Are you planning on selling your house or flat in the UK? Once you’ve accepted an offer and instructed your conveyancer, it’s important for the process to run as smoothly as possible to ensure completion of the deal. With that in mind, leading conveyancing firm AVRillo explains which documents will be essential to ensuring your sale goes to plan…
1. Proof of ID, address and funds
You must pass Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations for the government to allow your estate agent to advertise your property and your lawyer to work on your transaction.
Find a conveyancing lawyer who’ll carry out a single source AML check to avoid having to pass AML twice, once for your estate agent and then later for your lawyer. Find a lawyer who’ll work with your agent so the AML your lawyer carries out for you will be shared on your behalf with your estate agent – this is a single source AML check and will save you time and money by not having to pass twice.
To combat money laundering , passing AML is a legal government requirement for sellers and buyers under the government’s Anti-Money Laundering Regulations and The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. To pass you must produce proof of your identity and address to your estate agents and legal representatives.
Acceptable forms of proof of identity include a valid passport or driving licence. Proof of address can also be demonstrated through a driving licence, bank statement, or utility bill issued within the last three months.
If you’re a buyer, or a seller who’s also buying, you need to provide bank statements and other paperwork showing evidence of how you’ve accumulated your money known as ‘source of wealth’ and evidence showing where that money is kept and being transferred from which is known as ‘source of funds’.
2. HMLR Land Registry title deeds
To sell your house, you must provide evidence of your ownership. This document could be a property register or title deeds which demonstrate you’re the legal owner of the property. The Land Registry is responsible for maintaining property ownership records in the UK and you can obtain an official copy of the register from the Land Registry website or request a physical copy through the mail.
As well as being legal documents that prove your ownership rights to a property, title deeds contain detailed information about the property’s boundaries, ownership history, and any rights or restrictions associated with the property and they need to be provided to the buyer of your property or their solicitor to facilitate the transfer of ownership.
If you’ve lost the title deeds, you can apply for a replacement from the Land Registry. Your lawyer will guide you through the process but some deeds will be harder to obtain than others.
3. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a mandatory document required for most residential properties in the UK. It provides an energy efficiency rating and recommendations for improving energy efficiency. An EPC is valid for 10 years and must be provided to potential buyers. To obtain an EPC, you should hire a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor to assess your property and issue the certificate.
You can’t sell your residential property without an EPC as it’s a legal requirement to have one, however there are certain exemptions from obtaining an EPC, such as listed buildings, temporary structures, and places of worship, but it’s recommended to consult a qualified professional to determine if your property qualifies for an exemption.
4. Gas safety certificate
If your property has gas appliances, such as boilers, fires, or cookers, you must provide a gas safety certificate to potential buyers. This certificate verifies that all gas installations and appliances in your property have been inspected and deemed safe by a gas safe registered engineer. The certificate is valid for 12 months and must be renewed annually. Buyers will want assurance that the gas installations in the property meet the necessary safety standards, making the gas safety certificate a crucial document in the selling process.
The time it takes to obtain a gas safety certificate depends on the complexity of the gas installations in your property. It’s best to contact a gas safe registered engineer in advance to schedule an inspection.
5. Electrical safety certificate
Ensuring the safety of electrical installations is incredibly important when selling a house. An Electrical Safety Certificate, also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), verifies the safety and compliance of the electrical systems in your property. A qualified electrician issues this certificate after thoroughly inspecting the electrical installations. The Electrical Safety Certificate should be provided to potential buyers, assuring them that the electrical systems in the property are safe and meet the required standards.
6. Planning permissions
If you’ve made alterations or extensions to your property, you must ensure the necessary planning permissions were obtained. Planning permissions are official approvals granted by the local planning authority for specific building works. Buyers will want assurance that any changes made to the property comply with local regulations and have the appropriate permissions in place. Failure to provide the required planning permissions can raise concerns and potentially delay the sale process. It’s essential to consult your local planning authority and obtain the relevant documentation for any modifications made to your property.
If you’ve made alterations without obtaining the necessary planning permission, you may face consequences such as fines or being required to revert the changes. It’s essential to consult your local planning authority to rectify the situation and potentially obtain retrospective planning permission if needed.
7. Building regulation certificates
In addition to planning permissions, building regulation certificates are vital documents that confirm compliance with building regulations for significant alterations or extensions. These certificates are issued by the local authority or an approved inspector after the completion of the building works. Building regulation certificates provide evidence that the construction work meets the required safety, accessibility, and energy efficiency standards. It’s crucial to retain these certificates and provide them to potential buyers as proof of compliance.
8. Guarantees and warranties
It’s essential to provide relevant guarantees and warranties to potential buyers if you’ve made significant renovations or improvements to your property. These documents demonstrate that the work was done by qualified professionals and offer assurances regarding the quality and longevity of the improvements. Examples of guarantees and warranties include that for roofing, damp proofing, double glazing, and central heating systems. These documents provide peace of mind to buyers and enhance the overall value of your property.
