Buying A New Build Off Plan?

Buying a new build off plan can be one of the most exciting ways to buy a house as you can have real control over how your home looks, but there are some downsides to buying off plan. Here are some of the things you will need to consider before you take the plunge and buy a new build that is currently just a building site.

Help to buy has helped to kick start the desire for new build property and this may mean that you fail to consider the risks that may be involved – you will agree a price for the property before it is built and this could mean that the value of your property drops before you complete on it. This could cause you a problem as it could mean that you cannot secure the full amount of the price in a mortgage, but you will have to find the full amount of money to pay the agreed price.

The upside of this is that the reverse can happen – your property may actually increase in value before completion. This means you will probably pay less than other people who waited to buy and you start life in your new property knowing that it’s now worth more than you paid for it.

Once you have decided to buy off plan, you should understand how the process works – you pay an upfront deposit that is non-refundable. This allows you to obtain the property you want. Once you have paid this fee, you will then have to pay another 10 per cent of the total value of the property within 21 days and then the rest on completion.

You should be aware that your build may not go according to plan and that there may be some delays. This could impact on any mortgage offer you have as they only normally last for up to six months. If you need to, contact your mortgage company to discuss any delays on completion.

Be prepared for the possibility that you may need to live on a building site for some time after you move in, particularly if you live on a large development, but most of all enjoy your new bespoke home that boasts a ten year guarantee.

If you have any property questions, please call us on 01772 424999, reply to this email or fill in the form below and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

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Cutting the Costs of Moving

amended--residential-895x250It can be very exciting buying a new property but of course as everyone knows also extremely stressful. People often forget about the escalating costs involved but there are ways to help save money.

The bills can include mortgage product fees, financial advisor fees, searches, legal costs plus the actual practical costs of removals or hiring a van. It can be fairly difficult to keep track of everything but try to start at the beginning.

Once your offer has been accepted and you have been provisionally accepted for a mortgage the next step is to find a solicitor. Most firms are competitive when it comes to conveyancing and often keep to fixed fees. Find a firm which quotes for everything including searches, stamp duty tax, land registry fees so that you can be sure you know what you are expected to pay. Survey costs are also a consideration and you are best obtaining a few different quotes to give you an idea where you can have. It is also a good idea to check reviews for both solicitors and surveyors to see how their clients find their service. Poor service can lead to delays and delays cost you money. Google is one of the best places to check for these.

Once all these things have been considered the actual practicalities of money need to be considered. Shop around. It is always the best approach but also check their flexibility and timeframes. When does the van have to be back? You may end up paying twice as much than your cheapest quote if you have to have a hire van back by a particular time.

Saving money is important but not always the best. You need good value for money. Make sure you get the right advice and that you are protected.

If you have any questions or need advice about moving home just call or email us on 01772 424999 or email Our aim is to create a stress less yet quality moving home service. We offer a combined estate agency and conveyancing package all dealt with under one roof. We definitely save you money without the worrying loss of service.

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Guide to Buying your New Property

Guide to Buying Your New Property

Initial Paperwork

We ask you to sign an initial letter of instruction and provide copies of your identification. This is the first part of the process.

Draft Paperwork
Early on in the process we will usually receive the draft contract paperwork from the seller’s solicitor. The paperwork includes deeds, draft contract, property information and contents forms. It is our job to check this paperwork for any problems, errors and important information and we do this by raising legal enquiries. At this time we raise our legal enquiries and send them to the seller’s solicitor. Please remember though that once we start this stage should the transaction fall through we shall have to charge for the work carried out. If you do not want us to start this process then please let us know.


At the initial stages of the conveyancing process you will have paid for your search fees upfront. We normally submit the requested searches once we have received the draft paperwork from the seller’s solicitor as we need a plan to order your searches. If you would like to delay the request for the searches for any reason please let us know as once we have ordered them your search fees are non-refundable.

