Which Property Survey?

th0BOC9SMDWorking in property sales we regularly get asked this question. There are a number of surveys available.

Choosing the right survey for your property.

There are five different levels and types of surveys to consider when buying a home. Some are unavoidable, such as mortgage valuations. Others, although not a legal requirement, are worth considering.

Mortgage valuation

This is often considered by buyers as the equivalent to a survey – but it isn’t.

Although you may pay for it, it protects your lender. If the report doesn’t highlight a problem, there is no comeback. It is purely a lender’s check that the property you are buying is as described.

Snagging surveys

If you are buying a new-build, it should have passed building regulation inspections and have a certificate from an insurance company. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t need checking, though.

A snagging survey looks for mistakes made by building contractors, such as poorly painted walls, missing screws on door hinges and wonky switches. The benefit of this survey is that by ensuring on exchange that completion is subject to fixing any problems highlighted in a snagging survey, the developer would need to put these things right to get their money.

Home condition report

This survey is for anyone buying a property that appears to be in ‘good condition’ but would still benefit from being checked for potential problems you may not see, such as hidden damp, woodworm or structural movement. The report will help cost likely future repairs.

It should highlight the legality of alterations and additions made to the property and estimate how much the re-building costs are so you can secure a quote for buildings insurance.

Homebuyers report

The report will mirror the Home Condition Report and include advice and possibly an independent valuation of the property.

If the value of the property suggested is less than you have offered, it doesn’t mean you have to pull out of the sale. Talk to the surveyor about how easy and expensive it will be to fix any problems. Use this information to negotiate the price down and if the seller won’t budge, consider whether to carry on buying or pull out. Your surveyor will be experienced with these negotiations, so use them to help you.

Building survey

This survey is vital for older character properties. It’s also wise to have this survey if you are planning major works such as a loft conversion or extension.

A building survey looks in great detail at the condition and any defects the property may have and potential to extend. If agreed, the surveyor would also give detailed costing’s of rectifying problems.

What if you have had a survey, move in and find something wrong?

In the case of a mortgage valuation or snagging survey, there is typically no comeback. If you have bought a new- build, the developer (or after two years, the insurance company) should step in to repair defects.

If you have had a home condition report from a member of the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA), the service comes with an insurance which, according to Mike Ockenden, who runs RPSA, “will make good the cost of any repairs that need to be made”. As the insurance is attached to the report, not the surveyor, even if they go out of business or stop practising, the buyer can still make a claim.

Securing a Deposit


Despite a climate of record low interest rates and ever improved deals for borrowers over the last 12 months, First Time Buyers still face a range of challenges when it comes to getting onto the property ladder, the biggest of which is building up a large enough deposit.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics, published in The Times this month, showed that the average price of a First Time home is now around £215,000, so even those aiming for the minimum 5% deposit will need a significant level of savings.

The launch of the new Help to Buy ISA on 1st December should provide a useful option for those looking to save. It allows for an initial deposit of £1,000 plus £200 per month thereafter. The Government then provides a 25% uplift on the money saved, to a maximum of £3,000. While hitting the required amount for a deposit may still seem out of reach, this type of account provides a welcome boost for potential buyers.

For many First Time Buyers however, using their own savings will not be enough, and it is for this reason that cash gifts are still the most common way that the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ can help. Most lenders are happy with this as a source of deposit, as long as it can be confirmed in writing by the parent. Bumping up the deposit from 5% to 10% also opens up a much wider range of mortgage deals with lower interest rates.

Further options exist for parents who want to help without physically parting with their savings. Some lenders allow money to be held in a separate savings account, allowing parents to keep their savings in their name, while still providing the additional security needed and often securing a better rate.

While getting a deposit together can feel like an uphill struggle at times there are options available, and with some financial discipline and planning, stepping on to the property ladder for the first time could become a reality.

For more information, or to book a FREE financial services appointment please call 01642 254222 or visit our website www.michaelpoole.co.uk

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Stamp Duty For Additional Properties

Consultation on Stamp Duty for Additional Properties Launched

The Chancellor announced in the Autumn Statement that the purchase of additional properties would attract an additional surcharge of 3% on the applicable Stamp Duty rates from April 2016. The reason given was to give first time buyers a greater chance of competing against those buying an additional property such as a second home or a property to let.

The Treasury has now published its consultation document which gives more detail on the proposed implementation. Below we outline some of the key elements, although it must be stressed that the full rules will only be confirmed following the consultation.

When will the higher charges apply?

The new surcharge will apply to the purchase of any additional properties that complete on or after 1st April 2016. It proposes that if contracts were exchanged on or before 25th November 2015 but the purchase completes on or after 1st April, the higher rates will not be applied. That could apply to a situation such as the purchase of a new build property where contracts were exchanged long before completion.

What if I am buying a new main residence?

The use of the property is not generally the determining factor but if a homebuyer is purchasing a replacement for their main residence they may not be liable to the higher rates, even when they will own more than one property following the purchase.

For example, let’s say a buyer owns a couple of Buy to Let properties and their own home but is planning to buy a new main residence. If they sell their current main residence when they purchase the new home, it’s proposed that higher rates will not apply as they are replacing their main residence.

If they don’t sell their current home, for example a let to buy situation, then the main residence is not replaced and the new purchase would be subject to the higher charges.

What if I can’t sell my home at the same time as I buy?

The consultation proposes that where a purchase and sale are not simultaneous the higher rate will be charged. However, if the original property is subsequently sold within 18 months then the stamp duty surcharge may be reclaimed.

