Frequently Asked Questions

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Buying and Selling

How do I make an offer?

When you have found a property you like, the next step is to contact your estate agent with your offer. By law an agent must pass on every offer they receive to the seller however ridiculous the price of this offer may seem. It is a good idea to put an offer in writing in order to reduce any confusion or argument. If the seller is interested in your offer then from this point your offer will either be confirmed, or negotiations will start.

If the property is taken to sealed bids, you will have to write down your offer and seal it in an envelope. The estate agent will give all the bids received to the seller who will usually pick the highest bid. If you do end up bidding more than asking price, your mortgage company may not cover you, so make sure you have checked your finances before bidding.

What is a Survey?

A survey is a detailed inspection of a properties condition. The surveyor will inspect the property and tell you if there are:

  • Structural problems – e.g. walls almost falling down or subsidence;
  • Major repairs or alterations needed, like roof or chimney chute repairs or renewals;
  • They will also provide expert commentary on the property.

It is also important to know that there are different types of surveys, the most common of which are:

  • Condition Report;
  • Home Buyers Report;
  • Building Survey.
How do I choose a solicitor?

Your solicitor will conduct a range of tasks on your behalf, whether you’re buying or selling a property, or both. The general tasks include:

  • Drawing up and assessing contracts;
  • Conducting local searches;
  • Dealing with the land registry;
  • Managing stamp duty charges and payments;
  • Managing the collection and transfer of funds;
  • Providing legal advice and recommendations.

The best way to find a solicitor if you haven’t used one before, is via recommendation. It can also be beneficial to use a solicitor who is local to the area in which you are buying, as they will have a broad knowledge of the local laws and leases.

Landlords

How will you work out the rental value of my property?

After our initial conversations with you regarding leasing your property, we will begin to research the specific area of your house and begin to get a price for your property, we will also ensure a broad amount of research is carried out on the properties similar to yours that are currently up for offer, so we can get the best price for you.

How long is the Tenancy normally for?

There is no set period for a Tenancy although generally we find the most common period is either 6 or 12 months.

How long will it take and how will you find a suitable tenant?

A tenant can usually be found within 1 - 3 weeks, as an agent aims to fill your empty property as quickly as possible. However, the most important factor to our agents when renting your property is finding the best quality tenant. A bad tenant, who can access the property quickly, can potentially cost you thousands of pounds in damage, loss of rent and legal fees; and so it is of upmost important we find you a tenant of good character and reliability to ensure this doesn’t happen.

What if the Tenant damages the property or doesn’t pay the rent?

We ensure a number of tasks are carried out in the process of renting your property, such as credit referencing, inventory checks and guarantors to try to minimise the possibility of damage to your property or unpaid rent. However unfortunately it is not possible to give you a 100% guarantee that Tenants will never cause damage or fail to pay the rent. If the worst happens you will be entitled to seek vacant possession of the property and can deduct money from the tenants deposit for any damage or costs subject to having had a carefully prepared Inventory taken and signed at the start of the Tenancy.

What guarantees do I have that I will get my property back at the end of the Tenancy?

The Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996 & 2004) resolved most of the problems regarding regaining possession at the end of a Tenancy. However it is vital that you use a well drafted Tenancy Agreement that ensures all the necessary legal notices are incorporated.

Who do I need to get permission from before I let my property?

The permission you need to rent your property is subject to the type of property you own. If your property is mortgaged it is important that you get the permission from your lender. You should also seek permission from the freehold owner if your property is Leasehold. Permission is also required from your insurers, as it is vital to check your current cover is suitable for rental purposes.

Tenants

Who is responsible for payment of the Utilities?

Once you move into the property, you are responsible for the utilities. This includes Council Tax, Water, Gas, Electricity, TV licence and telephone, unless otherwise agreed with the Landlord.

Who is responsible for repair/maintenance problems?

In regards to small day to day repairs, such as fuses and light bulbs, you will be responsible. However the Landlord would normally be responsible for larger repairs to the property. However damage caused through negligence will then become your responsibility to have repaired. As a tenant you should report repairs to the landlord as soon as you become aware.

Will my privacy be respected?

Your privacy is respected. However it is normal for a Landlord or Agent to carry out inspections during the Term of the Tenancy. This is usually covered in your tenancy agreement, which you sign as well as the Landlord, and can be queried with your agent. The agent or Landlord should give you reasonable notice for this inspection and it would not normally take place more often than quarterly.

