Residential Conveyancing

The April budget speech gave first-time home buyers more than a glimmer of hope, with the introduction of a Mortgage Guarantee Scheme. This government measure aims to inject life into the lackluster UK private property market, and helps buyers of homes purchase the properties they would otherwise not be able to secure. This article takes a look at what the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme means for aspiring property owners, when property buyers can take advantage of this scheme, and what Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, had to say about this UK property market stimulant.

 

The scheme in a nutshell

This scheme was engineered to assist prospective property purchasers with only small deposits available, which often renders them unable to secure sufficient financing. Across the UK, prospective home buyers can secure properties of up to £600,000, and the scheme applies to both existing properties and new-build properties. The last government initiative of this nature and magnitude was the Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, which closed to applications near-on five years ago.

 

What about lenders?

Lenders will have the option to buy a guarantee on the amount above 80% of the mortgage, and they will take a 5% share of net losses above the 80% cap. With this in place, government hopes to curb the origination of poor quality loans. Mortgage guarantees will be valid for seven years post-originated mortgage, with lenders having to pay a commercial fee to government for each mortgage. Property buyers can enquire about the new Mortgage Guarantee Scheme from lenders across the UK, including HSBC, NatWest, Barclays, Santander, Lloyds, and Virgin Money.

 

When is it applicable?

Buyers have had the chance to apply for mortgages under the new scheme since 19 April 2021. Initially, the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme will only run until 31 December 2022. However, hopeful news for home buyers came from the UK government, when they confirmed that the scheme’s end date will be revised and possibly extended into 2023.

 

What the chancellor had to say:

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, cited job creation and removing barriers to entry as important driving forces of the new property market scheme.

‘Every new homeowner and home mover supports jobs right across the housing sector but saving for a big enough deposit can be hard, especially for first time buyers.’

By giving lenders the option of a government guarantee on 95% mortgages, many more products will become available, boosting the sector, creating new jobs and helping people achieve their dream of owning their own home.’

Let us manage your home purchase

Ready to take advantage of the UK Mortgage Guarantee Scheme and buy that home you’ve been waiting for? Let us handle all of your conveyancing and property survey needs. We provide instant quotes on: Purchase Conveyancing, Sale Conveyancing, Remortgaging, Transfer of Equity, Equity Release, Building Report, HomeBuyer Report, Property Valuation Report, Mortgages, and Home Insurance. We also offer 24/7 support, to make sure the legal side of your property purchase isn’t your burden to bear.

Picture this: First-time property buyers find their dream home, get themselves rather excited while waiting for the legal side of things to take its course, only to find out that the transaction has fallen through and they’re not going to be moving into their new property as proud new home owners after all. The same is true for property sellers, who are equally disappointed when sales don’t come to fruition. They are often relying on the successful, timeous sale of their property to achieve other goals (like buying even more properties or downsizing due to affordability). Our latest article looks at why United Kingdom residential property sales fall through, if conveyancing might be contributing to the issue, and the role of your conveyancer to minimise the chance of a fallen-through transaction:

Why do sales fall through?

According Quick Move Now, independent home buyers in the United Kingdom, 28% of UK house sales fell through last year – and it’s a wonder that number isn’t higher. Buying a property can become a scary, complicated process. This is why the largest portion fallen-through property sales involve the buyer changing their mind about the sale (34%). Other reasons for fallen-through home sales include difficulty securing the right mortgage (17%), sellers opting out because of process delays (15%), and problems that have been identified during inspections (11%).

Could conveyancing be contributing?

Many property transaction clients (especially first-time buyers) choose to blame their estate agents and conveyancers when property sales fall through. In most cases, this is due to slow or sub-standard conveyancing. Some councils will take over 3 months to conduct searches and inspections. There are service providers who understand their clients and the need to complete property sales as promptly as possible, and then there are those who don’t see it as their problem. Legal roadblocks on the state level are also to blame in many cases of fallen-through sales, and these issues can reflect badly on the conveyancer instructed by their client.

