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Selling and buying property can be an extremely stressful time for people, and as a result, we do try to tailor our service to individuals, whether they are first time buyers, haven’t moved in a while or are experienced investors. Whichever category your clients fall into, a certain amount of preparation can assist the process in the long run, not to mention calming the nerves!
Sellers particularly, have a large amount of paperwork to complete, and therefore it is essential that the information is all in place and ready to be sent to the buyer’s lawyer as soon as a sale has been agreed. Delays in sending paperwork can often draw out the process considerably.
What do you recommend?
Sellers should ideally instruct their lawyer well before an offer is accepted on their property. This will then provide the sellers with ample time to organise their paperwork, bring any deeds and documents into the office and also complete the property forms. If this is done at the earliest opportunity, any queries or questions by the lawyer in relation to the paperwork can be dealt with prior to a sale being agreed. Hopefully on this basis, any issues can be ironed out.
The more the better! Encourage your sellers to send/bring into their lawyer’s office all of their title deeds and documents, guarantees, planning permissions, building regulation consents. Basically, as much information as they can. The seller will refer to the information on the property forms and the buyers are likely to want to see copies of the documents. It will save time during the transaction if these documents are readily available.
What are the potential delays?
Unfortunately, it isn’t just the sellers themselves who need to provide information and paperwork to move their sale forwards. Very often, sellers are relying on other individuals and companies to supply information about their property to enable them to sell. When selling leasehold properties, especially flats (approximately 200,000, or 1 in every 5, properties sold in the UK are), sellers are relying on landlords and managing agents to provide information before they are able to proceed. The seller’s lawyer usually contacts these parties to obtain such information as service charge and ground rent levels, anticipated major works and any breaches of the lease terms and further information.
As a result, the average time it takes to obtain the required information is 3 weeks, in some instances taking 8 weeks! The cost of obtaining the information can cost sellers an average of £350, with some costs exceeding £800.
What can sellers do?
If sellers are aware that their management company and/or landlord are slow to respond, it may be worth applying for the information before a sale is even agreed. Sellers do run the risk of paying out and then possibly not selling later on down the line, but there is a huge benefit of being prepared as early as possible and not delaying an exchange of contracts.
Alternatively, sellers could ask their management company to notify them of the time they take to put the information together, so they can gauge the timing of this as soon as a sale is agreed, and notify any buyer straightaway (so as not to put them off).
Also, sellers need to ensure they have the funds in place to pay for the information pack straightaway.
Will it cost the sellers more to instruct early on?
We are happy to hold the information and review it prior to a sale being agreed, and will not charge any extra fees for doing so.