Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of purchasing off plan?
There are numerous advantages when purchasing off plan. Firstly, you will usually benefit from purchasing your property below market value which can sometimes be as much as a 10-15% discount from existing stock in the market. You also get to pay in stage payments so you can budget. If you purchase at the launch of the development you will be able to pick your unit and have the choice of some of the best units in the development, which may have extras such as terraces, better views or be on a higher floor etc. You also get the benefit of a 10-year build warranty.
What are the disadvantages of off plan?
With any property investment, there are disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage would be if the development does not complete. Please see; What happens if the developer “goes bust” before the unit is completed below.
One other disadvantage is if the development is delayed please see; What happens if the developer fails to complete the works on time below.
What happens to the reservation fee?
The reservation fee is part of the purchase price and the initial deposit payment and is deducted from the first stage payment on exchange. The fee is paid to Acentus Real Estate and is subject to conditions set out in the reservation agreement.
Is the reservation fee refundable?
What does rental assurance mean?
Rental assurance is a form of rental guarantee that developers offer to investors for a specified fixed period (normally 1 to 2 years) meaning rental income on the property is guaranteed. For investors, it guarantees rental income for a fixed period even if there is no tenant in the property so you will receive the same monthly amount during this period. One disadvantage of this scenario is if rents rise then investors wouldn’t receive this monetary increase.
Do I need to pay anything during the rental assurance period?
This depends on the project. Most of our projects come with rental assurance. During the rental assurance period the Management Fee & Service Charge are covered so the only thing required by the investor to pay is the Ground Rent.
What is the difference between freehold/leasehold?
Freehold means you own both the property and the land it stands on, whereas leasehold means you are effectively leasing the land the property is built on from the land’s freeholder for a specific amount of time. These leases can last any amount of time (as little as 40 years or all the way up to 999 years), and during this time leaseholders are expected to pay an annual service charge and ground rent to the freeholder, who is legally responsible for maintaining the common areas of the building.
When does the buyer enter into a binding contract to purchase?
Upon signing the purchase contract, the buyer’s solicitor will request for exchange funds to be sent to a designated account. The exchange funds are a percentage of the total purchase price, minus the amount already paid at the point of reservation. It is important to note that these funds must be received into the buyer’s solicitor account in cleared funds at least 3 days before the 28-day exchange time-frame is reached. It is very important to keep a note of these dates.
Can I use my own Solicitor?
Yes, but please make sure they are familiar with off plan purchases. We also have a panel of recommended solicitor we can introduce you to.
What are the Solicitors fees?
This varies between solicitors but on average £1000 -£1,200.
How does the buyer know that the deposits will be used by the developer to build this development?
All money that is paid, i.e. the deposit and the instalment payment, are held by the solicitor. The solicitor will from these funds, only pay the developer the funds to purchase the freehold property, to register it at the Land Registry, pay stamp duty, fees, the costs of marketing and selling the Units. When the company receives certificates for payment from the Supervising Surveyor, it will then pay the cost of the development works. The purpose of this is to ensure that all funds are, in effect, ring fenced and may only be applied to the development in which you are investing and no other.
When is the final payment made?
The unit will be available to complete once the Supervising Surveyor has issued a Completion Certificate. As soon as this Completion Certificate has been issued, the buyer’s solicitor will be informed. The buyer’s solicitor will then notify the buyer that the final balance is due and payable. This balance must be paid within 10 working days and must not be delayed outside of the deadline. Failure to pay within the deadline causes the buyer to be in breach of the contract terms and is at risk of losing the unit.
What happens if the developer “goes bust” before the unit is completed?
This is an off-plan development where the building works are funded by the buyers who are purchasing the Units.
The buyer’s interest in the property is secured by a legal charge, in favour of the stakeholder company. This charge gives the buyers protection against the developer becoming insolvent. Should the developer “go bust” then the options are either:
• To sell the development under the power of sale; or
• To appoint a new developer to complete the works and issue the leases to the buyers.
What happens if the developer fails to complete the works on time?
Whilst no one can legislate for external factors that might lead to delays in the construction each phase/ development has a practical completion / target date and a long stop date. If the phase/ development is not finished on the practical / target date then the developer has until the long stop date to complete the phase/ development. Under the terms of the legal charge, the buyer’s solicitor can take control of the development.
Will the construction work have a warranty?
- The construction work will be covered by a 10-year insurance backed warranty.
- The equipment included in the fit out will have a minimum of a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Will I receive a title deed?
On completion, when the buyer has paid the final monies, they will be granted a binding Lease of their Unit and shall be sent a lease plan. The Lease will be registered in the buyer’s name and a set of title deeds will be made available to them, registered at The Land Registry in England.
Will my property be insured?
Under the terms of the Unit Lease, the freeholder will insure the building and communal parts. It is the buyer’s responsibility to insure their contents.
When can I sell my property?
There are no restrictions on when a buyer can sell their unit and this can be at any time during the build process or after completion.
Do I need a power of attorney?
There are a lot of documents to be signed, some of which may change at the last minute. To speed up the administrative process, we recommend that buyers appoint one of the partners at their nominated firm of solicitors to be their attorney, for the purchase. All this authorises he/she to do, is to sign the documents on the buyer’s behalf, exchange contracts and complete, but nothing after that.
Will I get construction updates?
Acentus Real Estate understands that you will want to be updated about the construction progress throughout the sales process until completion.
Every month we provide a newsletter which is uploaded to our website (www.acentusrealestategroup.com/blog) which contains progress photos and a summary of what has happened on each development that month, so that everyone is kept as up to date as possible.
We will also keep you informed about any major developments and key stages that happen on site, so make sure to check our website regularly. The newsletter will also contain information on the property market.
What will happen on completion?
Once the development has completed, and the building supervisor has issued Practical Completion, Acentus Real Estate solicitor will write to your solicitor to advise that completion has occurred.
Your solicitor will then write to you advising that completion has taken place and will request the completion monies from you. It is important that these are sent to the buyer’s solicitor within the set time as per the contract. This is usually ten days.
Once the seller’s solicitor receives the completion balance it is recorded as legally completed. This means that you now legally own the unit.
Do I need to pay income tax?
All money that you receive on a regular basis as a landlord needs to be declared to HMRC. With regards to taxation, if you are a UK tax payer they would need to declare this income on your UK tax return. The personal allowance table is below:
Income Tax rates and bands
The table shows the tax rates you pay in each band if you have a standard Personal Allowance of £11,000 so you would only pay 20% on income over £11,001.
Band Taxable Income Tax Rate
Personal Allowance Up-to £11,000 0%
Basic Rate £11,001 to £43,000 20%
Higher Rate £43,001 to £150,000 40%
Additional Rate Over £150,000 45%
Income Tax Rates & Bands
|Band||Taxable Income||Tax Rate|
|Personal Allowance||Up-to £11,000||0%|
|Basic Rate||£11,001 to £43,000||20%|
|Higher Rate||£43,001 to £150,000||40%|
|Additional Rate||Over £150,000||45%|
Please see the following link https://www.gov.uk/income-tax-rates for further information.
If you buy 2 properties at a cost of £100,00 each and they each have a 7% net income you would pay tax on the below equation:
o £14,000 income
o £11,000 allowance
o £3,000 taxable at 20%
o £600 income tax to pay to HMRC
If you are a non-UK resident l you can complete an NRL1i form to apply for your rental income to be paid with no tax deducted. Please see the following link https://www.gov.uk/tax-uk-income-live-abroad & https://www.gov.uk/tax-uk-income-live-abroad/rent