Conveyancing Services Sunderland

We provide a premium conveyancing service at a competitive price

Our residential property team provide legal advice and services for:

  • Residential conveyancing (purchase and sale)
  • Re-mortgaging
  • Buy to let
  • Equity Release
  • Transfers
  • Tenancy and lease arrangements

When choosing a conveyancing specialist, it’s best to consider whether the firm of solicitors you choose will be able to get the job done properly, efficiently, and cost effectively.

Our clients receive a conveyancing service based on their needs and adhering to recognised quality standards.

Scroll down the page for answers to frequently asked questions.

With a significant proportion of our conveyancing work arising from the South Tyneside area, we find our clients use us time after time, and are happy to recommend us to their friends and family.

Estate agents and mortgage advisors also recommend us to their clients, and it is always reassuring when professional staff from the sector feel that our service would be good to use for their clients.

We provide conveyancing services to cover areas outside of South Shields:

  • Sunderland – please click here for our conveyancing services information: link

 

 

Sunderland

At Hannays we understand that buying and selling houses can be exciting but it is also stressful and complex – especially for first-time buyers.

If you are looking for an experienced conveyancing solicitor in the Sunderland area then we can help you with the process.

Our conveyancing team of solicitors and qualified conveyancers offer an accessible, professional conveyancing service to clients in Sunderland, the North East and throughout England.

Why should you use us for your conveyancing in Sunderland?

We provide transparent pricing and as we provide a full quotation prior to starting your work, you will always know exactly how much our services cost.

With Hannays Solicitors and Advocates Ltd., you will receive an excellent service from start to finish, from qualified conveyancers.

What areas of residential conveyancing can we help with?

• Buying (freehold or leasehold)
• Selling (freehold or leasehold)
• Re-mortgaging
• Help to Buy (Shared equity and shared ownership schemes)

How to get in contact

To discuss your conveyancing with us today, simply call us on 0191 4974630 or 0191 4555361.

We are well known in the South Tyneside area and can assist with your conveyancing in nearby Sunderland.

Find out More

Our Conveyancing Team

Are you buying, selling or re-mortgaging your home?

We provide a premium conveyancing service at competitive prices.

Please request a bespoke quote by using the form below.

Complete Form

This form is not an online quote generator – a member of our staff will prepare a  quotation as soon as we are able based on the information you provide to us about your property transaction.

Our normal response time  is 1-2 hours if a request is sent within working hours and next working day if your request is sent during the evening or weekend.

Please provide your phone number as sometimes we need to call you to check the details to ensure we give you a quotation that is as accurate as possible.

Please feel confident in providing the information we request as we are not a call-centre and there will be no irritating follow up sales calls or disclosure of your details to third parties.

CQS is re-assessed and re-awarded annually.

CQS has established itself as the quality mark of the home-buying sector and enables consumers to identify practices that provide a quality residential conveyancing service. With so many different conveyancing service providers out there CQS helps home-buyers and sellers seek out those that can provide a safe and efficient level of service.”

Buying and selling a home can be a stressful time. Choosing a solicitor to help in that process just got easier. By looking for a CQS firm like Hannays Solicitors and Advocates, who have now been members of the Scheme for three years, the public can seek out a firm that has proved its commitment to quality.

The overall beneficiaries are our clients who receive a reliable, efficient service as recognised by the CQS standard.

The scheme requires practices to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training, self-reporting, random audits and annual reviews in order to maintain CQS status. It is open only to member firms of the Law Society who meet the demanding standards set by the Scheme and it has the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association, Legal Ombudsman and the Association of British Insurers.

 

 

Conveyancing FAQs

We do not provide an automated conveyancing fee calculator on our website as we provide an individual quotation for each conveyancing enquiry.

Quotations are free and it is up to the person enquiring whether they wish to instruct us or not.

To help you to decide, it is best to shop around and take prices from several solicitors before making up your mind which conveyancer to choose.

The following information is provided as a guide, but please call us as we are happy to provide advice to help with the decision-making process.

We do not charge an ‘hourly rate’ for conveyancing work as we provide fixed fee rates, this means that once we quote for a transaction you should know exactly what you will pay.

For most of our fixed fee work, if the transaction does not go ahead, we won’t charge for anything apart from the costs of the disbursements that have already been paid for.

If you want to know more about disbursements please read our news page: https://www.hannayslaw.co.uk/what-is-a-disbursement/

An average sale or purchase price for buying or selling a property in the South Tyneside area is £150,000 and we have used this average price to provide example quotations which give an indication of the total costs involved in using our services. If your house purchase or sale is more or less we are happy to give you a quote before you decide to use our services.

Example Sale and Purchase quotations (updated May 2024).

