Housing row

PROPERTY (Residential)

Richard Scholes and Jenny Walker head up the Residential Property Conveyancing team. Richard (who has over 25 years experience) is supported by Stephanie Woodhouse, and Jenny Walker (who qualified in 2007) is supported by Caitlin Greer. Our solicitors have experience in all aspects of Property Conveyancing Law, having between them 6 to over 25 years of experience in this area.

For more information about our team, their qualifications and how to contact them, please  Click Here

For more information on Residential Property Conveyancing services, key stages and timescales please  Click Here

For more information on fees and disbursements please  Click Here

Protecting and maximising your property interests is a key part of any business. Whatever the property, RJS can advise on all the issues you face, including acquisition and disposal interest, leases, licenses and rent reviews, renewals and breaks. Whether you own a shop or have a portfolio of properties, RJS Solicitors can help take care of your property interests. From acquisition management to the ultimate disposal of a property we are here to help.

Please to find a list of helpful terms you are likely to come across in connection with the Sale of a Property.

Please   to find a list of helpful terms you are likely to come across in connection with the Purchase of a Property.


Nearly everyone during their life will be involved in some way in buying or selling a property. Property transactions by their very nature can be very stressful, not least of all because there can be numerous parties involved in the property chain. There can also be other factors to consider when moving home such as putting funding arrangements in place, coordinating removals and dealing with utility bills. All of this can add to the stress involved in moving house.


​RJS can ease the process of buying or selling your home by providing our clients with a reliable and efficient service.


​When purchasing a property, you will want to have as much information as possible about the house you are buying, its history, its value, its condition and any future potential repairs it may require. If you are purchasing with the help of a mortgage, your mortgage lender will require certain checks to be undertaken. If you are buying without a mortgage, a prudent purchaser will want to have as much information available to them as possible before committing themselves to the purchase of a property. We will undertake the necessary checks and searches to make sure that you will have a good and marketable title to the property. RJS can also deal with the formalities of registering your ownership of the property at HM Land Registry.


​If you are selling a property either to move into another property or to release capital for other purposes you will need a solicitor to deal with the legal formalities of selling your property.


​RJS offer a fixed fee service for handling property transactions and whilst we do not compete with the budget, factory style conveyancing practices, we pride ourselves on offering our clients excellent customer service with a personal touch to ensure that our clients’ needs are met throughout what can be a very challenging time.


– How We Can Help to ‘Buy and Sell a Property’

• Obtaining, reviewing and advising on searches which reveal any matters that may affect the property you are buying.

​• Advising on legal and practical issues surrounding the sale or purchase of the property and preparing the legal documents required to transfer the property.

​• Acting on behalf of any mortgage lender and advising on the mortgage documentation.

​• Liaising with solicitors and estate agents involved in the transaction to provide the best possible outcome for all parties.

​• If you are buying a property we can advise on any Stamp Duty Land Tax payable,

complete and submit the SDLT return to HM Revenue and Customs.

• Dealing with registration formalities at the Land Registry.

• Advising on what will happen to your property if you die.


BUY TO LET

RJS are here to help if you are buying a property that you do not wish to live in but wish to rent to tenants in order to realise an income. This type of transaction is often referred to as “Buy to Let” and you may be buying with or without the assistance of a mortgage.

​We can help you with the usual checks that we would recommend when buying any property and can also advise on your Assured Short-hold Tenancy Agreement. We are able to alert you to the potential pitfalls and problems you may encounter with buy to let property and can assist you with finding a suitable letting agent through our connections with local property professionals.


– How We Can Help ‘Buy to Let’

• Prepare and advise on the legal documentation required to transfer a property from one party to another.

​• Obtain, review and advise on all necessary searches.

​• Advise on legal and practical issues surrounding the purchase of the property.

​• Advise on tenancy agreements.

​• Act on behalf of your mortgage lender and advise on the buy-to-let mortgage documentation.

​• Liaise with solicitors and estate agents involved in the transaction to provide the best possible outcome for all parties.

​• Complete the registration formalities with the Land Registry.


BUYING AND SELLING AT AUCTION

 Auction conveyancing

The process of buying and selling property at auction is different to a standard property transaction and there are often shorter timescales involved. You will need to have everything in order to either buy or sell in advance of the auction.

If you’re clued up on how  auctions work, then you could pick up a real bargain when a house you’re interested in goes under the hammer. There are some key differences in the auction conveyancing process when you decide to go down this route though, when compared to a  regular house purchase.

