What to Look out For When Purchasing a New Home

5 Top Tips when Viewing a Potential New Home

How to make sure you don’t buy a new property that will leave you pulling your hair out

With it now coming into the Spring this is the prime time of the year for people seeking to move house. With that in mind we thought we would offer some helpful tips and advice for things to look out for whenever you are viewing a potential new home.

1. Damp

This is a common one. Sometimes the presence of damp will be obvious; watermarked walls; a mouldy smell; plaster flaking off. Other times it may not, or the vendor may have covered it up. If you have any doubt employ a surveyor to inspect and report back. This could help you knock a few pounds off the asking price.

2. Check the Windows

If there is double-glazing then look closely to see if there is any condensation between the panes. If there is then this means the double-glazing is faulty. Try pressing your finger into wooden window frames, if this is easily done then they are rotten. This should set off the alarm bells and make you pay close attention to the rest of the property.

3. Structurally Sound

First of all, check to see if there are any cracks in the walls or ceilings. Check where the walls meet the ceilings, the areas around bay windows and where walls meet. If you spot cracks then you will need to investigate further. Even if the property appears to be solid and sound you may wish to instruct a surveyor for your own peace of mind.

4. The Plumbing

Do the radiators work? How long has the gas boiler been installed? They should be replaced every ten to fifteen years so consider the costs of a replacement if it is coming to the end of its life cycle. Run the taps, does the water gush or tickle out? Check to see if the hot water comes on.

5. The Roof

A roof will need changed every 15 to 20 years so make sure you ask when it was installed. It will cost you thousands to replace. Check for any missing or broken tiles which are a dead giveaway for a roof in poor condition.

If you are purchasing a new home and would like advice in relation to any issues regarding the condition of the new property please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email property@boydricesolicitors.com.

Re-mortgage your house

A ticking time bomb for interest only borrowers

If you are on an interest only mortgage do not delay making plans to eventually clear your debt

On an interest only plan you will pay less to your lender each month. This sounds great in theory, however in practice it means that you are not paying off any of the capital sum of your loan. Once you come to the end of your mortgage, the initial borrowing will still need to be paid off in a lump sum. If you haven’t planned in advance then you will likely lose your home, either through being forced to sell or the bank will repossess it.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that around a fifth of mortgage holders in the UK are on interest only plans, some 1.9 million borrowers. Financial regulators have clamped down on who has access to these types of mortgages, but this does nothing to help those who have already entered into these deals.

If you are currently on an interest only plan you need to act now while there may still be time. It is your responsibility to pay off the loan so the earlier you speak to your lender or mortgage adviser the more time you will have to make a difference. You need to assess how much you owe and when it is due to be repaid. Once you have clarity on this issue then you can work out whether you are likely to be able to repay it in full. You may be planning on downsizing at the end of the term, but check to make sure you will have enough money to do so. You may be able to switch your mortgage to a capital and interest repayment plan or even change the length of the term. It’s crucial to speak to your lender or mortgage adviser to see if this is an option.

Once you have discussed with your lender or mortgage adviser and you have come up with a plan, it may involve a remortgage. If so you will require our expert guidance in relation to dealing with the legal formalities.

If you are on an interest only mortgage and would like advice in relation to any issues regarding remortgaging your property please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email at property@boydricesolicitors.com.

Personal Injury Specialist Solicitors

Road traffic accident in Portaferry

Boyd Rice Solicitors were instructed to act on behalf of Mr A in relation to his personal injury claim arising from a road traffic accident in Portaferry.

Our client instructed that he was driving his car when another vehicle pulled out in front of him and he collided head on with the side of the vehicle. As a result of the impact he sustained injuries to his hips and had headaches. He attended his GP where he was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and sleeping tablets.

An early admission of liability was obtained from the at fault driver’s insurer and the case resolved in the sum of £4,000 without the need to attend Court.

Following the successful conclusion of his claim our client commented as follows;

“The process was quick and I was kept informed the whole way. Very friendly and supportive too.”

If you have been involved in a similar accident please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, or by email claims@boydricesolicitors.com and let us explain how we can help you.

Ulster Property Sales’ Open Day

We were absolutely delighted to be invited to Ulster Property Sales’ recent Open Day at their Newtownards’ Office.

It was a fantastic event with plenty of budding home buyers popping in for a quick chat. We were on hand to answer any legal queries and to generally explain the conveyancing process, given not many know much about it.

Many thanks to Rachel and the rest of the UPS team.

buying a home

5 Reasons to Make or Update Your Will

1. Decide who Inherits

This is the most obvious reason to make a will. You can decide who gets what. You can make specific gifts of cash and items to particular beneficiaries or have everything split up equally amongst a group of named individuals. If you don’t make a valid Will then the rules of Intestacy decide who inherits your estate. This could mean someone, that you don’t want to, benefits from your death.

2. Decide who administers your estate

You can name executors (we recommend naming at least two) who will have the legal responsibility to administer your estate. This will involve paying your debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and distributing the assets amongst the beneficiaries. This can be a difficult job so you should think long and hard about who you select. You can name us as one of your executors which may give you some peace of mind.