A SALE of a freehold property for £150,000 would be approximately £804.00 and a breakdown of the costs involved can be accessed here: Sales conveyancing quotation updated May 2024

Excluding Stamp Duty the PURCHASE of a freehold property for £150,000 would be approximately £1,159.78  and a breakdown of the costs can be accessed here:  Purchase conveyancing quotation May 2024

Stamp Duty Calculator

In addition to the fees mentioned in the quotation examples, if you are buying a property you should consult the Stamp Duty Calculator  which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax

Leasehold sale or purchase

Please note, that we can’t provide the exact information for a leasehold sale or leasehold purchase, but the above examples of our sale and purchase fees can be used as a guide until the additional fees for the Leasehold Charges made by the Landlord or Managing Agents are known. These charges differ from property to property.

 

To start a purchase transaction, a payment equivalent to the costs of the search fees  is required.

To start  a sales transactions we require a payment of account of £50 to cover initial disbursement payments.

When we know the completion date for a transaction we issue a ‘completion statement‘ which itemises all the funds necessary for the transaction.

Any payments made on account during the transaction are included in that statement and taken into account.

If we need any funds from you prior to completion we will specifically explain what we need, why and how to safely send the funds to us.

Mortgages – We do not charge a separate fee for processing a mortgage within a purchase transaction. It is included in our costs. However, if we are carrying out the legal work for you via a third party, you should check if the price quoted includes a fee for the mortgage and always obtain a breakdown of costs to ensure you are happy to proceed before you agree to the third party carrying out the work for you.

Our fees for an average re-mortgage are £613 which includes all of our costs, VAT (at the rate 20%) and disbursements.

An average price for a residential property leasehold extension are £816 which includes all of our costs, VAT (at the rate of 20%) and disbursements.

These prices have remained unchanged since January 2023.

No.

We can only accept payment of our legal fees and some disbursements by debit card.

Your deposit funds must be paid from your own resources by cheque, bankers draft or bank transfer. This is because there are rules concerning guarantees and refunds governing debit and credit cards use.

Deposits also can’t generally be paid by credit card as your mortgage provider has to be informed of, and take into consideration, any forms of debt incurred while making a house purchase. Paying a house deposit by credit card may invalidate your mortgage offer.

From 13th January 2018 we no longer accept any payments to us made by credit card.

Yes.

We have a legal duty to establish the source of all funds used in a transaction and cannot accept payment from you until you have provided satisfactory evidence of the same.

We will also ned to check your source of wealth. For most clients this is straightforward as the source of wealth will be salary paid from employment.

Sometimes, a client may have been very lucky and may have a new source of wealth created by a win on the Premium Bonds, or a family member has died and left a substantial sum. A few checks should satisfy that these sort of funds have not been acquired through illegal means.

Your conveyancer will explain to you how we do this and what evidence we need to see.

We can’t provide the exact information for a leasehold sale or leasehold purchase, but please refer to the examples of our sale and purchase fees in the previous question.

These fees can be used as a guide until the additional fees for the Leasehold Charges made by the Landlord or Managing Agents are known as these charges differ from property to property.

For a quote please email: info@hannayslaw.co.uk

The role of a residential conveyancer is crucial in property transactions for many reasons as they manage legal compliance issues and risk management to give the customer peace of mind during the property transaction.

A conveyancer ensures that all aspects of the transaction comply with the law, that the contracts are correct, and that the risk of legal complications due to error is reduced.

If you are buying or selling property or involved in other procedures that the affect the registration of a property, you may come across the term “conveyancer.”

In reply, we will explain the role of a residential conveyancer, why these legal professionals are crucial to property transactions, and how Hannays Solicitors can assist you in completing your property purchase.

What is a conveyancer?

A residential conveyancer is usually a qualified lawyer, for example a solicitor, legal executive or licensed conveyancer,  who specialises in the legal aspects of transferring property ownership for non-commercial properties. There are specialist conveyancers who act in matters concerning commercial conveyancing.

Conveyancers  ensure the transactions associated with buying, selling or otherwise transferring  a residential property proceed efficiently and legally.

Conveyancers act on behalf of one side in a property transaction and deal with their counterpart at another firm who acts for the other side in the transaction.

Both sets of conveyancers ensure both parties meet their legal obligations as conveyancing is a legal transaction and not an administrative process.

Hannays Solicitors and Advocates Ltd is supervised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and we are members of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).

At Hannays the majority of our conveyancers are solicitors, who are registered with the SRA. We also employ staff who have qualifications and registration from other regulators, but because our firm is regulated by the SRA they fall under the most scrupulous regulation.

Conveyancers who work for firms regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers do not have to comply with the stricter regulation of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Licensed Conveyancer firms are not members of the Law Society and cannot be members of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) which would ensure compliance with strict quality standards.

What responsibilities does a  residential conveyancer have?

The responsibilities of a residential conveyancer are wide ranging and complex.

Here are some of the key tasks a residential conveyancer will undertake:

Security and Due Diligence: A residential conveyancer has a duty to comply with the laws of England and Wales and the regulation of the SRA as well as other authorities  in respect of ensuring that all the people involved in the transaction are who they say they are and can prove that the funds they are using do not arise from money laundering. Sometimes electronic checks are conducted to assist the conveyancer with their responsibilities.

