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  • Buy-to-Let

    Pre-purchase inspection question

    Hello,

    I'm an overseas investment who intend visit the UK in the near future in order to purchase a flat for a BTL.

    I'll probably use EA in order to view some properties and I'm just curios how the process should work, once I found one and want to give an offer, but I do want to have it inspected before. Should I reserve the flat first? What if the inspection find major rejects and I want to back off? Is it different in case the flat is tenanted?

    Thanks in advance

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    Hi Carmel,

    It's very unusual to order a survey for a flat (unless you mean an independent valuation?).

    A survey is generally not required on a leasehold flat, as you do not own the bricks and mortar and are not responsible for the maintenance of the fabric of the building.  This is taken care of by the freeholder and is paid for out of the service charges you will pay each year.

    If you want to undertake some refurbishment works, then you can ask the agent if you can send a builder round to have a look at the flat and produce some quotes for you.

    If you put in an offer on a property and it is accepted, it is not legally binding until you have exchanged contracts.  You can back out of the transaction at any point up until the exchange.  After exchange, you are legally bound to complete.

    I hope that helps?

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    Thank you Vanessa - your answer is very helpful.

    I did mean to find out regarding any hidden issues (such as leaking, electricity, windows etc.) , According to your answer it looks I used the wrong term and I do need to use a builder, so that's what I'm going to do.


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    Hi Aston, if offer accepted, you need to provide proof of funds (or offer in principles if mortgaging), to take the property off the market.

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    Will you be a cash buyer? If so you will need to ideally organise an independent valuation & a solicitor at an early stage if for no other reason than to scrutinse the lease for matters which may affect the value such as the number of years to expiry and whether there is in place a procedure for a sinking fund in connection with repairs and maintenance. In my experience a survey by a building surveyor would be essential. The lease would detail responsibilities & clarify what part of the structure is maintained by whom.

    The streets are littered with the consequences of badly drafted leases. For instance: the right of access to your own front door!!; was permission obtained for that 2nd bedroom in the loft from the freeholders and the local council!; does the freeholder exist or is he absent; are all other leaseholders in the building up to date with their property maintenance payments - the structure can fall into disrepair if the freeholder is unable to collect funds from the flat owners etc.

    Were you anticipating buying at an auction or via an estate agent on a private sale?

    If you contemplate buying a flat in an older property and it is "lower ground" be very careful about the possibility that the walls and floor may need a specialist contractor.

    Just my thoughts for your consideration (or not!!)


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    Thank you Richard & Malcolm.

    I am a cash buyer and will use an EA on a private sale. I'm aware (hopefully) for all legal aspects (proof of funds, solicitor etc.) .

    I'm just focusing on the flat physical issues, that might be hidden for me and I'd like a professional to have a look and verify that I should not expect any surprise in this area.


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