Tag Archives: Money

hand signing a sales contract

Conveyancing: A simple guide

When you come to buy or sell a property, you will need a solicitor or conveyancer.  They will complete the conveyancing process on your behalf.  But what do they actually do?  What does conveyancing actually mean?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring home ownership from one person or company to another.

In conveyancing, the property is legally transferred from the buyer to the seller, or vice versa.  In this guide we will look at the key steps involved. The process is similar if you are buying or selling, but we will focus on buying a property in this article.

  1. Once you have had an offer accepted on a property you will need to find a solicitor or conveyancer to complete the legal process on your behalf.  It helps speed up the process if you have already decided which one you will use.  You can do this as soon as you start house hunting, then formally instruct them to start work once you have had an offer agreed.
  2. Your conveyancer will request draft contracts and other documents from your sellers.  You will need to go through these forms which provide further detail on the property you are buying, as well as what the buyers are planning to leave behind etc.
  3. Searches will be carried out to give you a full picture of external factors that might affect the property you want to buy.  For example, are there plans to build a new motorway just across the road?  Searches cover this kind of information as well as flooding and subsidence risks.  Data on water and drainage which may be important if you are planning any building works.
  4. Your solicitor will write to you with details of all the search results and highlight any areas of concern.  You can then address any of these issues with the sellers as appropriate.  Once you are ready to proceed, you will confirm a completion date and sign the draft contract.  You must also pay the deposit into your solicitors account.

From exchange through to completion

  1. Once you and the seller have agreed, your solicitors or conveyancers will exchange contracts on your behalf.  This is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers making sure the contracts are identical.  They then immediately send them to one another in the post.  Remember, once you have exchanged contracts you are now in a legally binding contract to buy the property.  You can no longer change your mind or renegotiate, without risk of being sued.
  2. Completion day arrives!  The day you have been waiting for is here.  Usually you collect a set of keys from the estate agent, once they have confirmed that the purchase has been completed and the sellers have vacated.  Your solicitor or conveyancer pays the outstanding balance to the sellers’ solicitor, along with any mortgage funds.  Your solicitor hands over the legal documents that prove that ownership has now been transferred and the process is complete.

You can find out more about what to expect from the conveyancing process and how to find a solicitor or conveyancer from websites such as The Money Advice Service or The Home Owners Alliance.

At Check 4 Houses we are passionate about supporting people through the sometimes stressful challenge of purchasing a property.  We offer personal contact from start to finish, from local property experts.  We know the towns and cities of FleetFarnboroughAldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateley and Farnham inside out.  Our internet based approach means we can sell your home from just £599 or 0.5% +VAT.  This could save you thousands in agency fees.  Please give us a call for a no obligation valuation of your home on 01252 819725 or email info@check4houses.co.uk.

hand signing a sales contract

Conveyancing: A simple guide to what happens when you sell your property

When you come to buy or sell a property, you will need a solicitor or conveyancer.  They will complete the conveyancing process on your behalf.  But what do they actually do?  What does conveyancing actually mean?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring home ownership from one person or company to another.

In conveyancing, the property is legally transferred from the buyer to the seller, or vice versa.  In this guide we will look at the key steps involved. The process is similar if you are buying or selling.  In this article we we will focus on the process of selling your property.

