PROPERTY SEARCH: FOR SALE + TO RENT +

BUYING

Not everything makes it onto the internet

For a variety of reasons some of our clients prefer a discreet approach and that we market their properties without exposure on the internet. As a result you will find that some of our properties will not appear here or on Rightmove etc. To be sure that you hear about these properties (that can be gems) do let us know about your requirements


 For a variety of reasons some of our clients prefer a discreet approach and that we market their properties without exposure on the internet. As a result you will find that some of our properties will not appear here or on Rightmove etc. To be sure that you hear about these properties (that can be gems) do let us know about your requirements

Helping you find your perfect home

With decades of experience in the local market, Collinson Hall are perfectly placed to find you your perfect property!

Moving home is recognised as being one of the most stressful experiences in life, however if you chose Collinson Hall to handle your move, the stress can be massively reduced, or even eliminated altogether.


With decades of experience in the local market, Collinson Hall are perfectly placed to find you your perfect property!

Moving home is recognised as being one of the most stressful experiences in life, however if you chose Collinson Hall to handle your move, the stress can be massively reduced, or even eliminated altogether.

At the outset, we will listen carefully to your requirements to build up a picture of your ideal home. We will then provide you with clear and comprehensive property information, including accommodation, dimensions and benefits. These will be illustrated by internal and external colour photography, floor plans and in many cases virtual tours.

In addition, we will be able to advise you on area, transport links, recreational facilities, want to know the nearest school’s rating? We’ve got it! Nearest supermarket? We shop there ourselves!

We will keep you regularly informed on new properties that become available either by telephone, e mail or alerts.

We will arrange viewings for you swiftly and efficiently and once you have decided on your new home we will guide you through the buying process ensuring that the transaction proceeds smoothly - from acceptance of offer, through to survey, mortgage valuation, exchange of contracts and finally completion.

Along the way we can advise and recommend any third parties who may be able to help you such as solicitors, surveyors, mortgage brokers and builders – and we will always be on the end of the phone when you need us.

To see how we can help make your next property move a success, contact your local office today, or register to find out about our latest properties.

St Albans  01727 843222

Chiswell Green  01727 841257

How our better knowledge of schools can benefit you

We understand how important schools are when it comes to choosing a home. It’s one of the first things that parents mention, when they drop into our offices or give us a call. We get it, we’re parents ourselves. And that’s why we’ve formed a partnership with SchoolGuru - an award winning service for Hertfordshire parents that specialises in school admissions.

If you’re searching for a property, we can find you a home that gives you an excellent chance of getting into the schools of your choice. We don’t guess – we give you the facts.....


We understand how important schools are when it comes to choosing a home. It’s one of the first things that parents mention, when they drop into our offices or give us a call. We get it, we’re parents ourselves. And that’s why we’ve formed a partnership with SchoolGuru - an award winning service for Hertfordshire parents that specialises in school admissions.

If you’re searching for a property, we can find you a home that gives you an excellent chance of getting into the schools of your choice. We don’t guess – we give you the facts.

We can identify whether someone applying from your address would have got a place at the local top schools in previous years.

There are always good options, if you know where to look. We can point families in the direction of popular schools that they may not have thought of - but stand a strong chance of getting into. We provide clear honest information, so that there are no last minute surprises for anyone. This approach fits our ethos – and also prevents people from pulling out at the last moment, which is not what anyone wants.

We have an exclusive arrangement with SchoolGuru, so we’re confident that no other agent can match our expertise in this area. Between us, we have detailed local knowledge, years of experience in helping parents find good schools, and access to the latest admissions data. The stakes are far too high to do things the old fashioned way, and rely on guesswork and gossip. 

For more information on our partner, visit www.schoolguruhertfordshire.co.uk

The conveyancing process explained

This article is reproduced from the Home Owners Alliance website hoa.org.uk. We think it is excellent.

This is a guide explaining the conveyancing process when buying a home. Conveyancing involves legally transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer. It starts when your offer on a house is accepted and finishes when you receive the keys. Understanding what it involves will help ensure there are fewer surprises along the way.....


