Have you lived in your home for a number of years and are now thinking of downsizing to somewhere smaller or more manageable? Although the process has not changed, it is always sensible to be one step ahead of a buyer’s lawyer, particularly if you’d like a quick and stress-free move.
Instructing a lawyer is the first port of call and it is always good to do so in advance of the property being marketed with an estate agent. This will allow time to iron out any issues and pre-empt all those questions that a prudent buyer’s lawyer will raise.
Potential issues that may arise include:
- If the land has not already been compulsory registered, then it may continue to be unregistered at the Land Registry. You will need to dig out your original title deeds for an application to be made. As most land is now registered, it may be worth asking your lawyer to register it at the Land Registry for ease of dealing with it moving forward.
- Where the property is registered, you should check with your lawyer for any entries on the title. If there are satisfied mortgages which have long since been redeemed, then you will need to contact the lender to ask them to notify the Land Registry or provide a form of discharge for your lawyer to send to the Land Registry on your behalf.
- Where you have carried out works to the property, you will need to produce various warranties and guarantees if they are still in date, along with building control completion certificates for new windows and planning permissions obtained at the time. Often duplicate information can be obtained from the council and duplicate FENSA certificates for new windows. However, you may want to draw your lawyer’s attention to these items so appropriate investigation can be made.
- Where the property is leasehold, you should pull together your ground rent and service charge payments, minutes of previous meetings with the management companies and contact details as to where the management pack can be obtained.
- Where there are rent charges demanded or where the property lies upon a freehold management estate, then enquiries will need to be raised and evidence of payments obtained in the form of receipts.
- There may be requirements for statutory declarations to be made as to use of the property or indeed parcels of land which are not in your ownership. It is sensible to draft these in advance or obtain indemnity insurance quotes for a prospective buyer.
Armed with the above, a full disclosure can be made to the buyer’s lawyer at the outset with no hidden difficulties arising at a later date to cause a buyer to withdraw. We are facing a particularly difficult market at present so anything you can do to improve your chances of a successful sale are well worth the effort.