Residential Property ​Case Studies

  • Large period barn – water, water everywhere ….
    Christopher acted for the purchaser of a very large period barn with amenity land, with planning consent for conversion into a substantial dwelling. Searches revealed that there was no mains water supply in the vicinity. It transpired that water was being brought to the property by tanker, which naturally dampened Christopher’s client’s enthusiasm for the property! 

     Christopher arranged for contracts to be exchanged, with completion of the purchase being conditional on a satisfactory water supply being located. Following exchange, an exploratory borehole was drilled, with the cost being shared between the two parties. Tests revealed an excellent private water supply some distance underneath the property and the client proceeded to complete the purchase. 
  • Conversion of large commercial building into residential use
    Christopher acted for the purchaser of a large office building that had been vacant for many years. The client obtained planning consent for the conversion of the property into 20 flats with business use on part of the ground floor. Unfortunately the seller had lost the title deeds to about 50% of the building. An application to the Land Registry for possessory title was submitted and subsequently granted by the Land Registry. With the addition of title insurance, paid for by the seller, Christopher advised that it was safe to proceed with the transaction and he later successfully disposed of all 20 flats on long leases. 
  • Sale of Bankrupt's Property
    I was instructed by a client resident in Australia to act for him in connection with the sale of his flat in London. The flat had been on the market for some time but a buyer had not been found.

    It subsequently became clear that the client was in serious arrears with his mortgage as well as service charges. I had to write a number of holding letters to the mortgage company and landlords.

    When a buyer was found I was able to proceed with the sale very quickly and kept the mortgagees and the solicitors instructed by the freeholders to recover the arrears at bay.

    We were fairly close to exchange of contracts when the seller’s father contacted me to ask if I was aware that his son had flown to London, gone to the High Court and declared himself bankrupt. This was quite a shock to me and I believed at that stage that the sale would not be able to proceed. However, I contacted the appointed Trustee in Bankruptcy at the High Court. I managed to persuade the buyers to increase their offer for the property sufficiently as to allow the sale to proceed with the blessing of the Trustee in Bankruptcy.

    Although the client was unable to settle all of his debts, the mortgage was repaid in full and all arrears in service charges were settled. The best result that could be hoped for in these circumstances.
     
  • Quick Sale of Residential Property
    My client, the seller of a residential property, was in financial difficulty and therefore required a quick sale. He had however, agreed to sell his property to a company at under value for a price that did not allow enough funds to redeem his mortgage. I negotiated with the lenders on his behalf to accept a reduced payment at completion of the sale on the basis he would settle the outstanding amount in small instalments until his circumstances improved. 

    Unfortunately the buyer company reduced their offer for the property when we were at the point of exchanging contracts. The client was desperate and had more or less decided to hand the keys and possession to his mortgagees. I managed to persuade him to instruct agents to put his property in an auction and also persuaded his mortgagees to delay issuing proceedings for possession until after the auction.

    A sale was agreed at a considerably higher price than the original price agreed and contracts were exchanged on the day before the auction.

    Completion took place and the client was able to pay off his mortgage in full and walk away with a small sum of money for himself.
     
  • Sale and Purchase
    Maria has recently been instructed by clients who she has acted for many times previously. They lived in Somerset and rang her to say that they had found their dream house and asked her to act for them once more in connection with their sale and purchase.

    Initially their chances of purchasing the new property were slim, as they had not sold their own property and there were other interested purchasers for their dream home.

    Maria advised them to be realistic about the price that they hoped to get for their existing property.  They took her advice, instructed estate agents and sold their property very quickly.  Their offer on their new house was accepted.

    That was not the end of the story as the executors acting in the sale to them were also transferring part of the deceased’s property to a Housing Association in accordance with a provision of the deceased’s Will.  The contract documentation was complicated because of the inter-relationship of the rights and obligations in respect of the property and that they were selling to her clients, and the Housing Association respectively, as well as some further land that they were retaining.  

    Extensive use of email, and scanned documentation, between all three solicitors, meant that the drafting and settling of the contract and transfer documents were agreed quickly.  Her clients’ work commitments meant that they could not travel to Banbury to see Maria, but again extensive use of email and direct dial facilities meant that she was still able to progress their transactions promptly.

    Maria’s efforts ensured that her clients bought their dream home – much to their delight.  The executors were so pleased with the way that the sale had progressed that they granted her clients an option to a purchase a coppice on the land that they had retained – an option that they have recently exercised.
     
  • Purchase of Auction Property
    Maria recently acted for the purchaser of a flat in Birmingham.  He was a first time buyer who was interested in buying a flat at auction.  His father, who was an old contact of Maria’s, explained that his son was having a problem in arranging a mortgage.  He was not prepared to bid unless the mortgage funding was in place.  The auction was due to take place less than two weeks later time and he asked if Maria could assist his son.

