Whether you are arranging a viewing or to register your details, from the moment you call the Neo's office I will be with you from beginning to end to ensure you have a personal service.
What is an Estate Agent?
Estate agents act as brokers to sell other peoples homes. Essentially they are there to facilitate contact between the sellers and potential buyers. With each house sale, they take a commission. The bigger the sale and the higher the price, the bigger their individual commissions. They may charge other fees for administration, listing and viewings. The role of an Estate Agent can be summed up in the following points:
- To get suitable properties on to the housing market and reach as many potential buyers as possible.
- To liaise with sellers in presenting their property in the best possible light to attract sales.
- To represent saleable properties to potential buyers in a fair and honest way.
- To negotiate the sale at the best possible price.
- To progress the sale through to a successful conclusion in the fastest possible time
What is a Surveyor?
It is absolutely vital that you know the condition of a property prior to investing in it. As such, you will need a professional surveyor to conduct a survey and check the aspects of the house that are not obvious to the untrained eye. Depending on the type of survey you contract them for, surveyors will provide you with a detailed report giving you a clearer indication of the property's value and listing any potential problems. Always use a surveyor that is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
What are the different kinds of Survey?
There are three main types of survey:
- A Valuation (this is actually not a survey)
- A HomeBuyers Report
- A Full Structural Survey
Your mortgage lender will insist on a valuation. This simply checks that the price you are paying for the house is fair. In essence, this is to ensure that their investment is being made on sound terms, but you still have to foot the bill and they will recommend the company. Do not confuse a valuation with a survey though! A valuation is not a survey, though it can be carried out by the same people.
A survey is a far more detailed look at the state of repair and is highly recommended, as there could be hidden problems that could turn your dream home into a nightmare. You can have a survey done by the same company as the valuation, or contract one of your choosing to do the job.
A HomeBuyers Report
This is the most basic type of survey and will check the visible areas of the house for any problems. It is generally suitable for houses built within the last 150 years that are in a reasonable condition. You should be furnished with a report at the end which, according to the RICS, will include the following:
- The general state of repair: Covering the interior and exterior of the property and the locality.
- Major defects: It is the surveyor's job to judge if there are any major defects that could affect the market value of the house.
- Damp: Results of tests for damp in the walls.
- Timbers: You need to know about any damage to timbers, especially woodworm or rot.
- Drainage: The present condition of any damp-proofing, insulation and drainage must be ascertained (although drains are not tested in this survey).
- Future maintenance: You need to know about any work that will need to be done immediately or in the near future.
- Insurance: The cost of rebuilding the property after a fire must be estimated for insurance requirements.
- Legal matters: There could be issues relating to the lease terms of occupancy, rights of way, rights and responsibilities, parking issues, etc.
- Further investigation: If the surveyor sees anything that requires further investigation but cannot be covered in this type of report, he will notify you.
- Value: Based on the findings, you will be given a valuation of the property on the present open market.
A Full Structural Survey
A full structural survey is a much more detailed and costly report. It is not uncommon for a survey to reach over 20 pages in length, including diagrams, floor plans and using very technical and legal language. A full structural survey will not give you the value of the property; you need to ask for this if you wish it to be included. There are legal ramifications for a licensed surveyor if they do not warn you of anything that could affect the property and the level of detail reflects this. It is recommended for properties that:
- Are listed buildings.
- Are old properties.
- Are constructed in an unusual manner.
- You plan to renovate extensively.
- Have had extensive alterations already.
What is a conveyancer?
The final part of the house buying process entails the use of a conveyancer or solicitor licensed to do conveyancing work. The complex legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another is called conveyancing and, although you can legally do this yourself, most mortgage lenders will not allow you to, so you are best contracting an expert.
The buyer’s conveyancer or solicitor will liaise with the seller’s solicitor, and you should be made aware of how the process is progressing at all times. Conveyancing can be divided into three main stages, at each stage particular things must be completed before the process can move onto the next one:
- Pre exchange of Contracts: All contracts - the lease, title deeds etc must be checked and negotiated. Formal searches such as land registry must be undertaken. Specific formal inquiries must be made to the seller of the property.
- Exchange of Contracts: Upon receipt of a confirmed mortgage offer contracts are exchanged, signed and some final searches are undertaken. The deposit is paid.
- Completion: Assuming all the searches have been cleared, the deposit has been paid and contracts have been signed then the property price is transferred to the seller, the buyer receives keys and can officially move in!
It is crucial that your conveyancing is carried out efficiently and with great attention to detail. If a race with other interested buyers to obtain an attractive property ensues, the speed of conveyancing will really make a difference. After stage 2 (exchange of contracts), both the buyer and seller are legally committed to the deal. However there is no legal obligation during stage one, never mind how much money has been forked out on surveys, valuations, searches and legal fees!
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