What is the role of the conveyancer

Most issues to do with property sales are out of the conveyancer’s control, but there are things they can do to ensure that what is in their control is handled in a prompt, professional manner. Conveyancers on both sides of the property transaction should endeavour to be responsive when contacted by clients or other solicitors, and hound other third-party service providers if they are slowing down the transaction. For this reason, property sellers should instruct solicitors as soon as possible (once the house has been put on the market is best), and buyers should also instruct early, preferably once starting to put in offers on properties. This gives the appointed conveyancer a head start on things, and could lead to saved time and frustration in the long run.

Finding the right conveyancer

There are multiple reasons why property sales fall through, as listed above, but there are other potential issues property buyers and sellers could encounter during the transaction – problems that only highly-experienced conveyancers know how to navigate. Get a free purchase conveyancing quote from The Moving Hub if you’re in the market. If your property purchase or sale has recently fallen through, contact our conveyancing solicitors and we’ll make sure things go smoother next time!

Residential Conveyancing

With the stamp duty holiday in effect until March 2021, inquiries for residential properties up to £500,000 have grown dramatically. Many UK residents have realised the opportunity to save money on property purchases, as made possible by favourable Land Tax Stamp Duty adjustments due to COVID-19. It seems to be open season on United Kingdom residential properties at the moment, but we’re still faced with the problem of the pandemic, which complicates things substantially. Here is what you should know about the conveyancing process as applicable to buy-to-let transactions:

Conveyancing and buy-to-let

Countless reasons are given by individuals who enter into property purchases or sales: from wanting a perfect family that is suitable to raise a family in, to sourcing investment properties that will generate income through rentals. Buy-to-let conveyancing refers to the legal transfer of property ownership to a buyer whose reason for buying the property is to let it out, and this conveyancing process differs slightly from regular property transactions.

The conveyancer’s role

Purchasing investment properties should be easy, painless, and done in a reasonable period of time (as long as you have the right conveyancer). If no mortgage is involved, buyers can take on the legal processes themselves – but it is often difficult and time-consuming (not to mention frustrating if you’re dealing with a lethargic council). Here’s how conveyancing solicitors are able to handle a buy-to-let transaction and help ensure success for their client:

  • Once an offer is accepted, the instructed conveyancer will contact the property seller’s solicitor and request the contract,

  • The conveyancing solicitor then raising any concerns regarding the contract, and carries out the necessary inspections,

  • A conveyancer should also make sure there are no restrictions regarding renting out the property, and they should advise their client regarding any tax and/or environmental implications,

  • If a client is buying with a mortgage, the solicitor will ensure that they are applied for a buy-to-let mortgage (not a regular residential mortgage),

  • A completion date is agreed upon between the solicitors once contracts are exchanged, and the conveyancer will prepare a transfer deed,

  • The buyer’s conveyancer then draws up a completion statement, carrying out any pre-completion searches and checks,

  • On the day of transaction completion, the solicitor will transfer the funds to the seller’s solicitor, and send any stamp duty tax to HMRC,

  • Finally, the conveyancing solicitor registers the buyer’s new property in their name with the Land Registry, and that concludes the buy-to-let property transaction.

Choosing the right buy-to-let conveyancer

Property transactions are complicated at the best of times, especially when they’re not regular transactions, and become even more challenging when there’s uncertainty in the housing market (like during COVID-19). This is an ideal time to buy a residential property in the UK, thanks to the stamp duty revisions, and with a confident conveyancing solicitor at your side – you’re guaranteed a seamless, successful buy-to-let property purchase.

Get a free purchase conveyancing quote from our team of experienced conveyancers at The Moving Hub, and feel welcome to call on our team to handle your next buy-to-let property purchase or sale.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, recently announced that changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) were necessary to reignite the UK property market. This came after month-on-month property enquiries dipped from 100,000 per month in February 2020 to 40,000 a mere two months later, and is intended to kick-start the residential property industry as the UK navigates the unknown post-pandemic world.