Mortgage (Ignore if buying with cash) 

If you are buying the property with a mortgage you will have been communicating with the mortgage lender or via a financial advisor to apply for a mortgage. You will go through the application process which will usually involve credit checks, employment checks, survey and offer. Once the mortgage company is happy with the information and the property survey they will issue a mortgage offer both to you and to us. It is important to note that we are neither authorised nor qualified to help you with the application until the mortgage offer is released. Therefore it is important for either you or your advisor to progress things as best you can. Once your offer is issued it is then our job to check through it and ensure the matter can proceed.  We must suggest that you consult an independent surveyor for advice relating to valuations and surveys.

Enquiries and Reporting to you

We shall now collect the search results, replies to our legal enquiries and the mortgage offer and check everything is in order. Please remember that the replies to the questions and checks may seem unnecessary to you when you are desperate to move, however they are crucial to ensure you are buying a property without a problem, and importantly we have a duty to protect your mortgage lender (if you have one) from lending money on a property with issues outstanding. Once we have everything in from the relevant parties we shall send you all the paperwork to sign and copies of all the documentation.


In order to get ready to exchange we will need to get you to sign the paperwork and arrange all necessary funding. Once you have signed the paperwork and we have all necessary information from the seller’s solicitor we can request your money from your mortgage company and from you. Once we have any balance of money from you and confirmation from your mortgage company that they will release funds to us we shall be in a position to exchange. (Subject to any chain involved)

Exchange of contracts will take place between each parties solicitor and usually will take place over the telephone. The process means that the contract is now legal and binding upon all parties and means that it almost impossible for any party to pull out. (Or at least without serious and expensive consequences) During the exchange the purchase price is confirmed and the completion date is set. Once the exchange has taken place the completion date cannot be changed. There is no set period between exchange and completion but in an ideal world a couple of weeks would allow all parties an adequate time period to organise themselves for the big day. 

The big day has arrived and the removal van is fully loaded. On the day we have to transfer monies between the banks and of course this sometimes can take a little while. As soon as the transfers have taken place and the monies are in the right place you will be informed that the keys should be passed over to the Estate Agent. We try to keep you informed throughout the day of each stage to hopefully ensure you feel secure in the knowledge that everything is being done as quickly as physically possible.

Moving to your new home should be an exciting time and we hope that by keeping you informed we can help you through the process. Remember this is only a guide and each transaction is different and your experience maybe slightly different depending upon your individual circumstance.

Help to Buy

Everyone’s talking about it – the scheme to help thousands of people get on to the property ladder. The Government brought it in 3 months early and the big question is has it helped?

The Prime Minister suggests show saying that the scheme attracted 4000 applicants in December which was double that of November.

The scheme is aimed at those who are struggling to save up the large deposit required by many banks. As a buyer you would only need 5% deposit. The government and the bank will then jointly guarantee up to the next 15% of the value of the property in return for a fee which will be paid for by the lender. There will be rigorous credit and affordability checks to ensure that as a borrower your income can be verified. The new mortgages will not be available to people with bad credit history.

There are two parts to the scheme:

Mortgage Guarantee

This is available on both pre-owned and new build properties with a standard mortgage of up to 95% of the purchase price.

QUICK CHECKLIST– Here’s a quick checklist of those eligible for the scheme:

  • Available to both existing home owners and first-time buyers
  • You need a minimum of a 5% deposit
  • Available on all previously owned and new build properties up to the value of £600,000
  • Must be your only property (and in the UK)
  • Borrowing from a participating mortgage lender

Equity Loan – available on new build properties only, by using a government equity loan of 20% of the purchase price plus a traditional mortgage.

QUICK CHECKLIST– Here’s a quick checklist of the basic criteria:

  • Available in England for affiliated new builds with a value up to £600,000.
  • Both first-time buyers and existing homeowners are eligible.
  • Buyers need a minimum deposit of 5%.
  • You must occupy the property and it must be your only property.

Whatever your situation speak to your financial advisor to find out if you are eligible. We have helped so many people move house in 2013 and we expect 2014 to be even better especially with the help of this scheme.

At this stage over the next few days the Government and banks are releasing more and more information as the hours pass by.

We shall continue to update information as it happens but ideally you need to speak to your financial advisor to see if you will be eligible.  Please however, feel free to  call us on 01772 424999 or fill in the form below for more information and help talking through this process:

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Are you putting off viewers?

