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 exceptional 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 complete list of the various documentation available to view at the official UK Government website.
Naturally, it would be best if you showed 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.
It would be best if you had the Title Property Deeds. These documents not only prove ownership but also contain various other 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 than 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 contact a firm, they’ll usually arrange an appointment in 48-72 hours. The assessment 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, various steps are 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 into the land register.
As the number of properties not yet entered into the register is reducing, so is the availability of experienced legal services to rectify the matter. Therefore, care should be taken in the choice of service to carry out this complex task. In addition, 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 the 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 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. In addition, a lost EPC certificate can quickly 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 done by an accredited person, all of whom are listed on the ECP Register website.
Also known as a TA6, this legally binding document 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 precisely what’s included in the sale of the property. It covers the fixtures and fittings left in the property and can also be used to cover items 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 covers 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 other applicable charges.
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 sale’s legal aspects will advise if this will be the case.
Obtaining all the information necessary to sell a leasehold property can take time, 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 leaseholds is identical to that of selling freeholds.
The above encompasses the documentation and certificates required for the sale of most properties. There are other possible considerations to consider, 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 such data collection 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 the following:
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 of your responsibilities. The key takeaway 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, which can often be frustrating, with house sales inevitably throwing up all sorts of unexpected issues. Suffice to say, strategic collection of the necessary legal documentation will significantly reduce such stress.
None of us have a crystal ball, and even if you think you’re in your forever home and never need to worry about selling, circumstances can and do change. While any problem regarding a lack of relevant property paperwork is 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 undoubtedly 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.