Kathryn Taylor is Managing Partner at Gordon Brown Law Firm and specialises in Residential Conveyancing with a particular emphasis on New Build Transactions.
Working in Gordon Brown Law Firm’s busy residential conveyancing department, this is a question I am frequently asked by clients selling properties. I always respond with the answer that a sale can only go through as quickly as the slowest person in the chain! That said, there are a number of things that sellers can do to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.
Here are my top tips and suggestions:
ID & Client Care Letters Your solicitor will request your ID and a Client Care Letter at the start of the sale process. Return these at the earliest opportunity to enable your solicitor to start the work on your file.
Forms – Your solicitor will send you a number of forms throughout your transaction, including the Sellers’ Property Information form. Remember that buyers’ solicitors generally reject incomplete forms or raise enquiries on missing answers which can cause delays. If you don’t know an answer to a question tick either don’t know’ or call your solicitor.
Leasehold Properties As soon as you put your property up for sale, even better if you can do so before, check your remaining lease term. In some cases sellers need to extend their lease because the remaining term is too short this can end up being a very lengthy process. As a good rule of thumb, anything over 80 years is generally acceptable, however this should always be checked with your solicitor. Another helpful tip is to locate your ground rent receipt and send it to your solicitor. The absence of a ground rent receipt can cause a delay in your transaction and a fee may be payable if your solicitor has to request a duplicate from the freeholder.
Central Heating/Boilers Make sure you have a copy of the last service report for the central heating. If it is a long time since your boiler was last serviced then be aware that the buyers may request a new service. If so it is best to arrange the service for as soon as possible. New boilers should have a Gas Safe/Corgi installation certificate.
Double Glazing If you have had new windows installed give your solicitor both the guarantee and the FENSA installation certificate at the earliest opportunity.
Building /Electrical Work/Covenants Give your solicitor everything you have record-wise in terms of Planning and Building Regulations approvals; the buyer’s solicitor and their surveyor will ask for details. Also remember that alterations to a property often require a covenant consent under the terms of your title deeds. If you have done any work to the property and don’t have covenant consent check with your solicitor straightaway to see if consent is needed.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, being organised from the outset and having all of the relevant paperwork filed and close to hand will go a long way towards keeping your part of the process speedy and without hiccups.