When the time comes to sell your house, getting the right paperwork together ahead of selling the property will streamline the process for all parties. While mentally packing up and moving onto the next chapter poses enough stress, the last thing overwhelmed sellers need is to comb through files for mandatory forms at the last minute.
While specific requirements vary case-by-case, nearly all property transactions mandate standard types of documentation. Here, we explore the key items needed in order to progress the sale seamlessly. Understanding what these materials entail, and sorting them out early mitigates unnecessary delays or issues further down the road.
Proof of identity
You’ll need to provide a valid form of identification, such as a passport or driving licence and a proof of address, to comply with anti-money laundering laws. Acceptable proof of address documents include a driving licence, a recent bank statement or a utility bill, provided they are no older than three months.
Title register and plan documents
When you go to sell your house, there are a couple key documents you’ll need: the title register and the plan. Both of these are stored online by the Land Registry, and they’re crucial because they show that you actually own the home. The title register spells out whether you own the place yourself or share ownership with someone. It also says if there’s still a mortgage on the property. The plan is basically a map showing where your property lines are drawn.
You can buy copies of those documents from the Land Registry website. But when selling a house, you need “Official Copy Entries” instead, which your conveyancer can get for £3 a pop.
It matters a lot whether you outright own the land your house sits on (known as “freehold”) or you own a lease on it for a set number of years (“leasehold”). The ownership status changes what documents are required to sell. Most houses are freehold, but not always, so it’s worth double checking. If your home is leasehold, you’ll need the title deeds for both the leaseholder and freeholder. It’s better to clear this up sooner rather than later. Before listing your home, it pays to get those key documents squared away and take a look over them.
Proof of ownership
After you get copies of that title register and plan from the Land Registry, you need to prove that you actually are the owner listed on those documents. It’s a lot like when you’ve had to show ID to open a bank account or get a mobile phone contract – you need to match your identity to the name on the paperwork. And if there are other people named as owners, they’ll need to verify who they are too and give the okay for selling.
Sometimes extra forms might be required as well. Like if you’re selling a house that used to belong to a parent who passed away. In that case, you need something called a “grant of probate“, which is legal proof that you’ve got the right to handle your parent’s estate and sell their property. If you’re unsure about getting one or how it works, talking to a professional or the right authorities can help explain the steps so you know how to move forward properly.
The key is just making sure you’ve jumped through all the right hoops identity-wise and documentation-wise before trying to sell a house. It avoids headaches down the road.
Energy performance certificate (EPC)
An energy performance certificate (EPC) rates how energy-efficient your home is, from G up to A – with G being really inefficient and A being the best it can be. The EPC looks at aspects like your insulation and heating system.
If your current EPC is more than 10 years old, it’s no longer valid and you’ll need to have a certified assessor come out and issue a new one.
For sellers in Scotland, you need what’s called a Home Report instead of an EPC. The Home Report needs to be less than 10 weeks old when you put the house on the market. There are a couple exceptions, though. First, if you’ve had your home listed continuously since the last Home Report, you may not require a new one yet. And second, if it’s a brand new build or a converted property that no one has lived in since being built, you could be off the hook as well.
The key things are making sure you have a valid energy rating document, whether an EPC or Home Report, or getting a fresh one done if yours has expired. Just another box to check to make sure everything is by the book when selling.
Also known as an Information Form, a TA6 is an essential document that gives potential buyers detailed insights into various aspects of your property, assisting them in their decision-making process.
- Property boundaries. Details regarding the extent and limits of the property.
- Disputes. Information on any historical or ongoing disputes involving the property.
- Building works. A record of any construction or modifications undertaken on the property.
- Conservation area or listed status. Whether the property is in a conservation area or is a listed building.
- Connected utilities. Lists services connected to the property, such as gas, water, electricity, and cable.
- Guarantees and warranties. Details of any warranties for works such as damp proofing, electrical installations, roofing, central heating, underpinning, and windows or glazed doors.
- Insurance and claims. Information about the property’s insurance and any past claims, including for events like flooding.
- Green Deal efficiency measures. Details of any energy-saving improvements made under the Green Deal.
- Japanese Knotweed. Information on whether the property has been affected by Japanese Knotweed.
