HomeGuides & AdviceBuying Property in Jersey
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Buying Property in Jersey

Buying a property in Jersey can be a complicated process, which may be challenging even for seasoned property owners, and can be especially daunting for first time buyers. Our Home Buyer’s Guide contains everything you need to know about purchasing a property in Jersey, so that you can be confident throughout the whole process of buying your dream home.

Thompson Estates understand that this will probably be one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make, and because of this we aim to make your property purchase as simple and stress free as possible.

Move forward with us and let us help you find your new home.

1 MORTGAGES AND FINANCES

The first step to buying your home should be a visit to your bank or a reputable mortgage advisor.  This will allow you to identify how much you can afford to spend on your new home. There is a wide selection of mortgage brokers in Jersey, which gives you the opportunity to shop around and get the best deal for you. You will need to explain your income and financial commitments, so ensure that you have these details ready for the meeting.

When considering your finances, remember to take into account the extra costs you will incur such as bank fees, surveyor’s fees, legal fees, stamp duty, moving expenses, and any other costs that may occur.

For a trusted local mortgage provider, contact:
The Mortgage Shop
01534 789830

Octagon Finance
01534 744900

2 REGISTER YOUR INTEREST

To start your search for the right property, register with us here, call us on  +44  (0) 1534 888855, or visit our offices on King Street, where you can discuss your property requirements with one of our experienced agents.

With hundreds of properties in Jersey to choose from, you can rest assured that we have what you’re looking for, and if we don’t we can certainly help you find your dream home.

3 JERSEY HOUSING QUALIFICATIONS

Under the ‘Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) Law 2012’ there are four categories which determine where you can work and live.

The current qualifying period for obtaining housing qualifications is ten years, which means that you must either have been born locally and have lived on the Island for a combined period of ten years or, if born outside of Jersey you must have been permanently and continuously resident on the Island for the last ten years. Qualifications can also be gained through marriage to a residentially qualified person, through essential employment, or on social, economic or hardship grounds.

Residential statuses and what they mean

Entitled 
Has full housing qualifications and can buy, sell or lease any property.
(previously A-H Category)

Licensed 
An essential employee, who can buy, sell or lease any property, apart from first time buyer restricted or social rented housing, in their own name if they keep their ‘licensed’ status.
(previously J Category)

Entitled to work 
Have been resident for an aggregated period of five years but less than ten years. Can buy property jointly with an ‘entitled’ spouse / civil partner, or can lease ‘registered’ (previously ‘unqualified’) property as a main place of residence.
(previously Non-Qualified)

Registered
Have been resident for less than five continuous years, and can only lease ‘registered’ property as a main place of residence.
(previously Non-Qualified)

4 FIRST TIME BUYERS

What is a first time buyer?

A first time buyer is someone who has never owned property before. If you’re a first time buyer, you can receive certain perks that help get you on the property ladder.

First time buyer stamp duty

If the property you’re buying is under £400,000, you’ll pay a reduced amount of stamp duty. You’ll also pay a reduced amount of land transaction taxes if you are buying a share transfer property.

First time buyer developments

Being a first time buyer means that you can buy a home on a specially designated first time buyer development. These homes are only sold to people who are first time buyers.

Who qualifies as a first time buyer?

You are a first time buyer if you:

  • have ‘Entitled’ residential status
  • plan to buy property with an ‘Entitled’ spouse or civil partner
  • have never owned a house or flat anywhere in the world (whether on your own or with someone else)

If you already own a property

There are certain circumstances where you might be considered a first time buyer, even if you already own property.

If you own a flying freehold flat you will count as a first time buyer if you:

  • sell your flat to another first time buyer
  • buy a property larger than your current home, e.g. if you’re moving from a two bedroom flat to a three bedroom house

If you own a share transfer flat you will count as a first time buyer if you:

  • sell your flat to anyone, not necessarily a first time buyer
  • buy a property larger than your current home, e.g. if you’re moving from a two bedroom flat to a three bedroom house

If you have owned land your circumstances are considered individually by the Housing Minister, for example if you have:

  • inherited agricultural land
  • joint inheritance with siblings or family property
  • other general minor land / property ownership

If you have property that was owned by a spouse / ex-partner:

Your circumstances are considered individually by the Housing Minister.

