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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 Margaret W

I am new to Williamsons, my first time with them. It’s been a positive efficient and friendly experience. So much so that I won’t be going any where else in future. Thank you to all at Williamsons!

Brian R

This is the third housing transaction Williamsons has done for me in the last year and I have been very satisfied with the proceedings . I particularly admire the capability and knowledge of Suzanne Spooner who is a very smart lady.

Mrs Robinson

Smooth and easy sale and purchase. Extremely helpful and supportive. Kept me informed at all times. Would highly recommend. Thank you so much.

Mr & M

Excellent professional service from Jane Cousins and her colleagues in the conveyancing department.

Mr and Mrs Height

The team excellent

Michael S

A pleasure to deal with, helpful and polite during the sale of my property. Thankyou.

Mr and Mrs Mooney

Always someone available to talk with us which was very much appreciated. Many thanks for a very quick and efficient service. A house sale made very easy for us. Many thanks once again.

Mr Hall

Always upfront, helpful and on the ball.

Mr and Mrs England

We picked Williamsons to write our wills based on the reviews online. It’s true to say that those which recommended their services were totally accurate. We started the process only having a vague notion of our requirements but with Alison’s excellent coaching we ended up with wills which have ensured our wishes are fully captured. The whole process was friendly yet very thorough and we were given clear, understandable, explanations of each and every element. From this experience we have no hesitation in recommending Williamsons services.

Mrs Woodhouse

Professional and prompt Highly recommend

Gary G

I used a google search looking for local solicitors within the Hull area and Williamson's where at the top which provided me with great confidence to contact them. I 110% satisfied with the service I received I could not fault any of it from the very first phone call to the final summary email. Service was exceptional. Bill him self was great and very helpful.

Carla

Wayne Walker was amazing throughout my whole case. He kept me upto date and always had time for me when I needed support. I couldnt have asked for a better firm of solicitors would highly recommend to anyone.

Mr Stephenson a

Great service. Fast and informative responses. Great at answering our first time buyer questions. No problems at all!

Anonymous

Couldn’t ask for a better service, very helpful.

Anonymous

Absolutely first class service from start to finish. Open, transparent with costs and all work carried out in a fast timely manner. Highly recommend the use of Williamson’s conveyance services.

Miss S

Very good company. I will always use Williamson's for any legal matter. Efficient,friendly and helpful.

Anonymous

Would just like to mention your Bridlington branch is so highly recommended. We have had the most efficient & fast legal work done by one of your brilliant Solicitors called Lauren. Can I add no stress what's so ever. Thankyou Williamsons Solicitors & thankyou Lauren.

Anonymous

Have used this firm for both buying and selling properties and would use them again. They've always been fair and reasonable in what they charged and done their best to keep me informed on developments in above transactions.

Philip P

Williamson's Solicitors provide first class advice, efficiency and are very obliging. We would highly recommend their services.

Mr and Mrs Emmerson

After a long haul with our house sale, we where pleased with the professionalism shown at all times, with friendly approachable staff at Bridlington.

Mr & M

Excellent professional service throughout, couldn't fault anything. We found them to be very thorough and looked out for our best interests at all times! We are intending to purchase another rental property and will definitely be using Williamsons in Beverley. Thank-you again Amanda for all your help and expertise!