Archive for the ‘ASR News’ Category

**** COVID 19 UPDATE ****

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Our Residential Sales & Lettings Departments and Commercial Department  at 24 High Street, Wimbledon Village are now open.  Initially we will be dealing with enquiries via telephone and email however if you feel you do need to attend our office then please contact us to make an appointment . For the safety of our team & clients any visitors will be asked to complete a Healthcare Assessment prior to their visit, this will be emailed to you.   We shall be following Government Guideline and adhering to the social distancing rules.

Double Award Winners !! – Andrew Scott Robertson Wins The British Property Letting Awards

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Our Lettings Department at Andrew Scott Robertson have just become double award winners of

The British Property Letting Awards for both SW19 and South London

Our team performed outstandingly throughout the extensive judging period, which focused on customer service levels.

Andrew Scott Robertson have now been shortlisted for a number of national awards which will be announced later in the year.

The British Property Awards provide agents throughout the UK with an invaluable opportunity to compare the service that they provide against the service provided by their local, regional and national competition.

Agents who go that extra mile and provide outstanding levels of customer service are rewarded with this accolade, which acts as a beacon to highlight these attributes to their local marketplace.

THE BRITISH PROPERTY AWARDS are one of the most inclusive estate agency awards providers as they do not charge to enter. This has enabled their award to be structured in a manner that ensures maximum participation, on average judging over 90% of agents that meet their minimum criteria on a local level.

The Awards team personally mystery shops every estate agent against a set of 25 criteria to obtain a balanced overview of their customer service levels. The judging criteria is periods to ensure that agents have been rigorously and fairly judged.

Robert McLean from The British Property Awards said “Our awards has been specifically designed to be attainable to all agents, removing common barriers to entry, such as cost, to ensure that we have the most inclusive awards. Our award has also been designed to remove any opportunity for bias or manipulation. If an agent has been attributed with one of our awards, it is simply down to the fantastic customer service levels that they have demonstrated across a prolonged period of time. Winning agents should be proud that their customer service levels provide a benchmark for their local, regional and national competition”.

Welcome To Our First Edition of Life Magazine

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Despite the current conditions and the terribly sad situation we all find ourselves in, we at Andrew Scott Robertson are still actively promoting our clients’ properties wherever we can.

Click below to view the first edition of our new online lifestyle magazine

*** Coronavirus/Covid-19 Update ***

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We are still working – Our staff are currently working from home.

Please rest assured that we are fully operational and our lines of communication are open as normal.  Please contact us by email or telephone

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Can I extend the leasehold on my property?

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If you own a Wimbledon flat or apartment, chances are it is a leasehold property. Even if you have a good number of years left on your lease, it is worth understanding the process for extending your lease – known as leasehold enfranchisement. We look at when you might need to think about extending the lease on your flat, how you might go about it and a few other things you need to know besides.

Leasehold and freehold – the basics

There are two main types of homeownership in England; freehold and leasehold. Whether a home is on the market as freehold or leasehold is one of the first questions you should ask when viewing the property. Most London flats are sold as leasehold, but leasehold houses are sometimes on sale too.

When you buy the freehold, you are buying the property and the land on which it is built. Buying leasehold gives the purchaser the right to occupy the property for the number of years specified in the lease – ‘the term’.

 

Is it necessary for you to extend the lease on your property?

A key thing you need to check before viewing a property is the lease length – as lease terms can vary dramatically.

A flat’s original lease is likely to be for a long period, which far exceeds the number of years its first owner would live there. As properties get older, and pass between owners, the length of time remaining on a lease is reduced.

Ownership of a leasehold home will revert to the freeholder once the lease runs out so as the number of years left reduces, so does the value of the Leasehold property. Furthermore, as the term of the lease gets shorter, the premium payable for the extension of the lease increases. Most mortgage lenders will require a lease term to be as long as the mortgage term plus a further 50 to 75 years, so anyone buying a flat with a lease of fewer than 80 years remaining may find it harder to obtain a mortgage.

