Below are some helpful tips intended to guide you through the house buying process.   Whether an experienced purchaser or a first time buyer, knowing the facts can help you move things along and make the process easier.

1.  Know your budget.  Get a valuation on your own property if you need to sell or secure an approval in principle for a mortgage.  This will help you decide on what you can realistically afford.  Remember to factor in any deposits, fees and stamp duty.

2. Do your research, define the areas and type of property you want and visit those areas, assess how much space you really need and whether your budget allows for renovation work.

3. Start searching.  Most people start with a search online, but make sure you register with local agents too and get to know them.  They know their properties and maybe able to match you to something you may have originally discounted.

4. View some properties.  This will give you an insight into what you do want from a property and what you don’t.  You will also build up a picture of the local market and be able to compare property.

5. Ask questions. Before putting in an offer, find out things like the council tax band, local school information and whether there are any restrictions on the property.

6. When you make an offer, make sure you can back it up with evidence of finance, cash or details of your own house sale.  Having an idea of who will be doing your legal work is also advantageous.


Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is a tax imposed by the Government on purchasing a property.  Your solicitor will make arrangements for you to pay this and the amount depends on the house purchase price.

There is no VAT on Stamp Duty.

Local Occupancy Clauses

Local Occupancy Clauses were introduced into the Lake District to help address the issue of second/holiday homes and help keep prices affordable for local residents.  This is a particular problem with rural villages and the National Park.

There are various different restrictions, some of which have been placed upon property as a planning restriction at point of build and will usually be stated as a Section 106 or similar agreement and will apply on a permanent basis and there are also restrictions on some ex council homes in settlements of less than 3000.  Some properties are also affordable homes and have a permanent discount on them to keep them below market price.  Potential buyers must be able to demonstrate they cannot afford full market prices in order to purchase.

The definition of ‘local’ is often given to be a person who has lived and/or worked in the area for the previous 3 years.  The area can vary depending on the clause imposed on the property, but the most common are the County of Cumbria and the area of South Lakeland District Council.  Some newer properties will have clauses relating to specific parishes rather than area.  In all cases, check, as agreements can vary

Resident Parking Permits

There are various residents’ parking schemes in place throughout the area.  These are designed to give preferential treatment to residents who live within the designated area where parking zones apply.  However, a permit does not guarantee that a space will be provided.

At the present time all residents’ permits are free on application, although this may change in the future. Applicants may be given one resident’s permit and one visitor’s permit dependent on the individual circumstances.  (The only charge is when you request a replacement).

National Park, Conservations Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Many properties in our area may be within a National Park, a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  There could be additional restrictions imposed on these properties in regards of planning, usage and further building.  If you have plans to purchase a property within any of these areas, check with the Local Planning Authority that any future plans would be acceptable.

Services and Utilities

Within South Lakeland and the National Park, there are many properties that have their own water supplies, private drainage (ie via septic tank) and no mains gas.  Double check before purchasing which mains services are connected.