As a homeowner, you must obtain a FENSA certificate from a registered installer when they replace windows or doors on your property. The certificate serves as proof that the installation complies with the building regulations and is in accordance with the energy efficiency, performance standards, and safety regulations.
10. Leasehold documents if you’re selling a leasehold (flat)
The key leasehold documents you should gather and understand to facilitate a faster and more successful sale include:
Lease extension documentation: duration and mortgage considerations:
It’s important to note that many mortgages don’t cover leases with less than 80 years remaining. If your lease falls into this category, it can potentially hinder the sale of your property. If you’ve lived in the property for a minimum of two years, you may consider extending the lease or initiating the extension process.
Lease details and marketing material:
Make sure to locate your lease document. Your estate agent should provide comprehensive information about the property’s tenure in their marketing material including the remaining lease, the term, current ground rent, service charges, and planned increases.
Obtaining the leasehold information pack:
Your conveyancer will contact the freeholder and/or managing agent to obtain the leasehold information pack. It’s crucial not to delay this process as acquiring the pack can take some time. Ensure you buy a management pack from your freeholder managing company as soon as possible. They’ll send you these documents to give to your conveyancer for them to digest, deal with on your behalf and send to the buyer’s conveyancer who needs these to proceed.
Potential buyer concerns:
Prospective buyers will want to understand key lease terms including service charges, ground rent, and administration fees. With this in mind, it’s essential to provide your conveyancer with documents related to the following:
- Service charges, such as copies of accounts
- Share certificates
- Memorandum and articles of association
- Buildings insurance
- Recent correspondence from the freeholder or managing agent
- Planned works and assessments scheduled for the property such as roof replacements
- Fire risk assessments
- Asbestos reports
- Estate rent charges
- Building Safety Act issues including cladding and other safety legislation
11. New build warranties
For new builds or properties under 10 years old, you must have a copy of your Buildmark (NHBC) or other new home policy/warranty documents. These documents provide essential protection and peace of mind to homeowners, ensuring that any potential issues or defects with the property are addressed and covered by the warranty.
Buildmark is a widely recognised and trusted warranty provided by the National House Building Council (NHBC) in the UK. It offers protection against various structural defects that may arise within the first 10 years of owning a new build property. This includes defects in the foundation, roof, walls, windows, and other crucial structural elements. A Buildmark warranty or an equivalent new home policy/warranty document is highly beneficial and provides homeowners with financial protection and support in case of unexpected repairs or remedial work needed due to structural defects. In addition to structural defects, new home warranties often cover other aspects such as plumbing, electrical systems, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. It’s essential to carefully review the specific terms and coverage your warranty document provides as warranties typically have specific guidelines and procedures for making claims and obtaining necessary repairs.
Your Buildmark or other new home policy/warranty documents show potential buyers that your property is protected and that any unforeseen issues will be addressed which can enhance the marketability of your property.
12. Mortgage statement
If you have an outstanding mortgage on your property, you must obtain a mortgage statement from your mortgage provider. This document outlines the outstanding balance, payment schedule, and any other relevant mortgage details. It’s a requirement from the buyer’s conveyancers to ensure they can pay off the mortgage and leave the property legal charge free. No financial obligations are impending on the seller’s title at completion. It’s therefore essential to inform your mortgage provider about your intention to sell and obtain an updated statement reflecting the current status of your mortgage.
13. Other upfront material information
Government guidance defines material facts as things which may have a major impact on whether a buyer decides to purchase your home. For example, if it regularly floods or is of non-standard construction. Estate agents are legally required to share this information with potential buyers.
You’ll also be asked for any non-optional financial commitments such as council tax, leasehold charges and rent charge costs if your property is on a new build estate.
Government guidance for selling a house also suggests you should provide any Part Wall Agreements which are needed when carrying out any building work near or on a party wall shared with a neighbour which can impact the structure and boundary wall with your neighbour. Restrictive covenants are binding conditions written into a property’s deeds or contract by a seller to determine what a homeowner can or can’t do with their house or land under particular circumstances.
While you want to present your home in the best possible light, you shouldn’t mislead potential buyers by covering up defects, for example, by painting over damp patches. Any problems are likely to come up in the buyer’s survey. This could lead to price negotiations and possible delays which could’ve been avoided.
The more material information and documentation you can provide up-front to your solicitor, the better. You can then get their advice on what needs to be passed on to the buyer. This will reduce the risk of avoidable delays, costs and buyers pulling out when information materialises later.
Content provided by OnTheMarket.com is for information purposes only. Independent and professional advice should be taken before buying, selling, letting or renting property, or buying financial products.