To discuss your residential property requirements, including requesting a conveyancing quote, please contact our Bath Property Team on 01225 462871, or by email. You can also request a conveyancing quote online.
The recently announced Stamp Duty holiday will further fuel the current post-lockdown boom in the housing market. But as they race to take advantage of an opportunity to save thousands of pounds, it will not only be buyers feeling considerable stress to complete before 31 March 2021. As the next few months race by – and they WILL race by – sellers will come under increasing pressure from their buyers to meet the deadline.
As a seller, there is one very easy step you can take to shorten, sometimes considerably, the conveyancing process – instruct a solicitor as soon as you market your property. Estate Agents always recommend to sellers that they instruct a solicitor early, but in reality, many wait until they have accepted an offer before they even begin to request conveyancing quotes.
You may not realise that much of the legal and administrative work, some of which is set out below, can begin before you find a buyer. You will see there’s a surprising amount to do!
Your solicitor is required by law to carry out identification checks on you to satisfy the money laundering regulations. Are your passport or photocard driving licence up to date? Can you readily produce a recent utility bill or bank statement?
The property information forms that your solicitor will send to you are quite lengthy and need completing as fully as possible. The information you provide will help your solicitor identify questions and issues that will be raised by your buyer’s solicitor in due course. Early instruction allows potential problems to be identified and hopefully ironed out in advance.
It’s also important to remember that until your solicitor has all of the information they require, a full contract pack cannot be sent to the buyer’s solicitor.
Legal kerb appeal
Sellers pay great attention to their property’s visual appeal. Few, however, give a second thought to the attractiveness of their property from a legal perspective. This can include clarity over such things as rights of way, planning consents and boundaries. Buyers and their mortgage lenders want and need certainty over such issues and ambiguities which will inevitably be spotted, and questions asked, by your buyer’s solicitor. The earlier such issues can be identified, the sooner they can be rectified, or a course of action agreed, avoiding considerable delay later on.
A typical cause of delay is missing documents. As a homeowner, there are innumerable certificates and documents you will inherit or acquire, and some inexplicably find themselves in a ‘very safe place’, never to see the light of day again. Typical examples are FENSA, electrical completion and NHBC certificates, planning permissions, sign offs for building regulations, and a host of different warranties. If one or more documents are missing, your solicitor will advise you how to rectify the situation, saving time down the road.
Leasehold Management Pack
If your property is leasehold you must apply to (and pay) your managing agent for a bundle of documents called a Leasehold Management Pack, which will form part of the paperwork to be provided to your buyer’s solicitor. This pack contains details about the freehold management, ground rent and service charges which apply to your property. This may sound straightforward, but the pack can take weeks to arrive and with recent increased demand, managing agents are already reporting delays.