After Sunak’s Stamp Duty alterations, any purchase of residential property up to £500,000 will be exempt from paying any tax. How have the taxes changed compare to the previous SDLT regime, and how is the “new normal” industry going to affect the conveyancing side of things?

Lowered rates until 2021

The Chancellor’s Stamp Duty holiday is applicable from 08 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, giving residential property buyers a golden opportunity to save money on the transaction. Rishi Sunak hopes that the uptick of the nil rate band for Stamp Duty purchases over £500,000 should attract property buyers back to the market.

Updated Stamp Duty rates:

*Image courtesy of Sable International

Previous Stamp Duty rates:

*Image courtesy of stampdutyrates.co.uk

How conveyancers get involved

This is good news for the property market, but a Stamp Duty holiday doesn’t always mean that buyers are going to flock to market with cheque books in hand. Future home owners are nervous, and aren’t sure how property purchases have been affected by COVID-19.

People buying homes in 2020 should partner with conveyancers, who know the law and who are confident in their ability to complete property transactions successfully – come what may. One big challenge has been conducting physical inspections of properties. However, contracts can still be exchanged and purchases can still be finalised at this time. Many conveyancers are finding clever ways to bridge this gap, conducting virtual guided tours and using platforms like Google Maps.

In situations where a property is not occupied, transactions can occur as normal and buyers can move in whenever they please (adhering to social distancing regulations). But if a property is occupied at the time of sale, parties involved should defer property exchange and completion to a later time.

Should contracts already have been exchanged, parties should agree on a deferment of completion. If contracts still need to be exchanged, the transaction should be delayed if at all possible and all risks should be carefully considered before moving forward.

What are the risks of exchanging contracts?

Parties should be willing to negotiate and facilitate the sale in a way that accommodates all involved. Unfortunately, not all buyers are able to delay their purchases – and not all sellers are willing or have the luxury of being able to wait. Should an agreement not be reached, and the original completion date can’t be met, the following risks are carried by the defaulter:

  • They will be liable for late completion interest for the period between the agreed completion date and the actual date of completion;
  • If the seller is ready to complete, a notice to complete can be served. If completion does not happen by the stipulated date, the contract can be terminated and the buyer could face losing their deposit.

Buying or selling a property at this time in history doesn’t have to be frightening. Partner with property professionals who change with the times, and who will look after your best interests as you buy or sell a property in the UK.

Residential Conveyancing

Every market has taken some sort of knock since the appearance of the devastating COVID-19 virus, including the property market. At the height of the lockdown, property experts predicted that UK house prices could drop by as much as 10%.

However, with chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent announcement that the stamp duty threshold will be raised from £125,000 to £500,000 until the end of March 2021. Shortly after, enquiries for homes valued between £400,000 and £500,000 increased by a whopping 49%.

While the house market can’t be characterised as fully functional, since buyers cannot see their prospective investments in person, experts predict that post-pandemic property requirements are going to change dramatically.

Homes with gardens

The global realisation that invisible viral dangers lurk everywhere has sparked another wellness revolution. Multivitamins, hand sanitiser and other wellness products have seen huge sales growth, and expectations are that humanity is going to be weary of high-risk environments for a long time to come. People will want to ensure that their families are able to live and thrive in healthy spaces.

Over 81% of surveyors and estate agents predict that the UK property market is likely to experience a spike in demand for homes preferably surrounded by flora and with their own gardens or balconies over the next two years. However, what isn’t certain is how rapidly the property development side of things is going to scale along with the new demand.

Apartment block exodus

Property buyers are reassessing their needs, as spending any amount of time in residential property common areas (lifts, foyers, passageways, etc.) has become a high-risk activity. People know that living in very close proximity with one another puts them in danger of contracting illnesses, which is why property experts predict that an exodus of apartment buildings is on the horizon.

De-urbanisation is an understandable inevitability, as people attempt to escape the toxic city centres in search of wide open spaces. 68% of UK property professionals predict that properties with more privacy and less communal spaces will become extremely desirable. Therefore, homes in tower blocks are expected to be less in demand.

