Fraser Dawbarns helps Mr and Mrs G to navigate a complex residential sale

21st March 2023


by Sarah Johnson, Chartered Legal Executive

Mr and Mrs G recently retired to Norfolk.  Their property purchase process was more complicated than they expected but they were pleased to have Sarah Johnson alongside them throughout.

Mr and Mrs G were selling a bungalow and adjacent building plot which at the time was part of their garden. However, to avoid triggering a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) charge, the building plot had to be conveyed before the rest of the property.

Within days of marketing the property in March 2021 they had offers on both their home and the building plot, and happily they had found their dream retirement house in Norfolk and their offer had been accepted.

The timeline was key for all parties. The sellers in Norfolk did not wish to vacate until August 2021 as they were moving to a new build. However, if Mr & Mrs G were able to complete the purchase prior to the end of June then they would have the opportunity to benefit from the Government’s Stamp Duty incentive scheme. To meet this deadline we put in place a Licence to Occupy for the sellers, allowing them to stay in the property rent-free but paying all outgoings in the meantime.

Meanwhile during June, the housebuilder who had made an offer on the building plot pulled out and we had to re-market the site.  Other potential buyers were keen, but they were awaiting approval on a self-build mortgage.

The bungalow purchaser was keen to exchange and complete so he could move out of his rental property.  As the bungalow could not be sold before the building plot without incurring CGT, Mr and Mrs G paid the purchaser’s rent for two months as they did not want to lose their no-chain buyer.

The mortgage for the building purchaser was delayed, so further creativity of approach was needed.  An Exclusivity Agreement was drafted to allow the buyer to move into the bungalow when Mr and Mrs G moved to Norfolk and the purchaser could remain there rent-free but paying all outgoings until the purchase could be finalised.  An added level of comfort was provided by a non-refundable deposit to secure the future transfer.

The eventual outcome was that Mr and Mrs G moved successfully to Norfolk in late 2021, the bungalow purchaser also bought the building plot to add to his garden as the other potential buyers were unable to secure their self-build mortgage and the sale was finally concluded in January 2022.

Mr and Mrs G comment: “The key to success was that Sarah worked closely with us, fully understood our situation, and was equally determined to make it all happen.  We jointly broke down all the barriers that arose and Sarah devised two exceptional bespoke legal agreements that allowed us to achieve our dream home in Norfolk.  Without her open mind, swift decision making and action, flexibility around the legal processes and adopting a problem-solving approach, we would still be in our bungalow as the housing market in Norfolk was on an upward spiral and we would have been priced out of it.  This was unlike our previous experience of conveyancing solicitors who were basically administrators not prepared to step out of the traditional procedures and rules”.

Sarah adds: “Some solicitors might have said that this whole process was not achievable in the timeframe required.  I like to make things happen and find a solution for any problems my clients face during a sale or purchase, it was a pleasure to be able to help Mr and Mrs G move to their chosen retirement property , they were part of the success, being calm and considered in their approach to the obstacles that arose and decisions which needed to be made.”

This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice. 

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