It’s easy to assume that once you’ve agreed to sell your home, it’s just a matter of your solicitor or conveyancer ‘doing the legal stuff’ and that’s that. Unfortunately, your job is still only partly done – there’s more to selling a property than many first time buyers realise.
Once you are in a position to instruct your conveyancer, you are going to need to provide them with proof of your address and ID. This is required in accordance with anti-money-laundering legislation and you will be required to provide a specific proof before your solicitor can proceed. They will also write to you setting out their terms of business.
Once your solicitor is engaged, make sure that they are fully briefed on the terms of the agreement you’ve reached, especially with regard to pertinent facts like a timetable for the exchange of contracts, etc. If your purchase is strictly constituent on this timetable make sure your conveyancer is bought into it – or there may be tears later! Also, be sure to react swiftly to all requests your conveyancer makes of you, returning paperwork properly completed and by return.
What paperwork will be needed?
The title deeds consist of paperwork that details the ‘demise’ being sold and sets out how the property is owned (its tenure), together with other information regarding various rights of way or other ‘easements’. It will also illustrate an unbroken chain of ownership from the past.
Nowadays, most properties in England & Wales are registered meaning that the title deeds have been scanned and the information is kept on a central database. However, some information detailed on the deeds may still be required, so the deeds will be needed.
In most cases, where a property is owned subject to a mortgage, either the lender or the solicitor you used when purchasing the property will have the deeds. Your solicitor will need to make inquiries for them to be presented.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
You must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you start marketing your property. All properties that are built, sold or let must now have a valid EPC. EPSs are valid for 10 years. You should be sure to keep the EPC safe when you buy your property. If it has expired when you come to sell it, you’ll need to commission another inspection. They usually cost between £50 – £100 plus VAT.
If you lose your EPC, there is a central register you can visit to obtain a copy. Where can I get an Energy Performance Certificate?
Property & Information Form (TA6)
The TA6 is a standard form which details lots of information about the property. As the owner, in many cases, you will be best placed to answer the questions contained within. It is very important that you are truthful when completing this form as any misrepresentation can have serious consequences. Completion of form TA6 forms part of what is sometimes referred to as ‘enquiries before contract’.
Fittings & Content Form (TA10)
As the name suggests, this form details what is included in the sale of the property. For example, carpets, curtains, blinds, garden shed, etc. Again, make sure to be clear when completing this form and, if something has not been agreed, it will probably save time if you clarify with the buyer before completing the form and returning it. Always take advice from your solicitor here, as there are specific legal definitions that relate to fixtures & fittings.
Leasehold Properties: Additional Information
If you are selling a property subject to a lease or a leasehold property, then you’ll need to provide further information, usually in form TA7.
Everything Else (Including Special Circumstances & Additional Paperwork)
If you are selling a rented property or perhaps you are managing a sale of property forming part of probate (the estate of a deceased person) then you may have various other obligations to provide information such as proof of grant of probate, gas and electrical certificates, etc.
You may also need to provide subsidence/damp guarantees and/or warranties, party wall agreements, specialist asbestos surveys, listed building consent, conservation area consent, Japanese knotweed management plans, planning permissions and window certification to name but a few. These can be covered in a comprehensive building survey.
The key is to be organised from the outset so that you are not delaying matters trying to find important information. And don’t forget to ensure that your new mortgage is agreed before exchanging contracts.