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Buying in England  - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does the whole buying process take after the offer is accepted?

A: This can be as little as three-four weeks, if there are no legal complications. However, it is realistically to expect around six-seven weeks if the buyer does not need a mortgage and it is a chain free property (therefore not the seller or the buyer needs to purchase or sell their property to complete the deal)

Q: How much do I have to pay as a deposit?

A: This is usually 10 per cent payable when you exchange contracts.

Q: Can I be gazumped?

A: Yes, until the contracts are exchanged. Once the offer has been accepted, either you or the seller can pull out at any time until the exchange of contracts.

Q: How much extra should I allow for purchase-related taxes and professional fees?

A: This depends on the property price. See our section, Taxes & Likely Costs

Q: What is buy-to-let?

A: Buy to let is a form of investment where you buy a property with the main intention of renting it out, usually with the aid of a mortgage for this type of purchase. In this case the rent has to be 125%.

Q: What is the difference between Freehold and Leasehold properties?

A: If you buy a freehold property it means that you fully own the property. As a freeholder you will have full responsibility for the maintenance and repairs of the property.
Leasehold means that you own the property for as long as is specified in the lease; you are granted the right to live there by the freeholder. At the end of the lease the property again becomes the possession of the freeholder. Many leases are originally granted for up to 999 years, but existing leases on properties are usually shorter. The majority of leasehold properties are apartments, although some houses are leasehold.
You should not buy a property with a lease of less than 60 years, and anyway mortgage lenders are very unlikely to lend for a lease as a short as this.

Q: What is the difference between Registered and Unregistered properties?

A: If a property is registered, the title to the property is registered at the Land Registry and is guaranteed by the state. If property is unregistered, ownership is not guaranteed by the state. The title can only be proved by a copy of the title deeds, and your solicitor will check back the property’s documentation.
When you buy unregistered property, it must now be registered for the first time with the Land Registry. This will take some time so the buying process will take longer than if you are buying registered property.

Click here for more information about the process of buying property in England



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