Onboarding: A domestic conveyancer will ensure that their client will have received a quotation based on the information known, for the legal transaction prior to the transaction proceeding. The conveyancer will ensure that their client has accepted the quotation and will provide advice about their legal firm and the process involved to the client. A domestic conveyancer will ensure that all the pre-transaction forms and information is complete.

Pre-contract research: A residential conveyancer will investigate the lease title and the legal ownership of the property, ensuring that a seller has the legal right to sell  and a purchaser is making a legal purchase.

Contract management: Conveyancers are responsible for drafting, reviewing, and managing the contract of sale. When both parties are ready the conveyancer will  conduct the exchange of contract between the buying and selling party and ensure that all terms and conditions are in accordance with the most up-to-date law.

Property research: It is the responsibility of the purchasing party to view the property with their estate agent to look for any potential issues. A  residential conveyancer will probably never visit a property, so it is up to the purchaser to ensure the property meets the description provided by the seller. For instance, if the seller says the property has a garage, the purchaser should check that a garage actually exists at the property.

If a survey of a property has been conducted, it is the purchaser’s responsibility  to read the survey report carefully to ensure it meets their understanding of the condition of the property and go to the property to check again what the surveyor highlights. For example, a surveyor may say that he has found an issue with dampness. Before a buyer proceeds with the property they should go to the property to check the surveyors findings and after considering the issues and taking a repairers advice if appropriate, a buyer should decide if they still want to proceed.

A conveyancer conducts the documented property research, such as inspecting land registry records, local authority and other property searches. If there are any queries to be raised the conveyancer will raise with them with the other side conveyancer.

Residential conveyancers are trained to identify any potential legal issues or restrictions associated with the property.

Completion: When a completion date is agreed between the parties a residential conveyancer will collect together all the money needed to complete the transaction.  Funds may be required from a mortgage lender, a gifted deposit, savings, any applicable government schemes, funds from the clients or from the sale of another property. When a conveyancer has accounted for all the funds required for the transaction they are responsible for the transfer of funds between the buyer and seller, ensuring a secure and lawful payment of monies. The funds usually are exchanged between one law firm and the other involved in a transaction.

Post-completion: When the transaction has taken place a conveyancer ensures the payment of any disbursements required, for  example, the calculation and payment of the stamp duty and other land registry fees.

At Hannays, our dedicated team of solicitors and conveyancing staff offer reliable support and assurance whether you are buying, selling a property or conducting a different type of property transaction.

Most people do not move house frequently and to have the support of a good conveyancer during the process is particularly important as moving can be stressful.

Our experienced, qualified, conveyancers work to ensure a smooth process and legally compliant transaction. We will manage the legal correspondence, arrange  the property searches, and facilitate the exchange of funds, all while keeping our clients informed.

Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you during your property transaction by phone 0191 4555361 or by email info@hannayslaw.co.uk

Making a property purchase is probably the largest financial transaction most of us will make so it must be done carefully. It is a legal transaction and not an administrative process.

When you are interested in a property and go to view it, you will find the answers to many of the questions you have about it just by looking at it and talking to the owners.

It is really important that information about the property is gathered from as many sources as necessary to ensure you know what you are buying and the risks involved.

You may want to know where you would park your car, what type of tiles are on the roof, whether it has central heating and what the windows are like.

The Seller and your estate agent will try to answer as many questions as possible about the property and you shouldn’t put in an offer if you are not entirely satisfied with their responses.

However, before the transaction progresses any further you really need to know much more before you can make an informed decision as to whether to proceed with the purchase.

A number of surveys, searches and enquiries are made and are considered along with reports provided by the Seller and the Land Registry.

Surveyors Report and Property Search Reports

Your Mortgage Lender will also need more detailed information as they won’t want to risk lending money for a property that is adverse to their interests, for instance the property may not be in good condition, uninhabitable or it may be over-valued.

This detailed information is provided in a Surveyors Report and Property Search Reports.

Most (non-cash) buyers have a survey conducted on a prospective property by a Surveyor and this provides lots of information which will allow you and your Lender to make the decision to continue with your plans to buy.

Property Search Reports provide valuable information for you and your Lender. For most purchases which are bought with the help of a mortgage the Lender will want the Buyer to have these searches carried out.

Property Search Reports cover Local Authority searches and environment and infrastructure searches (which can include mining, flood and water searches and any other searches that are recommended for your property or requested by your Lender).

After making the searches we will know facts about the property you intend to buy, for example, has it been built on a former landfill site, whether anyone has a right of access across your property, where the water and sewerage pipes are and how likely it is to flood and anything else that affects the property.

Enquiries and Further Enquiries

Your Conveyancer will consider the property further on your behalf by raising Enquiries with your Sellers Conveyancer. These Enquiries are raised early in the conveyancing process after the contract paperwork is received from the Sellers solicitors.

