Buyer’s Guide

Before putting in an offer it is always advisable to ensure you have sufficient funds.

Mortgage advisors and banks can assist you in providing offers in principle which give an indication of how much you can borrow. We work closely with a number of mortgage advisors and are always happy to provide recommendations.

If the property is a first time buyer property or you are relying on being a first time buyer to take advantage of the stamp duty concession, then you must ensure you do fall within the criteria. Property developments classed as “First Time Buyer Schemes” may have different criteria to that of the stamp duty concessions and so it is always best to check with your lawyer if you are unsure.

You must also ensure that you are entitled to buy property in Jersey by obtaining a registration card from Social Security. If your card says you are “Entitled” or Licenced” then you are eligible to purchase freehold property in Jersey.

Here is a link to residential statuses and what they mean:
http://www.gov.je/Working/Contributions/RegistrationCards/Pages/ResidentialStatus.aspx

Time Scale

We recommend leaving yourself 4 to 6 weeks to allow lending banks to process their paperwork and instruct surveyors etc. As a buyer, it is important that you keep in constant contact with the bank and provide them with all the paperwork as soon as possible so as to avoid any delay.

It is important at the outset to let your lawyer know of any special requirements you have with the property. There may be restrictions on pets, building, parking, use etc. which may ultimately cause you to walk away from the purchase. Your lawyer will provide you with a questionnaire upon instruction which you should complete as soon as possible.

Pre-Sale Agreement

If required, your lawyer can draft a pre-sale agreement setting out the terms of purchase, although this is not standard Jersey practice as in most cases such agreements are subject to finance and title research (by which time it is usually possible to pass contract).

Title

Your lawyer will check the title to the property. This involves checking all of the previous owners’ contracts for a minimum of 40 years from the date you instruct your lawyer. This is recited in your contract to show you have good title to the property. The search also establishes whether the owners of the property have good title to sell to you. Your lawyer also cross checks with the neighbouring owner’s contracts to ensure everything ties in together.

Site Visit

Once your lawyer has completed their title investigations they attend on site to check the property to make sure the draft contract reflects what is actually there. They check the boundaries by taking measurements or checking physical structures and check the property against the information they receive from their Statutory Searches. Jersey property is also largely governed by “Customary Law” (laws created over time) and so they check that the property complies with all customary rules.

Statutory Searches

Your lawyer makes enquiries of Jersey Electricity, Jersey Water and Transport and Technical Services, to determine the location of the services and their routes to the property so as to ensure they comply with the contract and the relevant laws that govern them. Your lawyer also writes to Planning to ensure that all works that required submission received it and were signed off. Finally, they write to the Parish to check whether there are any plans which may affect the property e.g. road widening etc.

These searches are imperative in assisting your lawyer to conduct their title check and site visit.

Ownership

Property in Jersey may be held two different ways:

  1. Joint Owners: Meaning you own the property together and cannot sell or mortgage the property without the other owner’s consent. Upon death the property automatically passes to the survivor of the two which cannot be amended by any provisions in your Will.
  2. Owners in Common: Meaning you own the property half and half so can sell or mortgage the property without the other’s consent. You can also leave a Will stating who you wish to inherit your share of the property.

Therefore, depending on how you choose to own the property, you may require a Will. Your lawyer can provide a quote for this.

Equity Agreements

If you and your partner are planning on paying different amounts towards your mortgage or if you are not sharing the deposit equally you may wish to have an equity agreement drawn up which states how the contributions are to be paid and how the proceeds of sale will be split should the property be sold. The agreements are also particularly useful in dealing with cases where one party cannot legally own property due to their qualification status.

Survey, Life Insurance, Building Insurance

You are responsible for arranging a survey, life insurance policy (if required) and building insurance. The survey must be arranged in good time as the bank’s loan documents only get issued upon receipt of the valuation in the survey. Life insurance is usually required by your lending bank as is building insurance which must be in place from 2.30pm on the Friday of completion.

Stamp Duty

The stamp duty has been provided against each of the properties on the market with Le Rossignol Estates.

Mortgage

Your lawyer will advise on your borrowing and deal with the loan documentation and provide these to the bank’s lawyers. Please note that whilst you may have paid the bank an arrangement fee, the lending bank’s lawyer’s fees will be deducted from the loan monies as will the stamp duty on the borrowing. To calculate the stamp duty on your borrowing, please ask, we can provide you with this information.

Monies

Any balance of monies is required in cleared funds on the day of completion. You must ensure your money is transferred to your lawyer in good time and in the correct amount as they cannot complete without it.