Small Conveyancing Firm of the Year 2018

Winners of the prestigious award for Small Conveyancing Firm of the Year 2018

Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers are very proud to announce that they have won the prestigious award for Small Conveyancing Firm of the Year 2018.

The LFS Conveyancing Awards are the largest and most prestigious event in the conveyancing calendar.  At this national event, over 700 solicitors, licensed conveyancers and conveyancing professionals enjoyed an evening of entertainment, a three course gala dinner and a nervous wait with other finalists to see who would be crowned winners.

Small Conveyancing Firm of the Year 2018

The award that we have won was available to all Small Conveyancing Firms. It gave us the opportunity to enter for offering a first class service but without having the large marketing budgets of our larger rivals and to compete against each other on a level playing field.

The judging process was over five stages and comprised of:

  1. Completion of an application so that the judges could make an initial assessment.
  2. A mystery shopping exercise to obtain a conveyancing quote. This process was scored on both the quality of the phone call and the subsequent quote pack that they received.
  3. A compliance check undertaken by Legal Eye. They requested several documents and policies and a score was given to each firm.
  4. A telephone interview by one of the judges.
  5. Shopper Anonymous undertook a client survey based on a net promoter score.

Managing Director, Lee Gaddes, commented ‘to win this highly acclaimed award is an honour and a testimony to our fabulous conveyancing team.

We all enjoyed the evening with our fellow finalists in Birmingham and never expected to win. The award now takes pride of place in our reception area in our offices in Huddersfield and will be our benchmark for the years to come’.

Small Conveyancing Firm of the Year North win 2018

Gaddes Noble Shortlisted Small Conveyancer of the Year

Shortlisted for the prestigious award for Small Conveyancer of the Year 2018

Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers are very proud to announce that they have been shortlisted for the prestigious award for Small Conveyancer of the Year 2018.

The LFS Conveyancing Awards are now in their seventh year and are the biggest and most prestigious event in the conveyancing calendar.

The award that we have entered was available all Small Conveyancing Firms. It gave us the opportunity to enter for offering a first class service but without having the large marketing budgets of our larger rivals and to compete against each other on a level playing field.

We have been part of a five-stage judging process, comprising of:

  1. Completion of an application so that the judges could make an initial assessment.
  2. A mystery shopping exercise to obtain a conveyancing quote. This process was scored on both the quality of the phone call and the subsequent quote pack that they received.
  3. A compliance check undertaken by Legal Eye. They requested several documents and policies and a score was given to each firm.
  4. A telephone interview by one of the judges
  5. Shopper Anonymous undertook a client survey based on a net promoter score

Managing Director, Lee Gaddes, commented ‘to be shortlisted for this highly acclaimed award is an honour and a testimony to our fabulous conveyancing team.  We are all now looking forward to attending the awards dinner later this year in Birmingham’.

Tackling Unfair Practices in the Leasehold Property Market

There are two different forms of legal ownership, freehold and leasehold.

First Time Buyers, Stamp Duty Land Tax

First Time Buyers and Stamp Duty Land Tax and Minor Amendments to Higher Rates

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced several changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax in today’s budget.  To keep our clients informed and up to date, below is a summary of the key points.

Stamp Duty Land Tax: Relief for first time buyers

A relief for first time buyers of residential properties costing no more than £500,000. First time buyers will pay no SDLT on the first £300,000 of the purchase price, with the remainder being charged at 5%. No relief will be available where the total consideration exceeds £500,000.

The relief is not time limited and will apply to transactions with an effective date on or after 22 November 2017. Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2017 to 2018.

A guidance note is available on gov.uk, together with the draft legislation and explanatory note.

First time buyers can use the gov.uk calculator to work out their stamp duty land tax liability.

Stamp Duty Land Tax: Minor amendments to higher rates

Minor amendments to provide relief in certain cases including –

  • where a divorce related court order prevents someone from disposing of their interest in a main residence,
  • where a spouse or civil partner buys property from another spouse or civil partner,
  • where a deputy buys property for a child subject to the Court of Protection,
  • where a purchaser adds to their interest in their current main residence.

