Government issues new guide on how to sell your home

The government has issued a new set of guidelines to help people preparing to sell their home.

The document, How to Sell, was produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and covers everything from ensuring your home has ‘kerb appeal’ to making sure you get good legal advice from a qualified solicitor.

People who haven’t sold a property for many years may notice some changes. For example, the law requires professionals like estate agents and mortgage lenders to carry out ID checks on you to protect against money laundering.

The document lists some of the paperwork you will need to complete a sale. Your solicitor will be able to help you make sure they are in order. They include:

  • HM Land Registry title documents
  • gas checks completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer (or Corgi-registered engineer prior to 2009)
  • electrical checks – an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or a NAPIT or NICEIC certificate/report from a registered electrical competent person
  • FENSA or CERTAS certificates for windows
  • planning permission for any major work carried out
  • building regulation completion certificates and builder’s guarantee certificates for alterations or additions
  • subsidence guarantees/warranties
  • damp guarantees/warranties
  • party wall agreements (if relevant)
  • if a listed building, listed building consent for interior and exterior works
  • if your home is in a conservation area, conservation area consent for works
  • Japanese knotweed management plans (if relevant)
  • specialist asbestos surveys (if relevant)
  • any title insurance policies you may have taken out to solve title defects.

The guide covers selling both leasehold and freehold properties and gives some useful advice. For example, it points out that if you are selling a house where the lease has less than 80 years to run, you may need to extend the lease before you sell. This is because some lenders are reluctant to provide mortgages for properties with less than 80 years remaining.

Sellers are also urged to select a good solicitor shortly before they put their home on the market as this will reduce the risk of delays and other difficulties. The guide points out that selling a property involves the transfer of large sums of money so can attract the attention of criminals and financial scammers. Good legal representation can help protect you.

The full guide is available online

Please contact us if you would like advice about the legal aspects of buying or selling a property.

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