From May 2010, Home Information Packs (HIP’s) have been abolished by the coalition government. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will still be required, and every homeowner needs to produce one for their property to be sold. However, the homeowner doesn’t have to have it in place before being able to market their property, they just need to have had an EPC commissioned and supplied by an accredited Energy Assessor before the sale can be completed.
An Energy Assessor is someone who is accredited (regulated) to provide energy assessments on homes and buildings. The cost of an EPC can vary, starting from around £35 on deals from certain energy suppliers up to £100 for an average sized family home.
The costs of buying a house goes far beyond the actual value of the house. Solicitors, duties, Estate agents, removals; it all takes it toll in a very real way….BUT DIY conveyancing, with the right approach and the right help, can save you a small fortune.
With the Internet available to everyone who chooses to use it, there is so much help available, even to the point of ordering custom made "For Sale" signs on line. We have outlined the basic processes that need to be considered!
Ordinarily the cost of buying a house can be split between the two main headings, advertising and facilitating the sale, and the legal costs. This of course means Estate agents and Solicitors.
Estate agents, we believe, you can probably do without, saving approximately £4000.00.
An estate agent can charge anything between 1.5% and 4.5% of the value of the property so a good look around for comparisons as they can save you a great deal of money.
Advertising your house privately can also be very expensive. The average local paper advert is £30.00 per week and given that you will want to place a photographic advert, probably a lot more. Photographs are essential to selling a house, a prospective buyer is extremely unlikely to show as much interest in a text advert. It is also a very much reduced chance that your buyer will come from the same area. This means extending your advertising to other areas, more local papers, even National ones, and that can really get expensive…… Enter the Internet !!!
There are many many sites dedicated to DIY conveyancing. Adverts and membership are cheap, and you are reaching an audience of millions. Some sites will arrange solicitors, mortgages, removals and just about everything else except possibly making the bed !
You can also get leaflets printed and distribute them, place adverts in shops etc and even make an advertising campaign out of birthday and Christmas cards to all the people you haven’t seen for donkeys years! Signboards are a must outside your property, many many houses are sold just by people driving past on a Sunday afternoon.
Solicitors and Conveyancers
You will need a solicitor or conveyancer, they will be able to gain access to records that it could take you forever to find, but again, shop around.
After a good look around and a chat to every single person you know who has moved house, find a decent recommended solicitors practice and there is also no harm in interviewing them yourself.
If they are a reputable company then they should have no problem in sitting down for an informal chat. It’s also a good idea to prepare some questions for this (if you do go down this road , before agreeing to a meeting, establish whether you will be charged for this).
By doing this you will save you a great deal of stress and worry. Moving home is a traumatic event, ranking about number 2 on the " where’s the Aspirin" scale and if you are under stress, important things can be missed.
Prices vary from about £80.00 to hundreds of pounds an hour and you should get quotes rather than estimates. These people should be bought in when you have seen a property you like and are ready to make an offer. An average fee for a solicitor, on a house to the value of £100,000 is around £600.00 plus the cost disbursements (monies paid for services provided by others).
For this fee they will obtain any deeds and documents necessary from the land registry and make sure the house you are buying actually belongs to the people who are selling it. They will carry out a local search which means checking to see if there are any proposed motorways going over your lawn, if you are in a restricted planning permission zone, if there are any compulsory purchases orders on the home.
In some areas an environmental search may be necessary if the area has been badly affected by floods or subsidence. There are also, in affected areas, coal mining and water searches to make sure your house is connected to mains water and is not likely to fall into a disused mine.
The land registration will be carried out to make sure you are registered as the new owner. A mutually agreeable contract between parties and communication between all parties concerned will also be covered and also the preparation of legal documents for mortgage purposes.
Solicitors and conveyancer’s will also organise the exchange of contracts between parties, obtain any monies due from previous mortgages or balances outstanding and transfer them and also arrange the completion of the contract and exchange of monies.
Mortgage and Insurance
Shop around for a good mortgage!!! This, again, is where the Internet is invaluable. You can compare prices of hundreds of lenders without even moving from your chair and a lot of sites have search facilities to check the rates for you. You are not committed to anything until you sign to say you are willing to be, and just as with anything else you do in, on, and around a house… Preparation is everything.
Also, remember that you will need to get insurance for your new home. Home insurance is like car insurance – it pays to shop around!
The last thing you should think about is a structural, full survey on the property you are buying. We were very surprised to learn that approx. 25% of buyers do not have a structural survey done. Your mortgage company will normally insist on a homebuyers survey, which will tell them, and you, if the house is worth the money, but it will not go into great detail…..The biggest investment of your life and you cannot be sure its going to stay upright over the winter!?!
In general a full survey, complete with written report, will cost about £300.00 and because they need to show that they have been thorough, the survey will be a bit on the pessimistic side. All houses have defects, most give it character and you can ask the surveyor to highlight anything that he thinks requires immediate attention or is likely to cost a lot of money to correct.This information can be used to go to the vendor and ask for a reduction in price.
Structural surveys always pay for themselves if done properly. If you have the paperwork when you resell, you can show just how good a condition the house is in, and/or having repaired the faults shown on the survey, you can show the same thing. If you get a reduced asking price as a result of the survey the same thing applies. If not, and the work is extensive, you do not move and thank your lucky stars you didn’t lumber yourself with expensive builders for the rest of your life.