Economist predictions

The overall sentiment for the remainder of 2020 remains bleak among economists, with the vast majority predicting declines of varying magnitude. However, not all financial thought-leaders think it’s all doom and gloom for property in 2020.

  • RICS
    The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors found, in a June study, that a net total of -12% of surveyors expected prices to fall in the second half of the year. This compared to -43% when survey respondents were asked in May.
  • Halifax
    Property prices have, according to Halifax, fallen at the sharpest quarterly rate since 2009. This paints a grim picture when you add that property market’s value sunk for a fourth consecutive month – the first time this has happened since 2010.
  • Savills
    Some double-edged optimism came from Savills, who predict that London houses could fall 2% in 2020, but will return to growth figures in 2021. The estate agents estimate that many foreign buyers are, “yet to return to the market.”
  • Knight Frank
    Knight Frank sees UK house prices falling 7% in 2020, with a 2021 recovery of around 3%. Other forecasts include a 5% drop in price for central London property, as well as a 5% price decrease for houses in prime outer-London locales.
  • Barclays

Most optimistic of all are Barclays, who are of the opinion that UK house prices will grow in 2020 by 0.6% – with a 2% recovery predicted for 2021. Mid-year predictions put the worst-case scenario for 2020 at a price drop of around 1.5%.

The conveyancing industry and overall property market in undergoing an evolution, as property buyers and sellers change their preferences. Get peace of mind by partnering with property professionals who change with the times, and can look after your best interests when you decide to buy or sell a property in the “new normal”.

As the economy continues to face uncertainty during the coronavirus crisis, choosing a conveyancing partner has become more important than ever. The property market plays a vital role in rebuilding the economy and to help boost the market, a stamp duty holiday was put into place for property buyers. The stamp duty holiday was announced on 8 July 2020 by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. It applies to all property purchases in England and Northern Island and will be in effect from now until 31 March 2021.

The aim of this break is to provide relief to buyers, which, in turn, will trigger an increase in purchase and property investment over the months to follow. The stamp duty tax relief will apply to all property valued below GBP 500,000. This, combined with the post-pandemic property boost and the post-Brexit ‘Boris Bounce’ increase will help to drive more sales, helping the economy significantly. While it is good for the economy as a whole, it is also good for the property industry. Financiers and estate agents will benefit from the increase in purchases. What this means, however, is an increased need to choose a conveyancing partner that able to scale during this key growth period in order to pave the way for greater growth within the industry.

Choosing the best conveyancing partner.

There are several factors for agents and financiers to consider when choosing a conveyancing partner. Over and beyond the ability to scale without the risk of falling behind as COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown changes the way that property is sold and purchased, there are other things to consider. Some of the most important things include the following:

Capacity.

Does your potential partner have the capacity to scale in today’s challenging property climate? Without capacity, it will be much harder to stay ahead of the curve. This means having the ability to assist clients as well as partners. Conveyancing panels add maximum value by helping conveyancers, finance experts and estate agents work together in a more efficient way. Working with a partner who is able to streamline the purchase process through panel management and other solutions is the best way to be sure that your clients navigate their purchase as smoothly as possible without bottlenecks and problems.

Expertise.

Expertise is a major criterion under any conditions. During this stage, where property purchases are set to increase, it is especially important. Highly experienced, skilled conveyancers who are able to work with all parties within the panel will help simplify the purchase process, making things easier not only for buyers but also for you and your team. The result is better peace of mind, faster transactions, less wasted time, fewer unplanned costs, and far fewer problems.

The Moving Hub offers a highly effective way to partner with highly experienced conveyancers and other property experts, allowing you to navigate the upcoming property boom resulting from the stamp duty tax holiday. Contact us today to find out more about working with a trusted conveyancing partner in the UK.

Working through the pipeline can be frustrating for many property conveyancers, especially when it comes to ensuring that completions go through on time.

