Buying a home can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are a first-time buyer. When searching for that perfect property you will be inundated with advice from friends and family about what to look out for. While many of these are common elements to consider, such as the locality of good schools, what is the neighbourhood like and is there ample parking spaces, some aspects even seasoned home buyers have not thought about.
We take a look into some of the things you should consider, from vendors properly attending to the administration of probate to the issues with restrictive covenants.
1. Estate Administration
It’s an unfortunate fact of life, when someone passes away, their loved ones have to deal with their estate. If no one in the family is going to live in the property, they will sell it. This seems very tempting for buyers as there is no onward chain to deal with and the property is ready to move into swiftly.
However, if the benefices have not taken the proper steps with estate administration insurance, this could put your purchase at risk. Before making an offer on a property of a deceased owner, ask the estate agent to check they have taken the correct procedure with wills and probate insurance
Unless the property has been built very recently, it is likely that at some point there has been an alteration to the structure.
Any major structural changes will need to have had planning permission and this proof needs to be passed onto you as the buyer.
If the documents can not be located and proof that permission was obtained passed onto you, your conveyancer must insist that the vendor provides you with planning permission indemnity insurance.
If this doesn’t happen the consequences can be drastic. An owner of a property is legally responsible for any alteration on a property, even if they didn’t own it when it happened.
Without insurance in place to protect you, regulators could pass hefty fines onto you if previous owners didn’t get planning permission for an extension and in a worst-case scenario, force you to pull it down.
Having a good internet connection in your home is crucial to modern living, without it communication with friends, family and colleagues is almost impossible.
Just because your current provider gives you great speeds where you live, it doesn’t mean those speeds are available in your new potential home. Before placing an offer, call your internet provider and see what is available in the new postcode.
If they can’t offer what you need, speak to other providers and gauge what you can get. With slow connectivity, lifestyle can really be impacted.
It’s also good to check your mobile phone signal in each room of the house, you don’t want to be restricted to making phone calls in just one area of the house so test this out during viewings.
You have looked into mortgage lenders and you may even have your offer in principle ready. However, just because you love the property doesn’t mean your lender will too.
Your lender needs to know that their investment is safe and will take every step needed to ensure this. Every lender is different and has their own preferences in properties but some common qualms include:
- Properties not made of standard brick and mortar
- Character homes (including listed properties and thatched roofs)
- Commercial premises or flats over shops
- Leaseholds with less than 80 years left
Check with your lender if there are any forms of property they do not like to lend against before making an offer. You don’t want to fall in love with a new home, only to find out you can not secure the funds for it.
If you’ve never purchased a home with a restrictive covenant, it’s unlikely you know what they are. These are terms written into the title deeds that restrict certain ways you can live in the property.
These vary hugely and even neighbouring properties can have different stipulations. This could be anything from not being able to have certain pets, not being able to run a business from the property and even things like what colour you can paint the window frames.
Title deeds for any property can be obtained from The Land Registry for as little as £3 (and typically no more than £20). Having a conveyancer look over these to translate the legal ‘jargon’ before putting an offer can help prevent heartache down the line.
So, if you’re looking to buy a new home, take some time to really think about the above and consider everything. Your home is one of the most (if not the most) expensive purchase you’ll make in a lifetime and the wrong choice can come with severe consequences.