Getting a Mortgage: Property Red Flags

December 05, 2019  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

When it comes to buying property and dealing with conveyancing issues, securing a mortgage is often the biggest hurdle you’ll face during the whole process. There are a multitude of variables that will affect your chances of getting a mortgage, depending on your circumstances and financial situation, but sometimes it has more to do with the property itself than your ability to pay for it.

When you’re house hunting, it’s worth being aware that there are certain types of properties that lenders may be warier of due to their age, location, or construction. This might mean your deposit goes up, or it’s harder to get your mortgage agreed, or you may be required to arrange extra surveys to satisfy the requirements of your lender. Your solicitor should be able to help you negotiate the conveyancing side of things, but be sure to look out for the following potential pitfalls and mortgage red flags when looking for your perfect property:

  • Grade 1 listed properties: Older homes are often flagged up by lenders due to the cost of repairs and rebuilding, along with the strict regulations surrounding listed properties. Houses with thatched roofs also add an increased risk of fire and may require a specialist mortgage provider.
  • Character properties and unusual construction: Mainstream lenders might not be willing to deal with certain kinds of converted properties (eg: pubs, churches, windmills, lighthouses etc). Similarly, homes of unusual, dangerous or outdated construction (eg: timber frames or asbestos roofs) can cause lenders concern.
  • New builds: In contrast, while new builds shouldn’t be a problem when it comes to structural issues, lenders often value them lower than their asking price, which means your deposit may go up.
  • Flats above business properties: Split properties that are used for two separate purposes, or any building where other people have the right of access can be problematic for lenders and difficult to value.
  • High rise flats: Sometimes flats in tower blocks can be valued lower due to problems with overall building maintenance, or if the property is ex-council owned and the majority of the other flats are still controlled by a local authority.
  • Short leaseholds: Leaseholds of less than 80 years can be an issue for some lenders, but it is sometimes possible to extend this duration.
  • Ground Rents: Flats with escalating ground rents will be an issue for many lenders, and properties can become unmarketable in the future due to very high ground rents.
  • Homes in potentially problematic locations: Properties on a flood plain or at risk of coastal erosion will raise a red flag for lenders as it may be difficult to get insurance. Similarly, homes on brownfield sites and former industrial land could be at risk of contamination.

A good solicitor can help you to negotiate all the legal aspects of conveyancing and property law, including carrying out searches, making title deed checks, liaising with estate agents, ensuring all legal requirements are met for the same, and – most importantly in this case – dealing with any mortgage issues.

The best thing you can do to help your property search run smoothly is to work closely with your solicitor, get your paperwork in order as early as possible, and be mindful of any potential issues before they arise.

For more advice, and to get a free online conveyancing quote, get in touch with the expert property team at Frances Lindsay & Co. We have over 50 years’ experience in property law, covering the whole of the Thames Valley, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, including: Beaconsfield, Burnham, Cookham, Franham Common, Marlow and Windsor.


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