In all cases, before you consider making a purchase, contact us to discuss your status as a first time buyer.

5 STAMP DUTY AND LAND TRANSACTION TAX

First, use our handy Stamp Duty Calculator to work out how much you will need to pay in addition to the asking price.

On top of this amount, there is an additional £80 registration fee in all cases and a £20 Jurat’s fee applicable to freehold rather than share transfer purchases (since you do not need to pass share sales through the Royal Court). It is the value of the property that is assessed, rather than the price, so transactions for an undervalue will incur Stamp Duty at the rate applicable to the open market value of the property.

It is important to remember that Stamp Duty or LLT is also payable on the amount of any mortgage taken out to finance the transaction (either by way of what is known as ‘hypothec’ over a freehold property, or a ‘security interest’ over the shares relating to the share transfer property).

The stamp duty or LLT rate for such borrowings is generally 0.5% plus an £80 registration fee. Where a borrower is refinancing an existing loan over his or her sole place of residence a nominal rate of £80 is payable, plus 0.5% of any amount in excess of the outstanding amount due under the original loan. However, this rate does not extend to refinancing of commercial property or investment property.

6 FIRST TIME BUYERS AND STAMP DUTY

To avoid disappointment, remember that the term ‘First Time Buyer’ is defined in the local statutes. To qualify you must not have owned, either solely or jointly with another person, any freehold, flying freehold or share transfer property in Jersey or elsewhere. Inheritance of a property, solely or jointly with any other person, will also prevent you from taking advantage of first time buyer rates.

The rate of Stamp Duty or LLT payable by first time buyers is significantly reduced, with purchases or borrowings under £300,000 simply attracting the £80 registration fee (plus £20 Jurat’s fee for purchases of freehold property) and nothing further. The first time buyer rates are subject to a cap and do not currently apply to purchases of property for a value exceeding £400,000.

The rate of duty payable on purchases within the £300,000 – £400,000 band is nil in respect of the first £300,000 plus 1% of each £100, or part of £100, in excess thereof (plus £80 registration fee and £20 Jurat’s fee for freehold transactions).

On borrowings by first time buyers in this price bracket the rate is merely nil in respect of the first £300,000 plus 0.25% of each £100, or part of £100, in excess thereof (subject to a minimum of £25) and an £80 registration fee. You can see that the difference is substantial, and may make all the difference when buying your first home.

7 FINDING YOUR DREAM HOME

Take some time to think about your ‘wish list’ for your dream home.

Consider:

  • how many bedrooms, and how much space you need
  • any particular areas you’d like to live in
  • proximity to schools (if applicable)
  • your commute distance
  • closeness to family and friends

Once we have a clear understanding of your requirements you will receive a selection of properties that match your criteria. We can also keep you constantly up-to date via email when the latest properties become available.

Our website features large colour photos and detailed floor plans, allowing you to get a feel for the property before you arrange a viewing.

Keep in touch with your negotiator by phone, text or email. Your negotiator can alert you as soon as they hear of a property matching your criteria.

8 THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL VIEWINGS

We’re available at times to suit you, convenient after work and on weekends:

Our offices are open 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Thursday,  8.30am – 5pm on Fridays and 9am – 1pm Saturdays. Our negotiators are also available on their mobiles, 7 days a week.

In order to secure a property, we recommend an early viewing. We will always accompany your viewings, ensuring that we are on hand to answer any questions immediately and advise where necessary.

When arranging your viewings, be sure to have the following information at hand:

  1. Negotiators name (if applicable)
  2. Property RES number
  3. Where you saw the property advertised
  4. Date to view
  5. Time to view
  6. Your diary to book in appointment

Inspect each property thoroughly, don’t be afraid to ask for a second or third viewing at different times of the day, taking into consideration how the sunlight or traffic may affect the property. Careful consideration of these matters will avoid any future upset or disappointment.

