Here's how to kick-start the legal process

So, the house is ready, photos are taken and your home is proudly displayed online for buyers to come and see. What happens now?

The housing market is always a stimulating topic of conversation and 2022 is no exception. If you have recently put your property on the market or are thinking of doing so, a lot of what you hear in the news can make things feel a bit unclear. The frenetic activity generated by the two stamp duty holidays last year may have eased a bit, but the market is still busy and the practical things you as a seller can do to give your property an edge are as relevant as ever.

How to get a head start

The first priority is to work with your estate agent to secure a buyer. Ideally the right buyer, at the right time, giving you the right price. Both customers and agents will usually wait until a buyer has been found and an offer secured, before even thinking about the paperwork they will need, but we recommend that you don’t do that if you want to get off to a flying start.  

The reality is, as the seller who knows all about your property, you are the driving force when it comes to kick-starting the legal process. We advise that you instruct a property lawyer as soon as you put your property on the market. Your lawyer is responsible for issuing the contract pack to your buyer’s lawyers as this starts off the whole chain of events, and they need your help to do this.

So, here's our advice to help you get moving quickly…

Dust off those documents

Over the years you may have done a lot to your property, and your buyer’s lawyers will want to see copies of documents to support any changes you have made. Spend time locating all your relevant paperwork, planning consents, building regulations, warranties and service history documents. Invariably missing documents will lead to enquiries between the two legal teams that can slow down your transaction. Any agent will tell you that raising and answering enquiries is the step that always takes the longest, so time spent now will pay dividends later. Remember, if your property is leasehold you need evidence that your fees are up to date as well as information relating to the management company.

Complete the forms early

Usually, there are two important forms that need to be completed before your draft contract pack can be issued, although there may be more if your property is leasehold.

  • Property Information Form
  • Fixtures and Fittings Form

The great news is that the majority of this information you will know before you even sell your property, so take the time and get them completed. As your transaction progresses, your lawyer will respond to queries that relate to the title of the property and many of these questions and queries will come to you to answer. So doing this early can really help you get in front and even prevent many enquiries from being raised at all.   

Be prepared to have your identity checked

The law requires lawyers to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients. Your lawyer will tell you what they need, but changes to name and title ownership of the property are common enquiries, so help them get ahead by explaining any differences. Be prepared to provide copies of things like marriage, divorce or death certificates where relevant.

The selling of property under any circumstances can be a challenging experience, but with these three simple steps, both you and your lawyer will be more prepared and in control from the start.

Our conveyancing team have been acting for customers to buy and sell their homes for more than 20 years. They have over 120 dedicated specialist property lawyers who are really passionate about helping our customers. Conveyancing is what they do and they are really proud to say that they are trusted by more than 60,000 customers per year.  

If you have recently put your property on the market or are thinking of doing so, find out how their service can help you really get ahead as we begin work the moment you instruct your estate agent to place your property on the market.

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