The Comprehensive Solicitor's Guide to Conveyancing in Wiltshire

The historic County of Wiltshire covers many popular residential areas, and local Fridaysmove Conveyancing Solicitors can assist with the Conveyancing in Wiltshire if you are buying or selling in the county.

The principal residential centres are Swindon and Salisbury, while other popular towns include Trowbridge, Devizes, Warmister, Chippenham, Bradford-on-Avon, Westbury and Calne. There are numerous other attractive small towns and villages.

The county is now administered by two local authorities. Swindon borough council covers the area of Swindon town in the north, and the remainder of the county is administered by Wiltshire council, based at Trowbridge. Wiltshire council is a unitary authority, created in 2009, comprising the former districts of Salisbury, Kennet, North Wiltshire and West Wiltshire.

The old-established city of Salisbury to the south is famed for its cathedral, which has the tallest spire in England. It is now the centre of a popular residential area, and there are many well-established firms of Wiltshire Conveyancing Solicitors in the city and surrounding area.

Swindon was very much a railway town, with the main workshops of the former Great Western Railway established there in 1840. The works have now been closed, although there is a railway museum there, but Swindon is still an important rail junction. Swindon has now attracted a lot of modern industry, and with its connections to the motorway network as well as good rail links to London, and there has been a lot of new house-building in the area.

Conveyancing Issues near MoD Sites

The county is well-known for its connections with the British Army, the Salisbury Plain army training area covering a large area. The Ministry of Defence used to own many residential properties which have now been sold privately. Ex-MoD property can include former married quarters and other property built for the Army, as well as older houses acquired with other land when training-area land was originally purchased. These properties may be subject to unusual provisions, and sometimes share facilities with adjacent military establishments, so expert Conveyancing advice is required on the purchase of such a property in Wiltshire.

Conservation Conveyancing

Many places within the county are within conservation areas, and older buildings may well be Grade II listed. This can have a significant impact on the use of such buildings, and consent will be needed alterations and extensions. Alterations affecting the facades of buildings will generally not be allowed, while even improvement works such as the installation of modern windows will be restricted. Where works to a property in a conservation area have been carried out without proper consent, the financial penalties can be severe if the council requires the reinstatement of the property. A Conveyancing Solicitor acting for the buyer of a property in Wiltshire will check whether a house is affected, and whether any works have appropriate consents, and will be able to offer the client expert advice.

For many, a country cottage would be a dream home, and Wiltshire is a popular area for anyone wanting to make their dream a reality. However, many legal problems can arise in buying rural properties so professional input from a local Conveyancing Solicitor should be obtained. Access to a country cottage may be over a private right-of-way rather than a public road, while drainage may be to a septic tank instead of a public sewer. A Conveyancing Solicitor will investigate these matters, and make sure that there are proper legal rights.

Another service that Conveyancing Solicitors will offer purchasers is to make an Environmental search. It might be thought that such searches would only be necessary in the Swindon area, but it should be borne in mind that in the past much local industry was carried on in country towns, which may still have some environmental impact. Often the existence of old industrial use in an area will not be apparent, and can only be ascertained from reference to old records and maps. An environmental search will access such records to ascertain whether a house is in an affected area. It will also show if there is any current land-use in the vicinity which might have an environmental impact.

Conveyancing Solicitors acting for buyers will always carry out a local authority search, which will show whether there are any planning consents relating to a property. This is particularly important to know for recently-built houses, or where flats have been converted from older buildings. If a house has been extended then Solicitors also need to check if relevant consents have been obtained.

It is often assumed that these local searches will also show any plans for development in the surrounding area, but usually that is not the case. While searches do show any proposals for such things as highways schemes ( e.g. a planned new by-pass or major road improvement) or similar public proposals, they do not show any plans for private development. Local Conveyancing Solicitors can as an additional service carry out a planning search which will show outstanding planning applications and consents granted for other properties within the vicinity. These searches will also indicate if the property is an area affected by a local authority’s development plan. For properties in rural towns and villages it may be desirable to know whether a house is in an area where the council's development plan limits further potential development.