Who does the conveyancing?

A solicitor or conveyancer usually conducts the conveyancing process, but it is possible (although difficult) to do it yourself as long as you are not taking out a mortgage.

First stages

1. If like most people you are too worried or time poor to do the conveyancing yourself, the next step is to find a solicitor or conveyancer and “instruct them” to do it for you. Avoid using the estate agents recommended conveyancer as it will likely be a commission based recommendation and cost you more. With HomeOwners Alliance Conveyancing you can compare conveyancing quotes from the cheapest, nearest and best rated conveyancers from our panel of 150 quality assured firms.

For more on selecting a solicitor or conveyancer, see Finding the right solicitor or conveyancer?                                                

2. Your appointed conveyancer will then draw up a draft contract or terms of engagement with you, setting out their charges and deposits required.

3. Your solicitor will write to your sellers solicitor to confirm they are instructed and request a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the property’s title and the standard forms.

Legal Work

4. Your solicitor will examine the draft contract and supporting documents and raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. You will be expected to go through the forms the seller has completed and let the solicitor know if you have any queries or concerns. In particular you will want to double check the tenure of your new home: is it leasehold or freehold? If  leasehold, don’t rely on your solicitor to check for the length of the lease. Leases below 80 years are a problem, can be costly to extend and you need to have owned the property for 2 years before you are eligible to do so. Leases under 60 years are best avoided.

5. Property searches. There are things you may not know about the property just from viewing it with estate agents or even getting a survey. The conveyancer will do a set of legal searches to ensure there are no other factors you should be aware of. Some searches will be recommended by the solicitor for all purchases and others will be required by the mortgage lender to protect them from any liabilities that the property may have:

  • Local authority searches: are there plans for a motorway in your new garden? How about radioactive gas? This costs between £70 and £400 depending on the Local Authority and usually takes 1-2 weeks, but can take up to 6 weeks
  • Checking the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ at the Land Registry– these are the legal documents proving the seller’s ownership. The title register check costs £3 and the title plan check costs £3. Both are legally required to sell.
  • Checking flood risk – this can also done at the Land Registry. If you are getting an Environmental Search you might not buy this one separately as the environmental search will contain much more thorough flood information and maps.
  • Water authority searches – find out how you get your water and if any public drains on the property might affect extensions or building works.The water authority search will cost between £50 and £75.
  • Chancel repair search – to ensure there are no potential leftover medieval liabilities on the property to help pay for church repairs. This is a necessity and costs £18. However, you may decide to take out Chancel repair insurance instead for £20 or so. The laws around Chancel repair changed in October 2013 so now the onus is on the Church to establish and lodge liability with the Land Registry.
  • Environmental Search – this report is used on the vast majority of transactions and is provided by either Landmark or Groundsure.  Depending which product your solicitor usually uses, the report will give information about contaminated land at or around the property, landfill sites, former and current industry, detailed flooding predictions, radon gas hazard, ground stability issues, and some other related information.  The cost should be around £50 to £60 including VAT.
  • Optional and location specific searches – sometimes extra searches are required or recommended depending on the location or type of property or due to particular concerns raised by the buyer.  These could include:
    • Tin Mining searches in Cornwall
    • Mining searches in various parts of the UK and Cheshire Brine searches
    • Additional Local Authority Questions such as Public Paths, Pipelines, Noise Abatement Zones, Common Land, etc.

Your mortgage

6. You will need to get your mortgage in place. This will include ensuring you have the financing available for a mortgage deposit. Your solicitor will receive a copy of the offer and go through the conditions. For further information on mortgages, see Mortgages made simple  and What type of mortgage should I get?

7. You will need to get a mortgage valuation. This is carried out on behalf of the mortgage company so they know that the property provides sufficient security for the loan. You normally have to pay for it, but a mortgage company might throw it in for free to attract business

8. You will want to have any other necessary surveys done. Whether you have a survey done and what sort of survey you choose will depend on your specific circumstances. See What sort of survey should I have?

