Buying and selling a residential property can be stressful and time-consuming without the help of a property lawyer from the outset.
Andrew Clark, Partner in the Property team, outlines how sellers can help to speed up the property transaction process and explains the how a proactive property lawyer can help ease the pressure of, not just the seller, but all those involved in the transaction.
How Can You Help Speed Up the Property Transaction Process?
Sellers would benefit by instructing a solicitor at the same time as instructing the selling agent.
The property lawyer should be sent a copy of the selling agent’s sales brochure for comment as early as possible and before the property is marketed. This is particularly relevant if the selling agent feels that the advert needs to include a plan showing the extent of the property or an internal layout plan. The plans should be checked carefully by the seller’s lawyer to ensure that they are accurate when compared with the Title Plan in the registered title or the unregistered deed plan.
The following matters should also be addressed and provided at the outset:
- Obtain the deeds bundle/papers from any previous firm of solicitors.
- Provide the necessary file opening paperwork for the firm’s compliance officers – generally identification papers.
- Provide details of any mortgage on the property so that a check may be made with that lender.
- Complete the Law Society’s Protocol form of questionnaire, the Property Information Form (and, if leasehold, a Leasehold Information Form too).
- Obtain up to date service records in respect to any central heating boiler, and heating installation or appliance along with guarantee paperwork and a building regulation completion certification relating to its installation.
- Obtain up to date Electrical Installation Inspection Reports along with any certificates of installation and compliance papers under building regulations.
- Obtain any guarantees for installations at the property and their terms checked, to see if they are transferrable.
Whilst the above actions will involve some degree of costs being incurred prior to locating a buyer, it will inevitably speed up the transaction by identifying in plenty of time any title issues or missing paperwork.
How Can a Property Lawyer Help?
A property lawyer can help to ensure that errors are minimised and assist with efficiently and effectively processing the transaction. For example, many sellers, estate agents and solicitors may wonder “if the title is registered, what can be the problem?” However, there have been countless instances where the Register of the title to a property contains errors; sometimes minor errors can be easily rectified by an application to the Land Registry and other instances larger errors need the assistance of other parties to achieve the rectification which is required.
Also, a well-prepared contract pack (including a draft Contract, papers evidencing the title to the property and the Protocol Information Forms, and supporting documents) by an experienced property lawyer can avoid delays from occurring further down the process. Any absences of paperwork and indemnity insurance requirements can all be identified and addressed well in advance to save time and material negotiations.
Aside from the legal title and its transfer to a buyer, property lawyers can assist with dealing with compliance issues; competent person’s self-certifications under building regulations; guarantees and their assignability.
For more information on buying or selling a property, or if you would like some advice on how to speed up the transaction process, please contact Andrew Clark on 01244 305911 or email [email protected].