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Moving House – Understanding Extensions and Building Works
It is common these days for people to have carried out extensions and/or reconfiguration works to a property. It is important to have a proper survey done on any property you wish to buy as your surveyor can not only spot what has been added or changed but also advise on whether it is satisfactory or needs further investigation.
Your solicitor is checking the legalities for you, to make sure that all required permissions and documents are in place, but ultimately you want to know that it has been properly built and poses no structural risk which only a surveyor can confirm. The common confusion around paperwork is the difference between planning permission and building regulations.
Planning Permission (which includes Permitted Development) is only about the Local Authority in the area the property is located, allowing certain works to be carried out. Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building. They are set by the UK government.
Work done to a property may or may not need planning permission, but it will almost certainly need building regulations approval after completion and a certificate from the building control department of the Local Authority or from an Approved Inspector.
The common confusion is that all is ok if there was planning permission or permitted development, but that is not always the case. There is only a complete and satisfactory picture if it goes hand-in-hand with building regulations approval or evidence that it was not required. Is your paperwork in order if you are looking to sell a home that has had work done to it?
Janine Heil, Partner, Leigh Duncan Solicitors
Janine qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and set up Leigh Duncan in 2016 with her husband Ingmar. She
has been acting in the sale and purchase of property for over 14 years, the last 9 of those have been based in Beaconsfield. If you have any questions, feel free to pop in and speak to Janine, Ingmar or any of the friendly team next time you are passing.
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The lead-up to Christmas is always an exciting and busy time. Many people going through the process of buying a new home during this festive season hope to complete in time to celebrate Christmas day in their new home?
I love this time of year, and the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of clients who are moving home. Yes, we are their solicitors, but we are not immune to the infectious ‘buzz’ around Christmas time!
If you are moving home in time for Christmas, it is important for you to select and instruct a solicitor as soon as possible, whilst gathering all relevant documentation, including records of any work you have done to it (if you are selling), and making sure you can demonstrate where your funds are coming from (if you are buying).
Find out from the estate agent what the selling-chain is on your transaction, and understand that it can take time to complete searches, perhaps around missing planning permission documents, tree preservation orders or a lack of building regulation documentation. Finally, remember that monies have to be in place with your solicitor for both exchange-of-contracts and for completion.
Finally, I will leave you with the true ‘festive’ story concerning something even your solicitor cannot control – the weather! On the day of a completion, during a heavy snowfall, the buyer’s removal van arrived at their new property, only to find that the seller’s removal van had got stuck, leaving. The sellers were stranded at what was no longer their house! The buyers offered the sellers the top floor for the night while the buyers occupied the ground floor so all could be sorted in the morning. It was, after all, the season of goodwill. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Janine Heil, Partner,
Leigh Duncan Solicitors
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In recent years, changes in legislation have resulted in an increase in the amount of information
and paperwork which buyers and sellers are obliged to hand over to their solicitors, following their
Moving home or investing in property is exciting, and with careful preparation, the client can assist
their solicitor in making the property transaction as slick and as stress-free as possible.
Any potential client, whether buyer or seller, might like to consider the following:
• Choose and instruct a solicitor as soon as possible.
• If you are selling, gather together all documentation relating to your home, including any work you
have done to it. Make sure it is in order with your solicitor before you have a definite buyer., so that
a contract package can be issued without delay.
• If you are buying, make sure you can demonstrate where your purchase funds are coming from
because your solicitor must comply with legislation concerning money laundering and mortgage
fraud and must maintain an ongoing process of due diligence ( do not take it personally, it is just an
• That ongoing duty of due diligence also requires you to prove your identity to your solicitor,
irrespective of whether you are buying or selling. Be prepared for some potentially probing enquiries!
Janine Heil, Partner,
Leigh Duncan Solicitors