Buying a property for the majority is a stressful, nerve racking and intimidating experience. Finding a suitable property, handling the negotiation and then worrying about the legal conveyance process is time consuming and complex enough before you add to that the confusion and perplexity of adapting your ideal property to meet your needs and vision.
You may want to extend the new property or just carry out some seemingly simple minor building works, but it all adds to the whole dynamic of the decision buying process.
How do you know with ‘certainty’ that the local authorities will allow you to make changes to a property after you have bought it?
Most vendors and their selling agents appear and want to be helpful with their building and planning advice, but in the main they merely want the deal agreed for the maximum price. Usually you will be told it’s possible to extend but, it is ‘subject to planning consent’.
Naturally no-one can give any definite indication of the likelihood of getting planning consent at the offer stage but many will not normally allow you the time to investigate the possibility. Trying to get some ‘certainty’ as to whether these structural alterations are permitted or feasible may well hinge on whether you proceed with the buying process. Too often we have heard the agent say ‘you have to take a view’, but it is important to take into account the local planning policies, the implications and issues that you could come up against.
You need to know the consequences of just assuming permission would be granted; it’s an expensive mistake if you get it wrong.
Professional advice when house hunting is time well spent
Understandably, not everyone knows the local authorities and parish council’s planning laws and regulations when assessing the suitability of a property. It’s too easy to say that you should do this research and be in the know before you start even viewing suitable houses.
Information is available on the internet and is easily accessible; if in doubt most architects and some builders will give you their professional view and opinion at an early stage.
Dependent upon the scale of the structural changes you wish to make, appointing a qualified architect from the outset to handle the whole application process is usually your best option.