Moving House - To Do List
Moving house can be an inherently stressful process. The best way to ensure a smooth transaction is to be prepared with all papers and possible issues in advance, so these do not stall the process due to late discovery, and enabling your solicitor and agent to ensure all matters are properly addressed in advance. We have set out below a short checklist, which is not exhaustive, but should assist in initial preparations so that you can hit the ground running once a buyer is found.
You will need to complete two (possibly three) forms:
- A property information form (matters affecting/ benefitting the property).
- A fittings and contents form (what you are including in terms of lights, blinds, carpets and furniture). Consider allotting a price to extra items you may be including in the sale.
- You may need to complete a leasehold information form if you do not own a freehold property.
Any misrepresentation in these forms may entitle a buyer to terminate the contract (before completion) or to claim damages, and so it is best to be full and frank in responding to these forms, and your solicitor can assist you with this.
If your property is leasehold, you will need to pay for a management pack to provide to the buyer. This can take time to arrive, so order in good time.
Information to provide to solicitor
Works, Tests and Guarantees
- Copies of planning consents, landlord and third-party consents to works (such as Grosvenor/party wall awards)
- Building regulations completion certificates for structural works, new windows, new gas appliances or new water connections
- Electrical installation certificates - Copies of the architect’s or other professional consultant’s plans for works done
- Guarantees or warranties in relation to damp proof works, central heating installation, wood treatment, electrical wiring, plumbing, new windows and doors, or alternatively any inbuilt kitchen products, air conditioning, sump pumps or sound systems. For new build properties the 10 year new build warranty (if still applicable)
- Gas safety, electrical wiring, fi re alarm or burglar test certificates
Receipted service charge payments, notices from the landlord or correspondence between you and the landlord, particularly in relation to any upcoming works which might require an additional payment. A buyer may want a retention from the purchase price for year-end service charge reconciliation payments.
If you own a leasehold property with a share in the freehold, you will probably have a share certificate. The original is ideally needed to be handed to the buyer on completion.
If you are selling subject to a tenancy, provide this, together with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Certificate and all information served at the start of the tenancy.
Even if there are no current disputes, and any past disputes were resolved, you are still obliged to disclose these. If there are outstanding property disputes, our property litigation team would be able to advise you.
Anti Money Laundering and Knowing Your Client.
Before we can start acting for you we will need to carry out checks on your identity, and if you are buying on your source and proof of funds. Since this can delay issuing papers, do be prepared with a utility bill and a bank statement in your name showing your usual home address, and no older than three months. We will also need a certified copy of your passport.
Other points for consideration
Is your property mortgaged? Will the sales proceeds be enough to discharge the mortgage on the property? If not, how will you pay off the mortgage at completion?
Consider whether you are eligible for a lease extension and whether any assignment of this right to a buyer would add value to your property or make it more marketable. We have a team dedicated to enfranchisement and lease extension who can assist you with this.
Whilst you should discuss tax structuring on any purchase with us (both from an acquisition tax, but also from a holding and inheritance tax, position) you should not overlook the shortened timescale for fi ling any necessary capital gains tax return (CGT) and making any required payments following completion of your sale, and we can assist you with that process. Please note CGT also now affects non UK resident sellers too.
Discuss with your solicitor whether any missing papers or issues can be covered by indemnity insurance. Although solicitors are not permitted to advise as to the merits of particular policies, they can put you in contact with a broker. Most policies will cover the buyer, any tenants and a lender to the buyer.
Discuss with your solicitor how you might intend to deal with any issues affecting the property. This might be by way of purchase price reduction, a conditional contract (e.g. requiring you to carry out the works before completion) or a purchase price retention, where the buyer carries out the works and is entitled to a refund of some/all of the retention monies for this.
The purchase or sale of a high value home requires expert legal advice to manage the complexities involved. Our lawyers are dedicated to sharing their knowledge to enable you to navigate the legal practicalities of buying and selling high value assets. We will support you through every stage of the process, and with the largest dedicated Residential Property team in London, we have the strength to do this. Visit our Hub to learn more.