The biggest difference is that as soon as you’re successful with a bid on a property at auction, you enter into a legally binding contract when the hammer falls. When you’re not buying at auction, this only becomes the case once written contracts have been drawn up and exchanged.

With a regular property purchase, you should instruct a conveyancing solicitor when you intend to place an offer. However, if you’re  buying at auction, it’s always a good idea to give the legal documentation to a conveyancer to check prior to bidding. If you have an auction pack on the house you’re interested in, they can take a look at everything in this for you, although the timescales may be quite tight and fees will be payable whether or not you decide to proceed with the purchase.

Whereas with a regular purchase, where your conveyancer will organise things such as the  searches and obtain certain documentation, every house that’s sold at auction should have these things in an auction pack. This includes documents such as the title deeds, special conditions of sale, outstanding liabilities and local authority and water & drainage searches. If they don’t have all of these documents, it’s likely that strict contract clauses have been written in to exclude any liability. As you’re entering into the legal contract effectively at the offer stage, it’s important that you don’t jump into an auction without professional advice in regards to these documents.

Another key difference with buying at auction is that you must have the funds required in place before you agree your purchase. So if you don’t have the full amount available, you’ll need to secure your mortgage in principle prior to the auction. The risk comes in that once you have ‘bought’ the property at the auction, you may not be able to actually secure the mortgage you wanted within the set timescales, or your lender may not be willing to lend on the property you have chosen. Securing another mortgage before the deadlines are up can be expensive and stressful.

With regards to your deposit, you’ll have to pay a sum that’s usually 10% of the sale price to the auctioneers immediately after the sale, compared to doing this at exchange of contracts with a normal purchase. You will stand to lose this if you don’t go on to complete within the specified timescale (usually 28 days), this is why it’s so important to have a conveyancer look at the auction pack and any conditions of sale prior to agreeing to buy a property.

Even though you’ll still have to pay for a pre-auction report if you don’t end up buying the property, this could save you a lot of hassle if any major problems are highlighted. Another cost that you can consider paying upfront to avoid expenses later down the line is search indemnity insurance, as it’s not always possible to have all of the searches done before you commit to buying a new home.

When you’re successful at auction, you usually have four weeks to complete your purchase. This is different to a regular purchase in that a strict deadline is set that could see you lose your deposit if you fail to meet it. It’s also another reason why you should have a conveyancer on board before you go to auction, as they’ll be able to get the ball rolling with the legal documentation straight away and maximise the time you have.

RJS can prepare the comprehensive legal pack needed to sell your property at auction. The legal pack is made available to potential purchasers prior to the auction to enable them to make enquiries about the property offered for sale.


– Buying at Auction

• If you are interested in a particular auction property, we can obtain and review the legal package from the auctioneers in advance of the auction. For a fixed fee, we can provide you with a report on any legal issues which may affect your decision to purchase the property at auction.

​• If your bid at the auction is successful, we can act on your behalf and deal with the legal formalities required to complete your purchase to ensure you meet the completion deadline agreed at the auction.


– Selling at Auction

• If you are selling a property at auction, we can prepare the legal pack required to give potential bidders as much information about the property as possible. We will ensure that the pack is lodged with the auctioneers in advance of the auction to give buyers sufficient time to make any enquiries.

​• We can attend the auction so that we are on hand to deal with the legal paperwork required to secure the contract for sale with the successful bidder.

​• We will liaise with solicitors and auctioneers to ensure that the completion deadline is met.


REMORTGAGING

In today’s competitive financial markets, home owners often find themselves seeking a better deal with their mortgage provider, particularly where better rates of interest and lower mortgage repayment are on offer. You may also be considering remortgaging to release equity in your property. 

​In order to switch from one mortgage lender to another, you will need a solicitor to act on your behalf and on behalf of your outgoing and incoming lenders. We will ensure that your old mortgage is fully redeemed and the new mortgage is registered and secured against your property.

​We offer a fixed fee service for handling remortgage transactions and whilst we do not compete with the budget factory style conveyancing practices, we pride ourselves on offering our clients excellent customer service and a personal touch to ensure that our clients’ needs are met.


– Key stages of the remortgaging process?


