From 9pm to 10pm every Thursday on LBC you have the chance to ask any questions you like about residential property and between myself and my special guest, Alan Milstein this week, we do our best to answer them for you.
Here’s the Q&As from this week’s show and also some extra links to help you get the answers you need and don’t forget, this is all possible thanks to help and support from Direct Line.
Q – I'm in the process of buying a house and will own two houses for a short period of time, how is second home stamp duty paid and how do I claim it back once I have sold the first property?
A – On the day of completion you will be subject to the extra 3% stamp duty. However if it is clear that you are swapping primary residences you will have up to three years to claim it back. It is paid via solicitor and when you have sold the 1st property contact them to help claim it back.
Q – Our neighbours are having work done and a party wall agreement was drawn up but the builders have breached it. There are smashed bricks and I can even see in to the neighbour's bedroom, their surveyor said there was no issue, my surveyor said it might actually be unsafe what, can I do?
A – The point of a party wall award is that you suffer no loss as a result of the work and that your property should be returned to its original condition at end of the work. However, if the builders or your neighbour are not abiding by the proper procedures, the first thing to do is to talk to your surveyor who acts in the interests of your property. Another facet of the Party Wall Act is that surveyors act independently of those who appointed them, this should allow your surveyors and neighbour's, together wit yourself to remedy any problems.
Received a party wall notice or need to send one? Read :
Q – I'm in the process of buying a flat, my offer has been accepted but I have been told by an estate agent that it's not worth having a survey done on a flat, is this right? It's quite an old flat, if I get a survey done and it's shown to need works done, would it be appropriate to re-negotiate the agreed price?
A – It is important to remember that most flats are leasehold so you are often partly responsible for costs of repair to the whole development so it's very important to get survey. When you have had had the survey done you can then try to renegotiate the price if there are problems. Ideally make sure your surveyor can access the roof and also ensure that you request any major works schedules eg when is a new roof required and if there is a ‘sinking fund’ for these ie the major work doesn’t just rely on the owner to pay the full amount at the time, but owners over time put into a fund to cover all costs.
What type of survey should you get? Read our choosing a surveyor and type of survey checklist.
Q – What is the impact of stamp duty changes?
Kate recaps on the impact of the stamp duty changes that took affect earlier this year. In the video Kate also offers her views on what is expected out of the Autumn Statement for property owners and landlords.
Q – I'm selling my property and have accepted an offer. However, I received a strange email from the buyer's solicitor saying that I should pay £1,000 deposit to guard against withdrawal of sale. I ended up paying it, what should I do?
A – That's very unusual, speak to your solicitor and take their advice. Sometimes a deposit can be requested at offer stage, but there is no obligation for you to pay this unless you agree to and it’s suggested that is only done on the advice of your legal representative.
Worried about the legals of buying and selling? Read our property legals quick guide.
Q – How can I protect myself from losing money from surveys when trying to buy a property, particularly in a busy market like London?
A – It is a problem, we seem to rely on a buyer beware principle whereby you have to take the brunt of the costs upfront, but it's not ideal. However, it does work both ways as surveys can throw up things that the seller needs to do and lead to you being able to reduce the price.A What you can do is ask for the property to withdrawn from the market for say 2-3 weeks to allow you to check it out and if you continue to go ahead, then it can’t be remarketed. Talk to your legal company to get an agreement/letter/understanding in place.ood survey
Q – I had a bad experience with a RICS surveyor and it has put me off, are there any other professional bodies that I could use?
A – Most RICS surveyors do do a good job and if you are not satisfied you can complain, they all have an indemnity insurance policy to operate. However, if it is just the condition you are interested in, you can use an RPSA surveyor. Generally speaking, it's a really good idea to get to know your surveyor by visiting them on site and talking to them at the end of their property visit to help be better informed. If you find a good one and stay local, they can help you next time too or even if a future buyer has queries.
Not sure how to choose a surveyor? Read our choosing a surveyor checklist.
Q – I've put an offer in on a bungalow and won't need a mortgage, the property in immaculate condition to the untrained eye so I'm not sure what type of survey I choose?
A – A surveyor will be able to tell you whether it really is in immaculate condition, I wouldn't get to hung up on which type of survey to have, it’s likely a Homebuyer survey will help confirm the condition and the property’s value, while a Condition Report will confirm if the property is or insn’t in good condition. Whatever you do, find someone who is local to the area – it’s not just the property that you want to know about, but things like what lies beneath eg clay, possible flooding etc.
Not sure which survey to choose? Read our choosing a surveyor checklist.
Q – My son is a first time buyer and has had an offer accepted for a Housing Association flat, he will own 25% and the mortgage which will be £100,000 with a 10% deposit. There is an 83 year lease and I said he should be concerned about that, am I right?
A – Yes! When a lease falls below 80 years there are a limited number of lenders who will lend and anything that restricts the number of people who can buy your property affects the value. When a lease drops below 70 years potentially only cash buyers will be able to buy it, which is a problem for shared ownership It shouldn't, necessarily, stop him buying the flat but he should investigate how to extend the lease and whether he is overpaying for the property with such a short lease and investigate a lease extension.
Concerned about a leasehold issue? Read our how to choose a leasehold legal expert checklist.
Q – Do you need a survey on a new build?
A – Yes, it’s worth doing one prior to moving in and final completion. There are often lots of snagging issues with new builds such as radiators not being properly fixed on. A good survey will pick these up and they can be put right by the builder straight away.
Moving in to a new build? Read our new build snagging checklist.