Top tips for buying a property in Jersey
Buying a property can be a complex and daunting prospect, here are a few pointers about purchasing a property in Jersey.
Reaching an agreement – Once you have agreed a purchase price, it is usual for the seller’s lawyers to prepare all documents, including the draft contract. QRC can provide you with an approved list of lawyers who will be able to conduct this for you.
Consents – For sales or purchases in Jersey, or leasing property, it is necessary to obtain the consent of the Housing Minister. This application is made and submitted by either your Estate Agent or your lawyer. Jersey has strict controls as to who can purchase residential property in the island. Consent will only be issued to an individual if he or she is residentially qualified.
Your lawyer will take a number of steps to assist you with your purchase including;
Title – Your Lawyer will check that the seller is the owner of the property that you are purchasing. They will also identify whether there are any other rights or claims over the property. This is known as “checking title”.
Search Letters – In addition, checks will also be made with the Minister for Planning & Environment, utility companies, the Transport & Technical Services Department and the Parish in which the property is located. Other checks and enquiries may also be made with the Chief Fire Officer and the Health & Social Services Department.
Site visit – Your lawyer will make a site visit in order to examine and check the boundaries and to establish that the property does not encroach upon the neighbouring properties and that there are no breaches of any clauses in the title (eg a building restriction). Any encroachments permitted by the adjoining owner will, if they are to remain, be incorporated into the contract.
Survey – Surveys, or estimates of value, are usually required by the Bank before agreeing to a mortgage. QRC can provide you with an approved list of local surveyors who will be able to conduct this for you. Your contract of sale will contain a “vices cachés” clause, which states that the purchaser is acquiring the property in the state in which it is found on the date of the sale with all and any hidden or apparent defects (if any) as may exist. You are therefore advised to have a full survey of the property prior to your sale,
Attending Court – Both the buyer and seller must either attend or be represented before the Royal Court to pass contract. If you are unable to attend you can sign a Power of Attorney so your lawyer can represent you.
Paying for the property – While you are entitled to the sale proceeds on the day sale, the practice in Jersey, however, is for the funds to be paid no later than the Tuesday following the sale. While the sale proceeds on the Tuesday after the contract is passed in the court it is best not to access those funds until Wednesday.
Stamp Duty – Your lawyer will calculate for you the Stamp Duty payable on your property purchase. It is currently assessed on a sliding scale according to the value of the property in question. First time buyers where they meet the qualifying criteria pay only nominal Stamp Duty/Land Transfer Tax for purchases below £450,000.
Possession – Vacant possession of the property is usually given on the day of the passing of the contract and keys are often handed over in court when the contract is passed. Don’t forget to advise your utility companies that you are moving so that your details are transferred to your new property.
For independent and confidential advice if you are considering purchasing a property in Jersey please contact:
Office: +44 (0)1534 854574