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Q. I am a very small-scale private landlord. Is it true that people like me are now expected to check the immigration status of prospective tenants? A. I'm afraid so. This is the so-called Right to Rent legislation, which applies from 1st February 2016. Basically, it...


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Q. Why should I waste more money on another survey when I'm already paying for one to be done by the building society? A. This touches on a very important point. After all, buying a home is the single biggest investment most of us ever make - so it's only common sense to...


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Q. What is the legal position regarding work on party walls? A. Where legalities are concerned, you really should be asking a solicitor. That said, however, my understanding is that you basically own half the thickness of any party wall - so as far as minor, everyday things are...


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Q. I've just had an agent value my house, and he says he wants to do a quick one-off viewing for someone who is apparently waiting for a place just like mine. Should I agree to this? A. Well it's up to you, of course, but there are a couple of issues you might want to...


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Q.  We recently had an offer accepted on a property, only to be gazumped several weeks into the   buying process. Is there any action we can take against the agent? A. The first point to make is that gazumping is not illegal – despite regular calls from...


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Q. At the moment I can only afford to buy a flat, but these all seem to be leasehold. What does this mean, exactly, and what are the sort of issues I need to consider? A. You’re right, the vast majority of flats are indeed leasehold. That’s because, under English law...


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Q. If all goes well, I’m hoping to move house later this year, but I’m dreading the packing. Do you have any general advice? A. You may be heartened to know that you are by no means alone in finding packing a daunting prospect. In fact, I know people who maintain...


Stamp duty changes save homebuyers £701m

The Stamp Duty Land Tax reforms that were introduced in December last year have saved UK homeowners £701million in the six months since the changes came into force, according to myhomemove. The Government’s estimate that the changes to how stamp duty is levied has...


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Q. Is the writing on the wall for traditional high street agents? A. The short answer is no – at least, not any time soon. Of course, you’re probably thinking, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?” But, looking round at the alternatives currently...


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ASK THE EXPERT Q. When arranging a mortgage, is it best to deal direct with the lender or go through a broker? A. No question, go through a broker every time. Why? Well, for one thing, there are, incredibly, something like 13,500 different mortgages currently available, if you...


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Q. Do completions always have to happen on a Friday – or can we choose another day if it happens to be more convenient? A. You are right: the majority of completions do tend to happen on a Friday – and indeed, the last Friday of the month is the busiest of all. Yet...


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Q. What do you think the effect of the Election result will be, if any – and have you seen any signs of it already having an impact?” A. Personally, I would say that the actual result of the Election is of relatively minor significance to the housing market. Much...


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ASK THE EXPERT Q. Aren’t all letting agents supposed to be displaying upfront information about fees? A. The short answer is yes. In fact, from 27th May, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, there will be a statutory duty on lettings agents in England to display...


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Q. What is the key to having a good relationship with your agent? A. Estate agency is essentially a people business – and as such, having a good relationship between client and agent is pretty crucial. Nevertheless…starting off on the right foot can often be...


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Q. We have seen a house we really like, but apparently it has bats in the roofspace. Advice please! A. Bat populations in the UK have declined dramatically during the past century. Many roosting sites and feeding grounds have been destroyed, while pesticides have not only killed...


The chancellor announces a new Isa to help first-time buyers.

First-time buyers are being offered up to £3,000 each to put down as a home deposit through a new help-to-buy Isa unveiled in the chancellor’s budget. How will it work? First-time buyers who save in a help-to-buy Isa will have their savings boosted with a payment...


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Q. I understand the importance of good photographs in “selling” my house – particularly on the internet. Do you have any tips? A. You’re right. Even if you don’t go for the more exotic options that the internet offers, like video clips or virtual...


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Q. With the Budget just round the corner, and a General Election in May, is there any point putting my home on the market now, or should I wait? A. The Budget is probably not something you need to worry about. After all, the Chancellor has only just taken steps to boost the...


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Q.  An elderly relative of ours is going into residential care, and we’re concerned that this will involve having to sell her home to defray the cost. A.  You’d be surprised how often estate agents get asked about this – although strictly speaking...