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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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206 Reviews

K S

During a worldwide pandemic Williamsons were superb, i was kept up to date with proceedings, costs, future expectations etc. Using all forms of communiction including Email, telephone, face to face, video chat the knowledge and expertise is second to none and i wouldn't hesitate to use again should i require. I would highly recommend Williamsons for any legal matters their professionalism and helpfulness made my case much smoother, together with the ability to pay stage by stage i cannot stress how great the service was, needless to say my case was resolved to my expectations. I would urge anyone to use Williamsons for legal advice an easy 5 stars with special mention to Paul, Karen and Claire for the service i received from them.

Ms L

I chose Theresa and Toni at Williamsons again for this property purchase because of the care, attention to detail and professionalism they demonstrated last year when I bought another property. I have received a marvellous service again and I feel confident that they will have carefully looked at every detail of the necessary documentation involved in the buying process. Geographically, Williamsons is a long way from the property I have just bought but firms like Williamsons are a rarity and worth seeking out. I thoroughly recommend this company.

Mr & M

Wet happy with the comprehensive and personal service Thank you

Mr and Mrs Betts

Excellent client service- professional and courteous. Thank you to Madeleine.

Anonymous

I chose Williamsons to act as my conveyancers and I have been super impressed with their professionalism and ethics to act on behalf of their client. My process was a long one, due to no fault on Williamsons part, but they never dropped the ball and continued to chase the other party until we got the answers we needed. I would choose them again in a heart beat and recommend their services.

Mr T W

Fantastic service from Williamsons Solicitors especially Rachael Scott who handled everything brilliantly from start to finish. Thank you

Mr Beevers

Happy with the work done on my behalf

Mrs T D

Hello, I had a lovely experience at Williamsons. Alison and Katie made everything really easy for me and were really helpful 2really nice people.

Anonymous

Brilliant service from Williamsons. Very efficient and quick responses to any questions or queries I had. Would highly recommend.

Anonymous

Excellent 5* service. We tragically lost our daughter and we found Williamsons Solicitors who guided us through all the claim process. They are extremely knowledgeable and professional with a personal style that made the journey more manageable. There communication is always prompt. Thoroughly recommend Wayne Walker.

A G

I can well recommend, I have received professional and honest service which lead to positive closure of the case. Always responded with care and fully involvement which gave me more confidence to continue. All advices during the progressing of the case was competent and mirrored current situation.

Mrs Hughes

The conveyancing team were excellent, extremely helpful and made sure that I felt valued at all times. A big thank you

Brian S

We would like to thank Gordon for his assistance and reassurance in dealing with the problem regarding the boundary hedge. His professionalism and manner are a credit to the company and we would certainly recommend him to friends.

Miss B

Beth Dyson and colleagues have been excellent during the purchase of my new house. Very responsive to email and phone queries, polite and professional, and the sale has been completed in 13 weeks from acceptance of the offer to completion. Given the current COVID-19 situation and how that has impacted on everyone, that's great. Thanks to everyone at Williamsons for making buying my new home so straightforward!

Miss S

Excellent service from Beth Dyson despite all the pressures of the Covid lockdown. Beth carried out conveyancing of my sale and purchase very thoroughly and efficiently with good communication and always in a helpful and friendly manner. Many thanks.

Joanna H

Well from the moment I met Wayne Walker his professionalism,clarity of thought, and aim to do the best job he can were all evident. He has been involved with my family for five years nearly and has always made me feel as though my views were relevant and integral to furthering the case. Wayne has highly developed organisational skills and we always felt just ‘looked after’ by Wayne snd Williamsons in getting through the very worst of times. Wayne sometimes needed to encourage me to look at things from a different perspective and he always achieved this with firm kindness. Wayne is a great professional but more importantly a fundamentally great human being. I will always recommend Williamsons and especially on the subject of clinical negligence I will always recommend Wayne. Full job well done start to finish. Thanks Wayne there are no words. Jo Hogg (Polly’s mum)

Anonymous

Williamsons Solicitors supported our family to succeed to a very high level. We cannot thank Sarah Jackson enough for her incredible support, dedication and commitment to understanding the finest detail of our case. Her dedication was phonememonal and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend her in a heartbeat. Thank you for bringing closure to our case and for supporting us one hundred percent. We were informed at every stage within the case and knew we were in safe professional hands throughout. Many thanks, Mr and Mrs Appleton.

Asoka T

Very professional and a friendly team, specially Helen Lennon who handled my case.

Carl R

I was very happy with the way they handled my case and still got the result even in these hard times where having at the moment thank you to all involved and I’d recommend you to others

Angie L

Williamsons solicitors were professional, caring and efficient. They dealt with what was, a very upsetting experience I had via medical negligence. They kept me up to date, enquired about my well-being and were always available to either speak to me when I had concerns or answered my emails. They ensured that the compensation I finally received was in my best interests by advising what they thought was a too low first offer of settlement. I cannot thank them enough for the way they handled my case and for pushing for a better higher settlement figure. I would definitely use them again should I ever be in a position to need them Thank you so much.

Suzanne W

Would definitely recommend this company, very knowledgeable on all aspects. Extremely helpful with a caring and kind approach, made me feel at ease and comfortable. I was always kept informed at every stage of my case Very happy and would 100% use them for any other matter if needed Thankyou