Our 12 Step Guide To Get Your Conveyancing Right When Selling Your Property.
If you’ve made the decision that it’s time to put your property on the market and move on, you may focus on the obvious things like picking the estate agent, deciding on the price, and thinking about where you’re going to move to.
Picking your conveyancing solicitor is obviously an important decision as well, and obviously we hope you’ll pick us!
However, what you may not think about in advance is all the information we’ll need from you in order to make the transition run smoothly. Probably by the time you instruct a solicitor, you’ve accepted an offer on your property, and you’re in a rush to get moving.
So here are some tips on the things that we’re going to be asking you for, so you can start getting the information together before we start working on the sale.
- Who are the owners of the property? That might sound obvious, but if someone else owns the property with you (such as an ex that’s moved out, or a family member that helped you out financially) then they may need to be involved in the transaction. Or it may be that you are selling it on behalf of someone who has passed away, in which case we will need additional information, such as the death certificate, and the grant of probate showing that you have the right to sell the house on behalf of the estate.
- Is there anyone living in the property that’s over 18 – such as grown up children. We will need information on them as we might need them to sign something to confirm they have no interest in the property and will move out when the sale goes through.
- Does anyone else have an interest in the property? This could include someone in the category above, but it could also include other people such as someone who has a charge over the property. If it’s your lender (ie your bank or building society) then we can deal with that, but it could involve other parties, such as someone you owe money to who has taken out a charge over the property. If that’s the case, we’ll need as much information as possible to make sure any charges are paid off as part of the sale.
- Do you have lodgers or tenants in the property? If so, we’ll need all the details, such as tenancy agreements, so we can make sure this is dealt with as part of the sale.
- Do you know where the boundaries are and who is responsible for maintaining them? You may need to go back through paperwork, receipts and invoices to work that out. If you don’t know, or can’t work it out, it’s not fatal to the sale, but the more accurate information we can provide you purchaser with, the better.
- Have you had any disputes with anyone relating to the property such as being served with any notices by the council or neighbours? This doesn’t have to involve an argument. It could be something as simple as having been served with a Party Wall Act notice, or serving one yourself. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important to be up front with whoever is buying the property, so the more we know at the outset, the smoother the transaction will be.
- What works have you had done to the property in the time you’ve owned it. We don’t need to know about minor things like having the painters in to spruce the place up, but we would like to know about new windows and doors, new boilers and substantive alterations such as extensions and loft conversions. What certificates or paperwork do you have to show any guarantees you have for those works? If you can get this together for us at the earliest opportunity, it will really help to speed things up.
- Think about what your timetable is, and then let us know. Knowing at the outset if you have any important deadlines (such as if you are moving for a new job or to get into a new school), or dates to avoid (such as a holiday), is really useful for us. We cannot guarantee that we can meet your requirements, but we will do our best, and the sooner we know what those requirements are, the better.
- What about the money and have you checked your maths? Even if you are not buying another property straight away (perhaps you are going into rented accommodation or going traveling for a bit) it’s important to look at the finances at the outset. Once the property is sold, is there going to be enough money to pay off everyone who has a charge over/interest in the property. If not, this is known as having negative equity, and you’ll need to let us know at the outset how that shortfall is going to be met. If there is going to be money left over, have you thought about what you plan to do with it. If there is more than one of you selling the property, have you agreed on how the money is to be split? If there is a dispute, how is this going to be resolved? It’s better to think about this now, whilst we’ve got time to consider options, than wait until the last minute.
- Is your sale dependent on anything, such as your purchase? Sometimes clients are more interested in getting the sale through, and if that means they have to stay in a hotel for a while, or even go into rented accommodation, that’s fine. Often it can be easier to find something to buy, once you’ve sold your own property, and we fully understand that. However, if you want to move straight from the property you are selling into the next one you purchase, but you haven’t found the one to purchase yet, then you need to let us know at the outset so we can keep everyone informed. Don’t forget to let us know how the property search is coming along. Even if you are moving into rented accommodation, keep us informed about how much notice you will need to find your temporary place.
- Let us know if anything changes or is anything likely to change. It’s quite common for things to be negotiated and renegotiated as the transaction progresses, and usually we are involved in that process. However, occasionally, the buyer and seller will speak directly and agree to a change, such as something that’s going to be left behind that was previously being taken. It’s important that this is reflected in the paperwork, so don’t forget to let us know. Otherwise there’s a risk of a claim of breach of contract, even though you believe you’ve done was agreed verbally. Where property is concerned, if it’s not in writing, it may not count.
- Most importantly, is there anything unusual about this transaction that you think we should know about? Whilst no two transactions are ever the same, most follow a fairly standard pattern and are reasonably routine. Every now and then, we get something unexpected happening, such as a boundary dispute that no one had expected, that only came to light when the survey was done. However, if you know that there is something unusual about your property, do let us know at the outset. It might just be an interesting fact, but it might also be something that is very useful for us to know.
Express Conveyancing helps hundreds of property sellers and buyers with their conveyancing each month. Contact us on 0800 799 9892 to find out how we can help.
Disclaimer – our articles are designed to give you guidance and information. There is no substitute for proper direct advice, particularly as everyone’s circumstances are different. If anything in this article may affect you, please contact us for advice that is specific to your circumstances.