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PPA : Spinnaker Tower
PPA : Spinnaker Tower

Value For Money

 VALUE FOR MONEY.

I have learnt that the one question a prospective
client knows to ask a  is ‘how much will it cost?’. If the average
person only buys a property every 14 years then their knowledge of process and
understanding of what to expect will be limited. Everyone knows to ask ‘what
will it cost?’ but actually the property lawyers’ own charges in relation
to the overall cost of move is a very small fraction. What  property
lawyers’ term as ‘disbursements’ are usually set prescribed charges that will
not alter from firm to firm and will include Stamp Duty and Land Registry fees.
If those charges do not alter as they are prescribed by Government Agencies it
is just the fees of the  property lawyer  themselves that will vary.

A more important question to ask when thinking of
instructing a  property lawyer  to act for you on your
house move is ‘what will I get for my money?\’. Some  property
lawyers view the house buying and selling process as a conveyer belt service
where they simply intend to get you from one end of the conveyor belt to the
other with out your matter falling off the conveyor belt and becoming more
problematic to them than they had hoped or budgeted for.

A house purchase is very possible the largest financial
transaction you will be involved with in your personal life and so to a large
extent to be governed simply by cost would be wrong. Far more important would
be to have a good working relationship with a person you can relate to,
offering a service that suits you from a location convenient to you.

It is important to ascertain what the cost would be but this
is not the most important question. I would rather know what I will receive by
way of service than save a few pounds in what is acknowledged to be one of
life’s most stressful experiences, moving home. To have one contact at a
particular firm who will take a particular interest in you and your
transaction, someone who will contact you and update when there is news and
work proactively in trying to make things happen in a timely manner. Someone
that you can contact when you need them and is pleased to hear from you and who
will then use all the modern forms of communication available to progress your
matter is worth more than saving a few pounds.

Members of the Portsmouth Property Association are able
to provide details of service standards and solicitors’ locally have agreed
forms of protocol they have adopted to ensure they work together to achieve
clients aims and to avoid any problems.

Members: Claire Battye, John Blake

Second Quarter 2011

Message from the Chairman

This last quarter appears to have been relatively busy for most of our members…at least the ones I have been speaking to. There seems to be a rush to get things completed before the summer holiday season starts when things will start to slow down again. It is expected that the summer will as normal be quite quiet and that the market will spring to life again in September for a final busy period before finally slowing down again for the Christmas and New Year period. 

The Association continues to go from strength to strength with a membership that continues to grow. This clearly illustrates the value that our members and prospective members for that matter place on the professionalism that the Association represents.

Ian Lee BSc FRICS

Residential Sales

The Second Quarter has proved to be a lot more fruitful than the previous months with the combination of better weather and the usual seasonal trends bringing the more serious buyers to the forefront. Although they are willing to spend there is still a greater emphasis on good location, nice presentation and most of all realistic pricing. Buyers will often view on two or three occasions before coming forward with an opening offer and in spite of all parties being ready to agree a deal it can take seven to fourteen days before reaching that stage.

Whilst the national picture seems to be pretty bleak, the south coast does appear to buck the trend with prices holding up better than in many other parts of the country. The home buying momentum is now under way and one would anticipate that the summer period ahead looks very encouraging.

Steve Sprake FNAEA

Residential Lettings

The second quarter has been a steady following on from a busy first three months of the year, no decrease in rental values in this area, possibly slight increases in the rents for the properties more in demand, especially three bedroom middle of the range houses and two bedroom, two bathroom new builds, have had an increase in demand for professional Tenants.

There are enough properties available for prospective Tenants to have a choice, as long as the rents are pitched at the right price there is no significant delays in finding suitable Tenants, a good market still for Landlords.

Buying- to- let is also a good time, with local prices still staying low and good offers being accepted as buy-to-lets have the advantage of completing chains. It is important to liaise with a PPA letting agent before you choose your property to rent out, as they can advise you on the most popular type of properties in the areas you are looking.

Louisa Fairhall – FAIRHALLS Residential Lettings and Property Management.

Commercial

Offices

Take up in the first 6 months along the Solent corridor has been in excess of 350,000 sq ft which when compared with the average annual take up during the last 10 year of 250,000 sq ft shows very significant activity. 
However, a note of caution; the great majority of this take up has been along the M27 corridor and not in a the Cities and towns where the market is still fragile.  Several large transactions during the first half of 2011 account for most of the lettings, including Pall Europe’s move to The Raymarine building at North Harbour and several significant transactions at Lakeside, North Harbour.  Nevertheless, these moves and in particular Pall’s decision to stay in Portsmouth together with the busy series of letting at Lakeside are good news for the City.

Industrial

We are now seeing shortages of buildings in some size ranges particularly 20,000 sq ft plus.  Enquiries continue at an encouraging level but purchasers and tenants can still drive hard bargains.  Lack of speculative development is likely to lead to shortages in other size classes as the year continues.