Many modern developments in the established towns of Wiltshire now comprise flats, while large older buildings are being converted into flats. Such flats are owned on leasehold titles, this means that Conveyancing Solicitors dealing with such properties must be suitably experienced. Although the title transfer procedure is much the same as for freehold properties, buyers' Solicitors will need to check and advise on the provisions of the individual lease, and obtain information about the freeholder landlord and the management of the building. Service charges can be a significant expense on such properties, so past management accounts must be obtained as well as estimates of future expenditure.

Wiltshire county is famous for its beautiful rivers, especially the Avon, the Wylye and the Nadder. Salisbury sits at the confluence of five rivers, which are a beautiful feature of the city. It is now essential for any home buyer to check that their proposed purchase is not in an area susceptible to flooding, as this can affect the ability to obtain buildings insurance on a property. If a property is in an area seen by insurers as having a significant flood risk then premiums can rise substantially, or it may be impossible to get cover. This will affect property prices, so your Wiltshire Conveyancing Solicitor ought to make the necessary enquiries to check that there will not be a problem.

Practical examples of Conveyancing in Wiltshire:

Transfer of large detached house near Salisbury

In the early part of 2010 the buyers of a detached house in a small village a few miles to the south of Salisbury instructed Fridaysmove Conveyancer Jaaine Intrajah. Property details were received from Penyards Country Properties, and the sale price was in excess of £½ million.

The sellers' Conveyancing Solicitors, Salisbury firm Whitehead Vizard of Close Gate Chambers, 60 High Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2PQ sent contract documents including a copy of the sellers' title at the Land Registry. This confirmed that the property title was freehold.

Jaaine organised the local search with Wiltshire Council, and sent additional enquiries about the property to the vendors Solicitors on the same day.

Although the house was located in a development of similar properties, it stood on a substantial plot and it was noted that there was a road running down one side of the property which was not adopted as a public highway. Appropriate enquiries were raised about this, and the sellers replied with details of their use of the road and which other properties also used it. The replies were acceptable, and the buyers were informed accordingly.

A search was also put in hand with the local water authority for confirmation that the property was connected to both mains water and drainage.

As soon as the necessary information had been obtained, Jaaine was able to prepare a full report on title for the buyers, and arrange for them to sign the purchase contract and Transfer deed, as well as their mortgage deed, She then contacted the sellers' Conveyancing Solicitors so that a mutually acceptable completion date could be agreed, and once that had been done she was able to exchange contracts. Thanks to use of email and fax communication completion of the purchase was effected without delay, to the clients' satisfaction.

Conveyancing for a buyer in Swindon

Fridaysmove Conveyancing Solicitor Jane Lim acted for the buyers of a house in Westlea, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 in April 2010. Swindon agents Strakers, of 39 Commercial Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN1 5NS sent Jane the property details, showing the price was in excess of £220, 000.

Andrews Martin, 6 Little London Court, Swindon, SN1 3HY, the seller's Conveyancing Solicitors, forwarded the draft contract and copy of the sellers' registered title by email, so that Jane was able to get on without delay.

The title entries showed that the property had been constructed in 1990. From a check of the title plan it appeared that the property was on a larger housing development. The title entries stated that it had the benefit of various legal rights over adjacent properties, and was also subject to some covenants and restrictions, contained in the original transfer when the property was first sold by the developer in 1990. The sellers' solicitors had not sent a copy of this transfer, so Jane had to request them to obtain a copy from the land registry and send this on to her.

At the same time Jane sent some further enquiries about the house to the Solicitors, together with proposed transfer deed for their approval.

The results of searches sent to Swindon borough council showed that the adjoining road was an adopted public highway, and gave details of the original planning consent for the development. It also mentioned record of a FENSA certificate issued in 2006 for the installation of two replacement doors at the property.

A search with Thames Water confirmed that the house was connected to mains water supply and to a main sewer.

Once the sellers' Solicitors had returned replies to enquiries and sent a copy of the 1990 Transfer, Jaaine was able to prepare her report on title to the buyers, and ask them to sign the contract and Transfer deed in readiness for exchange. A completion date was agreed between all parties, and a speedy exchange and completion achieved.

Fridaysmove 's panel of Qualified Conveyancing Solicitors will deliver this high level of proactive service to you - Instruct with us today, and get your property transaction underway. Call Andy and our team on 0330 660 0286.

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