Buyer FAQs

How do I find mortgage advice and make a home loan application?

There are many types of home mortgages available, at many different rates. A mortgage consultant can help find the right mortgage for you and will guide you through the application process. We have mortgage consultants who we refer to with contacts in many of the UK’s mortgage lenders. If you would like us to put you in contact please contact your local branch

What does share of freehold mean?

When you buy a flat, the lease on the property comes with a share of ownership of the building. Leaseholders in a block with several properties often choose to buy the freehold between them and so share of freehold gives them more control over the management of the property.

What is a property open day?

An open day is when a property is marketed through viewings and buyers are invited to view the home in one day rather than spread out over a few weeks. As you will only have a short time to view the property, it is very important to do your homework on the property and the area before the viewing. Study the floor plan, walk around the area and consult your mortgage broker beforehand. Use the viewing to ensure the home is to your liking whilst looking for any defects, as usually, there is not time for a second viewing before you submit best and final offers.

What is a residential property lease?

A residential property lease is a legal document the freeholder of the property or building issues, which grants tenure for a given period of time (the length of the lease) to the leaseholder. It sets out the insurance and repair obligations of both the freeholder and the leaseholder.

What is a sealed bid?

A sealed bid is a method often used by people wishing to sell a property where high levels of interest are either anticipated or already being achieved to find buyers who are committed and willing to exchange quickly at the best price.

What is a sinking fund?

When you buy a property that is termed ‘leasehold’, part of the service charge may be paid into a sinking fund. The sinking fund builds up over the years to cover future projects that may be needed to repair or improve the building. The freeholder or the property management company will be responsible for the service charge management and will notify leaseholders if part of the service charge will be paid into a sinking fund.

What is ground rent?

Ground rent is the rent you pay for the land the property is standing on, whether your property is freehold or leasehold. Ground rent is normally paid every year or six months, along with the property service charge. A peppercorn ground rent is sometimes referred to, this is a nominal ground rent which is normally in the region of £5 per annum. Peppercorn ground rents are usually collected after a longer term when the amount due has built up to a more substantial amount.

What is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)?

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a tax paid by the buyer of a UK residential property. The stamp duty rate ranges from 2% to 12% of the purchase price, depending upon the value of the property bought, the purchase date and whether you are a multiple home owner.
Anyone purchasing an ‘additional’ residential property will be charged a 3% surcharge on each of the threshold bands.
From 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, the special rules for first time buyers are replaced by the increased threshold of £500,000.
Between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021, stamp duty is paid when the purchase price exceeds £500,000. On 1 April 2021, the threshold will revert to £125,000. The 3% ‘additional’ residential surcharge still remains on the full purchase price.

What should I check in a draft contract prepared by a property solicitor?

The contract is a written and signed agreement between the buyer and seller. The first contract prepared by your property solicitor should have the following details confirmed:

  • The price you are paying for your property
  • The deposit amount
  • The address and description of the property
  • What is included in the sale price (e.g. carpets/white goods) of your home
  • Covenants i.e. what you are required to do as the property owne

Check that these items are correct and ask your property solicitor if you have any doubts.

What should I do about my current mortgage?

For advice on your current mortgage you should contact a mortgage consultant. We have mortgage consultants who we refer to with contacts in many of the UK’s mortgage lenders. If you would like us to put you in contact please contact your local branch.

Where can I find first time buyer advice?

We endeavour to make buying your first home as simple as possible. An introduction to the property buying process, including conveyancing and mortgages, can be found in our ‘buying advice’.