Dreaming of your own waterside property? Residential solicitor Sara Abou-Jaoud from Barlow Robbins reveals what you should keep in mind…
Whether your idea of paradise is to spend a tranquil summer’s day gliding along the waters, or you prefer the quick pace and ‘all hands on deck’ approach navigating through the seas, boating has for many centuries been a national pastime and, for many, an inherent way of life. The focus of the ‘house hunt’ is shifting towards a property and area that allows for a good work-life balance, rather than the more traditional view of school district, transport links and proximity to work.
People are increasingly considering locating within close proximity of first-class berthing and marina services, of which there is certainly no shortage. These desirable waterfront locations, such as Ocean Village Marina in Southampton allow you to live your waterside dream whilst taking advantage of a full range of restaurants, shops, bars and even a boatyard for maintenance work. To ease the process, follow our handy checklist and ensure a stress-free search…
Commission a Survey
We would always recommend to our clients that they commission a survey of the property. No matter how sturdy or top quality the property may look, a surveyor can unearth all sorts of issues and thus potentially save you considerable money and stress in the future.
Know your Boundaries
It is important that you are clear from the outset as to the extent of the property you are buying, and your obligations for repair and maintenance.
Carry out Searches
We would also always recommend that full searches are carried out that include a Local Authority Search, Drainage and Water Search, Environmental Search and a Flood Report. If you require a mortgage, your lender would insist on these and they can reveal a number of entries that would perhaps make you question the property’s suitability for you. At Barlow Robbins, we also carry out a PlanSearch Plus, which reveals information on the local area in addition to the property; for example planning applications, local amenities
and crime statistics, all of which are relevant to house buyers.
Consider the obligations
It is vital that you understand how to manage your own flood risk if you’re thinking of buying a waterfront property. Your solicitor should be checking who is responsible for flood risk management and defences in the area, as well as advising you on the roles of the risk management authority and associated organisations. You will need to work with these organisations in order to comply with obligations as to the maintenance of the water banks surrounding the property.
Consider your long-term plans. If you plan to renovate or redevelop the property, you need to be confident that there is nothing noted against the title documents that restrict you from doing so. For example, there may be restrictive covenants which prevent you from extending or erecting any outbuildings at all, or require the consent of a neighbour to do so. We would also recommend seeking advice from a planning consultant and an architect to ensure your vision can be realised.
You need to learn more about the history of the property from the seller; this can be done through the solicitor’s pre-contract enquires. Only when you are satisfied with the information provided and your personal concerns have been raised, should you proceed to an exchange of contracts. This would include anything from making sure the property has appropriate planning consents, to past neighbour disputes.
If the property is being sold with the use of recreational areas, such as 24-hour lock operation or boat and trailer storage, you need to be sure that the benefits will pass to you on completion and what associated costs may be attached to these benefits. Enquiries into the direct impact such facilities may have on your use and enjoyment of the property are recommended.
Find Out More
For more advice about buying a home near your boat, visit www.BarlowRobbins.com or call the team on 01483 748523.
If you already own property, we would recommend that you seek financial advice as to what, if any, tax implications may apply both on acquisition and on a future disposal of the property.
The right Lawyer
Finally, you must instruct good lawyers who are specialists in property and will support you throughout the transaction, right up until completion.