How do I know my deposit is protected?

Details of the Scheme under which the Deposit is protected will be provided to you within 14 days of you paying the Deposit to the Agent.

How long do I have to rent for?

Most Tenancy Agreements will be for a 12-month period; however some landlords will lease their property for a shorter or longer amount of time. It is also possible to insert a break clause, which allows either the tenant or landlord to end the tenancy after a set number of months with a set amount of notice given. The break clause can be negotiated with your agent, but must be included in your tenancy agreement and signed by both parties.

What happens if I want to leave early?

If you end your tenancy before the set date, or before a valid break clause, you still remain responsible for paying the agreed rent on the property until a suitable tenant is found, or your tenancy ends. In this situation, you will also become liable for any costs incurred by the landlord in re- letting the property.

What is the most common type of agreement used and can I add things that concern me?

The majority of Tenancy Agreements used now days are Assured Shorthold Tenancies, which are usually a standard contract between landlord and tenant. However, if the Landlord agrees to certain conditions, i.e to provide furniture, allow decorating etc, an extra clause is added to the agreement to this effect. However the Landlord is not required to carry out or adhere to any agreements made that are outside of this contract, so it is important all conditions are documented and signed by both parties.

Will I have any contact with the Landlord or will the Agent handle all matters?

This depends on whether the property is managed by Bridge or if we have been named rent collectors on the property. If the landlord has instructed Bridge through a Let Only service we provide you with the Landlord’s details when you move in and you will have no further dealings with us. However, in the instance that we have been instructed as Rent Processing agents then we will provide you with the Landlord’s details for any issues relating to the property but all rent issues will be dealt with through us. Finally in the event that the Landlord has instructed us to manage the property then all dealings will be through us and our property manager, meaning you will have no dealings with your Landlord.

What does the Letting Agent do?

As an Agent our goal is to help you much as possible when searching for the perfect new home and will not move you into a property unless we know it is safe for you to do so, and fits your requirements. When we act as Managing Agents we will try to be fair with all dealings between you and the Landlord, and sort out any issues that may occur.

New Homes

How much deposit do I need to purchase a new build property?

You will need a minimum of 15% to purchase a new build property.

Do I need a mortgage in principle to reserve a property?

No, but you will need to have sought financial advice from a broker or lender to show you are financially able to proceed in the purchase.

What is the reservation procedure for a Bridge new home?

In order to reserve a new home through Bridge, you will be required to pay a reservation deposit specified by the vendors, which will take the property off the market. You will also need to be in a position to exchange 28 days after your solicitor receives the draft papers.

Do I need to use a recommended solicitor or broker?

You do not need to use a recommended solicitor or broker, but we can recommend them for you.

What is the NHBC?

NHBC stands for National Building Council, and its role is to work with the house building industry to help maintain and raise the build quality of homes for home buyers and to provide them with our warranty protection when required.

What if I notice a defect in my New Home?

Your home is covered for the first 10 years by the NHBC Buildmark Warranty. This means that for the first 10 years after you complete on your property you are covered against any damage and defects that are subject to and result of any failure by the developer to meet NHBC standards.

What if I am not happy with the finish of my New Home after completion?

After purchasing a new home you will be given an opportunity to inspect your property upon its completion. In this inspection you will be able to thoroughly check the property for any scratches or defects you are not happy with; these issues will be recorded and brought to the developer via our agents to be corrected for you. This is referred to as 'snagging'.

Valuations

I may be looking to market my property what do I do?

Contact Bridge for a free, no obligation valuation on 020 7749 1400 or email valuations@bridge.co.uk

A member of the valuations team will visit you at the property to provide information on the current market, recommended marketing price and how best to present your property.

How long does it take to get my property onto the market?

On receipt of paperwork, professional photography can be arranged within 24-48 hours (subject to your and their availability).

Where will my property be advertised?

On receipt of the photos and floorplan your property will be presented on the Bridge website and all portals on which we advertise within 24 hours. Additionally your property will be presented in our office 24 hours a day.

Are all viewings accompanied?

Yes a member of the Bridge team will accompany every viewing at your property.

Our experienced team of negotiators know and love the area and are very well informed to advise all applicants and answer any questions.

Updates on Progress?

The negotiators will provide you with regular feedback from viewings, viewing numbers and all offers submitted.