Before you sell your property, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure that all of your legal paperwork in order and up to date. A lot of focus is often put on ensuring that the property is in good condition and is well presented, but having your property’s paperwork ‘ready to go’ will make any sale run smoother, and will give it the best chance of completing without any issues.
You’ll also endear yourself to your solicitor and estate agent!
Here’s how to get your paperwork in order and give it a ‘spring clean’ (very apt now we’re in April!)…
Locate and review your property’s deeds
In order to sell your home, you will need to prove that you own it by producing your property’s title documents, otherwise known as the deeds. If you cannot find them your solicitor can carry out a Land Registry search for you.
If the property is not registered at Land Registry, and the deeds cannot be located, a solicitor can take statements and apply to Land Registry to create a registered title on the basis of those statements.
Once you have located your property’s deeds, it’s crucial to check that all the details are correct, such as names and address and that the boundaries shown on the plan are right. Things to check out include:
– that the boundaries are marked up correctly
– that rights for any private drainage or water supply are noted
– that any rights of way used are noted
If you need to update or correct your deeds, check with a solicitor first so they can advise on what is legally required. Once you are sure everything is in order, an application can be made to the Land Registry to make necessary changes.
Alteration and Building Works papers
Depending how long you have lived at your property, there’s a good chance that you may have made some changes. When you sell a property, you will be asked to produce all related legal paperwork, including relevant permissions and documentation from the local planning authority, for any extension, loft conversion or significant structural work.
If you own a flat, consent from the freeholder is usually needed, as well as the usual planning approvals.
Even relatively minor changes, such as new windows, electrical installations or a new gas cooker, may also need accompanying permissions and paperwork. If you did not get these at the time, now is the opportunity to do so.
Home maintenance records
Electrical test certificates are necessary at all residential properties every five to 10 years, and boilers should be serviced every 12 months, with relevant paperwork kept safe. Alternative heating systems, such as oil or solar panels, will also require the related legal paperwork and relevant maintenance records.
If your property has a septic tank, you should keep all service and emptying records and receipts, together with any required environmental permits and other permissions for its installation and discharge.
For any of the above, your property solicitor will be able to advise what is required for your property sale, and to help to ensure that you are in the best position to get moving and sell as quickly as possible.