The United Kingdom As
the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland played a leading role in
developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and
science. At its height, the British Empire stretched over one fourth of
the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the
strength seriously depleted in two World Wars and the newly independent
Irish republic withdraw from the union. The second half witnessed the
dismantling of the Empire and the
UK rebuilding itself into a modern and
prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN
Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of the Commonwealth,
the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is
weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member
of the EU, it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union
for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in
the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the
National Assembly for Wales, and
the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999, but the latter
was suspended until May 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process.
UK in the EU
including links to UK government sites and tourist information.
As well as looking in
estate agents’ windows, the internet is also an excellent research tool
for finding properties. There are now many websites specifically geared
for property searches, as well as those catering for people who want to
sell without an agent altogether. Most estate agents also have their own
websites. If you are an investor with funds wanting to buy properties
for investment purposes, then below market value properties can be found
on investor’s websites such as
Property; Here are some
useful tips to keep in mind when looking for the house of your dreams:
- The general requirement
is to View the properties as soon as possible. Leave it too long and
you could lose out. However in the present downturn of 2008/2010
there are many properties that have been for sale for considerable
lengths of time and these present bargain opportunities.
- Make good use of your
lunch hours or make appointments on the way to and from work.
Because of work school and commuting lifestyles many vendors will
only be able to accept viewings at weekends so be prepared to put
whole weekends aside for viewing purposes.
- If two of you are buying
together, decide who will be the leading viewer, and weed out all
but the most suitable property.
- Don't be afraid to make
numerous visits to find out what you're letting yourself in for and
take professional advisers, surveyors or tradesmen to obtain quotes
for work that you would want to carry out.
- Make visits to the area
at various times of the day especially nights and weekends to check
on how noisy or quite it is and decide if you could live there.
- Check the history of any
scruffy, run down and maybe cheaper looking property. If it's been
rented it may have had a succession of landlords, all of whom may
have done the bare minimum in repair and upkeep.
- If you're tempted to buy
a run down property to renovate and sell on, check how long it's
been on the market. If it's been there a long time, it suggests
there isn't a lot of profit to be made. Ensure that you get a
structural survey to ensure there are no major faults that may point
to why it is unsold.
- New carpets, bathrooms
and kitchens can be signs of a superficial renovation that is hiding
more serious work to be done. However they can also be a sign of a
genuine effort to sell the house by making it more attractive.
offer; It is human nature to
try to strike a deal, but if you find your ideal home and it seems to be
priced correctly, consider offering the full asking price. This means
you'll be taken seriously, there won't be any time-wasting and it will
lessen the possibility of another party stepping in or gazumping you.
should be made with the stipulation of taking the property off the
market. Getting a 'Sold' board outside is a good way to dissuade others
from looking. You might also want to ensure that all internet adverts
for the property have been removed, to prevent any further interest.
chains; On average one in three
property chains fall apart. This can happen for numerous reasons, from
one party not having their finances in order, to an unpleasant surprise
in the survey, but the most common is that at least one vendor in the
chain can not sell their own house.
British house buying and selling practice, little can be done to alter
the process, although the Government has introduced legislation that
will require home owners or their selling agents to provide a Home
Information Pack (sellers pack or HIP) to prospective buyers on request.
You can find out more about this pack from our Free Report on Hip’s.
The best way to
ensure a chain progresses smoothly is through good communication. Stay
in regular contact with your solicitor and estate agent to make sure
everything possible is being done to speed things along. A slow
solicitor can effectively kill the sale so choose wisely.
Gazumping is a British term that
refers to outbidding rivals at the last minute. It is a horror estate
agents and buyers are powerless to stop. This refers to England, Wales
and Northern Ireland. In Scotland there are laws to protect the buyer.
Under the Estate Agency Act, estate agents are obliged to pass on all
offers they receive, although a determined buyer will probably go
straight to the vendor who may be tempted by a higher offer.
There is little
you can do to repel a determined bidder, but there are always ways that
you can lessen the chance of it happening, or at least reduce the impact
if it does:
- Offer the full asking
price and request that the property is removed from the market as
soon as your offer is accepted.
- Be flexible with the
vendor and don't quibble over minor points.
- Make it clear you're
willing to complete on their timescale, not yours.
- Be nice to the vendor -
if you've established some kind of relationship with them, it should
be harder for them to let you down.
- Take out insurance and
ensure that you must do this before you instruct your solicitor, so
that if you're gazumped, you can be refunded the cost of your
Locate a property solicitor to carry out the legal aspects of the house
buying process. This is known as conveyance, and your solicitor must
also draw up any agreements if you are buying a house with a friend.