  1. Once you have accepted an offer on your property you will need to find a solicitor or conveyancer to complete the legal process on your behalf.  It helps speed up the process if you have already decided which one you will use.  You can do this as soon as you put your house on the market, then formally instruct them to start work once you have accepted an offer.
  2. You must complete a number of detailed questionnaires about your property.  They are standard forms which will be provided to you by your solicitor/conveyancer.  The forms include information on boundaries, utility providers, fixtures and fittings to be included etc.  It is really important you complete them as truthfully as possible and take the time to do so.
  3. Your solicitor or conveyancer then writes up a draft contract and sends this to the buyers for approval.  At this point there may be some further negotiation between you and your buyers about date of exchange and completion.  You may also need to negotiate any payments for fixtures included, and any issues arising from their survey or home buyers report.
  4. Once you and your buyer have agreed on all the details and a date and time to exchange contracts, your solicitor or conveyancer will exchange contracts on your behalf.  This is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers making sure the contracts are identical.  They then immediately send them to one another in the post.  Remember, once you have exchanged contracts you are now in a legally binding contract to sell the property.  You can no longer change your mind or renegotiate, without risk of being sued.
  5. After exchange of contracts you should receive the buyer’s deposit – usually 10% of the property price.  However if you are purchasing another property at the same time, your solicitor may hold this on account for you. They will use it to pay the deposit on the property you are purchasing.
  6. Completion day arrives!  Once you have packed up and done a final clean it is time to hand over the keys.  Usually your buyer collects a set of keys from the estate agent.  You leave any spare sets and other keys in the property.  Your solicitor or conveyancer will receive the outstanding balance of sale price.  Any outstanding mortgage on the property can then be paid off from the proceeds of the sale.  Your solicitor hands over the legal documents that prove that ownership has now been transferred and the process is complete.

You can find out more about what to expect from the conveyancing process  from websites such as The Money Advice Service or The Home Owners Alliance.  They also have tools to help you find a solicitor or conveyancer.  Your estate agent may also recommend people they work with regularly.

At Check 4 Houses we are passionate about supporting people through the sometimes stressful and emotional challenge of selling their property.  We offer personal contact from start to finish, from local property experts that know the towns and cities of FleetFarnboroughAldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateley and Farnham inside out.  Our internet based approach means we can sell your home from just £599 or 0.5% +VAT – saving you thousands in agency fees.  Please give us a call for a no obligation valuation of your home on 01252 819725 or email info@check4houses.co.uk.

Money - Bank of England notes and coins

Hampshire County Council asks residents for their views on balancing its budget

We all know that councils are under pressure to do more with less.  Like many public sector organisations, budgets have been squeezed yet in many cases demands for services are increasing.  Hampshire County Council is no different.  The County Council claims that by April 2019 it will be facing an anticipated budget shortfall of £140 million.  In an effort to involve local people, they have opened an online consultation about strategic options for balancing the books.

Saving money: the options

The consultation asks for residents’ views on the key options for saving money, which are:

  • reducing and changing services
  • introducing and increasing charges for some services
  • lobbying central Government for legislative change
  • generating additional income
  • using the County Council’s reserves
  • increasing Council Tax
  • changing local government arrangements

At each part of the consultation you will be asked if you agree or disagree with the council making changes in this way.  For example, reducing services might mean reducing library opening hours, or routine road salting during winter months.  Lobbying central Government for legislative change could allow Councils to charge residents to use services such as local Household Waste and Recycling Centres or concessionary bus fares.  Changing local government arrangements in Hampshire could mean having fewer councillors and senior managers, reducing back office functions or disposing of surplus buildings and equipment.  All of the options are outlined in the Information Pack.

Online and paper options

You can complete the consultation online on the Hampshire County Council website here, as well as view the Information Pack.  You can also download and print paper copies of the Information Pack and Response Form or request copies by emailing insight@hants.gov.uk or calling 0300 555 1375.  Paper copies are also available from Hampshire libraries.

The closing date for the consultation is 11:59pm on Monday 21 August 2017.  You still have a few weeks to have your say and help influence the future direction of our local area.

At Check 4 Houses, as local property experts we know the towns and cities of FleetFarnboroughAldershotBasingstokeCamberleyYateley and Farnham inside out.  We are passionate about supporting our customers through the process of selling their property.  With personal contact from start to finish, our internet based approach can save you thousands.  We can sell your home from just £599 or 0.5% +VAT – giving you more to spend on your next property.  Please give us a call for a no obligation valuation on 01252 819725 or email info@check4houses.co.uk.

male hand activating a Property market button on virtual screen

Property market news: New Rightmove & Zoopla rules, overvaluing and the big vs local agent debate

The property market has been hitting the headlines recently and a number of interesting stories have got our attention.  Clearly there are current concerns about prices due to Brexit, but there are also good news stories around of local property hotspots.