Additionally, legislation will be provided to prevent abuse of relief for replacement of a purchaser’s only or main residence by requiring the purchaser to dispose of the whole of their former main residence and to do so to someone who is not their spouse.

The changes will apply from 22 November 2017. Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2017 to 2018.

ATED: 2018 to 2019 annual chargeable amounts

The ATED annual charges will rise 3% from 1 April 2018 in line with the September 2017 Consumer Prices Index. A Treasury Order confirming the charges will be published shortly after Budget.

The new rates will be –

Property Value Annual chargeable amounts for the 2017 to 2018 chargeable period Annual chargeable amounts for the 2018 to 2019 chargeable period
£500,001 to £1,000,000 £3,500 £3,600
£1,000,001 to £2,000,000 £7,050 £7,250
£2,000,001 to £5,000,000 £23,550 £24,250
£5,000,001 to £10,000,000 £54,950 £56,550
£10,000,001 to £20,000,000 £110,100 £113,400
£20,000,0001 and over £220,350 £226,950

Great news for First Time Buyers

The changes apply from today so any first time buyer purchasing a property and completing from today will not have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax if they are purchasing the property for £300,000 or less.

The calculator referred to earlier is a very helpful online tool but please do not hesitate to contact Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers if we can be of any assistance with the new rates of SDLT.

Blockchain and bitcoin property transaction

Blockchain and Bitcoin, the Future of a Conveyancing Transaction?

Blockchain and Bitcoin

Blockchain

A continuously growing list of records called blocks which are linked and secured using cryptography.

Bitcoin

A worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system called the first decentralised digital currency.

A property lawyer is responsible for millions of pounds of client money each year ensuring funds are protected and then transacted to complete a property transaction.  The current payment process is through our banking system in the UK mainly using the CHAPS method of payment.

Will what we do and how we transact be revolutionised by blockchain technology?

The simplest way to explain the technology is thinking back to when HTML became the visible layer of the internet allowing it to be navigable and appealing to non-engineers.  Blockchain technology is similar to HTML and will become the invisible piece of software behind highly trusted transactions like the ones we transact every day in conveyancing.

In October 2017 a dentist based in Swansea was the first property buyer in the UK to exchange contracts digitally in a process which its promoters claim has the potential to remove the need for solicitors in transactions. The buyer acquired a £700,000 commercial property in Trowbridge in an online deal secured by blockchain digital encryption technology.

Blockchain is also being investigated by law firms and insurers as a way of creating ‘smart’ contracts, the terms of which are activated automatically on receipt of trigger information. Blockchain could transform the process by securing all details of the transaction in a tamper-proof form.

So blockchain is potentially a game changer and we are closely monitoring its development and its implementation worldwide.  Anything that will make the conveyancing process more efficient is a win-win for the client and the solicitor.

A legal title will still need to be checked and searches will still need to be carried out, but this may eventually be undertaken at the very outset when a property seller is ready to put their house on the market. A digital file would be created and verified without the need for a property lawyer to check it several weeks into a transaction being instructed.

Payment using Bitcoin

In terms of payment, many people worldwide hold Bitcoin as a digital currency and they exchange Bitcoin for other currencies, products and services.

Bitcoin could be used to purchase a property.

In September 2017 a property seller in Dubai listed the first property development ever to be offered for sale using the virtual currency.

The discussion around blockchain and bitcoin will continue and considering the government’s current consultation on improving the home buying and selling process, if greater efficiencies can be created whilst saving time and reducing costs, this can only be a good thing.

At Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers, we will embrace all positive changes and technological enhancements ensuring that cost savings are passed directly to our clients.

Conveyancing and Estate Agents

Traditional Estate Agent or Online Estate Agent?

Discussing the effect on Clients and Conveyancers

Traditional Estate Agent

Most high street Estate Agents will typically charge an average of £1500.00 or a percentage of the sale price, on a no sale no fee basis, with no deferred payment, so they get paid when the property sells.  They usually often offer, a dedicated sales team, extensive sales progression work and local market knowledge.

Online Estate Agent

Most online Estate Agents will typically charge an average of £750.00, usually payable up front with a deferred payment charge/loan as an option. Big names in the online market are PurpleBricks, eMoov, Tepilo, HouseSimple, YOPA, Settled and Hatched.