Initially the enquiries are contained in a standard form (supplied by the Law Society) which is sent to the Sellers solicitors and completed by the seller.

Once the replies are received more specific enquiries can be raised if there are any points that warrant more information and these are known as ‘further enquiries’.

What type of questions are asked in our property enquiries?

  • Are the nearby trees causing foundation issues?
  • Have there been any issues with subsidence?
  • Has the property ever suffered from flooding?
  • Did the Seller comply with the covenants in the title?
  • What is the agreement over car parking when facilities are shared?
  • How old is the boiler, who installed it and is there a warranty?
  • Has the boiler been maintained?
  • When were the windows installed and who by? Are they covered by a FENSA guarantee?
  • What are the arrangements concerning the solar panels fixed on the roof?
  • Have there been any neighbour disputes?
  • Were all consents and permissions obtained for the construction of the porch (or additions to the original property)?
  • When was the gas safety last checked?
  • Who is responsible for fences or walls forming the boundaries of the property?

Enquiries deal with facts and not opinions and should be responded to fully and satisfactorily by the Sellers and their conveyancer.

The Sellers conveyancer does not need to respond to any enquiries which do not relate to the property being sold.

Generally, this process is between the two sets of conveyancer and takes between 1-4 weeks. It is at this point that both Buyer and Seller usually want the process to move more quickly, but being patient is worthwhile as an extra week or two at this stage could save a major headache and expense in the future for the Buyer.

There can be reasons for delay at this point in the transaction as Enquiries and the Replies to Enquiries can be held up by the complexity of a transaction, or if the Seller goes on holiday, or is ill.

Report on Title

After your conveyancer receives all the replies to their enquiries and has all the information required about the property a written Report on Title is issued to you and you should read this report carefully. This report summarises all the information and highlights any issues that should be considered before proceeding.  The Buyer may wish to investigate any issues raised before going through with the purchase.

For instance, if the boundaries of the property are unclear your solicitor will explain their concerns and advise in their Report on Title that the Buyer should check the boundaries. Only the Buyer will be able to check the boundaries of the property to their own satisfaction. It is not the job of your Solicitor  or conveyancer to physically go out  to check the boundaries. If the Buyer can’t establish the boundaries which are unclear they may engage the help of a Surveyor to help them to do this.

We hope that this summary has assisted with the more frequent queries regarding enquiries, but if you are purchasing a property and need any further advice on the process of buying a house or a seller requiring assistance to complete the enquiries forms please don’t hesitate to contact your conveyancer on 0191 4555361 or email info@hannayslaw.co.uk

We like to keep our clients fully informed throughout their transactions.

Many of our clients prefer to rely primarily on telephone and email to communicate and progress their transactions and if you are living some distance away this may be the only way we can carry out your instructions.

We can provide updates via email, but please remember that we are real people and not chatbots. We will respond to you as soon as possible, sometime this is at the end of working day when completions are finished or the next day if our staff have been busy.

In your initial client care letter you will find the names of the team of staff working on your matter, If your conveyancer is not available please call to talk to one of our support staff.

Clients are always welcome to visit our offices or arrange an appointment with the staff managing their case as  it is a good opportunity to discuss the transaction process in more detail. If you are able to visit our offices we can check your documents with you, take the necessary copies and obtain signatures, but please don’t worry if this is not possible for you.

 

If you are conducting a property transaction anywhere in the United Kingdom you (and any funders of the transaction) must be able to prove ownership, proof of identity, residence and source of funds.

If you are able to visit our offices it gives us the opportunity to check your original documents directly with you, but if you can’t we will use an online facility called Thirdfort to check your ID and proof of funds.

A Thirdfort identification check costs our clients £14.95 (plus VAT at the rate of 20%) and an additional £9.95 (plus VAT at the rate of 20%) for a source of funds check.

If any funds are being gifted, the donors also need identification and source of funds checks.

More information on Thirdfort and the checks can be found here: Thirdfort Guide

Keeping in touch

We like to keep our clients fully informed throughout their transactions. Many of our clients prefer to rely primarily on telephone and email to communicate and progress their transactions and if you are living some distance away this may be the only way we can carry out your instructions.

Clients are always welcome to visit our offices or arrange an appointment with the Solicitor managing their case, bearing in mind Covid-19 restrictions and safe working procedures. a face-to-face appointment offers a good opportunity to discuss the transaction process in more detail. If you are able to visit our offices we can check your documents with you, take the necessary copies and obtain signatures, but please don’t worry if this is not possible for you.

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 4-6 months, but can take longer. Prior to Covid a purchase would take 6-12 weeks but we now find that searches are returned less quickly , some bank  staff dealing with mortgages are still working from home and the seller may have reasons to slow down the process.

Transactions  can also be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in a chain as everyone has to be ready at the same time to complete. The more related transactions in the purchase the longer it may take to get everyone ready at the same time.