However, under the 1993 Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act, flat owners are entitled to a 90-year extension to their lease for a fair market price, as long as they have owned the property for at least two years. This means that you will pay a premium to obtain an additional 90 years to the existing term and the ground rent will be reduced to a peppercorn. If your lease has less than 90 years left to run, you really should think about extending it, not only in case you need to sell or re-mortgage but also because a lease term above 80 years does not attract marriage value. This is the increase in the value of the flat attributable to the fact the lease has been extended. This has to be shared equally between the parties.

 

What do I need to do if I want to extend the lease on my flat?

You should start by appointing a solicitor with experience of leasehold enfranchisement as well as a professional surveyor, who will give you a valuation for the cost of the lease extension (the premium).

You or your solicitor should then serve the freeholder with a Section 42 notice, Under the 1993 Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act, which informs the freeholder of your wish to be granted a lease extension and the amount you propose for the premium. You will need to specify when your landlord should respond to you with a counter-notice – this must be no less than two months from the date you served the original notice.

You may be asked to pay a deposit of £250, or 10% of the premium set out in the Section 42 notice if it is more. The landlord has a right to access your property to conduct their own valuation.

You will be liable to pay your own and your landlord’s legal and valuation fees.

The landlord must respond to you with a counter-notice, stating whether they accept your terms. You will then enter negotiations until terms are agreed by you both.

It isn’t necessary to take this legal route if you can negotiate terms with your landlord informally. However, it is still advisable to have an independent valuation and legal advice before agreeing to anything – to make sure you are receiving the most favourable terms possible.

 

How long is the process?

How long the process takes depends on lots of factors, including the speed of communication between you, your solicitor and your freeholder and the surveyors appointed by both parties but it can take a number of months.

 

Issues or disputes between freeholders and leaseholders

Disputes between the landlord and leaseholder can be referred to an independent body known as the First-Tier Tribunal.

 

Is it worth the costs of extending a lease?

Depending on the amount of time left on your current lease, leasehold enfranchisement can definitely be worth it. If you allow the length of time on your lease to drop below 80 years, the process becomes much more expensive because of the requirement to pay marriage value and the property may become hard to sell, if you need to, because of the difficulty of a buyer obtaining a mortgage on it.

 

Should I buy the freehold of my leasehold property?

If you live in a leasehold property, an alternative to extending a lease is to get together with your fellow leaseholders and buy the freehold. This is known as collective enfranchisement.

You will need to get at least 50% of leaseholders in your block to agree to participate for the collective enfranchisement to go ahead.

 

If you would like further information or advice about enfranchisement Andrew Scott Robertson have a specialist surveyor who is an expert in these matters and will be pleased to talk about the issues and advise you on your personal circumstances. Please contact us.

If you are looking to buy or sell property in Wimbledon, whether freehold or leasehold, Andrew Scott Robertson are local estate agents. We would be happy to discuss your requirements and show you our selection of properties. Please contact us today.

January house prices are 1.9% higher than a year ago

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January saw house prices across the UK up by 1.9% on the same time last year and up 1.4% on December, according to figures from the Nationwide Building Society.

The Nationwide, one of the UK’s leading lenders, said prices reached a 14-month high as the so-called ‘Boris bounce’ brought post-election confidence to the housing market.

In its report, the building society points to other signs of revival, including the highest increase in the number of mortgages approved by Britain’s high street banks in five years.

According to Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist: “Healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs appear to be offsetting the drag from the uncertain economic outlook. January’s pickup comes after a whole year of annual house price gains below 1%.”

Meanwhile data from property portal Zoopla shows that annual house price growth in the UK’s 20 biggest cities has hit a two-year high, thanks to a surge in demand for properties. London saw 1.9% growth, the fastest since 2017.

Among the economists forecasting growth in house prices this year is Samuel Tombs, the chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, who said: “Indicators of demand at the very start of the homebuying process are red-hot.

“We think the pickup in demand can be sustained this year by the continuation of low mortgage rates and solid wage growth, driving prices up by about 4%.”

