done separately. Conveyancing solicitors help you get your property transferred to your name but surveying before conveyancing helps you cover all the necessary costs that might come up after you buy the property.

Surveying a property by a surveyor is important because they certify that your soon to be property has all the utility that is necessary and there need not be any complication after you buy the property. Also, the classification of what type of area your property is in can also be found by surveying. Similar to conveyancing for a property by yourself like DIY conveyancing, you can do a surveying on your own too but it is very hectic and takes up a lot of time. Therefore, just like getting the conveyancing done by the help of a conveyancer who knows what conveyancing is, you can get the surveying of a property done by a surveyor.

Types of surveying

Similar to conveyancing, surveying also has a minimum cost. The most basic form of surveying is getting a conditioning report for a property. It gives very brief information about the necessary repairs and needs of a property and like that. It costs between two hundred to three hundred pounds. Slightly higher in cost is the report survey of a property. It costs between three hundred to four hundred pounds and has more detailed report than the previous survey. A total survey known as the building survey is the priciest and costs at nearly one thousand pounds which includes each and every detail about the property that you are planning to buy.

Surveying for a property, thus, is something that you should never forgo before planning to buy a property. Surveying will help you get the conveyancing done for your property a bit easier and quicker and after the conveyancing is done then you can rest with ease with your property. There are numerous properties available in the UK and before planning your dream house, surveying should be done before conveyancing.