Following a period of uncertainty and climbing costs of living, house prices have fallen steadily – falling for the sixth consecutive month in October 2023.
For many prospective homeowners, this seems the ideal time to enter the property market.
While falling prices can be a significant incentive, buyers should still take the time to conduct legal due diligence.
In this article, Residential Property Supervising Director, Erin Cronin delves into why the current climate might drive house purchases and how to stay safe and compliant when buying your ideal home.
Why falling house prices may tempt buyers
When house prices fall, properties that were once out of reach for many become attainable. This potentially means moving to a desired location, securing a larger home, or stepping onto the property ladder for the first time.
Additionally, buyers may be seeking to buy after a long period of inflation, which left many unable to make the move for many months.
The mindset of buying low with the hope of long-term appreciation can be a compelling motivator.
Stay safe with legal due diligence
While the appeal is undeniable, house buying is a significant commitment, and cutting corners on legal due diligence can lead to issues and unforeseen costs further down the line.
Here’s how to protect yourself by conducting your legal due diligence with the help of an experienced solicitor:
Engage a solicitor early
Before making an offer on a property, it’s advisable to speak with a solicitor. They’ll guide you through the legal intricacies, ensuring every decision is well-informed.
During the process of selling a property, a solicitor will need to conduct title checks. This ensures that the seller has the legal right to sell and that there are no undisclosed rights or restrictions associated with the property.
Surveys and valuations
Avoid relying solely on a mortgage lender’s valuation. A survey or homebuyer’s report will highlight structural issues or necessary repairs, allowing you to buy the property fully aware of any costs associated with it.
Your solicitor will conduct local authority searches. This provides insights into any future developments in the area that might affect the property, ensuring you don’t face unexpected disruptions or devaluation.
Environmental and flood risk assessments:
Given increasing concerns about climate change, understanding potential environmental risks is vital. This is not only for peace of mind but also for potential insurance implications.
These assessments will show potential buyers whether their new home is at risk of flooding or other environmental factors beyond their control.
Legal due diligence when buying a property exists to protect your interests and save you from additional costs. The current fall in house prices is indeed an opportunity, but it’s essential to approach it with both eyes open.
Recent periods of uncertainty have taught us the importance of resilience and adaptability.
If you’re considering capitalising on the current property market trends, do so with optimism but ground your decisions in thorough research and expert advice.
Engaging a solicitor early ensures that, as you move through the buying process, you’re doing so with the assurance of legal protection.
To learn more, get in touch with one of our experts.
Falling house prices and legal due diligence, November 2023
Lee McClellan – I would like to thank you for the efficient way you dealt with my late husband’s affairs. With the amount of paperwork that I had I did not think that it would ever come to an end, but by placing it in your hands it went very smoothly.
Mrs S W, Essex, November 2023