With the expectation of a gradual easing of lockdown over the coming weeks many will be looking for a change of surroundings and to put their home up for sale.
Speculation on the state of the housing market is understandable, and we will not know the immediate impact of lockdown for at least a few months yet as everything restarts. The latest signs are promising however and the residential property market will re-emerge into the summer months with buyers looking for their new home post lockdown.
So, if you are thinking of selling your home, use this time to plan effectively. Beyond the paint and potted plants, here’s a look at what you can do to prepare on the legal side.
Get in touch
This advice usually comes at the end of an article. It is however the best suggestion to be made if you want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
Each situation will be slightly different and it is better to seek bespoke advice where you can. A simple telephone call or email to your solicitor can usually get you more tailored answers.
Locate your Title Deeds
These are essential. You will want to have them located and examined as soon as possible, and ideally prior to any offer being made on your home. Once you have an interested buyer, you don’t want delays on your side to cause them to lose interest.
There are currently two registers of land in Scotland:-
The Land Register of Scotland – (The New one)
This register is digital. If the title to your property is registered here, this can be located simply by downloading the relevant, ‘title sheet’ online. Your solicitor can do this for you at minimum cost. You may even have a copy on your computer from when you originally purchased or re-mortgaged your property.
General Register of Sasines – (The Old One)
These are paper deeds, usually held by either your solicitor, mortgage lender, or you might even hold these yourself. Find this out as early as you can and have the paper deeds sent to your solicitor for early examination.
Having a Plan
At this time, selling your property in Scotland will necessitate a change of the title in your property from this register into the Land Register. As a part of this an acceptable plan is required and if your deeds do not already contain this, a new plan of your property will require to be created. This can take time and raise potential issues which are best resolved early on rather than at the last minute.
The Other Paperwork
The following is a list of the most common additional paperwork you should have to hand in preparation for sale of your home. Ideally keep a paper trail of any works in relation to your home so you can present this to your buyer from the outset of any transaction:-
If there have been any alterations to your property you will need to ensure local authority consent has been acquired where necessary;
If you have had any treatment to the property, such as woodworm treatment or damp proofing, dig out relevant paperwork such as guarantees or quotes and invoices;
New Home Warranty
This is relevant if your home was built within the last 10 years. You will almost certainly have received a warranty either in the form of an architect’s certificate or from a New Homes Warranty provider such as NHBC;
If you took out a mortgage to purchase your property you should provide your solicitor with details of your lender and your mortgage account number. You will almost always be required to redeem your mortgage upon sale of your property so providing these details will allow your solicitor to arrange this.
What if I have a Rural Home to Sell?
Most homes in urban environments will have public water and sewerage connections. In a rural environment this may not always be the case. If you have either a private water supply or septic tank you will need a little extra preparation:-
Private Water Supply
You will typically be asked to provide proof that the water supply has been tested and passed by the local authority. If no test has been completed this will need to be organised, ideally well in advance to allow time for any issues to be addressed.
This will require to be registered with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Registration is typically straightforward but can take time so best to be resolved early.
Agreements with Neighbours
Finally a brief note about any agreements you may have made, but never formalised, whilst you have owned the home you are selling. Any rights of access; boundary agreements; installation or equipment or pipes across each other’s land are usually best formalised to avoid any confusion when it comes time to sell.
If you have any queries or thoughts after reading this article you should get in touch with the writer.
Piers Baylis, Solicitor E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0141 225 4842