New-builds ‘leading regional housing market comeback’

By Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing, Adkirk Law

The new-build housing market is helping to lead the property sector back to pre-lockdown levels of activity across the region, according to conveyancing specialist Adkirk Law.

Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing at regional law firm Adkirk Law, said: “New build properties offer a 75 per cent loan to value mortgage for those buying on the Help to Buy scheme and those mortgages have still been available even when the lenders changed their criteria in lockdown. We’ve seen plenty of activity in this part of the market.

“We need to see whether this is sustainable through this next period and beyond for the longer term but there is certainly a feeling of confidence currently.”

Linda added: “First-time buyers may still be facing the barriers of access to finance and the flexibility of mortgages available but lenders should see the benefits of being more flexible in these circumstances.

“We need to see a stable market through this time for all concerned and the lenders can help ease the situation for many prospective buyers, particularly younger people, through the coronavirus crisis and beyond.”

Help to Buy is the government scheme designed to help people purchase a new property with just five per cent deposit by way of an equity loan from the government of up to 20 per cent. The aim of this scheme is to increase the supply of new homes in addition to the number of lower deposit mortgages.

For first time buyers, the 75 per cent mortgage for a new build property is an easier route to the housing market, while lenders are reluctant to release standard 95 per cent mortgages.

The property portal Zoopla has reported a surge in the number of people making active enquiries, with demand exceeding lockdown levels, while housebuilders including Taylor Wimpey have said they are seeing ‘more sustained demand.’

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Pursue your home dream, say experts

By Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing, Adkirk Law

The housing market across the region is getting back to business as deals are concluded and new offers are being made, according to conveyancing specialist Adkirk Law.

The reopening of the housing market by the government has brought swift activity as buyers continue the deals they left before the lockdown.

Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing at Adkirk Law, said: “We’re now seeing a return to business as normal with buyers happy to conduct viewings within the government guidance and social distancing.

“Where a property is vacant there is no issue and certainly where properties may be occupied it only means the vendor either leaving the property for an hour or distancing as they would in normal circumstances.

“There’s no reason why the sale process can’t pick up for all parties as long as people are sensible but it must be within the guidance and with the safety of everyone in mind at all times.

“Virtual viewings are fine as a way of a first view but don’t replace the feel of a personal viewing and being able to see a property in the wider context of its surroundings.”

Linda added: “There may be more barriers for first time buyers depending on access to finance and the flexibility of mortgage lenders but we hope lenders will see the benefits of being more flexible in these circumstances.”

Both purchase and sales instructions fell in April, according to research from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, indicating an element of pent-up demand in the market that could provide a boost to transactions in the coming months.

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Five steps to choosing a conveyancing firm

By Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing, Adkirk Law

You’ve found your dream house and had an offer accepted. The only obstacles standing between you and your new home are the legal formalities.

For many people, choosing the correct conveyancing lawyer is a difficult decision. The legal process can be complicated but also very personal – as you entrust such an important procedure to somebody you might not have met before. With thousands of conveyancing firms across the country, it can be difficult to know where to start in choosing the correct one.

Solicitor or licensed conveyancer?

Not all conveyancers are solicitors, and vice-versa. Licensed conveyancers are regulated property lawyers, who focus on just residential property, whereas solicitors specialise in a wider variety of legal services as well as property transactions. Be sure to check with any firm which they are. All lawyers are regulated and it is important that you check they are registered with their regulator. Solicitors are registered with The Law Society and Licensed Conveyancers with the Council of Licensed Conveyancers otherwise known as the CLC. Both regulators have the ability for you to check out their regulated firms on their websites. Solicitors can be a wise choice for a more complex transaction, when boundaries may be disputed or if other specialist advice is required outside the conveyancing process.

Whether you choose a solicitor or conveyancer the process is the same, however fees can vary from firm to firm. It is important to check that the quote provided covers all the work that has to be carried out. Often accurate information is not present at the time a quote is requested and this can result in not all fees being quoted initially. When requesting the quote ensure you provide as much information as possible about your matter. Firms do have an obligation to be transparent with their fees and if additional work is required you should be notified of the additional fee as soon as this becomes apparent and before the additional work is carried out so there should be no surprises at the end of the matter.

Be wary of recommendations

When your offer on a house is accepted be careful to ensure you choose the right firm for you and ensure the firm you choose can offer the service you require. The cheapest is not always the best and remember that buying a house is the most expensive asset you will purchase so it is important you make the right choice.

Buying or selling a property can be very stressful, especially when you have set your heart on your dream home, so it is important that your solicitor or conveyancer is able to provide the level of service you require together with the relevant support and guidance throughout the transaction.

Many conveyancers are registered on different mortgage lender’s panels so they can act for the mortgage lender as well as you as the buyer. Check with your conveyancer at the outset whether they are on your mortgage lender’s panel or not, as firms which aren’t on the panel could result in you paying an extra fee of up to £300. You may also find you have to change solicitor part way through the transaction. This can cause a delay.

Check the fees

Conveyancers can charge fees in a variety of formats, including hourly rates, fixed fees or a percentage of the property price. Fixed fees are generally charged for the sale and purchase of properties and it is the safest approach, as you should not receive any surprise additions to the bill at the end of the process. The type of transaction can involve different layers of complexity and can result in additional fees being charged, so it is important to be upfront with your solicitor at the start of the process. Your quotation should clearly state all disbursements such as land registry fees, searches and stamp duty.