Multicolour pebbles compressedIt goes without saying that when you put your house up for sale you are expected to regularly tidy your house ready for viewers and show them round. But are you indirectly putting off buyers?

You see your house in a different light to other people. Other people have differing views, priorities, likes and dis-likes. Therefore, don’t presume that you know what to do. Recently, a couple of our own staff members have been doing viewings and it has been surprising just how different the experiences have been.

Whether you’ve done viewings before or haven’t learn the basics. Practice if you have to. Whether you want to sell your house or not, regardless of the circumstances you must show your house or flat to its best potential. You need to make people welcome and you must let them feel they have a good look around. A house purchase is one of the largest purchases a person will ever make. Think about when you buy a car. You have a good look around, you test drive it, you have a look under the bonnet you put it under the microscope. What do you offer a viewer when they look around yours? Some people obviously feel very aware they are looking around someone else’s personal space however, you are selling it. Remember, make them feel welcome. Let them have a good look around and even allow them to browse around on their own if you feel comfortable to do so. You must let people form an opinion based on a good look and assessment of whats on offer. They shouldn’t be left thinking that they didn’t get the opportunity to work out layout/plan the living room how they would have it or even how they would sit out in the garden on a sunny day.

Not only make them feel welcome make sure you are prepared. Present your property to the best of it’s ability. Whether it needs work or whether it has undergone a complete removation without presenting in a good way you are letting the house down. Make sure you’ve had the heating on, lighting on appropriate to the setting (e..g low atmospheric lighting a living room) and make sure you off what’s on offer. Remember, you know your house but Joe Blogg’s public don’t. They don’t know you’ve had  a new boiler last year, they don’t know the garden gets the sun all day, they don’t know these things. Often when a person looks around  house they are trying to take it all in. Every aspect of your house is new to them. They won’t notice the lovely under cabinet lighting, the alarm system, the brand new double glazing simply because there’s viewing overload.

Try and strike up a conversation to a allow a viewer to feel comfortable. Why are they moving? Do they need more space? Are they down-sizing? Do they need to be near a certain location? Try and use this to sell your house. They need more space point out if you have double bedrooms, extra garage and cupboard/storage space.

Ultimately you are responsible for selling your house. Success is in your hands. Point out the obvious sometimes and the not- so obvious if you need to. After all this if you do not feel comfortable then get your estate agents to do it. Viewers often feel more comfortable when the agents views. Simply because they can talk freely without offending the owner or perhaps just simply puts them at ease. From  your point of view you can almost get instantaneous feedback as most viewers are happy to share their opinion when the agent is there.

We offer agent viewings if you need it and if not, why not ask one of our agents for  a mock viewing. We want to sell your house just as much as you do. We can talk through with you what you can do to best show off the features you may even not realise yourself.

Fill in the form below or call 01772 424999 to contact us for a free valuation so we can help you sell your house:

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The Right Move for Me- Buying or Renting?

green nature images.jpg (24)New research shows the number of home owners in the past decade fell for the first time in over 100 years, while the number of people renting properties has risen.

The study, carried out by the Office of National Statistics, reveals that high house prices, low wage growth and stricter lending requirements have left many with no option but to rent. This has aggrieved many potential home owners up and down the country. But is renting really that bad?

A lot of people dislike the thought of being a tenant, saying they want to have something to call their own, rather than give their hard earned cash to a landlord. Buying a property has always been considered an investment for the future: you buy a place, pay off the mortgage and in years to come sell it for a profit or leave it for your children to enjoy or spend it as you wish.

Furthermore, you actually own the property, meaning you are in control of any changes you wish to make (providing it complies to usual rules and regulations). Living by your own rules is very satisfying, while the knowledge that no one can evict you at short notice gives an enormous sense of stability.

However, things don’t always work out that way. Firstly, buying a house is very expensive and too many people financially ruin themselves by attempting to become a home owner. This is demonstrated by the recent concerns regarding interest only mortgages, whereby customers have been too optimistic about their ability to repay the capital at the end of the term, leaving them in financial dire straits.