9 MAKING AN OFFER

Rarely does a property have a ‘fixed price’.  Consider the price you wish to offer and your Negotiator will then put your offer forward to the vendor. Don’t forget to mention if you have a mortgage agreed in principle, if you are a cash purchaser, or there is no ongoing property chain in the transaction, as your offer could be more appealing to the vendor. Please remember that your offer must be made ‘subject to contract and survey’.

10 OBTAINING A PROPERTY SURVEY

The bank will require a valuation survey of the property, however, if you obtain a full surveyor’s report this will ensure that there are no hidden defects with your new home. Speak to a Surveyor recommended by the Bank, or your Lawyer, and discuss with them the type of survey you require. There are different ‘levels’ of survey and consequently different costs.

There are three different types of surveys available, and it is at your discretion which you choose:

  1. Valuation Survey
    An inspection of the property by your lender’s representative to ascertain how much the property is worth as security for the mortgage loan.
  2. Homebuyer’s Survey
    This survey provides slightly more detail about the structure and condition of the property.
  3. Building Survey
    A full structural survey providing an in-depth analysis of the condition of the property. The cost for each type of survey varies largely dependent upon the size of the property.

There are no legal obligations until contracts are signed.

For a trusted local surveyor, contact:
G Wills
01534 285192

11 INSTRUCTING A LAWYER

The successful purchase of a property can be reliant on the instruction of an efficient and experienced property lawyer, who can guide you through the legal and conveyancing process.

These local law firms specialise in Property Law. Click the links to find out more:

Collas Crill
01534 601700

Le Gallais & Luce
01534 760760

Steven Slater
​0​1534 755755

12 WHEN YOUR OFFER IS ACCEPTED

Once your offer is accepted, we will ask you to provide your lawyers details and also provide your ‘know your client’ (KYC) documents including a copy of your passport, a current utility bill and a copy of your registration card. We will them prepare a memorandum of sale and send it to all parties.

You will now need to instruct your lawyer to proceed with the conveyancing process, and your mortgage broker to proceed with your application.

13 CONVEYANCING EXPLAINED

Conveyancing is the legal term for the team involved in the transfer of the property from the vendor’s ownership to you. This is the principal part of the work that your Lawyer will undertake for you. It is important that you find an Advocate, Solicitor or Conveyancer that you can trust, and communicate with in language that you understand. Prices for conveyancing can vary, but as with everything in life, the cheapest is not always necessarily the best.

The Conveyancing Process

The legal team you instruct will receive a draft contract for sale from the vendor’s lawyer. They will check the terms of the contract and make a search at the Public Registry to verify ‘title’ to the property.

In case of Share Transfer purchase, they will also check the good standing of the company which holds the property. They will carry out a site visit to identify the boundaries at the property and make searches of the utility companies, the Parish, and States Departments to ensure that all is in order.

Once all the enquiries are satisfactory and complete they will meet with you to go through the terms of the purchase contract and complete the registration requirements for your mortgage. When all has been agreed you will be ready to complete your purchase. As part of the conveyancing process your lawyer will do the following:

  • Raise any enquiries on receipt of the draft contract from the vendor’s lawyer
  • Request their own local searches
  • Agree on a date for exchange of contracts in the Royal Court of Jersey

We will assist your lawyer and negotiate throughout the process, keeping you informed every step of the way.

14 COMPLETION DAY

Completion usually takes between three to five weeks, but it is never possible to guarantee a completion date due to mortgage complications, chains etc.

The Jersey conveyancing process for a Freehold property occurs when all enquiries have been confirmed and agreed, and ends with a contract being passed before the Royal Court on a Friday afternoon. You are welcome to attend, or one of the Conveyancers can attend on your behalf. Many clients enjoy the tradition of going to court to participate in the completion of their transaction. The Royal Court dress code requires gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie. You will then receive the keys to your property, and the property will officially be under your ownership. Ensure that you have adequate property insurance place before this time.

The financial side of conveyancing is completed on the Tuesday after the Friday Court date.

Congratulations!

You are now the legal owner of your new home in Jersey.

15 Moving Checklist

There’s a lot to remember when moving house, so minimise stress by staying organised. The first thing to remember is to change your address – here’s a helpful list to get you started.

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