For many firms, you can find out an initial fee using a conveyancing calculator, which will give you some estimated costs to work from.

Reduce the stress with good communication

Buying a house is such a personal process, it’s important to have a lawyer you can trust. Regular communication with your lawyer can reassure you that the transaction is going smoothly and give you peace of mind that the move is going to plan.

Particularly for a first time buyer, a good lawyer should aim to reduce any unnecessary stress by maintaining a good line of communication and guiding you as the process unfolds – with some even offering a service to track your case online. Speak to family members or friends who have recently gone through the house moving process for recommendations on who has given them a good service.

Local knowledge can be key

While conveyancing can be done remotely through phone calls, emails and letters, understanding the local environment can still be important. The laws around conveyancing in England and Wales differ from Scotland and Northern Ireland, and as such you need a firm who complies with the country-specific legislation.

Similarly, local lawyers can offer an insight into the area, and have experience working with the opposite lawyer before. They typically will also have worked with the local estate agent and developers before and can know the inside track on getting your transaction through quickly and smoothly.

Make the correct choice

When it comes to choosing a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, you want to make sure you are making the right decision. It is worth putting the time in to research as well as speaking to a few firms to make sure you are doing the right thing.

To find out more about choosing the correct conveyancing solicitor, or get a conveyancing quote, visit Adkirk Law, an experienced firm specialising in sale and purchase conveyancing in the North West and throughout England and Wales.

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Corrie gets a reality check from top criminal lawyer

Stories linked to the world of crime played out on TV soap Coronation Street have a distinct feeling of reality – because they have been guided by an expert criminal lawyer.

Rachel Adamson, head of fraud and regulatory at regional niche law firm Adkirk Law with more than 25 years’ experience in her field, has been helping scriptwriters behind the scenes of the famous soap to make sure their stories match up to the real world.

She said: “The scriptwriters want to make sure these storylines are possible. They got in touch to see if I could help guide the script as I see these kind of cases at first hand through clients I represent in court.

“Corrie fans can be assured that the scriptwriters go the extra mile to make sure the storylines, actions and conversations will stand scrutiny. Between us we go into every detail before anything is given the go-ahead to be used.”

John Harrison, QC, of St Paul’s Chambers in Leeds and Lincoln House Chambers in Manchester helped advise alongside Rachel.

Rachel Adamson has acted as prosecutor and defender for clients including high profile cases such as the Euribor trial at Southwark Crown Court which generated national and international publicity.

Rachel has defended cases brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue and Customs and Trading Standards. Her regulatory defence work has including corporate manslaughter and manslaughter by gross negligence.

Adkirk Law is a leading UK Law firm offering a niche practice with expertise in serious fraud, regulation and police misconduct, acting for many high-ranking police officers accused of wrong-doing.

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

About Adkirk Law: Adkirk Law is a leading UK Law firm offering a niche practice with expertise in serious fraud, regulation, police misconduct, residential conveyancing and complex transactions such as leasehold extensions. With more than 50 years’ experience between its experts, the company partners with other associates across the country where required. Adkirk Law believes in offering legal services that are modern, transparent and tailored to meet the needs of the individual or business requiring them. For further information telephone 0330 111 9728 or email info@lawyersinc.org

 

See www.adkirklaw.co.uk

All media enquiries, please contact:
Paul Tustin or Adam Ogden, Freshfield
01772 888400 or (firstname)@freshfield.com

Women mean business

By Rachel Adamson, director of fraud and regulatory

Women outnumber men in the UK by 900,000 – but only one in five businesses are run by women.

A government-backed review to investigate barriers to female entrepreneurship, revealed the hidden potential of women in business to be worth a staggering £250bn to the UK economy.

The Rose Review concluded: ‘There is no one silver bullet that will transform the landscape for female entrepreneurs overnight. Many barriers are cultural and societal, and will take many years to overcome. However, there are real and practical steps that can be taken given the importance of this matter to the UK economy.’

My business partner Linda and I know only too well how tough it is making your way in the legal profession and setting up your own business.

Many men in our industry make their way to senior positions without having to think too hard about it, often presented with opportunities of succession or taking up equity partnerships. Recent research released by the Financial Times shows that while there are now more women than men practising the law, less than a fifth of senior partners or associates are women.

For professional women, research into financial institutional investment shows a reluctance by investors and banks to lend to women entrepreneurs.

Indeed, only nine per cent of the funding funnelled into UK start-ups goes to women-run businesses, according to the Entrepreneurs Network. Women also tend to start businesses with much less available capital than male entrepreneurs.

Against this background, how can women operate on a level playing field?

At Adkirk Law, it is all about attitudes and values. It doesn’t matter who you are as long as you believe in the same things. You can call it inclusive, we call it doing business the right way.

We put our clients first, second and third because we care. They are the reason we go to work every day. We go above and beyond for them. If you’re good enough and right for us, then it doesn’t matter about your gender.

As colleagues, we all treat each other – and our clients – with the utmost respect. We listen to them and communicate with them in a language they will understand rather than complex legal-speak. This overcomes any issues for us at Adkirk Law, but the issue of women facing unfair barriers as entrepreneurs remains. For our part, we will do everything we can to help break them down wherever they exist.

To contact Rachel Adamson tel 0333 111 2814, email Rachel.adamson@lawyersinc.org

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