Even if a home owner is able to meet the mortgage repayments that is not to say that he or she will make any return on their property. As the recession has shown us, house prices do fall, as does demand. This means it is not always possible to sell off this so-called investment, let alone make a profit from it.

Having a house can therefore, be something of a burden, and not just financially. If something breaks, it is the home owner who must fix it. Or if someone hurts themselves on the property, it is the home owner who will be held liable. All this differs to renting, where tenants can call upon the landlord to make repairs, while they need only give one month’s notice (or whatever is stated in the contract) if they wish to leave.

Thus renting and buying have different advantages and disadvantages. The right move for you will be entirely dependent upon your individual circumstances, with the amount of money, risk and responsibility you are willing to incur all being factors that will influence your decision.

If you have any property questions, please call us on 01772 424999, email or alternatively fill in the form below:

Tips For Finding The Right Conveyancing Solicitor For You

As long as you have a good conveyancing solicitor acting on your behalf, the hassle of moving house can be significantly reduced, as you will have an effective and efficient professional to rely on.

But with so many different firms offering their services, who exactly should you instruct? To ensure you reach the correct decision, here are five things you must bear in mind when searching for the right conveyancing solicitor:

  • Real recommendations

If a friend or family member has recently completed a conveyancing transaction, ask them about their experience. If they recommend their solicitor, you can feel confident that you will also receive a high quality service, as there is nothing more assuring than a personal testimonial from a happy client. You can find many our recommendations on our website, google, freeindex and other sites.

 Experience counts

It is very important that the solicitor you select has a good amount of experience in conveyancing. This is a complex area of the law and you do not want someone who merely dabbles in residential property. Rather, you want a professional with a wealth of experience, or they will not have the knowledge required to handle any problems you may encounter. This can prove very costly, both in terms of time and money. We have been established since 1995 and our staff our either qualified lawyers/ solicitors or have over 15 years’ experience in conveyancing.

Easy to contact

You will need to work closely with your solicitor during the course of the transaction, exchanging documents, information and money. You therefore need someone who is easy to contact. You do not want to phone up with a question or a query, only to find you do not get a reply until days later. Nor do you want to be working with someone you do not get on with for an extended amount of time. We are open til 6pm weekdays and Saturday 10-2pm. We offer communication via email, telephone, face-to-face and post. We aim to give you answers straightaway but if not we keep you informed if we are trying to find out information for you.


  • Efficient

During a property transaction, it is vital to garner some momentum, as this will allow you to speed up the process and limit the chance of an abortive transaction. It also ensures that you are not responsible for holding up the chain, something which can create all sorts of problems. This means your solicitor must be efficient in their work, driving your transaction forward towards a speedy and successful conclusion. We have a great team who are driven and motivated to see you move into your new home. Therefore, we often go beyond the norm simply to ensure you achieve the result you need.

  • Cost/Payment plan

Every conveyancing solicitor has a different price and a different payment plan. You must find one that works for you, or you may find you are left with a legal fee which you cannot pay. We are upfront about our costs from the outset and aim to set out our fees clearly. If at any point there are unexpected/unknown fees we let you know straightaway to you can ensure you are knowledgeable about your move and the costs involved.

We love to help people move home and our favourite part is letting you know you can go and collect your new keys. Moving home can be stressful and in some cases more complex than expected. We do however, combat this by ensuring you are updated with the best information and if there are any issues or problems with ensure you understand, are given choices and options to ensure you are fully in control of your life and situation.

Please give us a call on 01772 424999, email, or use the form below and we will happy to see how we can help you move.

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Housing Market Begins To Pick Up In The UK

DAFFODIALHousing Market Begins To Pick Up In The UK

There is good news for the housing market as figures show house prices are rising faster than expected.

According to the latest Halifax House Price Index, prices in the three months leading up to February were 1.9% higher than the previous three months. This represents the third consecutive rise in house prices using this measure.

Commenting on the findings, Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis also said the number of house sales is on an upwards trend: “This increase in both house prices and activity in recent months is consistent with evidence of some improvement in market conditions.”

“The more than half a million increase in the number of people in employment over the past year is likely to have been a factor supporting housing demand.”

