Here's how to kick-start the legal process

May 2021

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

The housing market is always a stimulating topic of conversation and 2021 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. It is widely reported that housing transactions are taking longer, the stamp duty deadline date is looming and you can’t help but read that lenders and lawyers are at their busiest levels for years.

With all this going on, what can you do to proactively help your own transaction?

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 current legal owner of your property, you are the driving force when it comes to kick-starting the legal process. 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 time you have owned your property a lot could have happened. Changes, since you bought the property, are likely to be raised by your buyer’s lawyer, so you'll need to locate all your relevant documentation, 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 three crucial forms that need to be completed before your draft contract pack can be issued.

  • Property Information Form
  • Sellers Details 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.   

Gather your identification

The law requires lawyers to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients. Your lawyer will tell you what they need but help them get ahead by explaining any differences. Changes to name and title ownership of the property are common enquiries so 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 get-go.

Countrywide Conveyancing Services have been acting for customers to buy and sell their homes for more than 20 years. We have over 120 dedicated specialist property lawyers who are really passionate about helping our customers. Conveyancing is all we do and we are really proud to say that we 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 our FastSTART 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.

Contact your local branch

For more about Countrywide Conveyancing Services and the legal services we provide, please contact your local branch.