Conveyancing Explained

When a new client instructs us to act on their behalf in the conveyancing, the property has already been sold, usually by the Estate Agent.  When a property has sold and Solicitors/Lawyers have been instructed, we receive a Memorandum of Sale from the Estate Agent.

Whether it be a traditional or online Estate Agent, we receive a detailed Memorandum of Sale detailing the main terms of the transaction which usually includes:

  • The full address and postcode of the property
  • The sale price
  • The names and addresses of the seller and purchaser
  • The name, address and contact details of the lawyer they have instructed
  • Any special remarks or conditions

We use that information to open your new file and start the conveyancing process.

The Main Differences

The main difference that we find is that a traditional Estate Agent will contact us several times throughout the transaction, often by telephone for updates on how the matter is progressing.

They will also contact the other party’s Solicitor/Lawyer for updates on their part of the transaction.  Updates will also be asked for by email and then the information passed on to the seller and buyer.  It is a ‘hands on’ approach and ensures that sales progression is maintained and all parties are fully informed and up to date.

An online Estate Agent will rarely contact us once a property has reached the conveyancing stage and sold subject to contract, their contact with us, the seller and the buyer will be minimal.

Once contracts have been exchanged and a completion date set as legally binding, we will always inform the Estate Agent whether they are traditional or online.

  • With a traditional Estate Agent, a fee invoice will usually be generated to be paid on the day of completion.
  • With an online Estate Agent, the fee will have usually been paid upfront and therefore their involvement at this stage is usually not needed.

We also find the day of completion very different with the Estate Agent models compared here.

  • With a traditional Estate Agent, the seller’s keys are deposited with the Estate Agent at their office ready for collection by the purchaser when legal completion takes place.
  • With an online Estate Agent, the onus is on the seller and buyer to meet and hand over their keys direct, once we have confirmed that funds have been received.

With a property sale, you are welcome to leave the keys to your property with us for collection if this assists you on the day of completion.

Conveyancing Service

Whichever model you choose to sell your property we can act on your behalf in the conveyancing of your property.  We will assist you with any negotiations that you require and be in regular contact with your buyer or seller’s Solicitor, we will ensure that funds are received into our client bank account on your behalf before you hand keys over to your buyer.

Residential Conveyancing
New Build Conveyancing
Commercial Conveyancing

New Build Property Lawyers, Solicitors and Conveyancers

Benefits of buying a new build property

When you make the decision to buy a property there are many factors to consider but one of the first things to decide upon is whether to buy a new build property or whether to buy a ‘second hand’ home.

There are various things to consider when you decide to buy a new build property and these include:

Features

The majority of developers no longer build houses that are identical and look like ‘lego style’ houses as in previous years.

Now, most reputable developers take great care to provide a number of varying house types and sizes on a new development.

Much thought is now put into the providing a variety of house styles and also making outdoor space in the form of parking spaces and also recreational parks and green spaces for residents to enjoy.

People will always say that if you want features like high ceilings, period fireplaces and multiple reception rooms then stay clear of new build.  However, developers are now listening to what house buyers want when they are choosing a property and starting to try and give people what they want in other forms, such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garden space and on the larger developments, a village feel to the community.

Energy Efficiency

New build properties are built to be more energy efficient and modern construction prevents damp, together with cavity wall insulation, double glazing and also improved insulation within the walls, lofts and floors providing long term energy savings.

Newly built properties will always be more energy efficient than older properties which can have such issues as damp, draughts and condensation.

Fittings

There is a certain attraction to owning a new build, much like when buying a brand-new car.  The feeling that no-one else has lived in the property before has a certain appeal and some people buy new build every time they move to a new house because of this attraction.

All developers offer a variety of internal fitting packages to buyers when they purchase the properties ‘off plan’.

These can include selected carpets, floor tiling, kitchens, bathrooms and white goods.  Often these items are offered at very competitive rates and take the hassle out of making sure that everything is fitted into the property ready for the day that you move in.

New Build Warranty

Most new homes come with an NHBC warranty.

This warranty offers protection for house-buyers for up to ten years following the completion of the purchase.

