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charlotte clark

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About charlotte clark

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  1. Hello! My partner and I are far down the line with purchasing a property, however with the announcement today of another lockdown we're worried about job security and if house prices are going to plummet next year. We're currently saving £15k on stamp duty in a house to live in London and do up over time (sell in 10years ish) and have already paid around £3k on various surveys and quotes etc. We've been told by the experts it's going to cost around £20k just to make the property structually safe (damp, wall structure etc.) with unexpected costs (so may see if the sellers would be willing to meet us in the middle with these) but we're worried if we wait another 12 months and save that we could afford a property needing less upfront work for much less (e.g. if they go down by 10% then it could be a £50k plus saving potentially). Completely appreciate that noone has a crystal ball, however if anyone has any thoughts we'd really appreciate it! Depending on where we are in the property cycle, we're not sure if we'd be mad to buy now (if a crash is around the corner, especially with the new lockdown measures in place until March again) or if we should hope the property is valued fairly and take the plunge. Thanks!
  2. Thank you so much, that really helps - fingers crossed!
  3. Hello Hello We're in the process of buying a property and the homebuyer survey came back saying that we need to instruct a structural engineer to provide a quote to confirm satisfactory support has been provided to the remaining chimney breast and stack (and if there is a risk eccentric loading which could occur on the neighbouring chimney breast in the neighbouring property). The average quote for a structural engineer to quote for us is around £820 +VAT (not including the work) and then we'll need a quote from a builder for the work on top. Do you know if that's a typical cost for a quote to be provided to a buyer? The property is in London, we were just not anticipating such a high cost for only a quote so wondered if this is something a builder would be able to quote for, or if a structural engineer as well is a must for this type of work. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Charlotte
  4. Thank you so much everyone for your responses, it’s been really helpful. We are still very nervous to go ahead however they have now listed it as under offer. I read an interesting article today that the government might change this (was in the pipeline for early this year but understandably other things have happened!) so hopefully some more measures to protect buyers/sellers goes ahead. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/oct/25/revealed-the-plan-to-end-gazumping-in-house-sales I also read in the article about a company Phil Spencer recommends, gazeal.co.uk. Apparently both sellers and buyers are bound by an agreement for 1% with no money upfront from the seller and .075% from the buyer. Quite interesting and might suggest to the agent!
  5. Hi Luis thank you so much for your information too, it’s been really helpful. On reflection we realised the cost would be too great for us with this property, so we didn’t go ahead but we’ve just had an offer accepted on another one which will require less work. If it goes through we’d be happy to contact you for the estimate, what are the best details to reach you on? Thanks
  6. Hello! We're excited to have had an offer accepted on a home however the agents have told us that it is their policy not to take a property off the market once it has been accepted. We have tried to dispute this (as have been gazumped before!) however the agent and seller feel strongly it should stay on due to the uncertain market. Now we are hesitant to pay any upfront costs without the reassurance that it is not still being advertised. 1. The agents say they will not do any more viewings and their best suggestion is to advertise the property as 'under offer' once we have booked the survey. We've been told this isn't standard practice and our solicitor suggested we could offer a £500 reservation fee for their reassurance to take it off. Is this a good idea and is there anything else we can do to gain some security before paying out costs? 2. The agents would like us to use their conveyancer (which comes with the obvious reassurance that the agent will want their commission from the conveyancer and it's no sale no fee with them - although quite an expensive quote!). Otherwise we have a local partner solicitor who we know and trust, who is slightly less expensive however will charge us up to 50% if it falls through before completion. Is it worth the risk of sticking with our solicitor or do the benefits of going with the selling agent's conveyancer outweigh this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! Charlotte
  7. Hi Tom, that is really helpful and gives us a great starting place. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it!
  8. Hello! I'm interested in purchasing a period semi-detached 2 bed Victorian house. The living room is very small, so we had the idea of knocking through the wall to the right-hand side of the property and bring the front door forward to the front of the house (I've attached the floorplan and drawn a green line labelled 'D' to show where this would be extended). The orange line ('A' & 'B') is where the property is attached to the houses either side. We also wanted to extend the kitchen into the garden (see the blue line 'C' where we would place bi-folding doors) and make the kitchen and dining room open plan with skylights. I have two questions: 1. Is it possible to extend a semi-detached property so that it becomes a terrace, or are their implications or considerations we should know for this? We could perhaps leave a slight gap between our property and next door if needed. I read online planning permission may not be necessary if it's less than a 3m extension from the house? 2. We also have no idea how much a kitchen extension would cost of this nature, so when putting in an offer for the property we'd just like to know whether we can afford to do the extension before we buy (so we're not overstretching ourselves) and that it would be worth the cost by adding more value to the house. The current owner as already extended, to join the next door property, with a bedroom ensuite on the first floor, so we're hoping our ideas may be possible. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks, Charlotte
  9. Thank you Debbie, you’re completely right! I have now got through to HMRC and they have confirmed that it’s fine to do the reduced interest. As long as my mums share doesn’t increase by more than £40k too, then she won’t have to declare and pay higher stamp duty either (we just about fit within this). Thanks so much for your help, there’s hope after all! Hopefully this may help others facing a similar situation... Charlotte
  10. Hi Debbie Yes that's correct, but because I'm looking to buy a second property (to live in and renovate with my partner) unfortunately from solicitors and Property Hub Tax it sounds as though owning two properties would mean I have to pay the higher rate. Otherwise, it could be seen by HMRC as trying to evade the higher rate tax, both following the joint borrower, sole proprieter route and reducing my interest to 1% route (as suggested by various brokers). I've been trying to get through to HMRC for over a week now, but the line is always busy so not able to have confirmation. If this is possible though, that would be great to know (before my mum and I are forced to sell our BTL!). Many thanks again, Charlotte
  11. Hi Debbie Thank you for your message, I really appreciate your response. Unfortunately, we've looked into that route (including advice from Property Hub Tax and Mortgage services) and apparently it's based on the number of properties we own, rather than my interest in the separate property so it would not change the higher stamp duty charge. The only other option I can see, is to put the new property in my partner's name (I'm on the mortgage for lending purposes only), and have a 'Living together agreement'. Just difficult as I would then have no right to the capital or any increases made when selling the property (link: https://www.taxadvisermagazine.com/article/additional-properties). We were really looking forward to getting started, so any ideas to help on this would be gratefully received! Many thanks, Charlotte
  12. Hi there! I'm looking to buy a property with my partner this year which we plan to live in, renovate and sell (hopefully making a profit). We're both currently renting, he's a first-time buyer and I own a separate buy-to-let property with my mum. However, we've just hit a sticking point as discovered that because I own a buy-to-let, my partner and I would have to pay £26k land tax for higher stamp duty, as opposed to the £12,650 that we originally calculated. Some have told us that if I reduce my ownership to 1% and my mum has 99%, or if my partner and I take out a 'joint borrower sole proprietor' mortgage (i.e my income can be used for the lending but my name would not be on the property deeds) then we would not have to pay the higher charge. Other people have said that either one, or both, of these options are not possible, or that we'd have to raise a minimum of 15% deposit (instead of the 10% we had originally budgeted for). If it's not possible to legally reduce the land tax, we'll either need to rethink our numbers (or as the last resort, sell my separate buy-to-let and incur early repayment charges.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated, or if anyone else has some luck in this area, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Many thanks, Charlotte