It is also thought that the rise in house prices – which are up 1.9% from this time last year – can be partly attributed to the government’s Funding For Lending Scheme. A larger proportion of the money lent under this scheme has been to homeowners rather than businesses, with banks apparently more willing to part with the cash than before.

Another scheme which has been brought in is the NewBuy scheme which allows a 95% mortgage to be taken out on new builds across England. Being able to buy with a deposit of just 5% will undoubtedly help the property market, as first-time buyers will be able to get themselves on the property ladder without having to save for a 25% deposit.

The news will be welcomed by most, as those looking to buy will have a greater chance of obtaining a mortgage, while those looking to sell will benefit from an increase in prices.

But are we getting ahead of ourselves? Will this brief spell of activity soon be over, with the UK property market falling back into stagnation? Apparently not, as according to housing economist Martin Ellis, house prices are expected to continue to rise for the rest of 2013.

If you have any property questions, please call us on 01772 424999, email or use the form below. As always our initial advice is always free of charge. 

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Unregistered Land- Will it Prevent me from Selling my home?

What Is Unregistered Land And Will It Prevent Me From Selling My Home?

When a plot of land is registered with Her Majesty’s Land Registry, it is given its own title register, complete with a unique number. This document verifies who the legal owner is and any other relevant details, such as where the borders lie and whether there are any rights of way.

However, land registration only commenced in 1925 and did not become compulsory until as recently as 1985. This means that approximately 5% of land remains unregistered in the UK. This is usually the case if ownership of the land has not changed either since 1925, or since 1985.

You are still able to buy unregistered land, but first it must go through the process of First Registration. This scheme was introduced in 1985 when land registration was first enforced, and is there to ensure land does not continue to evade the Land Registry’s records.

In order to buy a piece of unregistered land, the seller must collate the original documents of ownership, known as the title deeds. If the property has changed hands in the past fifteen years, the previous title deeds will also need to be obtained to prove the chain of legal ownership.

Once your solicitor is satisfied that everything is in order, an application will be made to the Land Registry. As long as all the legal steps have been taken, the Land Registry will then begin the process of First Registration, naming you as the legal owner.

This can, however, take a considerable amount of time. Indeed, even just finding the original title deeds can cause a set-back, while the legal work involved is much more complex than a normal property transaction.

So if you are buying unregistered land, be sure to factor in a little more time for the paperwork to be finalised and the First Registration of title to be completed. As long as you plan ahead and have an experienced conveyancing solicitor acting on your behalf, you should not run into any problems.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our conveyancing service please call us on 01772 424999 or email, call into our offices 71 Hough Lane Leyland PR25 2SA or use the contact form below and we will call you. As always our initial advice is always free of charge.

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Conveyancing Quality Mark


Solicitor Direct secures Law Society accreditation by achieving the new conveyancing quality mark .

We are pleased to announce we have secured membership to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme – the mark of excellence for the home buying process. We underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process. Law Society President Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said that the Law Society introduced CQS to promote high standards in the home buying process. “CQS has established itself as the quality mark of the home-buying sector and enables consumers to identify practices that provide a quality residential conveyancing service. With so many different conveyancing service providers out there CQS helps home-buyers and sellers seek out those that can provide a safe and efficient level of service.” Derek Forrest, business owner commented: “We are delighted to have secured CQS status. Buying and selling a home can be a stressful time. Choosing a solicitor to help in that process just got easier. By looking for a CQS firm like Solicitor Direct the public can seek out a firm that has proved its commitment to quality. The team have done a fantastic job and the quality mark confirms just how hard-working, committed and devoted my team are. ” “The overall beneficiaries will be clients who use Solicitor Direct when buying a home. They will receive a reliable, efficient service as recognised by the CQS standard.” The scheme requires practices to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training, self reporting, random audits and annual reviews in order to maintain CQS status. It is open only to members of the Law Society who meet the demanding standards set by the scheme and has the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association, Legal Ombudsman and the Association of British Insurers. For advice or help in moving home call 01772 424999, email, visit or visit us 71 Hough Lane, Leyland.