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Showing posts from 2012

Flash Flooding Risk - Ignore it at your peril

Are solicitors and those working with property doing enough to protect homebuyers?
Most solicitors will obtain an environmental search result and this will disclose whether the property to be purchased is close to or within a flood plain. But however many of those solicitors actually check to see whether the result includes areas where over the past ten years land and property has suffered damage from pluvial or flash flooding?
Flooding is probably the most significant natural hazard we face in the UK and around 2.8 million people are at risk from pluvial, or rain related, flooding, which represents around one- third of all flood risk in the UK. This figure could increase by 1.2m by 2050 due to a combination of climate change and population change. Population change has the potential to put three times more people at risk than climate change.
Since 2000, insurers have paid out £4.5 billion to customers whose homes or businesses have been hit by flooding. The 2007 summer floods were resp…

How to purchase your perfect home

I am told that the moment you cross the threshold you will know there and then property you are viewing is the one for you.That sixth sense!
Allowing your heart to rule you head can however present a danger.
As your solicitors we will be able to check and advise on the legal issues but will find it far more difficult to advise on the suitability of the property as a home. Nor will we be able to advise on issues relating to the state and condition of the property or on matters relating to the local environment and amenities.It is therefore very important to do your homework and to make sure your solicitor is fully appraised of all relevant matters when if comes to providing instructions.Remember that in most cases your solicitor will not have visited the property.
So here are some tips:
To begin with always visit the property at least once during the day and once in the evening.The seller will normally wish to give you a ‘guided tour’. Resist this and ask if you can spend some time lookin…

Read this before moving home

Moving house is ranked as one of the Top Ten most stressful experiences in life. 
Charlotte Ribbons, Trainee Solicitor with MJP Conveyancing  examines the ups and downs of moving home 
Moving house is ranked as one of the Top Ten most stressful experiences in life. Having moved house myself last weekend I can strongly agree that uprooting a life’s worth of possessions, daily debates with my partner over whether it is really necessary to take my childhood memoirs and having spent a week wading through boxes to find basic items I can vouch that a divorce may have been slightly less traumatic.
I believe the highlight of my day was loading my cherished super-king sized bed into the van, driving it all the way to our new home, spending a good hour manoeuvring it up and down the stairs in a vague attempt to make it fit, standing outside debating whether going through the window might work and then eventually with tears in my eyes admitting defeat, loading it back in the van and saying goodbye…

Estate Agents commission monopoly under attack

In my last blog I discussed the increasing gulf between the fee of the solicitor and the commission charged by the estate agent, and posed the question whether at a time when the property market remains in turmoil this could be justified.
At about the same time news broke of an announcement by the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills (BIS) of proposed amendments to the Estate Agents Act relating to web-based 'intermediaries'.The changes if implemented will meanthe intermediary will no longer betreated in the same way as an agent and will make it easier for sellers to advertise their home online direct to buyers.
The intermediaries, such as Tepilo, run by TV property guru Sarah Beeny, and HouseSimple allow property sellers to advertise their homes online for a fixed fee far below the commission charged by estate agents. The providers of these services do not perform any other role during the sales process yet the Estate Agents Act treats them as agents …

Can the fee of an estate agent be justified?

It often makes me choke when I learn how much the estate agent is to be paid in commission on the sale of a property.Often fifteen times more than my fee and for much less effort.On top of this the agent may also be receiving a referral fee of around £200 to £300 from the solicitor he or she has recommended. Yes, you could accuse me of jealously, and yes, perhaps I should seriously think of a career change.
It is also I suppose a sad indictment of my profession when one looks at how the Law Society has allowed such a situation to arise.Solicitors were at one time paid according to a national fee scale, so depending how much a property was worth their fee would be calculated accordingly.Unfortunately an inept professional body combined with outside competition has led to many solicitors undertaking property transactions for less that the cost of a family ticket to gain entry to Alton Towers.
So how can an estate agent justify such a large fee?It is true that the cost of advertising and …

Buy to Let tips

There are several reasons for looking at property to purchase for the purpose of letting.
Property prices are still falling and providers of mortgage products for buy to let are offering competitive rates.Added to this we are experiencing a rise in rents due to a shortage of good rental property.The shortage of mortgages with a high LTV (loan to value) has led to an increase in interest in rented property.In line with our friends on the Continent the focus is now beginning to move away from home ownership towards rental.
So what do you need to look out for if you are looking to enter this market?To begin with the property is likely to be in the lower price bracket and will therefore need to be chosen carefully.
Start with speaking to the selling agent and find out what rental income it is likely to generate, whether there are comparable properties that can considered and more importantly whether there is a high demand for rentals in that area.Check that the selling agent has experience i…

Is October 2012 the right time to introduce new building regulations?

Though there is little written on the subject it seems that by October of this year we will all be paying more for home extensions and improvements.   
It is expected that those undertaking home extensions, loft conversions or integral garage conversions will be required, and not given any choice, to undertake ‘consequential’ energy efficiency improvements in other parts of their property.
Upon implementation this may mean having to find the money to implement measures such as fitting a new boiler or solid wall insulation, up to a limit of, or even beyond, a value of 10% of the cost of the extension or conversion works.
If you are thinking of only replacing a boiler or (some or all) windows this likely to trigger  a mandatory  requirement to install one, some or all of loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, hot water cylinder insulation and draught proofing.
The impact of these requirements could be significant when you consider with information supplied by the DCGL that every year th…

What is the Green Deal?

What is the Green Deal?
This is scheduled for introduction in autumn of this year, and will enable accredited retailers such as Tesco and B&Q to supply, without no upfront cost, quality assured services to homeowners and businesses looking to improve the energy efficiency of their property.
The full cost of the measures will be recovered through instalments on the energy bill over several years, and because the Green Deal is not a personal loan or an advance payment scheme, there is no obligation to continue paying the instalments when the owner moves home.
Qualification for the scheme depends on a simple calculation, known as the “golden rule”– whereby the predicted savings from the energy efficiency improvements to the property must equal or exceed the cost of installation.

How will it work?
Those wishing to participate in the Green Deal will require a full property assessment carried out by an independent and fully accredited advisor.  This initial consultation will provide househ…

Sewage pipes - The importance of ownership

The Water Act 2003 which came into effect in October 2010 has left certain home owners worse off and continues to pass under the radar of may lawyers who act for those buying homes.
Up until the introduction of this new law, financial responsibility for the maintenance and repair ofthe drainage pipes which connects your home to the mains sewer rested squarely with you.If anything went wrong with the drains you and the others who share the use of the pipes would be required to meet the costs of repair.Often this meant having to find several thousand of pounds.
The good news is that since October this responsibility has not passed to the local water authority meaning that if your house does not connect directly to the mains sewer but is part of a network connecting more than one house then there is longer any liability resting with you.If any thing goes wrong the water authority must sort it.
Beware however as any stretch of pipe through which sewage from only your property flows will re…

How do I speed up the process of selling my home?

What can you do to sell your home fast once you have received an offer?
Dealing with the legal formalities involved in selling a house should be straightforward and relatively cheap.  The problem is that not many homeowners prepare for the sale sufficiently and unfortunately there are not too many agents around who are willing to help.
Here are my tips and ones guaranteed to speed up the process:
Get together for production all of the guarantees and warranties relating to work undertaken to the property.If you have altered or extended the  property find the planning consents and building regulation documents.  This extends to boiler installation and electrical work. Remember the buyer will also be interested in seeing consents, approvals, completion certificates, guarantees in connection with work carried our before you became owners.   The solicitors who acted for you when you purchased the property may still be holding these. Check with them.If you are not sure whether alteration and…