Conveyancing solicitors for buying a property in Loughborough

The legal work for a home purchase will require the solicitor to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such factors can range from a defective title (e.g. breached restrictive covenants) to problems affecting the mortgageability (e.g. sitting tenants).

The buyer's solicitor will feed the results of their enquiries back to the buyer and the lender (where there is a mortgage), offer practical solutions and make sure that the title is registered in the name of the new buyer.

This part of the article considers those parts of the buying process in Loughborough needing a deeper level of knowledge.

Your Loughborough conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before choosing a property lawyer, it is essential that you check that they are approved by your chosen lender, whether you are obtaining a mortgage from the HSBC, the Market Harborough Building Society or any other lender.

Quite a few banks and building societies only accept a selected list (known as a 'lender panel') of firms. If your solicitor cannot act for your chosen lender, the lender will require a second law firm to complete the legal work.

The borrower will usually need to pay this alternate lawyer's fees and significant delays to your move could occur.

Your home move could be threatened by failing to check your lawyer's lender panel status.

Quittance Conveyancing can perform the conveyancing for all lenders.

Charnwood Borough Council searches

Searches are questions asked of various bodies to help uncover relevant information about your new home. They include:

Local Authority (LA) searchreveals issues like whether the adjoining road and pavement are publicly maintained
Environmental searchenvironmental issues that could adversely affect the property
Drainage & Water searchidentifies the location of sewers and water mains, and will confirm whether these are maintained by the local council.
Chancel repair liabilityinsurance is arranged to protect the buyer against any liability for local parish church repairs.

More specialised searches, such as a tin mining search or a mining search, may also be referred to following the initial searches.

The estimated processing time for LA searches obtained from Charnwood Borough Council is 14 weeks. As a result, quicker regulated searches will be recommended.

Planning documents

The homebuyer's conveyancer will request office copies from HM Land Registry. This will help to reveal planning issues, for example limits on the development of the property or a difference between the agent's floorplan and the title plan.

Charnwood Borough Council Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a number of factors e.g. the number of occupants aged over 18 and the value of the home as determined by the VOA in 1991. E.g. for an average Band B home in Loughborough, the amount payable would be £1,329 per year.

If the property is unoccupied for 2 years or more, an additional premium of 50% may be applied to the council tax. Single person discount (25%) would reduce the tax due to £997.

Other discounts and exemptions could also apply, for example unoccupied properties undergoing major repairs or if the property is owned by a charity and is unoccupied. More recently-built property is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency and allocated a band.

Band Charnwood Borough Council Tax (2018)
A £1,139
B £1,329
C £1,519
D £1,709
E £2,089
F £2,469
G £2,848
H £3,418

Can I challenge my council tax band?

It is possible to challenge the council tax band after moving in. Between April 2016 and April 2017, 50 council tax challenges were made. 20 saw a subsequent reduction. To challenge your banding contact:

Valuation Office Agency
Enkalon House
86-92 Regent Rd

Stamp Duty on Loughborough properties

Submitting the SDLT1 form to HMRC is difficult and time consuming. The majority of purchasers get their solicitor to do it for them.

If your home costs more than £125,000 then you will have to pay stamp duty.

HMRC form rejections are avoided using the latest legal case management system.

See stamp duty examples for properties in Loughborough:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £228,248 £2,064.96
Average price (detached) £318,921 £5,946.05
Average new build £270,188 £3,509.40

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Loughborough

Since the budget announcement in Nov 2017, if you are a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty on property valued at over £300k. Higher rates of SDLT apply to buyers of second property in the form of a higher SDLT rate of 3%. For example, if an existing homeowner bought a second property in Loughborough for the average price of £228,248 the SDLT would be £11,412.40.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Loughborough

New build site

The potential pitfalls of owning a leasehold property remain of serious concern. Numerous technical obstacles may be awaiting an uninformed purchaser, including short leases, ground rent multipliers and sub-letting restrictions.

Poor leasehold guidance, from a property lawyer with little specialist experience, could lead to serious consequences.

If you intend to purchase a leasehold home, you need a leasehold-specialist lawyer who can address aspects of leasehold, including checking the lease itself, managing agent practices and service charge records from the last three years.

Ensure that you are fully-informed regarding your decision to buy a leasehold property - Contact our team of leasehold specialists on 0800 612 0377 today.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Loughborough?

Building site

24 newly-constructed homes have been bought in Loughborough in 2018 so far, based on data published by Her Majesty's Land Registry. The average cost of new build homes in Loughborough is £211,094.

Your new build conveyancing solicitor must be mindful of regional considerations and the added complexities of new build, e.g. dealing with incomplete service connection agreements and checking new build mortgage procedures are followed.

Our specialist team of new build conveyancers deliver a specialist assessment of the legal title of the house or apartment, paying close attention to concerns like the home's future resaleability and likely freehold acquisition traps.

Conservation areas in Leicestershire

When acting for the purchaser of a property in Loughborough, a property solicitor will need to check whether the property is in one of Loughborough's conservation areas. If it is, the property could be affected by certain building controls. Called Article 4 directions, these building controls can include restrictions on the removal of front boundary walls, railings or fences, restrictions preventing the addition of new access or restrictions on extensions normally within Permitted Development rights.