This is vital - never leave it to chance whether you are buying with a
spouse friend or partner. If you are buying with a civil partner or
spouse, there are automatic agreements in place which will give rights
to each partner in the event of a split. However unromantic it sounds,
always make sure you are aware of your legal situation now, should you
split up in future.
solicitor to act on your behalf and give him the details of the property
location, and the vendor's estate agent.
will contact the vendor's property solicitor requesting title deeds to
the property. He will start contractual proceedings.
will check the property, carry out his local authority searches, which
you may want to, add to, and find out if any alterations to the property
have been made. This would be the time to negotiate a price for fixtures
the details in the contract of sale/purchase with the vendor's solicitor
and confirm mortgage details with your mortgage lender.
You will then
pay a deposit into your solicitor's account. He holds it there until
exchange of contracts.
On the day of
exchange of contracts, your solicitor exchanges contracts with the
seller's solicitor and sends your deposit over. A date for completion
(when you can accept the key and move in), which will have been proposed
before hand is then agreed upon. If you buy a new house where there is
no chain, the step of agreeing a date is much easier than when a chain
will also liaise with your mortgage lender to ensure the mortgage is
available for the completion date.
will prepare the property transfer deed, which is signed by you and the
seller and lodged with the seller's solicitor until completion.
lender transfers the money into your solicitor's account ready for
day, the day you can move in, your solicitor transfers the money to the
sellers' solicitor in return for the transfer deed, Land Registry
certificate and the keys. The sale is then completed.
arranges for the transfer deed to be stamped, pays the stamp duty and
sends the transfer deed to the Land Registry to record you as the owner.
passes the deed to your mortgage lender to act as security for the loan
and then he will send you the bill for his services and costs.
fees – your mortgage lender
will insist on a survey of the property.
£300 up to a
full-structural survey of over £1000
£150 to around £300 dependant upon
Varies by lender
for the property
Minimum 5%-10% of
property price. Some lenders will also charge a Mortgage
Indemnity fee if your deposit is small
It is advisable to
insure the property once exchange has taken place.
Vary but a likely cost
is around £600 to £1,000 (including VAT) just for a purchase
Electronic transfer fees
Vary by solicitor but
Vary by Local
Authority but up to £200
A % of purchase price.
here for current rates of duty.
Dependent upon type of
Click here to calculate the fee
Estate Agency Fee
Usually paid by the vendor
Home information pack
Usually paid by the vendor
anyone buying property in Scotland it is important to be aware of the
correct way to go about it. This is particularly the case for anyone
moving from England, Wales or Northern Ireland, as there are fundamental
differences between the Scottish system and that operating South of the
The most obvious linguistic difference is that in Scotland, we
talk of sellers (not vendors) and purchasers (not buyers). When in
doubt, consult your solicitor, but make sure he or she is an expert in
Scottish conveyance law.
Although the basics are the same it is the timing of when the contract
becomes legally binding that has led to two different approaches. It is
important to understand that there is no second step in the Scottish
procedure and that the contract can become legally binding at a
relatively early stage, unlike in England where contracts are often
exchanged towards the end of the process. In Scotland they prefer not to
wait until the removal men are at the door before concluding a binding
In Scotland the contract takes the form of a
series of letters known as "missives". There is nothing for the
purchaser to sign to commit to the contract as the "missives" are
generally signed by the parties' solicitors. Once the offer has been
accepted on all points, you have entered into a legally binding
arrangement and neither party can withdraw without potentially being
held liable for the consequent losses of the other party. Accordingly,
you should be careful and only submit a written offer through a Scottish
solicitor and make sure your solicitor is aware of your situation. If
you offer in writing yourself and this is accepted, you could end up
being committed to buy a 'pig in a poke' which is a well known Scottish
non-legal term! Once committed, if you want to get out of the deal, you
might be liable for any loss on resale and other costs.
The different legal systems have to be
considered particularly carefully if you have a house to sell in England
and you are relying on that sale to fund the purchase in Scotland. You
will require separate solicitors and it is important that your English
solicitor is aware of the need to progress the sale procedures as
swiftly as possible and the need to communicate effectively.
Scotland has its own separate and distinct
legal system. The legal environment is different and you will require a
Scottish solicitor to look after your interests. Although some agents,
including solicitors, sell houses on either side of the border, the
estate agency part of the selling process should not be confused with
conveyance. You will still need a Scottish solicitor.
properties are usually marketed on an "offers over" basis. This is just
an indication of the price that the seller is being advised to market
the property at to attract interest and while a lower offer is rare in
the current market it does not mean that a lower offer would be refused.