If you are a first time buyer, purchasing a new build property with a mortgage in principle, could take up to 26 weeks or longer to complete depending on when the new build property will be finished being built.

If you are buying an auction property, you may have committed to complete the transaction in a month at the auction.

If you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, the process can take between 3 and 9 months if everything proceeds smoothly, but the process can take longer.

Your conveyancer will keep you updated with timescales as the transaction proceeds.

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances, but these are the basic stages;

  • Take your instructions and give you initial advice
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender’s solicitors if needed
  • Receive and advise on contract documents
  • Carry out property searches
  • Obtain further planning documentation if required
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
  • Give you advice on all documents and information received
  • Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you
  • Send final contract to you for signature
  • Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Complete purchase
  • Deal with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax
  • Deal with application for registration at the Land Registry

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a government tax based on the value of the property to be purchased and the purchasers property ownership history.

You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using the HMRC calculator       https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro or if the property is located in Wales   https://beta.gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-calculator

Our Fixed Fee quotations include our costs, disbursements and stamp duty and should provide a clear understanding of the total cost of a purchase transaction as well as the full funds you will need to complete the transaction.

For certain legal  matters we have a regulatory or legal duty to check our clients identification before acting.

These matters usually involve financial transactions like conveyancing matters.

The checks are necessary to ensure we know our clients and to help to control money laundering which keeps everyone’s money safe and prevents terrorist funding.

Many of our clients live in South Tyneside and can easily travel to our office to have their identity check completed, but sometimes travelling to our office is not possible and this causes difficulties in carrying out the necessary checks.

For matters where we need to carry out an identification check, (perhaps when a client lives outside South Tyneside and is unable to visit us in person) we carry out the identification check by using an online facility called Thirdfort. If you need a Thirdfort check the up to date price for the identification and source of funds checks is provided in our quotation and in our Client care Letter. Information about the check, how it is made and about the safety of your data is explained here: Thirdfort Guide

If you need any further information about why we have to conduct identification checks please call your solicitor or lawyer for more information. We also provide more information in our initial Client Care Letter.

Can my lender withdraw a mortgage offer?

Many clients who have received mortgage offers worry whether their offer will be withdrawn by their lender and that their transaction will fall through.

When we are asked if a mortgage lender can withdraw their offer, we must advise that yes, a mortgage lender can withdraw their offer.

A mortgage offer is not legally binding on the lender.

This worry was especially raised during 2022 and 2023 due to the turbulence in the financial markets where we saw lenders revoking their offers. This caused panic amongst property buyers and at one point we had hundreds of phone calls about mortgage offers.

We are pleased that in 2024 the financial situation is now more stable, even though there are still many factors affecting our economy.

In normal conditions the only reason an offer is withdrawn is because of a change of circumstances that may affect the repayment of the loan, such as a change in income for the mortgagee which affects affordability.

It seems unlikely that the larger banking institutions will pull a mortgage offer suddenly. Offers are usually valid for around six months depending on the lenders and usually are not withdrawn.

In 2022 and 2023 the inflation rate was 8-9 percent  and was heading upwards. The Bank of England raised its interest rates to 5.25% with the intention of controlling inflation to bring it down to the government set target of two percent. The Bank of England has held the rate of interest at 5.25% at meetings since then. With the Banks actions and other Government measures the rate of inflation is 3-4% presently (i.e. more than halved).

The concern about rising interest rates  was that they would mean higher monthly mortgage repayments to be made by borrowers, stretching homeowners finances and causing cashflow  difficulties.

Rising interest rates affect mortgages that are not arranged on a fixed rate basis, but in January 2024 many lenders were able to review their mortgage products, including their fixed rate products easing the position for mortgage renewals. This has resulted in an upturn in property purchases.

If a mortgage offer has been agreed on a purchase, but you feel that your household bills are rising to the point that this may affect your mortgage repayments in the future, you should seek advice from their mortgage advisor straightaway to ensure that the repayments arranged are still affordable. Your mortgage advisor will also be able to provide information on  how a rising interest rate will affect the mortgage you have been offered and whether the offer can be amended ( perhaps to a longer terms with lower monthly payments).

If you can see that the interest rates and rate of inflation is falling and you have previously been made an offer with quite a high rate of interest, you should check with your mortgage advisor whether the offer can be reviewed or if any other lenders can offer a better rate.

What happens when interest rates fall?

When interest rates increase or fall a lender may review the offers they have made and replace them with latest offers with the up to date interest rates. If your lender informs you that their mortgage offer is withdrawn and will be replaced with another offer, you should check the interest rate offered in the new mortgage with your mortgage advisor.

We advise our clients to seek expert advice from their mortgage advisor as we cannot offer advice on mortgage products or assess financial viability.

Repossession of your property

Being unable to repay a mortgage may lead to repossession of a property.

Your current lender may offer advice and be able to offer some assistance to avoid you getting further into mortgage debt with an aim of avoiding repossession.

