You’re required by law to provide various certificates and paperwork to sell your home.
In this article we’ll cover exactly what documents are needed to sell a house as well as going over some other special circumstances which may require additional documents (explained later in the article)
Let’s get started.
By law, proof of your identity is required by various sources when it comes to selling your house, such as solicitors, mortgage lenders and estate agents. Two separate documents are necessary in order to prove both your ID and address, such as a passport or driving licence for the former and a bank statement or utility bill dated within the last three months for the latter.
Various forms of proof are acceptable, with a full list of the various documentation available to view at the official UK Government website.
Naturally, you need to show that the property is yours to offer for sale, even a company that buys your house for cash would want to confirm this through Solicitors early on in the process.
You need the Title Property Deeds, documents that not only prove ownership but also contain various other pieces of vital information regarding the house, such as any necessary licences, Deeds of Covenant, planning and building regulations, etc. You may well be in possession of these. If not, the solicitor you used to purchase the property might have kept hold of them, or your mortgage company.
There are slightly different requirements for EPCs in Scotland, as opposed to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Full details and how to find a local assessor local are listed at www.gov.uk. Once you get in contact with a firm they’ll usually arrange an appointment in 48-72 hours. The assessment itself takes 30-45 minutes, and the certificate is provided on payment (anything between £50-£100 + VAT, so it can pay to shop around).
If you don’t have them, or perhaps have lost the deeds, there are various steps necessary to obtain them.
Most properties in the UK are registered. However, compulsory registration was only put in place in December 1990. In addition, gifted or inherited property wasn’t required to be registered, so there are instances where a house might not have yet been entered on to the land register.
It should be noted that as the number of properties not yet entered onto the register is reducing, so too is the availability of experienced legal services to rectify the matter. Care should be taken in the choice of service to carry out this complex task, and customers should satisfy themselves that their chosen representative is fully conversant with all the relevant processes.
Below we’ve also put together a reconstitution of title checklist.
Commonly referred to as an EPC, this aptly named document provides information as to how energy efficient the property is and any alterations that could improve this. Every property sale needs to have one and a certificate lasts for 10 years. Because of this time scale many vendors find the certificate provided when they bought their house is still valid. A lost EPC certificate can easily be recovered as they’re stored digitally on a central government database.
If the current EPC is out of date, or if any of the recommended upgrades have been carried out, it’ll be necessary to obtain a new one. This has to be carried out by an accredited person, all of whom are listed on the ECP Register website.
Also known as a TA6, this is a legally binding document that provides detailed information about the property. It contains a large amount of data, such as accurate locations of boundaries and responsibilities, any ongoing disputes with neighbours, building regulations for work done, environmental matters, council tax band, additional charges (such as rental charges for a garage), planning applications that affect the property, etc.
Officially known as form TA10, this self-explanatory form details exactly what’s included in the sale of the property. It covers the fixtures and fittings to be left in the property, and can also be used to cover items that might be left outside, such as sheds or garden furniture.
Leasehold properties require additional paperwork, known as a Leasehold Property Enquiry Form, a document that makes up part of what’s referred to as a Management Information Pack. This cover aspects such as current ground rent, service charges, a summary of management company accounts over the past three years, notice fees, deed of covenant fees and any others that are applicable.
For leases with less than 80 years to run there might be a need to extend the lease before a sale can be made. The solicitor or conveyancer undertaking the legal aspects of the sale will advise if this will be the case.
Obtaining all the information necessary to sell a leasehold property can take time to gather, so it’s vital to commence the process as soon as a decision has been made to sell. Aside from this extra information, the paperwork to sell leasehold is identical to that of selling freehold.
The above encompasses the documentation and certificates required for the sale of the majority of properties. There are some other possible considerations to take into account, such as if your home has shared freehold. Cases such as this necessitate further paperwork and, once again, can be lengthy processes. Because of this, instigating the collection of such data should be sought at an early stage to prevent delays later down the line.
Other special circumstances that lead to further legalities and documentation might include:
In addition, the following paperwork might also need to be provided if the circumstances are relevant:
The key to the smooth collation of the necessary legal documentation for property sales is a combination of the right representation and understanding your responsibilities. The key take away should be to obtain documentation at the earliest opportunity (or instruct your legal representative to do it for you). Such forward thinking is pivotal to ensure the least amount of hold-ups in which can often be a frustrating process, with house sales inevitably throw up all sorts of unexpected issues. Suffice to say, strategic collection of the necessary legal documentation will go a long way to reducing such stress.
None of us have a crystal ball, and even if you think you’re in your forever home and never need worry about selling, circumstances can and do change. While any problem regarding a lack of relevant property paperwork is, of course, not insurmountable, issues such as lost deeds can cause a great deal of added pressure. We can’t stress enough how the importance of storing all documents in a safe place, or knowing that your legal representative does so on your behalf,
Ensuring all that vital bumph is safe and easily accessible doesn’t necessarily make for plain sailing, but it’ll certainly make to process a whole lot easier. And when it comes to a stressful task such as selling your property, anything that helps smooth the journey is something to be grabbed with both hands