In many ways, property transactions can be seen as a puzzle. For completion to happen, each piece needs to fit together. Missing pieces make completion impossible and this is where problems begin to arise. Reasons for delays can range from relatively simple issues that can be resolved to major issues outside of the control of buyers or sellers. The completion process requires all parties to agree on a price. Once instructions have been given, it is not a given that completion will happen, however. Agents need to work alongside solicitors on either side, going over sales and purchase contracts, conducting searches, and taking any other steps that are needed. If the pipeline is free of problems, this can take up to six weeks. In a perfect world, this would be the case with every transaction. In reality, completion times are often far longer.

How to speed up completion.

One of the most time-consuming steps within the process is the pre-exchange period. Delays happen here because third parties are depended on to send through various documents that could include anything from mortgage agreements to search details. Each of these documents needs to be reviewed and then discussed with clients. Often, there can be delays. Using this time to work on documents that can be reviewed or discussed can help to speed things up rather than waiting for all documents to be sent from various parties.

Other delays come in the form of legal factors such as property title deeds, property information forms, building regulation certificates, fittings and contents documents, and other paperwork. Making sure that clients have these in place and ensuring that they have been completed as early as possible will help avoid delays. Being proactive with clients and encouraging them to send documents on time is essential.

Even when clients are working with you to deliver and sign documents on time, it is always a good idea to factor in time for unpredicted problems. In the property transaction process, it is all too easy for problems to leap up with no warning at just about every step in the process. Because completion effectively involves a chain of people, including agents, financers, and clients and solicitors for both buyers and sellers, there is a need to wait for others to move forward. If a problem arises at any point in the pipeline, everyone will be delayed. Something as simple as a buyer or seller questioning something about the property can cause massive delays. Rather than taking this risk, it helps to stay engaged with clients throughout the process. Rather than waiting for clients to speak to their estate agent, make sure that you have a way for clients to speak directly to you so that you can resolve issues quickly without a go-between. Working with the other party’s solicitors to resolve questions or problems is also a good idea to reduce wasted time.

Finally, one of the most important steps of all to avoid delays is to set realistic timeframes right from the start. Both buyers and sellers need to be fully aware of timeframes. Ideally, they need to be actively involved in determining the timeframe so that you know that they can follow this timeline. Proactive communication with clients is vital so that everyone is kept up to date each step of the way. Delays are most often caused by a lack of communication between relevant parties. Make sure that you keep updated on deliverables and dates and it will be easier to prevent completion delays.

Get the benefit of conveyancing panels and more. The Moving Hub offers a way for property conveyancers, agents and brokers to work together to simplify the conveyancing process.

remote conveyancing

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the world in more ways we could ever have realised, conveyancers have been forced to adapt. The property market has seen a surprising boom as lockdown begins to ease, with many comparing it to the ‘Boris Bounce’ that occurred after Brexit. While it remains to be seen exactly how lockdown will affect the property market on a long-term scale, one thing is for sure… the coronavirus has shown us just how important it is to adapt to meet major global changes.

Conveyancing during a global pandemic.

The economy as a whole has been forced to adapt in many ways. Remote work is on a rapid rise, more businesses are turning towards smarter ways of doing things, contact-less services are also rising, and consumers are making decisions that are greatly impacted by the pandemic. Long periods in lockdown have caused both consumers and property professionals to look at other ways to navigate the sale and purchase process, leading to more challenges but also more opportunities for the market as a whole. Some of the primary ways that conveyancing has adapted to meet the needs of buyers and sellers during the pandemic include the following:

Increased focus on digital.

Although AI (Artificial Intelligence) is certainly not a new concept, it is fast gaining popularity in the property industry. Virtual walk-throughs are becoming par for the course, offering buyers the chance to view properties without leaving home. Machine learning is making it easier for brokers to use algorithms to quickly and easily find information across various documents while processing data, allowing risk profiles to be created in no time. This is simplifying credit checks greatly, allowing conveyancers to assist buyers and work with brokers more efficiently. The pandemic has given rise to a far more competitive approach, largely due to the increased move towards digital. All parties within the property purchase and sale process need to be able to fully embrace the tools that are becoming more readily available to provide buyers and sellers with a seamless experience.