New rules for selling your home on Rightmove & Zoopla

One story that caught our eye was the new Rightmove & Zoopla rules over relisting properties.  In an effort to combat unscrupulous activity in the property market by some estate agents both portals have now set tighter rules on re-listing homes.  In a practise called “portal juggling”, some agents were re-listing homes that have been on the market for a while to make them look new and bump them up the search rankings.  This could be done by taking a property off the market for just 14 days, but Rightmove have now increased this to 14 weeks.

We are huge supporters of this move as practises like ‘portal juggling’ is part of the reason we set Check 4 Houses up back in 2010.  Our founder Paul Hemmings recognised the notorious behaviour of some estate agents who appeared to be complicating the selling or purchase of a property for customers.  He wanted to create a flexible and reliable service for customers that was as stress free as possible; offering a personal approach to with a cost-effective pricing package to suit them.  We also strongly believe in not overvaluing properties.  Therefore we wouldn’t ever need to engage in practises such as portal juggling anyway.

Overvaluing costing homeowners thousands

This leads us on to another recent story reported in the Telegraph.  A new Which? study  found that 1 in 5 properties sold in England and Wales had been heavily reduced from the original asking price.  This is something we wrote about last year, in our post ‘Is the market declining or correcting?‘  A high valuation for your home may seem exciting and flattering.  But if it isn’t realistic it will only lead to disappointment and disillusionment.  We always offer a free property valuation with a realistic price as to what we think we can sell your home for.

The big vs local estate agent debate

A final story that caught our eye was this debate on the Homeowners Alliance website about whether big estate agency brands are better than local high street firms.  Their research using their EstateAgent4Me tool showed that home sellers could be missing out on thousands of pounds by opting for well-known estate agent chains rather than local options.  To get the best price for your home, those with a larger share of their local housing market were more likely to sell a property and to achieve the asking price.

At Check 4 Houses we aim to offer the best of both these worlds.  Our local team has all the knowledge of a traditional high street agent, but at the cost of an online agent.  We can sell your property from as little as £599 or 0.5%+VAT.  This could save you thousands when compared to standard agency fees.  We offer:

  • 24/7 national marketing
  • Unlimited photos
  • Accompanied viewings
  • Personal contact from start to finish
  • A price match guarantee*

Please contact us for a free, no obligation valuation on your home on 01252 819725 or info@check4houses.co.uk.  We would be delighted to help.

*See website for full terms and conditions of our price match guarentee

Keys with house in background

Is the property market declining or just correcting?

There has been lots of talk in the press for months (even years) about the property market ‘bubble’ and the implications of Brexit. The property market can be a volatile thing.  Just like money markets it can be driven by emotion, as well as cold hard facts.

Here in our local areas of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire we have been out valuing properties and hearing concerns about the market ‘declining’.  Sometimes clients call us in because they have marketed their property with another agent, but it hasn’t sold.  In some cases they have already reduced the price and that doesn’t seem to have made any difference.  They are asking ‘Are the buyers actually out there?’

We firmly believe that the buyers are out there, but what we are seeing is properties being over valued.  With years of property boom you might think your homes is worth a lot more than it actually is. You also may be flattered by agents who suggest a high valuation for your property.  In some cases all this is true.  But in others, we need to be more realistic.

Honest, practical pricing

We promise to always give you an honest valuation of what we genuinely think your home is worth.  This won’t always be the highest valuation.  It will be what we actually think we can sell it for as ultimately that is what most buyers want.  Yes in some cases you might be downsizing and feel you have one chance to maximise that pension pot.  But for many people they just want to move on with their lives.  They might be looking for that bigger home, or more manageable flat.  It might be that first step on the property ladder, or a family home with a garden.