3. Make sure your unmarried partner is provided for

If you and your partner are unmarried and you were to die without making a Will your partner will not automatically be entitled to share in your estate, whereas a spouse or civil partner would be entitled to the whole estate. Therefore if you wish to protect your unmarried partner (and vice versa) then you should think about making a will immediately.

4. New Kids

Having new children means you should update your will and make sure they are provided for. If not they may have to apply to the court to gain entitlement to a portion of your assets. This could add to their grief at, what will already be, a difficult. You can also nominate people to care for any children under the age of 18 until they reach adulthood.

5. Marriage or Divorce

These are life-changing circumstances. Getting married will immediately invalidate your will, therefore you should always make a new one after getting hitched. Conversely getting divorced does not automatically revoke your will so you can’t stand the thought of your ex benefitting from your death then you may wish to rip it up and start over.

If you have gone through any big changes in your life recently and are considering making or updating your will please give us a call on 02891 817715, or contact our estates team by email at estates@boydricesolicitors.com.

How to ensure you are safe on the roads in the snow

Accidents sky-rocket when it snows, here’s how to avoid them and stay safe

Given the extreme adverse weather conditions we are currently experiencing, we at Boyd Rice Solicitors thought it might help if we produced a quick guide to driving safely in the snow. We know from experience that the number of accidents rise exponentially when it snows here but there are ways you can avoid this happening to you.

1. Don’t drive

If you can avoid it, simply don’t go out on the roads! This won’t be an option for many but if a journey isn’t necessary it’s better to stay home and stay safe.

2. Plan your journey and leave more time

Know a cross-country shortcut to work? Give that route a miss for now and stick to the main roads wherever possible. These are more likely to be gritted and safer to drive on. By leaving more time you can de-ice your car properly before you begin and you can drive a little slower to take account of the hazardous conditions.

3. Check your tyres

This is important because poor tyres will not grip when driving on snow and ice. This could lead you to skidding and having an accident. Therefore you should check your tyres to ensure there is adequate tread.

4. Prepare for the worst

Pack your mobile and make sure you have your breakdown provider’s number saved on it. You don’t want to breakdown when you are in the middle of nowhere and its freezing cold. Bring some water, food, a hi-vis jacket, ice scraper, blanket, jump leads, anything that will ensure if that your car can’t drive you will be safe until someone comes to rescue you.

Even if you follow the above precautions you may still find yourself involved in an accident as a result of the actions of someone else. If so, please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, or by email at claims@boydricesolicitors.com and let us explain how we can help you.

We offer a free initial consultation where we will confidentially discuss the circumstances of your accident and will assess how we can assist you in the best way possible. We use leading experts to investigate accidents and our team of medical practitioners are extremely experienced.

Holiday from hell?! A guide to dealing with road traffic accidents abroad.

Renting a car whilst on holiday is becoming more and more popular. Competition amongst car rental companies means greatly reduced prices for holiday makers but renting a car abroad can carry its own risks. Driving in another Country on the opposite side of the road normally makes us more cautious behind the wheel but accidents can still happen. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident whilst on holiday, we would recommend that you take the following steps:

– Get details of the other driver and details of their insurance company;

– Keep details of any witnesses;

– Call the local Police immediately and request a copy of their report;

– Notify your own insurance company or if you have rented a car during your holiday, notify the rental company;

– Take photographs of the damage caused to both your own vehicle and the other vehicle involved;

– If you attend hospital or a Doctor take a note of the address of the Hospital/ Surgery and record the name of the medical practitioner that administered treatment. Ask for a copy of any medical records before you leave;

The law relating to compensation claims differs from Country to Country and therefore advice should be sought at the earliest possible opportunity. The good news is that there is legislation in place that will allow you to bring your claim from here in Northern Ireland if your accident occurred in another EU Member State.

Boyd Rice Solicitors have significant experience in obtaining compensation for clients injured whilst on holiday. Please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, or by email claims@boydricesolicitors.com and let us explain how we can help you.

We offer a free initial consultation where we will confidentially discuss the circumstances of your accident and will assess how we can assist you in the best way possible. We use leading experts to investigate accidents and our team of medical practitioners are extremely experienced.

Surveyor report for new house

Should I get a survey before I buy a new property?

Don’t rely on your mortgage valuation to uncover any problems with your new home

Unfortunately only a small percentage of new buyers employ a property surveyor to report on their prospective new property before handing over their savings to the vendor. For some this can lead to a lot of stress and expense when they later discover serious problems with the property’s condition.

But what about the mortgage valuation? Surely the bank wouldn’t lend you money unless the property was in good nick? This line of thinking is misguided. Mortgage valuations are not surveys. The person who conducts the valuation probably spends five minutes glancing over the property to quickly assess how much it’s worth. They will note down any majors works required that they happen to observe, in those five short minutes.

The mortgage valuation is not there to protect you. It’s to make sure the property will be good security for the bank’s loan. Your bank will probably add the costs of the valuation on to your agreement. They will sometimes decide on the back of the valuation to reduce the amount they will lend.