  • ID checks – The first thing your solicitor will ask for is proof of ID. This is necessary to satisfy regulatory and anti-money laundering requirements.
  • Take instructions – Your solicitor will then obtain and confirm all instructions before starting work on your remortgage using a simple questionnaire.
  • Gather details – Next, we will gather details of your existing mortgage and your new mortgage, so that we can assess how much you need to borrow from your new lender to pay off your old. We will also assess any exit or product fees that might be payable.
  • Searches – It might be necessary to carry out searches on your property. Some lenders require this to ensure there is nothing that could affect the property’s value. However, lots of lenders accept search insurance, which is a cheaper and quicker alternative.
  • Valuation – Your new lender will carry out a valuation of your property to ensure it is worth the amount that they are lending and will give this to your conveyancing solicitor, along with your mortgage offer.
  • Reviews and checks – The next stage of the process is for your solicitor to review all of the terms of your mortgage offer and to raise any questions or issues that they might have.
  • Signing – Once all parties are content with the detail, you will be asked to sign your new mortgage deed.
  • Completion – Completion takes place when your solicitor receives the funds from your new lender to pay off your existing mortgage.
  • Land Registry – We will update the Land Registry, informing them that a remortgage has taken place.

Typically, the whole process takes 4 weeks.


RIGHT TO BUY

If you live in a property owned either by the local authority or a housing association and have done so for some years, you may have the right to buy your property for a reduced price. This type of purchase is often referred to as a “Right to Buy” and we can assist you in purchasing the property in much the same way as a standard purchase would proceed.

Whilst a Right to Buy purchase proceeds in much the same way as a normal purchase, there are additional factors that will need consideration. There will not be an estate agent involved but we will need to liaise with the local authority or housing association and they will have their own list of requirements in order to facilitate the sale.


– How We Can Help ‘Right to Buy’

• Check and approve the legal documentation supplied by the local authority or housing association on your behalf and comply with their requirements in the sale of the property.

• Obtain, review and advise on all necessary searches.

• Advise on the legal and practical issues surrounding the purchase of the property.

​• Act on behalf of any mortgage lender and advise on the mortgage documentation.

​• Advise on any Stamp Duty Land Tax payable, complete and submit the required transaction forms to HM Revenue and Customs.

​• Deal with the registration formalities at the Land Registry.


FIRST REGISTRATION

Many people believe that ownership of a property is signified by “title deeds”. Historically, title deeds were bound documents recording all legal matters that affected a property. The Land Registration Act introduced compulsory registration of land at the Land Registry. With the onset of modern technology and the availability of information online, the system of property ownership has evolved and records of all property transactions are now registered and held electronically by the Land Registry.

​If you have owned your property for a number of years it may not yet be registered at the Land Registry. Registering your property at the Land Registry gives you proof of ownership and helps to protect your interest in the land in the event that any historic paper title deeds are lost or destroyed.

​Registering title deeds at the Land Registry for the first time can be a complicated process. There can be numerous documents which have recorded the sale of properties throughout its history particularly if the property is of a significant age.

Key stages of First Registration

The following are the required steps:

  1. Make sure the property or land has not already been registered. You can do this by searching the land register online. Please note, there is a charge for using this service.
  2. Ask the Land Charges Department to search against previous owners since 1925. This is to check there are no charges against the property. Complete the form and send it along with the fee.
  3. Complete a FR1 application form.
  4. Outline of the Land – If it is not shown on the deeds, then prepare a scale plan of the outline of the land.
  5. Complete two copies of the list of the DL documents form.
  6. Depending on the valuation of your property Calculate the correct registration fee.
  7. Send the Land Registry all the forms, documents and payment.

 There are some additional forms needed if you have purchased an unregistered property or it has been inherited.

Depending on how complex your case Is, the Land Registry first registration timescales can take up to 14 months to complete, depending on how complicated your case may be.

During the course of property ownership, it may become necessary to transfer the ownership of the property. Property transfers may become necessary as a result of marriage or cohabitation, divorce or separation or if the property is the subject of a gift.

In most cases, transferring property from one party to another is a relatively straightforward process, particularly where there are no mortgages involved. However, there may be other factors that affect the transfer such as establishing the true value of the property, considering whether there are any Stamp Duty Land Tax implications and registering the transfer with the Land Registry.


-How We Can Help With Your ‘Property Transfers’

• Prepare the transfer documentation required to legally transfer the ownership of the property.

​• Draft and prepare a Declaration of Trust to reflect any division of equity in the property.

​• Provide guidance and advice on any Stamp Duty Land Tax implications of the transfer.

​• Register the change in ownership at the Land Registry.