    Maria keeps in touch with local mortgage lenders and was able to advise her client that a national bank based in Banbury was prepared to lend to first time buyers at favourable rates.  Maria arranged for their mortgage consultant to ring her client and much to his delight, they were able to offer him a mortgage, subject only to a valuation of the flat that was quickly organised.

    Maria’s client sent her the Auction Pack less than three days before the auction.  It ran to over 120 pages and careful consideration of it revealed two major problems with the flat - namely that the landlord had recently gone into liquidation, and there were extensive arrears of service charges.

    Telephone calls to the liquidator confirmed that the freehold interest was about to be transferred to the management company, run by all of the tenants in the building and which was still trading.  Once the transfer was completed they would assume the former landlord’s responsibilities under the lease.  Further telephone calls to the seller’s solicitor resulted in an undertaking that the arrears of service charges would be paid from the sale proceeds.

    Having resolved both problems Maria was able to reassure her client that he could safely bid for the flat he hoped to purchase.  

    His bid was successful and he is now the proud owner of his first property.
     
  • Shared Ownership
    I have developed an expertise in shared ownership leases.  They are becoming an increasingly important part of conveyancing – particularly for first time buyers hoping to get onto the property ladder for the first time.



    Over a period of several months I developed a good working relationship with the Housing Association’s solicitors.  I was encouraged by them to apply to the Housing Association to have my firm added to their panel of preferred solicitors.  I made the application and was delighted when they agreed to add my firm to their panel.

    The benefit of being so appointed became very apparent following the recent launch of a new site of ten units that the Housing Association were about to offer to prospective purchasers.  

    Before the launch I asked to review the contract documentation for the site.  All of my legal enquiries relating to the site were answered, and my amendments to the contract and lease documents were approved, before the launched.

    Although the site was approximately forty miles from Banbury I visited it to meet the Housing Association’s sales representative and agreed a scale of legal costs for their prospective purchasers.

    The launch weekend was very successful and I took instructions from six prospective purchasers to do their conveyancing.

    Having previously approved the documentation I was able to deal with the conveyancing aspects for all six purchasers very quickly and all were very pleased to move into their new homes within a month of instructing me.

    The Housing Association was equally pleased as all of the purchases were completed before their year end, which was important to them for funding reasons.

    I have introduced six new clients to the firm with every expectation that further work will derive from them over the forthcoming years.
     
  • Complex Purchase
    I was recently instructed by a couple who wanted to purchase a buy-to-let property to rent out.  They had already found a property that they wished to purchase, had lined up tenants to let the same and wanted to proceed quickly.

    I always make a point of trying to find out as much information as possible about the transaction at the outset, which proved very useful in this instance.  

    I was able to discover that my clients were remortgaging their own property to raise the deposit needed to purchase the buy-to-let property.

    As a consequence, I was able to conduct both transactions simultaneously, to the obvious benefit of my clients as they were anxious to proceed quickly.

    The purchase proved to be complicated.  Whilst my clients believed that they were purchasing a freehold property from a mortgagee in possession it transpired that all the mortgagee in possession was entitled to sell was the leasehold interest, as their former borrower had owned the property on a Shared Ownership basis.  In such cases the freehold interest is always retained by the Housing Association.

    I persuaded the seller’s solicitors to action the staircasing provisions under the provisions of the Shared Ownership Lease. The Housing Association then performed its own valuation and accepted that the price being paid by my clients reflected the true market value of the property 

    I co-ordinated the efforts of both the solicitors for the Housing Association and the mortgagee in possession to achieve a simultaneous purchase of both the freehold and leasehold interests, by my clients, and they have subsequently been registered as the freehold owners of the property.

    Despite being somewhat complicated from a conveyancing perspective I was able to complete both my clients remortgage and their purchase within a month of obtaining instructions, and without the clients’ losing their prospective tenants. 
     
  • Estate Development
    I recently acted for a property developer who had bought a plot of land with the benefit of Outline Planning Permission for three houses.  After checking the boundaries as per the title deeds, and the site itself, it became apparent that they did not match and the discrepancy needed to be rectified before completion could take place.

    It also became apparent from the physical inspection of the site that a surface water drain serving the owner of the plot of land adjacent to the development site, and who had sold the site originally, ran under the development site but no right had been reserved in her favour to formalise her continued right to use the same.

    My developer client accepted my suggestion that the neighbour be offered a Deed of Easement in respect of the surface water drainage in return for her assistance in preparing a definitive plan of the site, and the plan was prepared quickly.

    Initially, the Land Registry refused to accept that the title boundaries were wrong but on my insistence the site was surveyed by an Ordnance Survey Surveyor who concurred with my view, and the title plan was updated accordingly.

    The terms of the Deed of Easement were quickly agreed and executed by both parties.

    My client was pleased that the cause of potential delays in its sale of the three properties had been rectified before building works began.  The development was very successful and all three properties quickly sold at list price, despite the current state of the housing market.

    By resolving the problem that I had identified before the development started my client was able to avoid delays in its prospective sales and was able to make huge savings on the interest that it would otherwise have had to pay to its bank
     

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