If you find your finances are unmanageable and that in the future there is a danger you will be unable to repay your mortgage,  please consider placing your property for sale. This option sounds harsh but is far better for you financially than having a property repossessed.

It may be that you have enough equity in your property to downsize and arrange another mortgage, but if your current home is repossessed it will be difficult to obtain another mortgage in the future.

Taking early advice from us will help you to decide what to do. We will also be able to check what you owe your lender and what charges are made by them if you sell your home.

If you need to contact us our telephone number is  : 0191 455361 and our email is info@hannayslaw.co.uk

 

Making a property purchase is probably the largest financial transaction most of us will make.

When you are interested in a property and go to view it you will find the answers to many of the questions you have about it just by looking at it and talking to the owners.

It is really important that information about the property is gathered from as many sources as necessary to ensure you know what you are buying and the risks involved.

You may want to know where you would park your car, what type of tiles are on the roof, whether it has central heating and what the windows are like.

The Seller and your estate agent will try to answer as many questions as possible about the property and you shouldn’t put in an offer if you are not entirely satisfied with their responses. However, before the transaction progresses any further, you really need to know much more before you can make an informed decision as to whether to proceed.

A number of surveys, searches and enquiries are made and are considered along with reports provided by the Seller and the Land Registry.

Surveyors Report and Property Search Reports

Your Mortgage Lender will also need more detailed information as they won’t want to risk lending money for a property that is adverse to their interests, for instance the property is not in good condition, uninhabitable or is over-valued.

This detailed information is provided in a Surveyors Report and Property Search Reports.

Most (non-cash) buyers have a survey conducted on the prospective property by a Surveyor and this provides lots of information which will allow you and your Lender to make the decision to continue with your plans to buy.

Property Search Reports provide valuable information for you and your Lender. For most purchases which are bought with the help of a mortgage the Lender will want the Buyer to have these searches carried out.

Property Search Reports cover Local Authority searches and environment and infrastructure searches (which can include mining, flood and water searches and any other searches that are recommended for your property or requested by your Lender).

After making the searches we will know facts about the property you intend to buy, for example, has been built on a former landfill site, whether anyone has a right of access across your property, where the water and sewerage pipes are and how likely it is to flood and anything else that affects the property.

Enquiries and Further Enquiries

Your Conveyancer will consider the property further on your behalf by raising Enquiries with your Sellers Conveyancer. These Enquiries are raised early in the conveyancing process after the contract paperwork is received from the Sellers solicitors.

Initially the enquiries are contained in a standard form (supplied by the Law Society) which is sent to the Sellers solicitors and completed by the seller.

One the replies are received more specific enquiries can be raised if there are any points that warrants more information and these are known as ‘further enquiries’.

What type of questions are asked in our property enquiries?

  • Are the nearby trees causing foundation issues?
  • Have there been any issues with subsidence?
  • Has the property ever suffered from flooding?
  • Did the Seller comply with the covenants in the title?
  • What is the agreement over car parking when facilities are shared?
  • How old is the boiler, who installed it and is there a warranty?
  • Has the boiler been maintained?
  • When were the windows installed and who by? Are they covered by a FENSA guarantee?
  • What are the arrangements concerning the solar panels fixed on the roof?
  • Have there been any neighbour disputes?
  • Were all consents and permissions obtained for the construction of the porch (or additions to the original property)?
  • When the gas safety was last checked?
  • Who is responsible for fences or walls forming the boundaries of the property?

Enquiries deal with facts and not opinions and should be responded to fully and satisfactorily by the Sellers and their conveyancer.

The Sellers conveyancer does not need to respond to any enquiries which do not relate to the property being sold.

Generally, this process, between the two sets of conveyancers, takes between 1-4 weeks and it is at this point that both Buyer and Seller usually want the process to move more quickly, but being patient is worthwhile as an extra week or two at this stage could save a major headache and expense in the future for the Buyer.

There can be reasons for delay at this point in the transaction as Enquiries and the Replies to Enquiries can be held up by the complexity of a transaction, or if the Seller goes on holiday, or is ill.

Report on Title

After your conveyancer receives all the replies to their enquiries and has all the information required about the property a written Report on Title is issued to you and you should read this report carefully. This report summarises all the information and highlights any issues that should be considered before proceeding.  The Buyer may wish to investigate any issues raised before going through with the purchase.

For instance, if the boundaries of the property are unclear your solicitor will explain their concerns and advise in their Report on Title that the Buyer should check the boundaries. Only the Buyer will be able to check the boundaries of the property to their own satisfaction. It is not the job of your Solicitor  or conveyancer to physically go out  to check the boundaries. If the Buyer can’t establish the boundaries which are unclear they may engage the help of a Surveyor to help them to do this.