9. Before exchange of contracts can take place your lender will require you to get Buildings Insurance for your new home. You are responsible for the property as soon as contracts have been exchanged so it is in your interests to do so.

Signing Contracts

10. Signing the contract. Since receiving the draft contract from the sellers solicitor, your solicitor will have have been in correspondence  with you about what is covered. Before signing the contract your solicitor will need to ensure:

  • that all enquiries have been returned and are satisfactory
  • that fixtures and fittings included in the purchase are what you expected
  • completion date has been agreed between the two parties, which is usually 4 to 12 weeks after exchange of contracts
  • That you have made arrangements to transfer the deposit into your solicitors account so that it is cleared in time for an exchange. You may want to negotiate on the size of the deposit, which is normally 10% of the value of the property. However even if you agree to pay less than 10% you are still liable for 10% of the value of the property if you later pull out of the agreement. Therefore if you pay a 5% deposit and pull out of buying the property you will not only lose your deposit but also legally owe an additional 5% of the value of the property

11. Go to the property with the estate agent and the fixtures and fittings inventory list to ensure that everything you paid for is still there and the house has not been damaged in any way

Exchanging contracts

12. You and the seller will agree on a date and time to exchange contracts at any time on any given day

13. Your solicitor will exchange contracts for you. This is usually done by both solicitors/conveyancers reading out the contracts over the phone (which is recorded) to make sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post.  For more see How do I exchange of contracts?

14. If you are in a chain your solicitor/conveyancer will do the same thing, but will only release it if the other people in the chain are all happy to go ahead. This means if one person pulls out or delays, then everyone in the chain gets held up. For more, see How do I break the housing chain?

15. Once you have exchanged contracts you will be in a legally binding contract to buy the property with a fixed date for moving. This means that:

  • If you do not complete the purchase, you will lose your deposit and owe the seller more if the deposit was less than 10%
  • the seller has to sell or you can sue them
  • the seller can no longer accept another offer (you no longer need to worry about being gazumped)

Between exchange and completion

16. Your solicitor will lodge an interest in the property which will mean that the deeds to the property are frozen for 30 working days to allow you to pay the seller and lodge your application to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds into your name.

17. The seller will move out (although they may leave this to the day of completion)

18. You should organise the moving

19. The solicitor will send you a statement showing the final figure to pay, which will ned to be cleared into your solicitors bank account at least one day before completion.

On completion day

20. Completion is normally set around midday on the specified date although in practice takes place when the seller’s solicitor confirms that they have received all the money that is due. Once this happens the seller should drop the keys at the estate agents for your collection. You can then move in. For more see Completion: What to Expect

After completion

21. Your solicitor will tie up some loose ends:

  • Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf. See Five things you need to know about Stamp Duty
  • You will receive your legal documents about 20 days after completion after your solicitor has sent them to the Land Registry
  • Send a copy of the title deeds to your mortgage lender, who will hold them until you pay your loan off
  • Notify the freeholder if the property is leasehold
  • Give you a bill for their payment

22. You will want to collect together all your paperwork from the purchase of your new home, including the estate agent’s brochure, to file away and keep safe for when you move again.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING

