Why do I need a solicitor to buy a property?
It is not compulsory to instruct a solicitor but it is advisable to do so. Buying a property is a complex procedure, there are many things that a solicitor will investigate when they are instructed by you, such as if there are any planning issues with the property, if any third party has a right of access over the land, or if there are any other matters that will affect your overall use of the property. A solicitor will help clarify and explain legal documents in the process of purchasing a property and will ensure you fully understand what you are agreeing to before purchasing.
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty is a tax payable to HM Revenue & Customs when you buy a property or land over a certain price in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The current threshold for stamp duty to be payable is £125,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties. Stamp duty land tax may also be payable if you lease a property. Click here to view a stamp duty calculator which will calculate this for you.
Do I pay stamp duty on a lease?
It is possible that you will have to pay stamp duty on a lease but it depends on how much you pay for the lease; how much rent is payable and how long it is for. Click here to view a stamp duty calculator which will calculate this for you.
Can my pension buy a property?
Yes, so long as it is a commercial pension and not a private pension. A Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) would usually purchase the property but we would advise you to seek appropriate financial advice before making any decision to invest in this way.
How long will a purchase of a commercial property take?
Providing there are no unforeseen delays, a usual transaction for the purchase of a commercial property takes between 8-12 weeks to complete. It will depend on the type of property being purchased and if there are any complexities to the transaction. Some properties such as pubs and restaurants can be subject to licences, other properties can be subject to other matters which can result in the transaction taking longer than expected.
What is a freehold?
If you own the freehold it means that you own the building and the land it stands on, subject to any mortgage or charges over the property. The Land Registry records will show your name as the freehold proprietor of the property.
What is a leasehold?
Leasehold means that you have a lease from the freehold proprietor (or landlord) to use the property for a number of years, subject to any rent payable. The leases for commercial property can vary in length depending on the agreement made with the landlord and can be varied in their agreed terms and obligations.
Do I need a survey if I am only taking a lease on a commercial property?
We would advise you to have a survey carried out to ensure that the property being leased meets your requirements. Depending on the agreed terms of the lease, once entered into, you may become responsible for the repair and maintenance of the property both internally and externally. If the property has a defect that would not be highlighted other than by a survey this could become very expensive to put right once the lease begins.
I have been given ‘heads of terms’ for a property, what should I do next?
The next step would be to instruct a solicitor to act for you. They will use the heads of terms to draft the contract, lease (if applicable) and transfer documents.
I am leasing a commercial property; do I need a solicitor?
It is not compulsory to instruct a solicitor but it is advisable to do so. Leases are long, formal documents with lots of legal terminology within them. A solicitor will help clarify the terms of the lease and ensure you fully understand what you are agreeing to.