Whatever the reason, getting your property sold is the only way you can move on.  We pride ourselves on delivering a personal service every step of the way that helps our clients to do just that.  We maximise the value of their property through our local market knowledge and our marketing.

If you are looking to move within to Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey or beyond then we can help you find your ideal property. Why not check out our properties currently for sale, as well as some comments from happy customers who have sold their property through Check 4 Houses. We can sell your home from just £499 or 0.5% + VAT. Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us and we can give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.

Top estate agent in Fleet on estate agent 4 me -May 2016

Best performing estate agent in Fleet … Check 4 Houses

We were delighted to see that today we were the best performing estate agent in Fleet across all three criteria on comparison website estateagent4me.

Estate agent 4 me helps you find the best estate agent in your local area.  It compares estate agents against 4 key indicators:

  • Fees they charge
  • Average time to sell a property like yours
  • How close they might get to achieving an asking price
  • How successful they are at selling similar homes

The tool was set up in partnership with the HomeOwners Alliance.  The complex statistical engine is fed on a daily basis with property data from over 18,000 estate agents across thousands of different websites.  It provides accurate comparison data which is free and impartial.

We are delighted that Check 4 Houses was the best performing estate agent in Fleet, delivering an 82% success rate of selling homes, taking an average of 16 days and achieving 98% of the asking price.

At Check 4 Houses we deliver a genuine, reliable and professional house selling service for up to half the cost of a traditional high street agent.  From our head office in Fleet we sell properties in Fleet, Farnborough, Farnham and further afield across England, from just £499 or 0.5%+VAT, saving our customers thousands.  Despite being internet based, we offer dedicated personal contact from start to finish.  We work together with our customers to ensure the house selling process is as stress free as possible.  Please give us a call on 01252 819725 or contact us and we would be delighted to give you a free, no obligation valuation of your home.

 

Keys with house in background

Buy-to-let property rush pre stamp duty rise

Stamp duty on second properties is due to increase in April following a Treasury consultation earlier this year and as a result the buy-to-let market has seen a busy start to 2016.

From the beginning of April, most owners in England and Wales will pay a 3% surcharge on stamp duty on purchases of buy-to-let properties and second homes.  The move is designed to free up more housing for people trying to buy their first home, who may be struggling due to rising prices and lack of housing supply.  Though targeted at landlords and those buying second properties for themselves, the changes will affect anyone buying a second home.  This will include parents trying to help their children get on the housing ladder by buying them a house or flat.

The exact policy is due to be outlined in the 2016 Budget in March and landlords appear to be keen to push through any purchases prior to the changes taking affect.  The British Bankers’ Association said that the number of mortgage applications approved for house purchases was 27% higher than the same period in 2015.  Providing similar data, the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported an eight-year high in mortgage borrowing.

The new charges are expected to raise an extra £1 billion in revenue for the Treasury over the next 15 years, however there are concerns that it will not achieve its’ objective of opening up the housing market.  Landlords may simply pass on the charges to tenants through increased rents.

There is still time to get ahead of the changes and to capitalise on this latest upward surge in prices in the market so please contact us to find out how we can sell your home from as little as £499 or 0.5% + VAT.

Pound coins on desk

Is the buy-to-let boom over yet or not?

The buy-to-let market continues to grow with lending in this sector up 40% since 2008, according to the Bank of England’s Financial Stability Committee (FPC).  Over the same period, owner occupier mortgage lending has risen just 2%.

In a recent statement the FPC expressed concerns that the growing buy-to-let property market in the UK could post a threat to wider financial stability, having the potential to “amplify” a housing boom and bust.

“The FPC is alert to the rapid growth of the market and potential developments in underwriting standards,” the committee said.  “As the market continues to grow, particularly if driven by loosening of underwriting standards, the sector could pose risks to broader financial stability, both through credit risk to banks and the amplification of movements in the housing market.”

