The Brexit vote recently taken in the UK confirmed the people’s desire to leave the European Union (EU). It did not lend any significant stability to the country’s economic or political situation. Politicians have been frenziedly shifting roles and will probably continue to do so for some time. What Brexit will mean for the commercial residential property market is the subject of much debate amongst professionals such as residential agents, commercial agents and mortgage advisers. Even the short-term effects of the news are difficult to state with certainty.

This month, the Bank of England provided a solid piece of data by revealing survey information that showed expected activity in the housing market had declined significantly since the vote. If Brexit has made the summer housing market slower than usual, does that mean that it’s time to buy? Do conditions favour the ready buyer now?

Don’t think that Brexit means all the rules of the game has changed. Conveyancing – the formal process of moving real property from one party’s hands into another’s – hasn’t undergone any fundamental change. If you’re contemplating a property purchase in the aftermath of Brexit, here are the important points to keep in mind:

1) Seek Legal Counsel

While you might not need the services of a solicitor to conduct a straightforward purchase, sound legal advice will be essential if you run into any problems. A solicitor with plenty of conveyancing experience will safeguard you against a host of potential pitfalls. This is especially important if you lack buying experience yourself.

2) Always Inspect Potential Purchases

Don’t fall in love with a property from the street – or, worse yet, from the listing. Visit a property in person to get a thorough look at it before making any decisions. Run the plumbing and test the appliances. Don’t rely on your own eyes alone, either. If you’re seriously contemplating a purchase, get a specialist surveyor to look it over for complex issues such as damp or structural problems. Remember that issues might not be deal-breakers; you could instead turn them into leverage at the negotiating table.

Another important part of doing your homework is directing your solicitor to search for any legal issues which might adversely affect your property. Examples include planning constraints or flood risks.

3) Hire a Snagging Inspector for New-Build Homes

Snagging is the property industry term for unexpected problems found in newly-built homes. These are faults of construction that should have been caught before the home was brought to market but instead lay in wait for the unwary buyer. Speak to your conveyancing solicitor about finding a reliable inspector who can identify and document snagging issues if you’re purchasing a brand-new home.

You’ll also want to have a clear understanding of the property’s tenure before proceeding with a purchase. Some properties are offered as freehold (permanent transfer of ownership) while others are offered as leasehold (fixed and finite term of ownership).

4) Trust Your Instincts

If a deal feels off to you, walk away. The advice of the experts you’ve consulted may not turn anything up. Nevertheless, purchasing property is such an important decision that you don’t want to be in any way uncertain when you commit to buying. Remember, there are no penalties for walking away before contracts are signed. Extricating yourself from a bad buy afterwards will be extremely expensive.

Purchasing a property is likely to be one of the most significant purchases of your life. Plan the process carefully and get help from an experienced conveyancing solicitor. Professional assistance will ensure that you’re satisfied with your choices.


Kay Harvey