In a sellers market where scarcity and demand combine to push up prices,
20% over has been the general rule but this should only be taken as a
rule of thumb and trends can change. You should always start by
considering how much you can afford and also how much it is worth paying
to secure the deal. A property may also be offered for sale at a "fixed
price". This should only be treated as a guide and you will still need
to offer acceptable terms to be successful. For example a seller may be
looking for early settlement and in that situation a "cash buyer" has an
advantage. At the end of the day the selling price will depend on the
interest and level of competition as well as various other factors such
as whether the property has been on the market for a while. If the
selling agents indicate that the sellers are prepared to consider
realistic offers, it might be worthwhile giving an indication of your
position and making your offer subject to survey. If the property is
attracting a lot of interest due to the price sought, location or the
type of property, you may have to pay well over the asking price to take
it off the market or to secure it at a closing date where there are no
Subject to Survey;
"subject to survey" is less attractive to the seller as it puts the
buyer in control, so if your offer were acceptable in principle a seller
would generally set a time limit for the survey to be done. An offer
"subject to survey" may be accepted at a closing date if it is the most
attractive on the basis that the survey will be done within 48 hours.
This approach is also useful where you test the seller with a verbal
offer, reach an agreed price and then submit a formal offer "subject to
survey" which is instructed on your solicitor being advised that the
offer would be acceptable in principle. In that situation speed is of
the essence and it is advisable that you arrange the survey through your
solicitor and not the financial adviser or lender who will not generally
act with the same haste as they are operating in the main south of the
Border where a different approach and timescale applies. This tactic
will also save wasting time and money on surveys for properties that you
do not get.
If a closing date has been set
and you have noted your interest you or your solicitor will be notified
of the date set and invited to submit a formal offer. The Closing Date
system has its critics as you are in the blind bidding situation but it
generally means that the seller achieves the best price and where there
are a number of interested parties it gives each an opportunity to
submit an offer. The downside is that you may incur costs, particularly
for a survey, which will be no further use to you if your offer is
unsuccessful. If a closing date is fixed you will need to have done all
your homework before you are ready to offer. If you are confident you
will have the finance in place an offer "subject to survey" may be worth
considering. It may be helpful to have a survey carried out and your
funding arrangements should be in place. Your solicitor can instruct a
surveyor (and obtain quotes from specialist contractors for woodworm,
damp, dry/wet rot etc) and help you find a mortgage, either directly or
through a broker.
Concluding Missives and Conveyance;
offer is successful, your solicitor and the seller's solicitor will then
negotiate the "missives" which are the formal letters passing between
them dealing with the finer points of the contract which will finally be
concluded. You should be kept involved throughout this process, as the
solicitor is your agent and can only act with your express consent or
implied instructions. Your solicitor is under a duty not to delay
concluding missives and you should instruct him to delay to the
prejudice of the seller. However you still have the final say on when to
go that final step to enter into the binding contract but you must keep
in contact with your solicitor and ensure that you fully advise him or
her of your position and ability to proceed. Once "missives have been
concluded" (roughly equivalent to the "exchange of contracts" in
England) you are contractually bound to buy the property at the agreed
date of entry and the seller is bound to sell. The date of entry may be
some weeks, or even months ahead, and it is at that point that the full
purchase price is payable. On occasions the contract provides for a
deposit payable at an earlier stage but usually only in the case of a
new house where the builders tend to dictate the terms, or in high value
transactions. If a deposit is required this should be clear from the
sales particulars. From that point, your solicitor will examine the
title deeds provided by the seller's solicitor and prepare the
"disposition" (the document which will transfer the ownership of the
property to you), liaise with your lender, prepare loan documents for
your mortgage, check all the necessary searches and ensure that the
seller's title matches the title plan. Your solicitor will also report
to you on any title conditions affecting the property and any relevant
planning or other considerations. To protect your position the
appropriate clauses will have been included in the offer and in the
unusual situation where something unexpected crops up and either the
sellers are unable to give good title or there is any other material
failure to meet the conditions specified in the missives, the deal may
fall through leaving the purchaser to seek remedies for breach of
contract. However that will only apply if this situation arises after
missives are concluded.
There are a full range of loans and mortgages available from banks,
building societies and specialist lenders throughout the
UK. Many of
these are offered through specialist brokers who have access to the
whole range of mortgages therefore they are often in the best position
to offer you the best deal.
We fully recommend our specialist broker for
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