The seller said the cooker was included.

Wed 18th February 2015
“The seller said the cooker was included.”

If I hear it once, I hear it a dozen times; “The seller said….” It doesn’t matter what it is. You can be certain that such a remark is a prelude to a potential dispute. You can be equally certain that where there is a dispute, there is a delay. For me, parties to a conveyancing transaction arguing with each other is one of the biggest causes of delay.

Think about it. The seller and the selling agent are working towards a common goal –  finding and securing a buyer. There is a temptation to say things that a potential buyer wants to hear. This is human nature. Equally, buyers try to exploit whatever advantage they may have. After all, a seller only has one property to sell, whereas a buyer can offer to purchase any number of properties. So, there is a temptation for buyers to ask for concessions that in an ideal world a seller would not make. And that’s the point. Conveyancing does not take place in an ideal world. It takes place in a human one.

When the agent sends out the confirmation of sale, practically nothing has been agreed between the parties. The sale is subject to satisfactory survey, subject to legal searches, subject to finance being available. The seller has not completed a fittings and contents list. In reality all the buyer has said is, “I’d like to buy your property” and the seller, “I’m willing to sell it”. Prices get re-negotiated and so too do other terms like what is, or is not, included in the sale. The parties to the transaction need to understand this.

There is no point in going “nose to nose and toe to toe” over whether or not a second-hand cooker is included in the sale. The parties are spending thousands of pounds on agents’ fees, legal costs and possibly stamp duty. A cooker may at best have a replacement value of no more than a few hundred pounds. When a buyer says, “The seller said the cooker was included”, the buyer’s lawyer has to challenge the seller’s lawyer, who then has to ask the seller whether or not this is so. The seller then needs to decide whether or not the cooker is included and then confirm their decision back to their lawyer. The seller’s lawyer then has to relate the seller’s decision to the buyer’s lawyer, who can then confirm to the buyer what the seller has decided. What happens when the seller’s decision is unacceptable to the buyer? The process may be repeated in the hope of a different outcome. The buyer may decide the cooker has become a deal breaking issue. In the meantime the seller has mentally moved out of his house, the buyer has mentally moved in and neither party can understand why there is a problem. All the while, the parties continue to pay mortgages, rents and other outgoings on their current accommodation, which will cost each party hundreds of pounds a week.

The moral of the story is don’t believe everything you are told at the outset of a transaction. Expect the terms of the sale and purchase to change. The parties have not agreed anything until exchange of contracts has taken place. Up until then, the parties can play “ducks and drakes” with one another. If the cooker was meant to be included, it will be; if it wasn’t, decide if the delay costs less than buying a replacement.
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Information for First-Time Buyers

Mon 3rd December 2012
This information is provided by us as an aid to our clients in understanding the conveyancing process. It is not intended to be a full statement of the laws that relate to the buying and selling of property. It should not be regarded as legal advice therefore.

Introduction

As you read this information for the first time you are probably enjoying the prospect of buying your new, and possibly first, home. Most advice given at this stage centres around the importance of the transaction and the significance of your intended investment. These are wise words. But you need to know more. This may fill-in some important gaps in your knowledge and help you to be better prepared for what will follow.

> Download our First-Time Buyers Guidance Booklet
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Shared Ownership - Distinctly lacking in MPC

Thu 1st September 2011
On the barren shared ownership plains of Milton Keynes thousands of Lesser Spotted Shared Ownership Leases wander in herds across the landscape. They were born in better times when mortgage funding was thick and lush. Now they languish and in all probability represent a species on the verge of extinction. It’s a toss up between the Giant Panda and the “Lesser Spotted” as to which will die out first.

So where does the threat of extinction come from? It comes from a drought in mortgage funds that has become more pronounced following the so-called “credit crunch”. There is a well of funds that could provide life for these ailing creatures, but it is controlled by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. They will only extend relief if leases are branded with the magic initials “MPC”. The Lesser Spotted is not so branded.
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Lease Extensions

Tue 3rd August 2010
Clients are starting to contact us about extending their leases. This evidently a growing problem, which is affecting an increasing number of people in Milton Keynes . The addresses that have most regularly come to our attention are in:
  • Rowle Close, Stantonbury;
  • Clay Hill, Two Mile Ash;
  • St Margaret’s Court, Bletchley;
  • Bute Brae, Bletchley; and
  • Caithness Court , Bletchley.
  • Inevitably the list is going to get longer.

The problem is this. Mortgages are increasingly repayable over 35 years. Mortgage lenders expect to lend on a lease that is at least 30 years longer in duration than the mortgage term. So a lease with 65 years left to run is often the minimum that will be acceptable for mortgage purposes. Given that, on average most people move at least every 7 years most buyers will want to see not less than 72 years on the lease before they buy so that they have 65 years or more on the lease when they come to sell.
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First Time Buyers and Stamp Duty Land Tax

Thu 25th March 2010
The 2010 Budget statement made by the Chancellor on 24th March 2010 outlined a new relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax (“Stamp Duty”).

In essence, to qualify a buyer must:
  • be an individual or group of individuals;
  • complete their purchase before 25th March 2012;
  • pay no more than £250,000 for the property;
  • purchase a “major interest” (which means either freehold property or a leasehold property that has an unexpired leasehold interest of at least 21 years);
  • purchase a property that is wholly residential;
  • intend to occupy the property as their only or main residence; and
  • never previously have acquired a major interest (as described above) in residential property anywhere in the world.

To claim the relief a buyer must be able to satisfy all the listed requirements.
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