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  • Ellie Brigden

Seven key aspects to refer to when buying a home

house keys in lock

Purchasing a property is one of the biggest purchases an individual can make; marking it as an exciting milestone for anyone who becomes a landowner. However, this lengthy process can be stressful. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or have experience within the real estate market, there are several key legal considerations which must be observed when purchasing a property. Each legal aspect carries huge importance in allowing for a straightforward and successful proceeding. While buying a house can be extremely daunting, qualified Solicitors and Conveyancers are experts within this field and will guide you through each stage of the transaction. This article will give you additional guidance and confidence when approached with the following legal terms:

1. Conveyancing - This legal term refers to the transfer of legal title, usually encompassing the transferal of ownership of land from one individual to another.

2. Property searches – There are various searches that your solicitor will need to conduct when buying a property. This is order to investigate anything which may affect future use and enjoyment or value of such land. These include Local Authority Searches, Environmental Searches and Water and Drainage Searches.

3. Stamp Duty Land Tax- More commonly referred to by Solicitors as ‘SDLT’. Stamp Duty in England and Wales is a form of tax chargeable on properties over a certain price. The current threshold for Stamp Duty in England and Wales is £250,000 for residential properties. The rate of SDLT is dependent upon a number of factors such as; the value of the property, the intended use of the land (either residential, non-residential or mixed-use property) and whether you are deemed eligible for relief or an exemption. For example; if you are first time buyers.

4. Contract Exchange - At this stage your solicitor will negotiate terms of the sale or purchase. Once contracts have been exchanged, parties become legally bound to the contract. The vendor becomes legally compelled to sell, and the purchaser becomes committed to buy.

5. Completion – At this stage, the purchase price is paid to the vendor and the purchaser becomes the legal owner of the property. This is the point at which the keys are released and the buyer can begin to move in to their new home.

6. Ownership – There are two types of ownership; Freehold and Leasehold. Freehold means that the purchaser obtains ownership of the property and the land that it is situated upon for as long as they desire. Whereas a Leasehold purchase encompasses a purchase from the freeholder for the right to live in the property for a defined number of years. The difference in level of ownership will have implications for any obligations which you may be required to fulfill such as maintenance fees or service charge when leasing a property. Your Solicitor should make you aware of any further obligations you are required to fulfil.

7. Mortgage – A mortgage is an agreement which allows an individual to borrow money from a bank or building society to enable them to purchase a property. This loan grants the lender the right to repossess such property if the individual fails to repay money borrowed and any interest included in the agreement. The standard calculation of the amount of money you are able to borrow is based upon 4.5 times your household income. The term of the mortgage is generally 25 years. However, borrowers may shorten the length of their mortgage by endorsing higher monthly repayments. Your Mortgage advisors and Solicitor will likely work together to design the best payment plan based upon the financial options available to you.


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