Buyers Guide

There are two housing markets in Guernsey...

Which property market is applicable to me?

In normal circumstances the following steps will apply when buying a home:

1. Open or Local Market?
Establish which market you can buy into. There is nothing stopping a qualified local resident from buying an Open Market Property, however if a qualified local resident lives in an Open Market property, the Open Market category will be removed and the property ceases to be an Open Market Property. For more information please contact the States of Guernsey Housing Department.

2. Finance - How much can I borrow? Do I need a deposit?
If you know that you will need a mortgage to finance your property purchase, contact your building society, bank or mortgage adviser before starting the search for your perfect home. They can analyse your finances, guide you on the amount they are prepared to lend and advise on the likely legal costs.

The deposit that you will need to place is normally 10% of the value of the agreed purchase price of the property, although sometimes the parties agree a 5% deposit subject to certain conditions.

3. Register with us to receive updates on new properties
You can either register on-line, by email, pop in to our office or call us and we will take your details and match you to relevant properties based on your search criteria.
When prompted to install our web app please do not hesitate to do so, it takes up no space on your device! Along with giving you instant access to all our properties. This has been specifically designed to keep you ahead of the crowd when new properties are about to be published on our website.
When a property matches your search criteria you will be notified of new properties by push notifications.

4. Making an offer
When you have found a property you wish to buy, tell us what your offer is and the terms, such as the proposed completion date.
We will put your offer to the vendor (owner) and let you know whether your offer has been accepted. If your offer is not accepted, you may consider increasing your offer and/or amend your terms to achieve a deal that hopefully works for both parties.

5. Appointing an Advocate
As there is no land registry system in place in Guernsey, your appointed Advocate will have to perform in depth research on your chosen property. Your Advocate's role, along with many other things, is to:

  1. Check that the physical boundaries of the property match the descriptions of the boundaries in the title deeds.
  2. Draft your conveyance, which transfers the ownership of the property to you.
  3. Advise you of any property related issues regarding access rights etc.
  4. Help you throughout the whole process of buying a home.
  5. Explain the conditions of sale to you.
  6. Attend court with you to complete the purchase of your new property.

Normally this process can take up to four weeks but expect (significant) delays if problems occur relating to boundaries, surveys or finance.

6. Appointing a Surveyor
When you are buying a property it is normally a requirement of the lending bank that you have a valuation carried out on the property that you are purchasing. The Surveyor will either be instructed by your lending bank or you may have the option to choose a Surveyor from a list provided to you via your bank.
The Surveyor will inspect the property you are purchasing and will report back with an opinion of the value of the property given its condition.

There are three main types of reports that a surveyor will undertake:

1. Valuation Report (this is limited and basic compared to the others):
2. Homebuyer's Report (this is slightly more in depth than 1 above); and
3. Structural Report.

Your lending bank will normally just require a Valuation Report but if concerns are raised about the property by the Surveyor, the your bank might request further reports from certain specialists.
For more in-depth information related to what kind of survey you would like, please liaise with your chosen Surveyor.

7. Operative Date and Conditions of Sale
The operative date and completion date are inserted into the draft conditions of sale that are sent to you for review when your offer has been accepted on a property. The operative date is normally a date given for guidance on the date you should sign the conditions of sale and is normally three weeks from your offer being accepted. This time allows you to arrange finance, survey and property research. When all of this is in place, you will meet with your Advocate to sign the conditions of sale and pay the agreed deposit. The vendor will then countersign the conditions of sale which will at that time become legally binding. It is important to understand that once this stage of the process is completed, neither you or the vendor can withdraw from the conditions of sale without suffering a 10% (of the agreed sale price) penalty.

8. Completion
This is the day when you formally complete the purchase of your new home and are handed the keys.
You will need to attend Conveyancing Court which is in session on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.30am.
The whole process takes less than 45 minutes from start to finish.