We hope that this answer has assisted with the more frequent queries regarding enquiries, but if you are purchasing a property and need any further advice on the process of buying a house or a seller requiring assistance to complete the enquiries forms please don’t hesitate to contact your conveyancer on 0191 4555361 or email info@hannayslaw.co.uk

 

Our conveyancers  are often asked whether a mortgage lender can withdraw a mortgage offer.

A mortgage is obtained by making arrangements with a lender through a bank or a  specialist mortgage advisor.

There are independent mortgage advisors who work without any ties to any particular company or mortgage advisors who work with estate agents or a bank.  If you need a mortgage to fund your purchase you should choose your mortgage advisor yourself and check what their fees are for providing the service.

After you find an advisor and a lender has made an offer there are some circumstances under which it can be withdrawn.

During Covid and in the period following it, the financial markets were quite volatile. Interest rates rose rapidly and lenders had to evaluate their lending when too low an interest rate had been applied, which resulted in withdrawal of some mortgage offers.

Borrowers were also less stable and their personal circumstances were open to change, for instance many firms went out of business and employees lost their jobs that affected income and debt levels.

In June 2024, despite the impending general election interest rates and the financial markets are more stable. Interest rates are approaching 2% which were what they were pre-covid/pre-Brexit.

Can a lender withdraw a mortgage offer?

Mortgage offers can still be withdrawn, even after acceptance by the borrower.

The main reasons that a mortgage can be withdrawn now are:

  • Your mortgage offer has expired.
    Usually, an offer is valid for six months to one year but after the expiration period if the offer has not been used it will be withdrawn and a new offer, if still required, needs to be arranged.
  • If there is any suspicious activity an offer can be withdrawn.
    Prior to lending the funds lenders conduct lots of checks to ensure a borrower has been completely honest in their application and that they are who they say they are.

Sometimes, there are differences between bank statements and proof of income  to what has been recorded in the original application and if the lender is not satisfied with the check they will make further checks but if they are not satisfied they will withdraw the offer. Applicants, therefore, need to be as accurate as possible when making their application for funding.

A lender will check that a borrower is not committing fraud and that a deposit or other funds used to purchase a property comes from a legal source. If there is dishonesty it can lead to a criminal charges for mortgage fraud.

As conveyancing solicitors, we have to make the same checks. . Solicitors have many duties under anti-money laundering laws and this is why we stringently check where all the funds in a transaction are coming from and with whom we are dealing. If we find something wrong, we have a duty to inform the lender, but will only do so with the permission of our client. If our client does not provide permission a conflict of interest is created and we  must cease to act in the transaction.

  • There is a change in circumstances

During a property purchase there may be a change in circumstances that affects a buyers financial situation. A change of job, redundancy, losing a job or the death of a partner, may affect affordability criteria. A lender must be informed if personal circumstances change, so they can decide if they still want to commit to the mortgage loan.

If you find yourself in these circumstances  discuss the changes with your mortgage broker as they should be able to contact your lender and based on your new situation your loan may be amended rather than withdrawn.

  • Credit problems

Your lender will run a credit check prior to finally agreeing the loan and if there is an unfavourable report may decide the risk of making the loan is just too big and withdraw their offer in principle.

There are many reasons why a report may be unfavourable, but sometimes it is because there has been a missed bill payment years ago  that you have forgotten about, but it still remains on your record.  There are several companies that can check your record and tell you what the problem is before you re-apply for a mortgage. You may also need to have your record amended or corrected.

  • Issues with the property

The property bought with the help of the mortgage loan is considered to be an asset that protects the lending. In short, if a borrower cannot keep up with the repayments there is a danger that the lender will repossess the property. If the lender finds on valuation of the property that it is not worth what is being loaned the mortgage offer may be withdrawn, but more often than not the lender will adjust the amount they are prepared to loan to make the purchase, so if repayments can’t be made and the property is repossessed the amount loaned will be covered by the value of the property.

If on valuation a borrower finds that the house is not worth what it should be and has less value, the estate agent should be consulted to re-negotiate the purchase price and the mortgage advisor to resolve any lending issues with the lender. However, it is important at this point to be objective and consider whether the problems found on survey or valuation makes the property a good purchase or not and to withdraw from an offer to purchase if the property is not all it should be in terms of value.

If you are using us to help you to purchase a property, please give us a call on 0191 4555361 if you are having difficulties with a mortgage offer.

House Selling FAQs

Sometimes a sale can be more complicated due to the individual circumstances of the property or how the current ownership is funded, but in a straightforward sale the steps are as follows;

  • Take instructions and give you initial advice.
  • Request mortgage redemption details from the lender and if property is in negative equity we provide advice.
  • We ask the vendor to complete the standard house sale questionnaires in which you give information about the property and the fixtures and fittings
  • Assist in negotiating arrangements for the fixtures and fittings (for instance if some are being left behind or being sold at a separate price)
  • Assist in negotiating who will fix any issues raised in the buyer’s survey – sometimes the sale price is re-negotiated if appropriate to the issues
  • Liaise with estate agent who has advertised and assisted in the sale of the property
  • Deal with enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitor and respond to enquiries
  • Draft contract
  • Agree completion date with vendor and buyer’s solicitor
  • Exchange contracts (before or on completion date)
  • Vendor provides keys (etc.) to the Estate Agent before or on the day of completion
  • On day of completion – receive the sale funds, redeem the mortgage, send legal documents regarding ownership to the buyer’s solicitors. Pay estate agent. We make arrangements to refund any balance to the vendor.