The new owner could be ordered to pay for necessary changes to bring a property in line with current regulations, even if the previous owner was responsible for the changes.

Quittance Conveyancing will confirm if the property you are purchasing is located in a conservation area in Loughborough.

Buy to let

In an era of historically low Bank of England interest rates, buy-to-let property has been an attractive option for investors. The process, however, is more involved than buying a home in which you intend to live.

The correct stamp duty calculation must be applied and the mortgage lender's terms must be checked.

Be aware that lenders usually have very particular lending criteria, for example specific tenant criteria and lending restrictions on studio flats, some retirement flats and flats with poorly-maintained communal areas.

Help to buy

The area's Help to Buy (HTB) agent will liaise with the buyer's conveyancer to register the equity loan lender's charge at the Land Registry and ensure lending criteria compliance.

Lenders have tougher criteria applicable to Help to Buy properties, e.g. not lending if the buyer owns another property. The property solicitor will check that any such criteria are fulfilled.

The agent's details for Loughborough properties are:

Help to Buy Midlands
Garden Court
Harry Weston Road
Binley Business Park

Shared ownership

During the conveyancing process, the Quittance Conveyancing team will review the lease and other legal documents. These documents may include additional conditions, for example the procedure if there is a default on mortgage payments and a restriction on the maximum % of shares the leaseholder can acquire.

Should you subsequently you decide to obtain additional shares (or even outright ownership) in your property, our team can also assist you with the 'staircasing' legal process.

Our conveyancers work with all housing associations in Loughborough including The Abbeyfield Loughborough Society Limited.

Green Deal

New build site

The Green Deal was a policy (officially launched in 2013) designed to incentivise homeowners to adopt greener technologies in their homes.

Through the Green Deal scheme, property upgrades could have included smart hot water controls, ground source heat pumps and micro combined heat and power.

Beyond the new owner's obligation to repay the Green Deal loan, they may also have more restricted choice of energy supplier. There could also be restrictions on what alterations can be made to the home.

Retirement Property

Although retirement properties will generally be promoted based on amenities such as security staff, costly surprises may be lying in wait in the leasehold conditions of these homes .

The consequences of any troubling lease conditions (such as ground rent) will be set out by the solicitor handling your purchase.

Conveyancing solicitors for selling a property in Loughborough

The legal process for a sale of a home is less complicated than when buying. When buying, the responsibility lies with the purchaser to establish that the home they are buying does not have any legal issues.

Conversely, with a sale, the current owner only needs to answer the buyer's questions.

What factors could threaten your sale?

Hurdles, like a complex 'Green Deal', can endanger a sale.

You shouldn't bury your head in the sand, waiting to see if the problem is discovered - get professional advice instead, face the issues head on, and find a solution proactively.

Useful reading:

For more conveyancing advice for sellers click here.

Has Brexit affected property in Loughborough?

In Loughborough and across Leicestershire generally, sales have fallen by -3.14% in the aftermath of Brexit and Article 50. In the same timeframe, parts of the UK have seen average price increases, including a 3.80% increase in Loughborough.

Period Homes sold in Leicestershire Average price Average price increase Inflation Change*
2016-17 12958 £196,890 - - -
2017-18 12551 £209,673 £12,784 2.69% 0.04%

*Price change adjusted for inflation

Loughborough property market - looking to the future

Commentators in the media are usually following an editorial agenda. Despite all of the fearmongering, the forces of supply and demand hint that the market could stabilise in the near future.

An unpredictable market has slowed increases to interest rates, meaning that repayments are more manageable.

To maximise the chances of a successful completion and reduce the impact of any delays, vendors need to do all they can to resolve issues with their property as early as possible.

Leasehold flats

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat (leasehold houses are uncommon) is quite a lot more technical than for a freehold house.

The complexities of leasehold will necessitate additional tasks, including requesting all relevant freeholder information or any documents pertaining to a variation of the terms of the lease.

To speed up the leasehold conveyancing process, it is highly recommended that the vendor contacts a leasehold-specialist lawyer as soon as the property is marketed, if not before,.

Conveyancing solicitors for remortgaging a property in Loughborough

Reducing monthly repayments by finding a better rate of interest is usually why homeowners decide to switch lenders. There are other reasons, including fixing the mortgage on a new discounted rate, or wanting to borrow more.

Homeowners will typically be able to benefit from a lower rate sooner with a more proactive solicitor. They will work to shorten the processing time of the legal work. With the base rate set at 0.5% (May 2018), fast conveyancing can be a contributing factor to getting the mortgage rate you want.

It is important that your solicitor can also act for the new lender. Our conveyancers are panel members of all major banks and building societies, so whether you are changing to an offset mortgage with Britannia or to a joint mortgage with the Manchester Building Society, we can assist.

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Quittance Conveyancing delivers fast, proactive and communication-focused conveyancing to Loughborough home buyers and sellers. Your dedicated conveyancer will keep you informed every step of the way.

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