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Help With Some Newbie Questions?

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Sometime in the next year or so (house prices willing), I'm aiming to become a first time buyer of a UK property. I'm more familiar with the house buying process in other countries - where offers, if accepted, are legally binding on boht parties. That kind of makes the English system of non-binding offers a bit daunting... I have a few newbie questions that I'd be happy to have some advice on:

1. Solicitor or conveyencer - both are lawyers, so what's the difference? And is one preferable to the other?

2. Location of said solicitor/conveyencer. I live in London, looking to buy outside London. So is it better to choose a solicitor/conveyencer near where I live, or near where I want to buy?

3. Offers: To be non-binding, I understand that offers (if written) should be marked "subject to contract and without prejudice" and that verbal offers aren't legally binding anyway. Is this correct?

4. Also on offers - is it usual for the offer also to be made subject to "survey acceptable to the buyer"? Or is it just standard practice that the vendor will make the house available to a surveyor following acceptance of an offer (or even prior to an offer)?

5. What is the deal with contents? In context, where I'm from, anything that is nailed down (carpets, cooker, etc - and curtains or blinds) is a fixture of the house and automatically included in the sale. Things that aren't nailed down (rugs, whitegoods, etc) are not fixtures and not included. Here (UK) it seems you have to specify everything, down to the lightbulbs? Or have I just read too many horror-threads...? More seriously, what is "normal" to ask to be included? I guess the carpets, curtains, and cooker. What about whitegoods such as the fridge/freezer (if not built-in)? Woodburner, if it's part of the heating system?

TIA to anyone with the patience to explain :)

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Sometime in the next year or so (house prices willing), I'm aiming to become a first time buyer of a UK property. I'm more familiar with the house buying process in other countries - where offers, if accepted, are legally binding on boht parties. That kind of makes the English system of non-binding offers a bit daunting... I have a few newbie questions that I'd be happy to have some advice on:

1. Solicitor or conveyencer - both are lawyers, so what's the difference? And is one preferable to the other?

2. Location of said solicitor/conveyencer. I live in London, looking to buy outside London. So is it better to choose a solicitor/conveyencer near where I live, or near where I want to buy?

3. Offers: To be non-binding, I understand that offers (if written) should be marked "subject to contract and without prejudice" and that verbal offers aren't legally binding anyway. Is this correct?

4. Also on offers - is it usual for the offer also to be made subject to "survey acceptable to the buyer"? Or is it just standard practice that the vendor will make the house available to a surveyor following acceptance of an offer (or even prior to an offer)?

5. What is the deal with contents? In context, where I'm from, anything that is nailed down (carpets, cooker, etc - and curtains or blinds) is a fixture of the house and automatically included in the sale. Things that aren't nailed down (rugs, whitegoods, etc) are not fixtures and not included. Here (UK) it seems you have to specify everything, down to the lightbulbs? Or have I just read too many horror-threads...? More seriously, what is "normal" to ask to be included? I guess the carpets, curtains, and cooker. What about whitegoods such as the fridge/freezer (if not built-in)? Woodburner, if it's part of the heating system?

TIA to anyone with the patience to explain :)

You don't need to worry about the legality of the form of the offer.

A contract to buy a house is only binding on the parties if it is in the correct form (i.e the form that the solicitor will draw up and have you sign), You can back out at any time before then, even if you didn't say "subject to whatever" when making the offer.

tim

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Sometime in the next year or so (house prices willing), I'm aiming to become a first time buyer of a UK property. I'm more familiar with the house buying process in other countries - where offers, if accepted, are legally binding on boht parties. That kind of makes the English system of non-binding offers a bit daunting... I have a few newbie questions that I'd be happy to have some advice on:

1. Solicitor or conveyencer - both are lawyers, so what's the difference? And is one preferable to the other?

solicitors are qualified as solicitors, conveyancer qualifications vary. Get a recommendation, never use the factory conveyancers in Wales.

2. Location of said solicitor/conveyencer. I live in London, looking to buy outside London. So is it better to choose a solicitor/conveyencer near where I live, or near where I want to buy?

Near where you live is useful for them to see you for ID purposes and it will make things quicker if you can drop things in at the office. However one near where you are buying will have useful local knowledge.

3. Offers: To be non-binding, I understand that offers (if written) should be marked "subject to contract and without prejudice" and that verbal offers aren't legally binding anyway. Is this correct?

Techincally a good idea, in practice not necessary. Nothing is in stone until exchange.

4. Also on offers - is it usual for the offer also to be made subject to "survey acceptable to the buyer"? Or is it just standard practice that the vendor will make the house available to a surveyor following acceptance of an offer (or even prior to an offer)?

Again, technically correct, in practice not necessary, especially in this market.

5. What is the deal with contents? In context, where I'm from, anything that is nailed down (carpets, cooker, etc - and curtains or blinds) is a fixture of the house and automatically included in the sale. Things that aren't nailed down (rugs, whitegoods, etc) are not fixtures and not included. Here (UK) it seems you have to specify everything, down to the lightbulbs? Or have I just read too many horror-threads...? More seriously, what is "normal" to ask to be included? I guess the carpets, curtains, and cooker. What about whitegoods such as the fridge/freezer (if not built-in)? Woodburner, if it's part of the heating system?

All on the fixtures and fitting list you will get once the conveyancing begins, everything is negotiable.

TIA to anyone with the patience to explain :)

hope the above helps, if you can read my answers - note to self, dont play with the coloured font

Edited by The Conveyancer

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  • 145 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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