There is a lot to juggle when buying and selling property. Once the viewings and offers are out of the way, there’s still a mountain of paperwork to negotiate before exchange of contracts and completion can take place.
The recent Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday has prompted many people to move house or make their first property purchase but, to benefit from the tax relief, timescales are tight, introducing even more urgency into the conveyancing process.
One of the things that can slow the process down is people not being able to find important documents when they are required.
By getting on top of the paperwork at the outset, buyers and sellers can ensure they’ve got all of their important documents to hand as soon as they are needed. In fact, it’s well worth drawing up a document checklist and ticking off as you locate the required paperwork.
The first thing you’ll need is proof of identity – ideally a valid passport or driving licence. This is a requirement when instructing a solicitor to deal with the legal side of your move.
You’ll also need additional documents as proof of your address, for example, a recent utility bill, bank statement or council tax bill.
Buyers will be asked for ‘proof of funds’ to demonstrate that they have secured sufficient funds to make the purchase. A copy of your mortgage offer should suffice, along with a bank statement to show that you have the funds to cover your deposit.
Sellers meanwhile need to locate an array of documents related to their property including:
- title deeds or proof of ownership,
- planning permission and building regulations certificates for any extensions or alteration work that has been carried out,
- FENSA and CERTASS certificates if you’ve had windows or doors installed,
- Gas Safe, CORGI and HETAS certificates for boilers and heating appliances,
- Guarantees for any other work carried out at the property.
The other important document in any sale or purchase is, of course, the contract, which contains all of the conditions of the transaction. Your solicitor will prepare this document for you to sign ready for exchange with the other party.
Once contracts have been exchanged, the buyer will pay their deposit (usually 10%) and at this point, you are legally obliged to proceed with the sale or purchase.
If you are toying with the idea of moving, it is still possible to benefit from some Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) relief.
Until 30 September 2021, the SDLT threshold is £250,000, meaning you only pay SDLT on the proportion of the purchase price above £250,000. For many buyers in our area this will mean paying no SDLT at all.
From 1 October the threshold will return to £125,000 – the same level as before the pandemic.