FAQ's For Buyers

We’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked questions that tend to be asked by buyers along the journey of purchasing a property. This should give you further insight into the whole buying process through Alexander Knight.

Will you carry out the viewings?

Yes we will accompany all viewings, this allows us to answer any queries you may have about the property or the area.

When should I arrange my mortgage?

The majority of mortgage lenders will be able to provide you with an AIP (Agreement in Principle). This provisionally lets you know how much you can borrow, subject to finding a suitable property in a specified time.    This can be arranged direct with a mortgage lender or via a financial adviser. Alexander Knight can provide details of an independent mortgage broker if required.

Confirming your financial eligibility at an early stage in your property search can put you at an advantage when making an offer.  Your position is likely to be viewed more favourably by the Agent and the Vendor.  It is worth acknowledging however that AIPs give no guarantees that a Mortgage will be issued as they are subject to survey, in addition to your mortgage application passing the necessary credit and Lending checks.

When making an offer on a property what information is required from me?

We will require: your position to proceed, I.e. first time buyer, cash buyer or if you are selling another property, the full details of agent and related sale if applicable. You will be asked for proof of deposit if obtaining a mortgage and either a copy of your AIP or, if you have yet to arrange a mortgage, then to be qualified by one of our mortgage advisors. Cash buyers will be asked for proof of funds, provided by your solicitor or bank.

 Are you a regulated by any professional bodies?

Alexander Knight is a reputable and regulated agent in order to give customers peace of mind.  We are members of the Property Ombudsman and the NAEA (The National Association of Estate Agents).

At what stage should I instruct my solicitor?

At the point you have an offer agreed you will be required to provide your Solicitor’s details.  If needed we can recommend you a number of reputable Solicitors. 

Will you keep the property on the market if my offer is accepted?

Generally the property will be taken off the market to show ‘good will’ and allow you time to organise a survey and instruct a solicitor. Bear in mind that a time frame is normally agreed at the point an offer is accepted and then put in writing within the sales letters. Should the vendor wish for the property to remain on the market you will be informed of this immediately.

How will my surveyor gain access to the property?

We would request that you provide your surveyor with our contact details, we will subsequently make all the necessary arrangements for access.

What legal proceedings are involved?

Once a sale has been agreed you will need a Conveyancing Solicitor to handle the legal aspect of the transaction. It is essential that you acquire someone who will work with you and ourselves to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. When the Solicitor’s details for both parties have been received the sale is confirmed in writing.  We will keep you regularly updated on the progress of your sale.

How quickly can my purchase exchange contracts?

This is dependent on a number of factors as a result there is no set timeframe however 4 -12 weeks is to be expected. We will discuss this extensively with you to try and match your timeframe with any prospective seller and get this confirmed at the point a sale is agreed. Factors such as instructing your solicitor and mortgage provider at the earliest opportunity can make a big difference.

What is meant by a property being in the ‘exchange’ process?

Contracts are exchanged when your mortgage offer or cash funds have been transferred to your solicitor this is dependent on all conveyancing having been completed. Exchange of contracts makes the purchase legally binding and a completion date is then set.

What is Stamp Duty?

All properties over a particular threshold in the UK are liable for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). This is charged on all purchases of houses, flats and other land and buildings. New rates from the 1st of April 2016 came into play, calculate how much Stamp Duty you’re likely to pay using the HMRC calculator below.

Stamp Duty Land Tax Calculator - https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro

What is the difference between share of freehold and leasehold?

Share of freehold is when a freeholder divides up his responsibility and the leaseholders become directors of the freehold company. Leasehold is a method of owning a property for a fixed term but not the land on which it stands. Possession of the property will be subject to the payment of an annual ground rent. When the lease expires, ownership of the property reverts back to the freeholder.

If a lease is running low at what point should it be increased and what is the process?

If a lease is less than 80 years unexpired, at the point of extension you will be required to pay what is known as a marriage value to the freeholder. The law states that you cannot complete a lease extension until you have owned the property for two years.  However the freeholder can agree to give you one in the meantime. A Solicitor is required to handle all the legal documentation with regards to extending the lease. A Valuer or Chartered Surveyor is then required to put a value on the lease extension; a fixed fee is normally charged to prepare this report.
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