Treatment of Couples

The consultation suggests that married couples and those in civil partnership will treated as one unit. As a result, if the main home is owned in one name only and an additional property is purchased by the other, the higher rate will still apply as together they will own more than one property.

Buying for a Child

If a parent helps their child to buy a property and is a joint owner then the higher rates would apply. That would be avoided if the parent acted as a guarantor and was therefore not a joint owner.

Bulk Purchase

The consultation seeks opinions on how large scale investors, who can have a positive impact on housing supply, should be treated. For example the consultation asks whether those making a bulk purchase of 15 properties or more should avoid the higher rates.

Purchase by a company

It’s proposed that even the first purchase by a company or collective investment vehicle will pay the higher rates. This is designed to prevent the use of companies to avoid tax that would otherwise be payable.

It’s clear that while the new stamp duty regime will hit landlords first and foremost there could also be consequences for others. However, it’s important to underline that all of this is still under consultation so there could be further changes to come yet.

Contact our Middlesbrough branch for more information on 01642 254222 or visit our website www.michaelpoole.co.uk

Click here to book a property appraisal

Top tips to sell your home.

Blog-picGenerally buyers are looking for a well maintained property, with space and décor which will suit their taste and requirements. The little amount they need to spend on the property, the more they are likely to pay for it in the sale.

Here are our top tips to ensure a sale at the best possible price.

De- clutter!

thN22D8PQBBuyers need to imagine themselves living in your house, get rid of any posters, stickers, photos on walls etc. Any large pieces of furniture place in storage as this will create more space and make the rooms feel bigger. Make sure the hallway is spacious, no coats or shoes cluttering the space, put up mirrors in dark spaces to give the area a lighter feel.

Freshen up

thVXJUTIHK-300x187Kitchens and bathrooms are a huge selling point to a buyer, make sure they smell nice, wash and wipe surfaces, buy an air freshener and fresh flowers. Polish taps and mirrors. Open your curtains and turn on your lights, Dress your bed with pillows and throws, Take your animals out of the property, remove pet beds and bowls.


Buyers will be looking and comparing your property to others of a similar size and price and they will be also looking for reasons to offer a lower price. Pre-empt this, put yourself in a buyers shoes and walk around the house, making notes of any repairs (no matter how small), ensure you touch up any paintwork, re-grout any dirty tiles, fix and repair and doors, skirting etc.

‘KerthCYAN5IIMb appeal’

Create a good impression from the outside. mow the lawn, de-weed the drive, paint the front door, fix any missing fence posts and hang some flowers and move the bins and cars. You want the buyer to be impressed and excited to see the inside of the property.

Outside space

thR9BUS2JU-300x180Outside space is a huge selling point to buyers and no matter if you have a small or large garden, you still need to sell the space. Ensure the garden has been mowed and plants pruned to create space. If you are overlooked, try using bamboo fencing to limit this. Set out a table and chairs and place flowers and plants around to create a patio look.

Define your rooms

If you have a dining room which is now a toy room, return It back to a dining room. If you have a spare room which you use for storage, return it back to a bedroom so that the buyer can see the space for it’s potential.



Chose the right agent, here’s what to check….

  • How many similar properties have you sold and what prices did they sell for?
  • Can they demonstrate a proven track record for selling in your area?
  • How long did they take to sell?
  • Where will they advertise your property? Do they have access to major property search engines, social media and have they got online presence?
  • Which redress scheme do they belong to?
  • What estate agency qualifications does the company and their staff have?
  • What charges do they make apart from the agency fees?
  • Can I see a copy of their terms and conditions?
  • How do they check that buyers can afford your property?
  • Will they have accompany viewers if you cannot be there?
  • How will they follow up with prospective buyers after they’ve viewed the property?
  • Are floor plans and pictures included in the property details?

For more information, please contact you Teesside’s leading estate agent on 01642 254222 or visit www.michaelpoole.co.uk.

Click HERE to book a FREE property Valuation




Historical Properties Marketed by Michael Poole


We have marketed a number of properties with historical importance over the years. Intriguing properties like these provide us with direct, tangible links to people from the past who occupied these spaces before we did.

As someone who loves architecture and history, there are few things more exciting, than when a property comes to market with a story from the past.

Childs Street in Brotton

Charles Robinson Sykes, who created the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament in 1909, lived in this property.

The blue plaque, honouring his achievements, has been placed on the outside of Mr Sykes’ childhood home in Child Street.

High Street, Marske-by-the-Sea



This property was once a police station and still has the holding cells, with traditional doors and locks. The current vendor purchased this in auction from Lord Zetland himself, at the Ship Inn.




Ropner Gardens, Middleton St George

We are currently marketing this outstanding, refurbished luxurious first floor apartment The property its self is an apartment, the house was originally Ropner Convalescent Home, founded about 1894 was used as the 24th Durham Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital during WW1. The Home was closed in 1999 to be converted into private apartments.



For full details of this apartment, please contact the Yarm office on 01642 788878.

Wilton Castle, Redcar

Wilton Castle is an early 19th-century mansion, built on the site of a medieval castle, now converted into luxury residential apartments, situated at Wilton, in Redcar and Cleveland, England. It is a Grade II listed building.

We are marketing 2 apartments currently for sale and rent, the apartments are finished to excellent standard and with access to the grounds and living in such beautiful architecture, what more could you want??


We have beautiful homes available for Sale and or to Let, including new builds. Please see our website for further details www.michaelpoole.co.uk or click here to set up instant property alerts.

If we can be of any further assistance please call the team on 01642 254222 or email middlesbrough@michaelpoole.co.uk.