Published: 26/03/2019 By Peter BarryOnce you have made the decision to sell your beloved home there will be a number of things you can do to help the sale along. You can’t rely on other people to have everything in place before they make or accept an offer but if you’ve got a solicitor in place, you’ve got your finances arranged and you’ve earmarked your next property, at least your link will be ready when the offer is accepted.
The legal side.
If you don’t already have a solicitor in place, your estate agent should be able to recommend a good one who is approachable and efficient as they will have dealt with many solicitors in the area. Alternatively, speak to friends and family for recommendations.
Prepare the paperwork.
Get your paperwork in order. As soon as you accept an offer on your property your solicitor will require a list of documents from you; many of which can be prepared in advance:-
- If you have extended your property you will need to provide documents from the Local Authority to show that planning permission was granted for the work and that it was signed off by the Building Inspector. You should have obtained a Completion Certificate to show the work was finished to the correct standard. If you do not have this, or you have mislaid the original, you can obtain a copy from your local Building Control Services.
- If work was carried out to your property by previous owners’ you may have been supplied with relevant documents during your purchase so it is worth checking through your files.
- If you have a mortgage on your property your mortgage lender will more than likely be holding your deeds but, if you live in a leasehold property, you should have been supplied with a copy of your lease. This document will answer many questions that potential buyers may pose.
- For Leasehold properties, your solicitor will obtain a Sellers Pack from your Freeholder or their managing agents which will contain vital information relating to maintenance of the building, service charges and ground rents. These packs could cost you in the region of £150 to £300. There is little point ordering this in advance as the information it contains could be out of date by the time you are progressing with an offer but bear this cost in mind and confirm the charges and contact details in preparation.
Make an appointment to discuss your finances with your mortgage broker or bank to confirm how much you can borrow. There is little point setting your heart on that prefect abode when it turns out to be just out of your financial reach. Your broker will be able to confirm your borrowing capacity and supply you with a Mortgage Arranged in Principle Certificate which you can show to estate agents to confirm that you are in a good financial position to help secure your next dream pad.
Whilst it’s always tempting to accept the highest offer on your property, it makes sense to take a step back from the pound signs and really think about who the best buyer is. There might be a number of offers on the table (if you’re lucky!), in which case you can make a rational decision based on the circumstances behind each offer. There’s never any guarantee of a purchase going smoothly but it’s obvious that the more links in the chain, the more precarious it is. If you have a good offer from a chain-free purchaser with a mortgage in place, you need to work out just how much the added level of security is worth to you in monetary terms. Getting close to completion then seeing your sale fall through could result in months of extra hassle. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about your buyer – have they offered on other properties? Do they have a mortgage offer agreed?
Reduce the risk of a sale falling through.
The bigger the chain, the more links there are to break – the nature of house buying means that every sale is precarious and no one can crack open the Champagne until they have the keys or the cash in their hands. In recent years, the tougher criteria placed on mortgage applications, as well as the precarious nature of jobs and funds, has meant even more sales failing to come to fruition. Moving house is a hassle but if you’re prepared to move into a rental property when you sell your own, you can remove part of the chain with one easy step. You’re now only relying on your purchaser to come good and, what’s more, renting will put your in prime position for your next move, as you will effectively be chain-free, and therefore a tempting proposition for vendors. Think of it as a short-term solution for long-term gain.