The Bank said that buy-to-let landlords were more likely to sell if there was a significant drop in house prices, accelerating the dive in property values further.  A similar amplified effect could occur should prices go up sharply.  “Any increase in buy-to-let activity in an upswing could add further pressure to house prices. This could prompt owner-occupier buyers to take on even larger loans, thereby increasing overall risks to financial stability,” the FPC said.

So it appears that the buy-to-let boom is far from over yet but there are risks of sharp increases or decreases ahead.  If you have any concerns about your buy-to-let portfolio and want any advice about capitalising on existing high prices to release equity from some of your properties then please contact us on 01252 819725 or email us at info@check4houses.co.uk.  We can sell your property from as little as 0.5% or £499+VAT, putting more of your equity in your pocket.

Estate agent for sale boards

Housing market demand hits 11 year high

The latest housing market report by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) shows that interest in house buying is at its highest for over a decade.  According to the report 439 house hunters were registered on average per NAEA member branch in June, 15% more than in May when 383 house hunters were registered per branch and the highest since August 2004 when 582 were recorded.

This increase in demand appears to be driven by a number of factors including continued low interest rates, with buyers keen to move now and secure low rate mortgage deals before interest rates rise – expected at the turn of the year.  Mark Hayward, managing director, National Association of Estate Agents said: “Buyers are feeling more confident and those who put their plans on hold over the Election and political aftermath have kicked off their hunt, causing this massive jump in demand.”

The report echoes what we have seen in our local market, with demand continuing to outstrip supply.  The past few months have been busier than ever, with properties being sold in record time and for record prices.  Our local area of Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey continues to be a popular place to live with excellent schools, commuter links and leisure facilities.  Prices continue to rise due to high demand and low supply so you might be surprised just how much your home is now worth.  Any home you are looking to buy will also have increased in value, however there are ways to save thousands in estate agency fees that can ensure more money in your new house pot and allow you to move to the home of your choice.

To take advantage of the high demand for properties we can deliver a free valuation of your home as well as sell your property from just £499 or 0.5% + VAT, giving you thousands more to spend on your new home.  Simply give us a call on 01252 819725 or email us at info@check4houses.co.uk to find out more.

Word Vote with UK flag

First time property buyers – a 2015 UK election battleground

With just over 3 weeks to go till the general election, first time buyers and the property market as a whole remain a key campaigning issue.  With political parties pledging various ways to help first time buyers and support the property market, voters are being swayed over this key economic issue.

But does the property market need help?  Well despite a turbulent few years, the overall property market continues to grow and thrive, particularly in the south east and in our local areas of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.  Prices continue to rise as demand for housing continues to outstrip supply.  Good transport links as well as exceptional green spaces and high quality educational facilities continue to make our area one of the most desirable in the country, with Hart being again voted one the most desirable place to live in the UK, and Fleet a top town to raise a family.  Recent major housing developments such as Elvetham Heath in Fleet have been quickly snapped up and there is pressing demand to build even more housing in our area to cope with supply, such as the proposed up to 5,000 new homes in Winchfield.

Of course, rising prices can be great news – particularly if you are looking to downsize, or if you had a high mortgage to property value ratio.  However, as a first time buyer, rising prices mean even great deposits required, and a recent report suggest that some young people are giving up on the prospect of ever being able to buy their own home .  As our population ages and with high elderly care costs, multi-generational living with parents and children, or even grandparents, parents and children all living together may become more of the norm, leading to increased requirements for bungalows, properties with annexes or flexible accommodation that can be catered to different family living arrangements.

Whoever actually wins the election on May 7th and takes power, we will all be watching what happens next to find out which of their election promises – both for first time buyers and the property market and as a whole have been campaigning rhetoric, and which will actually come into force.

If you are looking to make the most of rising house prices and sell your home then why not check out our competitive packages.  We can sell your home from as little as £499 or 0.5% + VAT,saving you thousands when compared to typical high street estate agents fees.  Please contact us on 01252 819725 for a free valuation or drop us an email and we’ll be in touch.