Retail

A mixed picture; pressure on personal finance is undoubtedly affecting the retail sector and there have been several more high profile failures in recent weeks – Habitat and Karen Millen in particular.  However, the opening of a small Debenhams Department store in Fareham shows that some traders continue to navigate successfully through difficult times.

Expansion of Gunwharf

Last week there was interesting news about the medium and long term future of Gunwharf Quays.  Land Securities who own Gunwharf have bought the former Pall Europe building, Europa House, with an eye to redevelopment and we
understand that Brunel House, the empty redundant building directly opposite the entrance to Gunwharf is also close to being sold and will probably be demolished for redevelopment.  These are clear indication that the stakeholders at Gunwharf are moving ahead with ambitious plans to improve and develop the whole environment around The Hard and the Historic Dockyard. 

Roger Sherliker BA (Hons) FRICS

Legal

It was a busy summer for completions. Some views are that it has tailed off slightly in the last month but if properties are priced correctly then they are still selling. There have also been quite a few transactions set up recently with people keen to move before the Christmas season is upon us. A new conveyancing Quality Scheme was launched by the Law Society earlier in the year with the focus on agreed good practice documents and standards by member firms and this should see more efficient sales and purchases if all parties use firms who have signed up. This helps build on the good communication that has traditionally existed using local firms and members of the PPA. The First Time Buyer incentive is still currently in place until March 2012 so for buyers who qualify they will be exempt from stamp duty land tax on purchases up to £250,000.00 – now may be the time for first time buyers keen to get on the ladder to look for their first home to ensure they take advantage of the tax relief available.

Dawn Brogan Solicitor

Ian Lee : McAndrew Martin

Private Drainage and Septic Tanks

ASK THE EXPERT

Q. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  My
property has private drainage in the form of a septic tank. I have lived with
it perfectly happily for over 20 years, but someone recently told me that I now
have to register the system. Is this true?

A.                In
a word, yes – unless you already hold a Consent to Discharge, or an
Environmental Permit.

The fact is that under the snappily-titled
Environmental Permitting (England
and Wales)
Regulations 2010, all septic tanks and other private sewage treatment plants, no
matter how long they have been in use, must now be properly authorised – either
by an environmental permit, or through an exemption. Domestic systems, such as
your septic tank, will generally qualify for an exemption, as long as the
amount of discharge is less than 2 cubic metres a day (roughly the amount of
sewage generated by up to 11 people).

If your system discharges into a river or stream,
then you must register immediately. If, on the other hand, it discharges into
the ground – for example, via a drainage field, reed bed or straightforward
soakaway – then you have until 31st December this year to do so. Bear
in mind, however, that if you leave it until the very last possible date to
register, and the discharge from your system is in an environmentally sensitive
area, then you may face a delay of up to 4 months – which means that in the
meantime you will urgently need an environmental permit in order to stay on the
right side of the law. And this is no joke. After 1st January 2012,
any discharge from an unregistered system will be treated as a case of illegal
pollution – a serious offence which could result in a fine of up to £20,000.

Thankfully, registration is a relatively simple
process, which can be completed free of charge online by visiting the
Environment Agency website, www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

However, it doesn’t end there. Once registered, you
will also have to ensure that your system is regularly inspected and maintained
– and that proper records are kept. This will be important if and when you come
to sell your property, since your buyer’s solicitor will want to confirm that
the system is fully compliant with the regulations. 

Branches in: Fareham, Havant
Members: Clive Bryant, Kerry Aplin, Kerry Applin

How can you help your Conveyancer on your sale

How can you help your Conveyancer on your sale?

Once you have taken the important
decision to put your property on the market you will want to ensure that as
soon as a buyer appears that you move as soon as possible. Mentally you have
already moved, physically you need to catch up!

Make sure that you appoint your
lawyer as soon as you start marketing the property, and that you supply all the
information that they will need, which will include any guarantees, planning
consents, building regulation approval, and completion certificates for any
work that may have been carried out, even by a previous owner. These are all
questions that will be raised, so if we can supply them with the draft contract
package, that saves valuable time.  This should ensure that exchange of contracts
will not be held up by you.

How can you help your Conveyancer on your purchase?

How are you funding your
purchase? Normally most people need a mortgage to assist them, but it is the
difference between that and the purchase price that can cause unforeseen
difficulties if not dealt with immediately. Sometimes it will be the net sale
proceeds of the related sale, in which case no problem. However if savings are
being used, then full details including copies of UK bank accounts are required
to satisfy the Money Laundering Regulations. If a relative is either gifting or
loaning funds, again full details are required, and in those instances your
Mortgage lender will need to be informed by us so that we can obtain their
authority to proceed. This should ensure that exchange of contracts will not be
held up by you. If in doubt, speak to your Conveyancer as soon as possible.

Happy Moving.

Expert
view by Barry King,  Vice-Chairman  PPA and Legal Executive 
with Glanvilles ,  Solicitors

Branches in: Fareham, Havant
Members: Gareth Maddern, Lorna Newnham, Mark Watson, Samantha Marsh