GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME: Sarah Gaunt is here to help first time buyers get to grips with the conveyancing process. This month, she discusses deeds, departures and developments…
When do I receive the deeds to my new property?
Most people expect to receive paperwork confirming they are the new owners of a property before the purchase completes. However, all hard copy deeds were abolished in 2003.
Every property transaction still needs to be lodged with the Land Registry and this is handled by your solicitor. Once its records have been updated, you will be the official ‘Registered Proprietor,’ but since the new legislation was introduced, the organisation has stopped issuing paperwork to homeowners proving the change has been made.
Details of every UK property title are held by the Land Registry in electronic format. If you decide to sell your home at some point in the future, one of your solicitor’s first jobs will be to request a copy of the Registered Title to prove your ownership. Until then, there should be no need for you to access the data.
Can the family I am buying from stay in the property after completion?
Simply put, the answer is no.
Once contracts have been exchanged and completion is fixed, the sellers are obliged to vacate the property by this date and clear it of all their furniture and belongings.
Under the terms of your contract, they are promising to give vacant possession on completion day. If they fail to do so, you have the right to take action against them to recover losses and compensation for any inconvenience caused.
How do I find out if the house I want to buy will be affected by planned developments nearby?
If you are concerned a planning application may be lodged close to a property you want to purchase, you can contact your local council to check if any permissions have been granted.
However, you need to be aware that when you make an enquiry with the planning office, they will only be able to give you details of applications submitted up to that point in time.
Alternatively, you can ask your solicitor to carry out an additional search, commonly known as Plan Plus, which will give you details of any planning applications made since 1997 within a 250-metre radius of the property. This includes adopted local council policies and plans, telecom masts, footpaths and rights of way, as well as information on the local housing population.
Do I have to pay capital gains tax on the property I am selling?
If you are selling your main residence, it is usually exempt from capital gains tax. Individuals who own multiple houses can choose which one carries the exemption.
If you have any queries about this issue, speak to your solicitor at the outset of the sale. We can advise on how best to proceed to avoid problems arising when the transaction completes.
If you are a first time buyer with a question about moving home, our residential property expert, Sarah Gaunt, would love to hear from you. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org