How long it will take from an offer for your property being accepted until your property is sold will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 3-6 months, but it can take longer depending upon the circumstances of the sale and sometimes can complete more quickly. Your conveyancer will keep you updated with timescales as the transaction proceeds.

The short answer is NO!

E-mail and telephone scams are very common. If you receive an e-mail or telephone call requesting funds from us that seems suspicious or that you don’t expect, please contact us immediately on 0191 4974630 to verify that we have requested the funds before you send them.

We will not ask for your bank details or funds by email and we will never send an email to our clients to say that our bank is being audited or that we have changed our bank account details mid-transaction. If you are worried at all call us and speak to your solicitor before sending any funds to us.

It is your responsibility to maintain your information securely and safely on your own computer or mobile devices by installing the correct protective software on your PC and mobile devices and taking steps to prevent cyber-crime affecting you and others. Your bank will be able to advise you on how to transfer funds safely.

To provide reassurance a client who has to transfer a large amount of funds to us can send us a test payment (usually £1) before sending us the larger amounts.

After sending the test payment, please call us to speak to one of our conveyancing staff who will check and confirm that we have received the test payment safely.

 

When you are buying or selling a house and want to get ready to set a completion date it’s not possible as your conveyancer mentions to you that ‘the chain is not ready’ or worse still ‘the chain has collapsed’, but what does this mean and what is a property chain?

A ‘property chain’ is called ‘a chain’ because that is exactly how to describe it.

Chains can be long or short and comprise people who are carrying out property transactions linked to each other’s.

If you are in a chain it means that to be able to buy your new property someone else must sell it on the same day that you want to buy it and your old house must be sold on exactly the same day to ensure you have the funds to buy your new home, and so on.

So if you can think of your sale or purchase being a link in a chain and all the other people related to your transaction as the other links you will understand what is meant by a chain.

Usually at the end of a chain is someone who does not need to sell a property to be able to buy a new property. This may be a first time buyer or someone who has sold their home on an earlier date.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If there is a problem with one of the links it is likely that all the other links will be affected.

Actions that break chains;

  • A buyer sometimes can’t the mortgage they expected to get – this can sometimes cause delay until a new mortgage is arranged or the buyer can’t get a mortgage and has to withdraw. This means that the chain can’t proceed until someone else is able to buy the property.
  • Someone changes their mind and withdraws from the transactions. Thy may do this because they have just changed their minds or because of other factors like losing their job or because they have found problems with the property they were going to buy.
  • When a survey is completed the buyer finds that the house is just not worth what it has been marketed for.
  • A buyer has their survey completed and finds lots of problems with the property they want to buy. They then start to re-negotiate the buying price with the seller and this cause delay to everyone else in the chain.
  • A search produces an unexpected issue. For example a mining search highlights the issue that there is a pit shaft or adit very near to or under the house.

Occasionally, if a chain breaks and one of the people in the chain does not want to lose their sale or purchase they may allow their sale to proceed earlier. In these circumstances they find some other accommodation and storage for their household effects for a short time until the remains of the chain sort out their issues and their prospective purchase property become available to buy.

Your conveyancer is experienced in managing chains and if there are any problems the best solution is to break the chain into smaller links. Your conveyancer will discuss the matter with all the other conveyancers involved in the chain to try to work out the best outcome for everyone.

If you have concerns that another linked transaction may affect your sale or purchase please discuss it with your conveyancer who will be happy to help.

Our phone number is: 0191 4555361.

We do not charge any of our clients storage fees.

We don’t charge file  destruction fees. 

If you have been referred to us by a conveyancing panel and the panel has quoted storage fees within the conveyancing costs we confirm that we do not charge these fees and you will not be charged for storage at the end of the transaction.

If you request your file or we need to request it from secure storage and the request is related to an on-going transaction we will not charge file retrieval fees.

If the file retrieval request is made after a transaction closes we may charge a small retrieval fee to cover our costs which will be explained when the file is requested.

If the matter was privately funded you may be entitled to take your file at the end of a transaction if your fees and disbursements have been paid to us in entirety.

If there is any remedial work arising out of a file request it will be quoted prior to the remedial work commencing and dependent on what remedial work has been requested.

What our clients think

We were treated with polite friendliness at all times

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I would recommend because of the professionalism at all times from the staff

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Recommended by our Estate Agents - easy to make initial contact

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Very polite staff and straightforward procedure

— Peter

Advice given was useful and the service was brilliant

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