The discrepancy in house prices between London and elsewhere has narrowed by 20% since the Brexit vote, according to research published by the Resolution Foundation.

Read more about this story in The Guardian.

Tips for First-time Buyers – What is the difference between exchange and completion?

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If you have just had an offer accepted on your dream home, you might be breathing a sigh of relief. But don’t relax too much – there are a few more legal hurdles before the place is truly yours.

Anyone new to buying property might be confused by the process. So, if you’ve been wondering about the difference between exchange and completion, we explain what happens when you buy a home and what you need to do to keep things ticking along.

 

What is the difference between exchange and completion?

Put simply, exchange and completion are the two big stages in the house buying process.

Exchange of contracts is the point at which the buyer and seller’s solicitors or conveyancers do just that – exchange the signed contracts they have drawn up for they clients.

The buyer will also pay a deposit to the seller – usually 10% of the purchase price. At this point, the sale becomes legally binding and neither party can pull out without serious penalties. The solicitors will also agree a completion date.

Completion is the final point in the process, when legal ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer, the balance of the sale price is paid, they keys are handed over and the place is legally yours.

 

What needs to happen before I exchange contracts?

If you are buying property, the first thing you need to do after your offer is accepted is to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer, to act for you in the sale. They will get to work on the necessary property searches and paperwork to prepare for the sale.

It might feel like not much is happening at this stage. You can help speed things up by being proactive and communicative – the quicker you are at responding to queries, the faster the sale might go through.

The key things you need to do to get to the point of exchange are:
• Commission a professional survey of the property you are buying.
• Get a written mortgage offer.
• Check the terms of the contract, the lease (if a leasehold property), the results of the searches and any other relevant documents carefully and ask your solicitor about anything you are not sure of.
• Sign the contract and any other documentation and return it to your solicitor immediately.

Put your solicitor in funds for the deposit that has to be paid.

 

What happens at exchange?

Once all the paperwork is complete, the buyer and seller will sign identical contract documents and the exchange will take place. This will usually happen over the phone with both solicitors dating the signed contracts then mailing them to one another. If you are in a chain, each party in the chain will exchange at the same time. At this point the sale becomes legally binding and the exchange deposit is paid.

A completion date will also be set – usually this will be two to four weeks from exchange, although it is possible to complete on the same day, or much later. If there is no chain, you will have more flexibility around a completion date.

When exchange has happened, you are committed to buying the property. Should you wish to pull out now, for any reason, you are likely to lose your deposit and may be liable for other costs incurred by the seller – they may also sue you.

Once you have exchanged contracts, you should begin finalising your house move, confirming with the removal company and getting on with your packing. You should also contact the relevant companies to arrange to take over the utilities.

 

What happens at completion?

Once lawyers on both sides have completed their final checks, your solicitor will request any mortgage advance from your lender and transfer the balance of the purchase price into the seller’s solicitor’s bank account in return for the signed deed transferring the property to you. You will receive a phone call when the sale has completed and can collect the keys to your new home from the estate agent.

More than half of sales in England complete on a Friday – popular because it gives buyers the weekend to get the house organised and unpack. However, choosing a mid-week day can be beneficial if there is a delay for any reason – lenders will be open to sort out any issues, avoiding the risk of your being homeless over the weekend!
What happens next?

It is likely that you will owe stamp duty on the property. This is usually paid by your solicitor on your behalf, having collected the amount due from you in advance. Your ownership of the property is then registered by your solicitor at the land Registry.

If you are selling, It is worth organising all the paperwork for your sale as soon as you decide to move, including mortgage information, correspondence with solicitors, energy performance certificate guarantees and if applicable, service charge accounts, so it is easily found if needed.

If you are thinking of buying or selling property in the Wimbledon area, we’d be happy to help you through the steps you will need to take, and show you our current selection of properties. Contact us to find out more today.

 

24 High Street,
Wimbledon Village,
London SW19 5DX

Tel: +44 (0)20 8971 6780
Fax: +44 (0)20 8946 3683