By Helen Davies

The Cornwall property market is one of extremes, from the second home hotspots such as Rock and St Ives, where most buyers come from out of the county, to areas of considerable deprivation.

Parts of Cornwall are remote, but increased transport options, including the wide range of destinations served by Cornwall  Airport, Newquay, and excellent broadband infrastructure, make the county a very attractive place to reside. Cornwall Chamber of Commerce identifies particularly high levels of small and micro businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation, establishing Cornwall as an enticing place to work and grow your business.

Cornwall’s landscape has been shaped by its historic forms of wealth; including mining, fishing and agriculture. That history sometimes gives rise to challenges in buying and selling property. Most of those challenges can be overcome, but if you are considering buying or selling property in Cornwall (or any rural area) it is sensible to take professional advice early on and ensure you are as well prepared as you can be. This is particularly true for sellers in a nervous market; where many buyers are jumpy, and lenders are extremely risk-averse, it makes sense to identify and remedy title issues before marketing your property.

Many people buy rural properties for their location and the views. Standard searches will not give a buyer any information about likely future development, but information is available. Additional search enquiries can be made, and local authority development plans are available on the authority’s website and are a rich source of likely future development information. St Ives has recently introduced planning restrictions on second homes, and other areas are watching developments.

It is common for older rural properties, frequently served by private access and shared services, not to have full legal rights for arrangements that have probably been in place for decades. This often happens with private drainage systems. Indemnity insurance can usually give a quick, straightforward and inexpensive solution but again, it is sensible to identify issues like this before a sale is agreed and offer your buyer a solution, rather than wait to see if they pick it up. The fuller and more complete the information that is provided at the outset, the shorter the often-stressful period between agreeing a sale and exchanging contracts.

Historic mining features, such as engine houses, are a distinctive feature of the Cornish landscape, and at one time Cornwall led the world in mining technology and engineering. Now, the legacy of the mining industry can pose particular challenges for property buyers. Mining features are not always visible, and new information about undocumented old mines is continually coming to light. The areas where we do mining searches has expanded considerably, and new mining activity at Red Moor near Callington, and South Crofty near Camborne may also impact local properties. Again, we would advise taking professional advice early.

Cornwall is a wonderful place to own a property, but it does present distinctive challenges. If you are thinking of buying or selling, take professional advice at an early stage, and prepare as thoroughly as you can, to save wasted cost and frustration later. The Launceston property team are always pleased to advise.

WBW Launceston Office
Westgate
Launceston
Cornwall
PL15 9AD

T: 01566 772451
E: lawyer@wbw.co.uk