Remote collaboration.

With the growth of digital within the property space comes collaboration tools that allow for a more seamless way for brokers to work with estate agents and conveyancers. This goes hand-in-hand with conveyancing panels, maximising the benefits and allowing for a simplified way to handle all aspects of property transactions remotely. Online conveyancing tools already offer the ability to connect property professionals in a way that streamlines transactions. As remote operations continue to gain traction, in the UK and the rest of the world, collaboration will be even more important for those who are not already making use of remote digital platforms.

The Moving Hub continues to look forward rather than backwards during this challenging time. By embracing new ways of moving forward, we hope to see a continued growth within the industry, as conveyancers, agents and financial advisers continue to work together throughout the course of the pandemic and beyond.

Residential Conveyancing

The economy is set to open again after lockdown ends in early May. For the property market, this means moving forward after a long pause on all completions and transactions. It remains to be seen exactly how the property market will be affected after the impact of lockdown is finally realised. What we do know, however, is that there are likely to be many changes in the process of buying and selling property. 

Over the course of lockdown, the Government has put numerous measures in place. These include moving house unless it is strictly needed and even then, moving only into unoccupied property. Various other regulations were also in place, such as a pause on non-urgent surveys in occupied property, agents and solicitors working remotely, and many other requirements designed to protect clients, agents, and solicitors. Social distancing has paved the way for an entirely new way of transacting, which may well open up new opportunities for viewings and even valuations.

A new era in property soliciting.

When lockdown was officially announced and put into place, property transactions effectively came to a halt. All UK residents were instructed to stay home, whether they were clients, agents, solicitors or any other party in the property market. The Government gave specific instructions to those in the process of purchasing or selling, advising them to pause all transaction where it was possible – especially when it came to occupied properties. In the case of occupied properties, buyers and sellers were encouraged to agree on alternative moving dates. In the case of unoccupied properties, transactions were permitted, provided basic precautions were followed. As property was not listed under essential services, the result was a resounding pause across the entire industry.

Now that lockdown is coming to an end, this pause is expected to result in a spike in property transactions. Completions put on pause will be able to continue and many new properties are predicted to be added to the market. There are a few reasons for this, including the fact that there will be a rise in remote work, with more people seeking property that can be adapted to include home offices.

Another unfortunate reason for the boom will be the ‘Christmas effect’. This occurs when families spend an extraordinary amount of time together over a timeframe such as Christmas or enforced lockdown. When this happens, the divorce rate sadly spikes, leading to an increase in sales as couples look to move.

For those considering property purchases or sales, there has been a big wait while the market was paused. Once lockdown is lifted, it is predicted that this pause will result in a surge of listings over the next few weeks as buyers and sellers are finally able to make transactions.

What does this mean when it comes to choosing solicitors?

For starters, it means looking at those who can work within the current property climate and also think ahead. Along with the surges expected to take place after lockdown, there will be new ways of transacting. Emerging trends such as virtual viewings and valuations are just one example. This could be the first step that potential buyers will take in a world of social distancing. As traditional in-person viewings are not always feasible, even after lockdown, virtual viewings will offer a way for agents to provide video walk-through tours, making these an excellent tool until in-person viewings resume. Virtual valuations are also being done by surveyors, offering the same contact-free advantage until the time that on-site valuations can be done.

Smart solicitors are not only navigating the current waters; they are also adapting to the changing climate of the property climate. Working with a solicitor who understands the many changes faced by the property industry as a whole is the best way to ensure that you partner with a professional that is able to work with you long after lockdown comes to an end. This is yet another reason to work with a conveyancing panel that provides full panel management services along with a comprehensive network of property professionals. In today’s world, we can no longer expect things to stay as they were. Whatever the impact of lockdown may be further down the line, working together is essential to boost the property industry.

To find out more about working with an experienced conveyancing platform, contact The Moving Hub today.