Property Buyers Beware!
Pre-purchasing precautions drive potential buyers to seek advice before taking advantage of stamp duty holiday.
In a bid to drive the economic recovery, a UK-wide stamp duty holiday has opened the gates to potential buyers to take advantage of an unprecedented low-cost environment. With interest rates at historical lows, now more than ever cheap borrowing is encouraging people to consider property investments. In response to this trend, H&H Land & Estates has witnessed a sharp rise in enquiries for pre-purchase advice.
Here, Robert Jauneika, Chartered Surveyor, gives his perspective on the market context and shares advice on what to consider before buying a property.
“There are a number of things to consider before buying any property, especially in relation to rural property that might include land and additional buildings. Making sure you have done sufficient due diligence in the run up to a purchase will reduce the chances of unwelcome surprises during the conveyancing process, or after the sale has gone through. Getting a full understanding of the property at an early stage can significantly reduce the time required to go through the transaction process. Where issues have already been identified, they can be dealt with prior to progressing the sale to solicitors, often saving time and money for everyone involved.”
With the market showing no signs of stagnation, even in the midst of the uncertainty of COVID-19, it seems to be a time that people want to make the most of opportunities to buy a home without the significant stamp-duty costs.
“Here at H&H Land & Estates, we’ve been receiving more requests than ever for pre-purchasing advice and there are a number of things we are recommending to clients to make sure that they are on top of everything.”
In practical terms, one of the most important factors to consider when buying residential property, and particularly rural residential property with off-mains drainage systems, is the compliance of the drainage system, such as septic tanks. For instance, septic tanks that discharge to a watercourse are now illegal under the General Binding Regulations, with hefty fines for non-compliance.
Another potential pitfall to watch out for is the access rights benefiting the property, which is particularly important when purchasing rural land and property. Access rights that are not sufficient for the purchaser’s requirements might have a profound impact on their desired use of the land. Details on the existing rights of access to a property over third party land are usually contained in the legal title documents, such as previous conveyances, and are not always obvious.
Robert continues, identifying other things to look out for:
“Take advice on the presence of any planning consents or any development potential on the site. Researching any permissions for the land around the property is wise, as any future plans may affect a decision to purchase. In terms of more specialised advice, before buying a property the contractual details of any lease or legal title is something to watch out for.
“This is something that at H&H we are particular about, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to check if there are any restrictions or special designations on the legal title that might impact the value or the use of the property. It is also worth investigating any written or unwritten tenancy agreements that could have an impact on the sale or the property’s value.”
Being able to undertake this form of desk-based research in the current climate is essential, reducing costs as well, and increasingly, Robert is being invited to undertake more specialised services such as RICS Red Book valuations which deliver a more in-depth valuation report which is usually needed for secured lending and taxation purposes.
To make sure you are buying at the right price, pre-purchase advice from a rural property professional is key, as it will help you to avoid any unwelcome surprises further down the line.
H&H Land & Estates are currently working hard to support potential purchasers looking to step into the market and take advantage of the favourable economic conditions. Robert concludes with the advice he commenced with:
“Doing your research and taking precautions pre-purchase can be the difference between a timely, safe sale, and a tumultuous buying journey.”