During the first two years the property is covered for failure by the builder to meet the warranty providers requirements when building your home or preparing the land on which the property stands.  During the following seven years the property is covered for any structural damage that may occur.

help to buy, new build conveyancing, residential conveyancing

New Build Property Lawyers, Gaddes Noble

Here are our top tips when buying a new build:-

  1. Check that the builders are members of National House Building Council (NHBC) or offer similar warranty such as Zurich or Premier.
  2. Search the internet for information on the builder and visit other completed sites to see the standards applied. Also check if they have won any industry awards.
  3. Check the site and house plans carefully. Artists impressions may have been used in marketing materials and therefore should be disregarded.
  4. Measure your property carefully, all floor space, including the height of the ceiling, to make sure your furniture fits.

New Build Property Lawyers and Conveyancers

Here at Gaddes Noble we have a team of new build property lawyers that specialises in new build property who can help you through the buying process.

We aim to make the whole experience as smooth and stress free as possible.

We are beside you from day one and here to guide you through the whole of the process involved, from the moment that you sign the reservation form on site to the day that you collect your keys to your new dream home.

To find out more about our New Build Conveyancing service click here.

First Time Buyers - Young smiling couple holding their new house keys

First Time Buyers – A guide to purchasing a property

First Time Buyers – Are you purchasing a property for the first time? Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers are here to guide you through the conveyancing process step by step.

Quotation and Instruction

Your first step will be obtaining a quotation from us.  You can do this by telephoning the office or by sending us an email, we also have an option for first time buyers on our website www.gaddesnoble.co.uk so that you can obtain a quotation online.

Whatever method you choose, you can be assured to receive a fixed quote allowing you to budget for the other things you will need to pay out for including your valuation fee to your lender, removal services and items for your new home.

Unlike many other first time buyers conveyancing service providers in the market, we do not add-on extras to your quote at the end of the process.  The quote you receive will be the price that you pay.

First Time Buyers – The First Steps

Once you have instructed us we will open your new purchase file and we will make initial contact with the seller’s solicitors.

We will request that they send to us an initial contract documentation pack which will include the Contracts, a Fittings and Contents Form, a Seller’s Property Information Form and the Title Deeds.  They will also send to us any warranties and guarantees that the property comes with.

Once we have the pack we will review this in detail on your behalf and raise enquires with the seller’s solicitors for clarification on any of the documents that need further explanation, any missing items and for items of title.  At that point, we will report to you on the information provided so far sending you copies of the documents that we have received so that you can review these in your own time together with a copy of the Land Registry title plan which identifies the legal boundaries to the property.

We will ask you to review the information provided and ask you to contact us with any questions, your comments and if you would like us to raise any specific enquiries of your own with the seller’s solicitors.

We will also send you a copy of our enquires for your records and let you know when we receive a reply, together with additional information that we receive.

Searches

We will also submit property specific searches on your behalf.

The searches are essential to tell you and us about any issues to do with the property that we cannot see from the information provided, your own inspection of the property and that your surveyor cannot see.

We usually submit a bundle of three searches on your behalf:

1. Local Authority Search

This search reports on essential information held by the Local Authority.

A search of the local Land Charges register shows matters such as compulsory purchase orders, tree preservation orders, planning enforcement notices and financial charges registered against a property.

A Local Authority search reveals important information about a property, such as planning permissions and building regulation consents, proposals for road schemes, environmental and pollution notices and whether any part of the property is registered as common land or as a town or village green. A local authority search will only reveal matters that affect the property being searched against. It will not disclose matters that affect neighbouring properties.

2. Coal Authority Mining Search

A coal mining search provides details of past, present and future coal mining activity at a property. The search also indicates if there are mine shafts on the property and whether any mining activities may cause subsidence.

3. Water and Drainage Search

The replies to drainage and water enquiries show whether a property is connected to the mains water supply and mains drainage. The replies may also show the location of public sewers within the boundary of a property and other such matters that may restrict development.

We also recommend that you carry out an Environmental Search on the property and any other relevant searches dependent on the area in which you are purchasing the property.

An example of this would be if you were looking to purchase a property in Cheshire, then we would recommend that you carry out a Cheshire Brine Search and if you were looking to purchase a property in Devon, Cornwall or Somerset we would recommend that you carry out a Tin Mining search.

