Being able to obtain electronic downloads of documents from the land registry now enables Conveyancing Solicitors in Blackpool and the North West to save time on house sales. When acting for Mr and Mrs N, the sellers of a freehold house in Widgeon Close, Blackpool FY8, Conveyancing Solicitor Stephanie Gerstler was able to instantly download an official copy of the registered title from the land registry. That enabled her to prepare the draft contract and send it to the buyers’ Solicitors as soon as she had received details of the sale.
The clients’ agents, Village Estates of 21 Victoria Road, Thornton Cleveleys, Blackpool FY5 5HT, had found a buyer for the house at a price in the region of £140, 000. Stephanie already had the copy of the title, so she only needed to insert the details of the buyers in the draft contract and was then able to send this out immediately to the buyers Conveyancing Solicitors, Barker Booth and Eastwood of 346 Lytham Road, Blackpool, Lancashire FY4 1DW.
The agent’s sale memorandum mentioned that various items would be included in the sale, such as carpets, curtains, some furniture, and a TV. Sellers and buyers often come to some agreement to include items in a house sale. The property sold will normally include any ‘fixtures and fittings’ but not furniture or other things of this sort which are known to Solicitors as ‘chattels. ’ Fixtures include items such as kitchen and bathroom fittings which are permanently fixed to the property. Should the seller intend to remove any such items, he should notify the buyer of this as otherwise they will be deemed to be included in the sale.
It is now common for many domestic items to be fixed to a property, such as flat-screen TVs fixed to the wall, while washing machines and dishwashers will be plumbed in and may appear to be fixtures. In these circumstances differences of opinion can arise as to what is a ‘fitting’ and what is a ‘chattel’ and for that reason it is now customary for sellers’ Conveyancing Solicitors to ask their clients to complete a form setting out in detail which items are included, and also listing any items which are being removed.
If the seller has agreed to sell anything which is not a fixture or fitting, such as furniture, then it is desirable that this should be listed in the contract. The contract should also state whether the items are included in the sale price, or whether the buyer will be paying an additional sum. In this way the parties will know exactly what is being included, and whether any additional price is to be paid on completion, so that there should not be any room for argument when it comes to completion.
Where the sale price of a house is slightly higher than one of the steps in the scale of stamp duty It is tempting for buyers to try to avoid paying stamp duty, or paying at a higher rate, by overvaluing any chattels to be included in the sale. Stamp duty land tax is only chargeable on the value of the house and land, not on any chattels which are also being sold. However HM Revenue and Customs has the power to investigate all property sales, and they would be suspicious if a property sells for substantially less than other similar properties in the area. If they were to discover that the parties had agreed that the sale would include a long list of items at over-inflated values, they could reach the conclusion that this had been done to avoid paying duty, and charge penalties. Conveyancing Solicitors will therefore normally advise against trying to avoid paying stamp duty in this way.
However in the case of this sale there was no question of avoiding duty, and as no separate value was placed on the items the buyer would be liable to pay duty on the whole amount of the price.
Stephanie had noted that the land registry title stated that the property had the benefit of rights contained in a 1979 Conveyance, a copy of which was filed at the registry. The buyers’ Solicitors would want to see a copy, so she applied via the land registry’s website for this. As it was stored electronically the registry was able to make a copy of the Conveyance available as a download instantaneously, so that Stephanie could forward it to the Solicitors.
Thanks to the modern land registration system, and the use of electronic communications, Stephanie was able to complete the sale within a few weeks, much to the satisfaction of the sellers, who congratulated her on such a quick service.
Once you have found a buyer for your house, you do not want your sale delayed. For a Solicitor delivering Fast Conveyancing in Blackpool, get an Online Conveyancing Quote now.