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How to Complete Quickly When Selling Your Property - Preparation is Key

If you want to complete your property sale quickly, and without stress, then these are some helpful hints from an experienced conveyancing solicitor.



Be Prepared


Have all your documents to hand. This includes invoices for alterations, guarantees, planning permissions, building regulations consents, gas central heating service histories, certificates for electrical (wiring) works and so on. See the full list at the bottom of the article. It is better to have too much information than too little.



Not Being Prepared Will Cause Delays


It is not your Conveyancer's job, and it is not possible for them to locate your documents guarantees, or installation and alteration paperwork. These are documents that you would have been given at the time. If you cannot locate them then contact your installer before sale. If you are thinking of selling, pull all of the information together in advance. This will save you time and stress in the long run.


You should retain planning permissions for work carried out at the property and Building Regulations Certificates for FENSA (windows), ELECSA, EICR, NICEIC (electrics), NHBC (new builds), plus your Gas Service History and any Gas Safe Register or CORGI documentation. You can often order duplicates if you have lost them. Some of these will be revealed in a buyer’s local search. Hopefully.


FENSA duplicates are easy to order online:


Cavity Wall Insulation Guarantees can be ordered from CIGA:


If you cannot locate your NHBC structural guarantee documentation on your new build then duplicates may be ordered via cssupport@nhbc.co.uk. You can also telephone them to apply for copies, see their website.


You may hold historic deeds or documents from your original purchase. Although your Conveyancer will order a copy of the up to date office copies from HM Land Registry (your Deeds), it does help if you provide what you can. The public can also obtain deeds here: Deeds held at Land Registry are public documents.



Leasehold


If your property is leasehold then make sure you have your Lease, Ground Rent receipts, Service Charge Accounts and Management Company details ready. If you were served any Notices it will be helpful to have these for your Conveyancer. Especially notices regarding Major Works which will increase your Service Charge. Your estate agent should be made aware of these when dealing with prospective buyers. Expensive repairs coming up may affect saleability.


Leasehold Management Pack

You should inform your management company that you are selling and once you find a buyer order the Leasehold Management Pack(s). There may be two. Pay the admin fee(s) as soon as possible. This will avoid lengthy delays in your conveyancing. Unfortunately Leasehold Management Packs can take up to 8 weeks to arrive. Having these quickly is essential to power through your sale.


There may be two packs if two different companies deal with ground rent and service charges. This should be obvious from the annual notices served on you, Be thorough. Your Conveyancer does not have personal knowledge of the property and needs you to be proactive regarding the packs.



Delays


You risk extra fees or disbursements, such as indemnity insurance, if your Conveyancer receives enquiries from the Buyer’s Conveyancer requesting certificates, guarantees, consents or planning permissions which are lost. These are documents that you would have been provided when work was carried out. It is amazing how few sellers can provide these but are dismayed at the delays that are caused. The moral of the story is to keep your documentation safe.


The buyer's Conveyancer will insist on receipt of certain documents as they must satisfy mortgage lender terms and conditions. Additionally, law firms have their own due diligence, so they are not pursued post-completion. They cannot waive this because it causes inconvenience.



Misleading Replies


Sellers have been sued for misleading buyers about the presence of Japanese Knotweed*. These are cases which centred on the seller's responses to questions in the Seller’s Property Information form. This is a standard enquiry form recording details about the property. The seller’s responses were found to be misleading resulting in a loss to the buyer. The seller lost the case and had to pay damages. See my article on the subject.


Recommended Wording

Always be cautious and protect yourself. If you are not sure about an answer then put "Not known & Not investigated". It is advisable to use this type of wording for clarity. You want to avoid any possibility of misleading buyers. If you have treated Japanese Knotweed on your property, then say so. Do not risk it.


*Japanese Knotweed is an invasive plant species which can take over your garden and cause property damage. Bamboo and Giant Hogweed are also of concern. If these plants spread from yours to a neighbour's property, and cause damage, you are liable and can be pursued. Treatment plans are expensive and take time. Lenders dislike these infestations and could refuse to lend.



Buyer Beware


Buyer Beware applies and the buyer must carry out relevant searches, surveys and inspections. However, if you give misleading information you will still be liable for any losses the buyer suffers and can prove. This is called misrepresentation in legal proceedings.



SUMMARY


It is best to have your house in order before you agree an offer. This will enable you to complete quickly!




DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED INCLUDES:


  • Land registry documents


  • EPC (order one if missing or expired)


  • CIGA Cavity Wall Insulation Guarantee


  • Compliance sign off for septic tank


  • Woodburning stoves & fires- HETA certificates


  • Electrical certificates


  • Agreements relating to other shared space


  • Planning Permission and building control sign off documents where work has been undertaken


  • Existing details of any covenants


  • Building and content insurance documents


  • Who owns boundary fences/walls and any Party Wall Agreements


  • Any easements, rights of way, access issues?


  • Leasehold documentation, Ground Rent & Service Charge accounts / notices


  • FENSA / CERTASS certificates for replaced windows & doors


  • Any other warranties including electrical and boiler checks


If you would like to work with an experienced South Wales Conveyancer who will work with you to complete quickly, please contact me to request a quote today.







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