A further example of recommended searches is a flood risk search which gives a high-level assessment of the risk to the Property from the four main types of flooding (river, coastal, groundwater and surface water).

It is important to know this information before committing to buy a property, as it can affect the value of the Property and the terms of your future buildings insurance.

We report to you by email on the results of your searches, attaching copies of the searches for your information and reporting to you any issues and the next steps.

First Time Buyers – Mortgage and Help to Buy ISA

We act on behalf of your mortgage lender when we act for you.  We’ll interpret the mortgage offer on your behalf and ensure that it matches your requirements as first time buyers. We also provide your lender with a Certificate of Title when we request your mortgage funds from them for completion.

We are authorised and registered with the Help to Buy Scheme and can apply for your bonus through the government portal on your behalf.

Meeting and Signing

We prefer a face to face meeting with our client.  At this meeting we can explain the documents that you are signing and we can answer any further questions that you may have.

You will sign, a Contract to purchase the property, a Transfer Deed to transfer the legal title on the title deeds into your name, a Mortgage Deed to secure your Mortgage advance and, where applicable, a Help to Buy Isa First Time Buyer Declaration.  However, if it is more convenient for you, we can report on everything to you by post or email and ask you to return your signed documents by post.

Once you have signed we can arrange a Completion Date on your behalf.  We ask you for your deposit and your authority to exchange contracts and arrange a fixed completion date when you can collect your keys.

Completion and Keys

On the day of completion your file will be set up and ready to complete in the morning.  Your keys will usually be released between 12 and 2 pm and we will call you to confirm this.

We will write to you at your new property to confirm legal completion and that we will then be attending to post completion formalities and registering you on the Title Deeds with Land Registry.

We will look after you and guide you through each step of the process.  You are encouraged to ask us any questions and ensure you are fully informed and in control throughout the process.

help to buy, new build conveyancing, residential conveyancing

Help to Buy – A helping hand to your new home

Are you thinking of getting a foot on the property ladder or wanting to ‘upgrade’ your present home?

Are you finding it difficult due to money constraints?

If so, the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme may be just what you need to help achieve your dream home.

The scheme, first launched in its present form in April 2013, has so far helped over 183,000 people to get on, or up the housing ladder.

In fact 81% of people who have benefited from the scheme have been first time buyers. Proof indeed that the scheme is helping those that need it the most in these trying times.

There are two parts to the Help to Buy scheme – Equity Loan and Mortgage Guarantee.

Equity Loans are open to both first time buyers and home movers on properties within England. The maximum purchase price is £600,000 and the property being purchased must be a new build.

With an Equity Loan, you will only need a 5% deposit. The Government may also give you a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price. This means that you would only need a mortgage for 75% of the purchase price of the property. The Equity loan, if paid back within the first five years of the loan, is interest free. If paid back after the first five years, then the interest rate applicable will be dependent on the prevailing interest rates at that time.

You can pay back part or your entire loan at any time with no additional fees incurred. The minimum percentage you can pay back is 10% of the market value of your home. The amount you pay will depend on the market value of the property at that time.

The Mortgage Guarantee scheme, as with the equity loan, is open to both first time buyers and people moving up the property ladder. The mortgage guarantee is available for properties throughout the UK and is also offered on ‘second hand’ homes. The maximum purchase price is still £600,000 and you only need a 5% deposit.

Under both the above schemes the property upon which the loan is secured must be your only residence. The property cannot be rented out either.

Help to Buy, as easy as 1, 2, 3

There are a lot of builders both locally and nationally who participate in the Help to Buy scheme. Here at Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers we guide you through whole process from start to finish. We aim to try and take the stress out of moving home. We also work with you in achieving a swift conclusion to the house buying process and you getting the keys to your dream home.

Once you have found the home that you are looking for, contact your financial advisor and they will be able to advise you as to whether you would qualify for the scheme or not. Don’t think that the schemes are only for people on low incomes as this is not the case. The scheme is open to everyone to apply for and the property, if a new build, is bought through an approved Help to Buy builder thus giving you the peace of mind that the property is backed by an approved new build guarantee scheme such as NHBC, Zurich or similar.

Get a Quote

Would you like more information or a quote for residential conveyancing?