signing a contract

It is well known that buying a house is one of life’s most stressful events. Even just the thought of the whole process is exhausting enough, but when you factor in the packing, unpacking and redecorating and renovating of your new home, it is no wonder that it is so stressful. One of the parts of the house buying process which people find the most stressful are the legal requirements involved.

No matter if you are buying or selling a property, remortgaging or even renting, there are many legal checks and requirements which need to take place before your purchase is complete. This can be a confusing and daunting process and, when you have a million other things to think about, it can quickly become overwhelming. With that in mind, here are 5 pieces of legal advice you should hear before buying your own home.

Know What Legal Checks Need To Be Made

Legal contracts, land searches, offers and the completion process all form part of the requirement which you need in order to buy a property and, in legal terms, this whole process is known as conveyancing. A lot of potential buyers choose to instruct an attorney to take care of this process, so this should be your first step. Talk to a number of law firms which offer conveyancing services and get them to talk you through the steps which need to be taken during the process. Once you are clued up on what needs to be done, go with the firm which you feel most comfortable and confident about.

Find Out If Party Walls Are Involved

Simply put, a party wall divides the buildings of two separate owners, with the boundary between the ownerships usually positioned at the center of the wall. As a homeowner, you must tell your neighbors if you want to carry out any work on or near the shared boundary – or party wall – which is covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. If you have concerns regarding the party wall in question, then a party wall act surveyor will be able to work in conjunction with your attorney to get these finalised before contracts are exchanged.

Making a Reservation Agreement

If there is a lot of interest in the property which you are wanting to buy, then you might want to ask your attorney to write up a reservation agreement in conjunction with the seller’s agent. You should only sign a reservation agreement if you are fully intending to go through with the purchase and, if the seller changes their mind before the exchange of contacts, then they will be required to pay you compensation.

Freehold or Leasehold?

This should be something that is discussed fairly early on in the process of buying your home, but is something that will drastically change the legalities surrounding your property. When you buy a leasehold property, this means that you agree to lease the property from the freeholder and this lease allows you to live in the property for a number of years. Freehold means that you have outright ownership of the property and the land on which it stands.

Buying a New Build Property

When you are buying a new build property, there are some additional legal requirements which you need to consider, especially if you have an interest in a property which is still under construction. You may be required to pay some additional costs, or the developer can ask you to exchange contacts shortly after you reserve the property, which needs further guidance as the built continues. If the house which you want to buy is still being built, you may want to have a snagging survey done to find out if there are any defects or issues with the property which could delay your moving in date.

Finding Help with Moving Professionals

We hope you found this blog post on 5 Pieces Of Legal Advice When Buying Your Own Home useful. Be sure to check out our post on 10 Things to Look Out For When Buying a New Home for more great tips!

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