Q&A: How can I prove I own my 'unregistered' home?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Q. Can you buy a house at auction if you need a mortgage or must you have the funds available?
C Bowen, by e-mail

Q. Can you buy a house at auction if you need a mortgage or must you have the funds available?
C Bowen, by e-mail

A. You should first check with your chosen lender whether they will be able to fit in with the short timeframe associated with buying a property at auction. The lender will need to value the house, which will give you some indication of its price. However, the valuation will usually have to be done on one of the viewing days, which may be hard to arrange. The valuation may also be significantly different from its reserve price. As you will most likely only be lent a percentage of the value you will have to make up the difference in cash and also pay a 10 per cent deposit by cheque or banker's draft on the day of the auction, if you are successful. An administration charge of around £150 is also payable to the auctioneer. You will need to know very clearly what is the highest price you can bid on the day. The balance of the money is usually payable within 28 days.

Q. My solicitor has told me that the house I want to buy is "unregistered". Will I be able to prove that I own it?
VS, by e-mail

A. In England and Wales, a property can either be registered or unregistered. If the property has not been sold for many years, it may well be unregistered and ownership cannot be guaranteed by the state. Your solicitor will look back over the history of the property over at least the last 15 years to confirm ownership to make sure there are no disputes over the title. The property will then be registered with the Land Registry under your name, which can take some time. You will probably have to pay more to your solicitor for this service.

Q. I am buying a flat that is being refurbished and, having obtained my mortgage offer, I went along to see how it was progressing. I was very disappointed with the standard of the work and there were no carpets or flooring coverings in the kitchen or bathroom. The estate agent verbally told me that these would be included in the price, but I have never had any details of the property to confirm this. What can I do to make sure at the very least that the property has flooring before I exchange contracts?
RB, London

A. You would be wise to make a "snagging" list of the condition of the flat immediately, and give a copy of it to the estate agent and your solicitor. You should also ask the estate agent to confirm in writing that the flooring was included in the price and preferably give you a copy of the details that you did not get originally. It looks as if the estate agent will have to liaise between the developer and yourself to ensure the work is up to a satisfactory standard before you proceed with the sale. Give your solicitor a copy of all the correspondence.

If you would like a query answered, e-mail: propertyq&a@independent.co.uk. Only those questions featured will be answered. Any advice given will not be legally binding