Philippa Rudd - EDP Property column. Preparing to sell...

We are about to put our house on the market, in the hope of selling while our garden is full of colourful spring flowers. We haven’t moved for years. What should we do to prepare?

Apart from the practical points, such as decorating and attending to any DIY, you should also speak to your solicitor about the paperwork that will be needed. He or she can also recommend a local estate agent.

What paperwork will the solicitor need?

Your solicitor will need to check your ID (passports or driving licences and proof of address).  Also, he or she will need your title deeds and mortgage account number. You should also supply documents which the buyer’s solicitor will need to see, such as planning permissions, guarantees, boiler service paperwork, certificates for any new windows or electrical improvements. If you have carried out any works at the house, such as an extension or a conservatory, you should give details to your solicitor such as the date and any permissions or guarantees. You will need to fill in a Fixtures and Contents Form and a Property Information Form.

We built a conservatory about five years ago but we used a friend and we don’t have any paperwork. I hope this won’t cause a problem?

Your solicitor can advise as to whether planning permission or building regulation approval should have been obtained. Likewise he or she will check your title deeds to see if any restrictive covenants prohibit or restrict such works. If the builder failed to obtain any necessary consents, indemnity insurance may be available providing certain conditions are met.

How long will the sales process take?

It all depends on the circumstances of all other parties in the ‘chain’. The searches don’t take longer than about ten working days at present. We can’t proceed to exchange contracts until all parties are ready, with their mortgage offers, replies to enquiries and deposits paid and a completion (moving) date agreed. If you prepare now, your solicitor can have all the forms and documents ready that will help your sale move quickly and smoothly.

To find out more, call us on: 01603 625231