  • A.C., St Albans
    Hi Elaine, I don't think I ever properly thanked you for helping with our move from Kingsbury Mews to Boleyn Drive. We were really impressed with your service and with Collinson Hall in general - we've been recommending you ever since!! Anyway, we have been busy modernising this house and were wondering if you could possibly pop by to give us a valuation before we spend any more money on it! We'd really appreciate your opinion and we'd love the chance to discuss our options with you. Many thanks. A.C.
  • Mr & Mrs U
    David & Team, Many thanks for your hard work and support in getting 28 E.R. to exchange. Best wishes, S & M.
  • Mr & Mrs C
    David, I just wanted to take the time to express my sincere thanks for what I can only say was an unusually positive experience in home buying. You and your colleagues were not only helpful, but you were extremely courteous at all times regardless of the frequency of my communications. Your professionalism in representing the interests of both buyer and seller are also commendable. The element of client service that you have added to the sale process is a winning formula and it can only bode well for future business. As we all know, there is no better form of advertising than word of mouth and from my experience I can only speak of positive things when it comes to Collinson Hall. Thanks again to you and your colleagues for all your help in securing for us the perfect property in St Albans. Kind regards, Mr & Mrs C
  • Mr & Mrs C, St Albans
    Thank you for making our purchase of G.L. such a smooth and positive experience. We are very much enjoying living in our new home. Best wishes, J&N
  • Mr & Mrs P, St Albans
    Thank you for all of your help and advice during our move. Everything went amazingly smoothly and that was mainly because of your hard work! Thank you. V. & O. P.
  • Mr P
    Hi David. Thanks very much for the message. We got in by mid-afternoon on Friday and it's all taking shape nicely. Thanks so much for all your help over the past few months. I really appreciated all your proactive communications and support in completing the chain. Kind regards, TP
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L&C

HELPFUL ADVICE CENTRE

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We're here to help

Use the webform below to ask any your question

We'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Answers to previously asked questions...

  • How much is an annual season ticket from St Albans to St Pancras?

    As at Apr 2016. The standard charge quoted on the Thameslink website is £3,320.00.

  • What are the stamp duty thresholds for buying a property?

    Its all got complicated and now depends if you are buying a property as a principle residence. The most up to date info (as Apr 16) is here https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/residential-property-rates

  • I am tenant looking to rent one of your properties. What charges should I expect to pay.
    You can find this information in the tenant section of our website - should it need any clarification please call 01727 794104 and we can run through it with you.
  • Why do you ask for so much information about my property? (From a landlord)
    As your agents, we need to know about a variety of little things to be effective in marketing and managing your property. Each piece of information will enable us to either keep you and your property legally compliant, prevent misunderstandings and wasted viewing appointments, or ensure that your tenants have all they need to properly maintain and look after your property throughout their tenancy.
  • How can I find out about school catchment areas?

    Tricky as the rules seem to change but we use School Guru who come up with very useful info - this link will take you to their website http://www.schoolguruhertfordshire.co.uk/

  • What are "exchange" and "completion"
    The exchange means the exchange of contracts. Many years ago this meant that the buyer and sellers solicitors met and literally exchanged the contracts in identical form signed by their respective clients. Today the exchange usually just takes place over the telephone where each solicitor confirms they are in possession of a signed contract. Exchange is a significant milestone in that the transaction becomes a legally binding contract between the seller and the buyer at that point. One of the terms of the contract at exchange will be the completion date. Referred to as completion. This is the date on which the title to the property is transferred by the sellers solicitor to the buyer, the buyers solicitor transfers the agreed sale price to the seller and the buyer takes possession of the property. This is the date that the new owner of the property usually moves in. There is usually a time period between exchange and completion and this period can vary from a few seconds if exchange and completion take place on the same day or several months, even years. The norm however is usually between 2 and 6 weeks, and it is during this period that each party is able to book removals, make arrangements for the transfer of utilities and post and of course tell friends and family, or not !
  • I understand I need an EPC - how much is it and how long will it take?
    We can organise this through a third party. It takes about 24 hours and costs £50 plus VAT.

REGISTER A SEARCH

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Register your search

Complete the webform below and we'll send you updates on all new properties that fit your profile as soon as they become available.

 

ARRANGE A VIEWING

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We would be pleased to organise this for you.
It would be very helpful if you would give us more than one time when you would be able to view - this avoids some of the "backward and forward" messaging if your prefered time is unavailable.
If there is more than one property you would like to visit please make it clear in the message box which properties you would like to see and when.
If this doesn't turn out to be the right one we would really appreciate some feedback. It really helps our clients to understand what people think of their property and it will also help us better understand what you are looking for.
We hope you like it and look forward to hearing from you

 

ARRANGE A VALUATION

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How much is my current property worth?

When asked to give a "valuation" we will offer you our opinion of the likely figure you should expect to achieve should the property be put to the market.... MORE