Property represents the single biggest investment you will ever make. For this very reason, much time, effort and money is invested in property whether it is a primary residential property, or a secondary investment.

When people think about preparing their house for sale, they often think about the physical aspects such as DIY and decorating to attract potential buyers, to potentially accelerate the time taken to receive an offer.

However, very few think about legally preparing their house for sale.

Now you may now be thinking ‘why would I need to do such a thing as that’s why I pay you!’ However, when you physically prepare your property for sale, you are effectively supporting your chosen Estate Agents. By taking steps legally, you can support your chosen solicitor. The key to understanding this line of thinking, is not to think of different aspects of property transactions as separate, but to think of everybody working together to achieve your ultimate goal, your sale. One break in the link can cause delays to you.

So what can you do?

The steps needed are very simple but could save weeks during the Conveyancing process and also potentially help buyers make decisions if you have the information available during the viewing stages.

1) Locate your title deeds. If you have a mortgage, your title deeds may be stored with your lender. The generic view of title deeds is a bundle of old documents. These are being phased out and are being replaced with Land Registry Title Documents which is often a double sided piece of A4 paper. You need to check your paper work from when you bought the property. Don’t worry if you are missing any, copies can be obtained from the Land Registry.

2) Gather any documents you have that relate to the property, no matter how trivial you think they are. Buyers will expect to see all documents and by not providing them, it could result in delays and possibly you paying for indemnity insurance. Windows installed after 1st April 2002 need FENSA certificates, boilers require Gas Safe certificates, and any remedial works should have associated guarantees. Lastly, building work will result in you needing to produce building regulations and planning permissions.

3) Complete the Seller Information Forms. These forms are a crucial part of the contract papers - The Property Information Form includes information about the property, the Fittings & Content Form details what you intend to take/leave or possibly sell to the purchasers, and lastly if your property is Leasehold, the Leasehold Information Form contains info about the Lease.

If time isn’t an issue to you, then you may not think the above is applicable. However, missing title documents cost £8.00 - £24.00 from the Land Registry, and missing title documents and guarantees/certificates/planning permissions will likely be covered by Indemnity Insurance which you will pay for.

Ideally, you should aim get the information together before you market the property so that your solicitor can send complete contract papers on receipt of the sale memorandum from the Estate Agents. Your Chosen Estate Agent can also show the above information to buyers, which will not only help them make informed decisions, but also demonstrate that you are serious and organised vendor.

This is the idea behind our Property Information Packs (PIPs) and the now suspended Home Information Pack (HIPs). Our PIPs contain all of the above, as well as the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which you need to legally market your property, and the Land Registry Title Document. What’s more, we don’t charge for the creation of a PIP, you simply pay for the EPC and the Title Document.

For further information contact Marketing Manager, Rick Barrow.