A survey is significantly different.  You instruct the surveyor and the report will serve your interests. It involves a detailed inspection of the property. The surveyor will be looking out for structural problems, anything requiring major repairing work or alterations and will try to identify any potential legal issues.

Here are the types of survey provided by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors;

  • Condition Report ;
  • Homebuyer Report;
  • Building Survey.

The Condition Report is the cheapest, it’ll set you back around £250. It describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects. Think about getting this if you’re being a new-build and conventional homes in good condition.

The Homebuyer Report weighs in at approximately £400, get this for conventional homes in reasonable condition. It will cover everything in the Condition Report and it will include advice on defects that may affect the property with repairs and ongoing maintenance advice. You can also pay a little extra to have a valuation added on.

The Building Survey is for larger and older properties, or if you have some renovations in mind. This will cost around £500. This will provide an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options.

We recommend to all our clients that they obtain one of these reports. Whilst it may seem like a lot of money, it could save you thousands in the long-term.

Just recently a client of ours agreed to purchase a new property. The previous owners had only bought the property a year prior but were already selling up. Our client was told that this because their child had moved schools. Erring on the side of caution our client decided to obtain a survey. This survey uncovered significant issues with the roof and damp everywhere. Estimates of the repairs have come in around £20,000. Our client pulled out of the sale and is now looking elsewhere. The survey cost £400, but saved them a fortune.

If you are purchasing a new home and would like advice in relation to any issues regarding surveys and mortgage valuations please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email property@boydricesolicitors.com.


Uninsured drivers

Claims involving uninsured or untraced drivers

Being in a road traffic accident causes significant stress and anxiety. This is compounded when you are involved in an accident with another motorist and discover that they do not have insurance or even worse in a situation where the other motorist flees the scene of the accident.

The first step in these situations should be to phone the Police. Provide the PSNI with details of what happened and as much information as possible in relation to the accident circumstances. If you are injured ask the Police to attend the scene and wait for them to arrive. Always request a Police reference number. Take photographs of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle.

We would then advise that you call us. We will advise you in respect of what to do with your vehicle and also will take the following information from you;

  1. Date and time that your accident occurred;
  2. Location of your accident;
  3. Weather/ road conditions;
  4. Make and model of your vehicle;
  5. Your vehicle registration;
  6. Details of your insurer;
  7. Details of your passengers;
  8. Make model and vehicle registration of the other vehicle;
  9. Name and address of the other driver;
  10. PSNI reference number;
  11. A detailed account of the accident circumstances.

Thankfully the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) compensate victims of motor accidents involving uninsured or untraced drivers. The Road Traffic Act 1988 stipulates that all insurance companies must be a member of the MIB and contribute to its funding.

We will complete the MIB Application form on your behalf and will arrange for you to be medically examined by a leading Consultant. Cases involving the MIB are generally more complex and take longer to bring to fruition.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau will also compensate cyclists who have been knocked off their bike by a vehicle that cannot be traced.

Boyd Rice Solicitors have significant experience in acting for clients who have been involved in an accident with an insured or untraced motorist.

Please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, by email claims@boydricesolicitors.com or complete our Online Enquiry and let us explain how we can help you.

keys to a new home

Ensure you get Mortgage Approval with 6 Simple Tips

Before you begin searching for your dream home you should seek advice regarding your potential mortgage. This will give you a good idea of what you can afford and it will mean you can move quicker when you find somewhere you really like.

1. Use a mortgage broker

Not only will this save you hassle (you won’t have to check every lender yourself) but this will probably save you money. They will be able to recommend the cheapest and best deals for your available budget, and help prevent you making an application that could be rejected. This would adversely affect your credit score.

2. Manage your current account

You will need to give your lender copies of your bank statements for the last three to six months. You may need to tidy up your account in advance. Make sure here are no unpaid items, no regular deposits into online gambling accounts and that your rent is paid by direct debit instead of cash.

3. Employment

It goes without saying that if you’re not employed, you’re not getting a mortgage. However some will also refuse a mortgage if you have not been in a permanent job for at least twelve months. If you are still on a probationary period you could have trouble also. If you are in one of these situations your mortgage advisor may be able to advise you. If you are self-employed make sure you have the last three years’ accounts fully up to date.

4. What is your repayment capacity?

This is proof you can meet your future mortgage repayments. The best way to prove this is by showing you have saved, or paid rent, equal to the mortgage repayments plus 2 percent.

5. Income

Traditionally lenders have multiplied salary by four to get the maximum mortgage that they will lend to borrowers. Now many households have two incomes so there is sometimes an option to either; 4x the main salary plus the second salary, or; add the two salaries together and use a slightly lower multiple (e.g. three rather than four). The income multiplier is used as an absolute maximum but the lender will perform an affordability test to decide just how much they are willing to lend.

6. Deposit

You don’t need to have your deposit ready when you make your mortgage application. You can let them know you’re receiving a gift or however you’re going to obtain it and that will be fine.

If you are considering purchasing a new home and would like to discuss the legal process please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email property@boydricesolicitors.com