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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

I am in the process of buying my first home and have been advised to carry out a survey. I have already paid for a mortgage valuation. What is the difference between a survey and mortgage valuation?

It is always recommended for a survey to be carried out on a property before the exchange of contracts.  This is because it is the buyer’s responsibility to find out as much as possible about the property, including any physical defects, before committing to the purchase.

There are three types of survey available to a buyer:

  • 1. Valuation – This is the simplest form of survey and is carried out by the mortgage lender to assess whether the property being bought is suitable security for the loan being offered.
  • 2. Home Buyers Report – This is a compromise between the mortgage valuation and the full structural survey.  It is a concise summary on the state of repair and condition of the property, including a valuation.  Although this is of much more value to a buyer, this type of survey is still relatively superficial.
  • 3. Full Structural Survey – This is a detailed inspection of the property and is particularly useful if you are buying a large or older property.  It is also of benefit to you when buying a property that has been substantially structurally altered.  The report will provide a detailed commentary on the condition of the building’s structure.

I am in the process of buying a property and have been advised to carry out searches. Do I need to carry out searches? If so, which ones?

Unless you are lucky enough to be able to buy a property without the aid of a Mortgage then you will need to request searches. This is because the Council for Mortgage Lenders, which is the governing body for all mortgage companies, states that solicitors must carry out all appropriate searches. We would strongly advise cash buyers alike to carry out searches.

  • 1. Local Authority SearchThis search is essentially non-negotiable (even if you are buying without a Mortgage). The result will reveal whether any roads and paths adjoining the property are publicly maintained, any planning decisions, contaminated land issues, any major road schemes nearby, and any enforcement notices for breach of planning permission. The search is only valid for the property you are buying and it cannot predict the future.
  • 2. Drainage Search It is almost always advisable to conduct this search.  The search will reveal who is responsible for maintaining the sewers, drains and pipes that serve the property and their location. It will clarify if the property is connected to the mains water supply and confirm how charges are made i.e. meter or rates.
  • 3. Environmental SearchThis search is strongly recommended and will give you an indication of the former use of the property and if the house is in an area affected by flooding or subsidence. This information will help you decide if the property is at risk. If any work is required to ‘clean up’ the land this is the responsibility of the landowner and the bill will be your responsibility.  This can be avoided if the risk is identified prior to you buying the property.
  • 4. Other SearchesDepending on where the property is located and on any specific requirements of your Mortgage Lender, some extra searches may be required e.g. Coal Mining. Williamsons Solicitors will advise you if any additional searches are needed.

What if there is a problem with one of the searches?

Usually, most problems that arise in search results can be dealt with prior to completion or indemnity insurance can be obtained. It is important to remember that although you are buying the property and may be willing to accept the search results, your Mortgage Lender may not, and ultimately they have the final say.

What is the difference between a ‘Freehold’ and ‘Leasehold’ property?

A freehold property is when you own your home outright forever and and have the right to occupy it for an unlimited period of time.  A leasehold property is quite different.  A leasehold property gives you the right to use a dwelling owned by someone else for a fixed period of time (typically 99, 125 or 999 years).  At the end of the lease, the owner of the property can either renew or end the lease and enforce the owner to move out.

If you are obtaining a mortgage to buy a leasehold property, the lenders legal requirements will be much more stringent.

Leasehold conveyancing is much more complicated than freehold conveyancing and therefore the legal fees for dealing with a leasehold property will be slightly higher because of this.

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Mrs Kathleen A

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Mr & M

Carey Robinson acted as our Solicitor on a recent commercial purchase and she was brilliant. Carey was super efficient and we were kept up to date on every aspect of the purchase. From start to finish our "Property Auction" purchase only took 7 working days to complete. We will definitely be using Carey again and can highly recommend her 5 star service.

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Friendly, fast and efficient. Sale of property went very well.

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I have nothing but praise for Gordon Sewell at the Hull office. He conducted my unusual and difficult civil case with great care and understanding. Gordon also injected the right amount of sympathy for my plight without being unprofessional. I would recommend him to anyone needing a clued up civil litigation lawyer.

Richard K

very helpful and efficient. thanks to all

Peter R

Mr Nick Gray was assigned my enquiry and worked with me throughout. He made himself available at all times and was always supportive to me on numerous occasions when I found myself unsure and admittedly nervous. He never let me down. I believe his advice was always good and I relied on it throughout. I think the award was the best I could have obtained and in conclusion I can honestly say that I am happy. The other contact I have had over the years was your receptionist, the face of your company. I was always greeted with a smile and the offer of a cup of coffee. On the occasions I visited your Hull office I was always made to feel important. Thank you.

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Gareth M

I’ve rated my experience with Williamson’s solicitors as excellent.My case was handled by Mr. Gordon Sewell. Mr. Sewell was very quick to get to work on my case, as was necessary at the time. Everything he did for me was thorough and made sure I had every chance in my case. Everything Mr Sewell did for me turned out a success and I couldn’t have been happy with the way he dealt with myself, could communicated with myself and dealt with the case in its entirety.I wouldn’t hesitate to use Williamson’s solicitors again should I require it and would recommend their services to anyone. In fact, I already have since my experience!Thanks again Gordon.

Dom W

Recently used Williamsons Solicitors as part of a remortgage and some other matters. Can't fault their service at all. Carey dealt with my file and was polite, professional and informative from beginning to end. Always kept me up to speed with progress. I would highly recommend them.

Mrs Margaret W

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Mr Martin a

Was very happy with the service given by Williamsons solicitors who dealt with the probate of a friends will and also the selling of her property. Especially Diane Ramsden whose help was invaluable.

Anonymous

Williamsons took on my case following the collapse of another Hull legal practice. Despite them having to pick up a large amount of work already completed by others, they worked tirelessly to ensure the correct outcome for me. I cannot recommend this company highly enough, they go above and beyond the norm to make sure their clients are treated fairly.

Anonymous

We used Williamsons for selling and buying a property, we found Jane Cousins and her assistant Sam Pollard to be pleasant, professional and efficient. Lisa on reception downstairs was particularly helpful and polite. Thank you to you all.

Mr J G

Avery good service with very professional and knowledgeable staff.

Anonymous

Brilliant, thank you for helping me make this process easier.

Mr G B

I would recommend Williamson’s to any potential client. From the onset I was supported throughout a very difficult conveyance and my solicitor was very professional at all times. It is advisable to engage the services of a local company and not one advised by online estate agencies. Very competitive pricing too. Thank you Williamson’s.

Mr and Mrs Overall

Very helpful quick excellent service Have dealt with both Jenny Holloway and Emma Hudson in the past and on each occasion have found them both excellent and would recommend them both to any future clients Thank you once again for your excellent professional service

Mr C P

Brilliant communication and a first class effort despite a Rocky move, Jenny and Emma at the Hull city centre branch where fantastic.

Ms A

Very helpful and attentive, would definitely recommend Samantha/Jane of Williamsons sollicitors

Sue L

Our solicitor Carey Robinson was at all times helpful and professional, nothing was too much trouble. I would not hesitate to recommend her to friends and family.

Barbara C

I have used Williamsons Solicitors twice this year - for obtaining probate and for the sale of a leasehold flat and on both occasions I have found Williamsons to be extremely efficient and speedy. They were very knowledgeable and kept me well informed at all times. Any queries I had were answered promptly and all advice given was accurate and most helpful. I would not hesitate to recommend Williamsons to anyone in need of a first class, reliable and customer friendly solicitor. Thank you for making a traumatic situation as stress free as possible.