Buying or selling a property in Jersey (sometimes at the same time!) is both an exciting and stressful event. For many purchasers (buyers) and vendors (sellers), this will be the first time that they have used the services of a lawyer.
At Benest Corbett Renouf, we aim to make the process as simple as possible for you. Here is a brief guide to help you understand the process and some legal terms you might come across.
Tell me more about the property transaction process…
Once instructed the Seller’s lawyer will prepare the sale documents, including the draft contract of sale.
In Jersey, contracts are passed before the Royal Court of Jersey on Friday afternoons. Such contracts have been written in English (rather than French) since 2006.
What is the process for Sellers?
After preparing a contract of Sale for review by the Buyer’s lawyers, they will then address any queries raised and carry out any research required.
The Seller’s lawyers will also liaise with the Seller’s mortgage lender to ensure that all mortgages and secured charges are settled from the sale monies and that any charges are cancelled.
What is the process for Buyers?
The Buyer’s lawyers will conduct all enquiries / searches to ensure that all available information is obtained in connection with the property, which may impact on the Buyer’s decision to proceed with the purchase. Typically, enquiries will be made with the Planning Department, Infrastructure, the relevant parish, JEC, Jersey Water, Jersey Gas, and occasionally with Public Health.
Am I “qualified” to buy?
Buyers of freehold property must demonstrate their legal entitlement to buy property in Jersey by producing a valid Registration Card. The Buyer’s lawyer will need to see your Registration Card before they complete your purchase. Cards can be obtained free of charge from Social Security.
Tell me about Title
Title to Jersey real property is a matter of public record. Title checks will be undertaken to ensure that the Seller is the owner of the property being sold. Checks are also undertaken to further ensure that no one else has any rights or claims over the property.
What about site visits?
Once title checks have been conducted and responses received from any search / enquiry letters, the Buyer’s lawyer will make a site visit. The main purpose of these is to check boundaries and to ensure that the property does not encroach upon neighbouring properties.
Do I need a survey?
Any prospective Buyer is advised to have a full survey of the property before proceeding.
Fees and stamp duty
Stamp duty is payable by the Buyer on both the purchase contract and any registered mortgage. Cleared funds equal to the purchase price, all stamp duty, legal fees and disbursements, must be held by the Buyer’s lawyer by the close of business on the day prior to completing contracts in Court.
The (smartly dressed) Buyer and Seller must attend in person at the Royal Court to complete the sale and purchase. If you can’t attend, your conveyancer or lawyer will attend on your behalf using a Power of Attorney, which will be arranged beforehand.
It is usual for vacant possession to be given on the day of the passing of contract, with keys being exchanged at that time. Sometimes, it is agreed that the Seller may have a period of grace to move out.
The property should be insured by the Buyer at the point of completion. Preliminary arrangements should be put in place beforehand with confirmation to the Insurance Company nearer the time.
If you would like any more information about how we can help you with a property sale or purchase, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us on 01534 760860. Happy moving!