New build warranty
If your property is a new build or less than 10 years old, it’s important to gather your Buildmark (NHBC) or other new home warranty paperwork. These documents are key because they outline protections and guarantees on various elements of your home’s construction. Things like the roof, windows, foundations, wiring – anything involved in building the house. The warranties can cover repairs or defects for a set period of time. So having that documentation available is crucial for understanding exactly what’s covered and for how long.
Fittings and contents form
When selling a home, you need a TA10, which is also known as a “fittings and contents form.” This is basically an inventory list of everything that’s included with the house’s sale price. We’re talking about aspects inside like furniture and decorations. But also external things like garages, garden sheds, plants in the yard – you name it.
The goal of the TA10 is to create super clear expectations between you and the buyer about exactly what comes along with the property you’re selling. When people are confused about whether certain items or whether structures are included or not, it can delay the process.
The handy TA10 form allows you to spell out every last garden gnome and ceiling fan that gets included in the deal. This keeps the sale going from start to finish and eliminates any surprises or mismatched assumptions down the road about what was covered for the price originally agreed on.
When preparing to sell your property, certain certificates are necessary to demonstrate compliance with building regulations:
FENSA certificates for windows and doors
These certificates confirm that any window or door installations comply with Building Regulations and are registered with the Local Council. They are a legal requirement for selling your home.
Gas safety certificate
While not legally required for selling a home, it’s highly advisable to have gas appliances inspected annually for safety. These inspections, conducted by registered gas safety engineers, can detect gas leaks and carbon monoxide presence, ensuring safety.
Boiler safety certificate
Selling a property without a valid boiler safety certificate and a ‘Building Regulations Compliance Certificate’ is not allowed. These certificates indicate when and how the boiler was installed and confirm compliance with building regulations. If lost, a replacement can be requested from the Gas Safe Register for a fee.
Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC)
It’s illegal to sell a home without an EIC. This certificate is proof that any electrical work on the property meets building regulations. Additionally, you need two certificates to verify that any electrical work was conducted by a registered electrician: The Building Regulations Compliance Certificate and the Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC), or a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate confirming compliance with BS 7671, the British Standard for electrical safety.
If you’ve renovated or changed something about your house, you need to prove that you’ve got all the right green lights along the way. That means having paperwork like your planning permissions, Building Regulations approvals and completion certificates. Basically, you need forms showing the powers-that-be signed off on specific updates or additions you did.
As the seller, it’s also important to come clean about any work done that maybe didn’t get the proper consents beforehand. And you should mention anything that’s not finished yet either. It’s all about transparency so the buyer knows exactly what’s legit and what still needs some attention.
If there’s a current mortgage on the property, you’ll need to provide the full account details and what you owe at the time of sale. You should also list any other property loans or charges too so there’s complete transparency.
For any outstanding payments, the lender will have you sign an ‘undertaking’. This is a legal promise to use the sale money to cover what’s still due. It keeps the new buyer free and clear of taking on your existing mortgage. If that paper trail isn’t there, the buyer could be stuck paying your debt. And no one wants that headache.
When selling a home, transparency around anything influential is key. Known legally as “material facts”, it includes flooding risks, dodgy construction and anything along these lines. If it can change someone’s mind about buying, then it’s important to include it and offer clarity.
Also, outline fixed costs tied to the property, be it council tax, leasehold charges or fees related to new builds. That way, buyers can factor these in. If you’ve done work on shared walls, provide related Party Wall Agreements, and disclose any specialty insurance policies too, since buyers may want to continue those. Inform buyers about restrictions like covenants and wayleaves.
While giving the home a fresh coat of paint is only natural if you’re selling, don’t conceal defects just to make a sale. Painting over dampness will eventually show in the buyer’s survey. Transparency upfront will avoid hassles later if issues emerge.
Acceptance of offer
Once you and a buyer agree on an offer, your solicitor draws up a document to make it official. You also sign what’s called a “Transfer of Deeds” to get the ball rolling for the completion of the sale. Your solicitor will guide you through this, getting the contract exchanged with the buyer. This lays out the sold price, when everything will be finalised and any need-to-know legal stuff.
After contracts are swapped and signed, the sale becomes 100% binding – backing out can mean financial penalties.
Lastly, if your property exceeds a certain value, you may need to obtain confirmation of stamp duty payment from your solicitor, typically within 30 days post-completion. The key is staying in tune with your solicitor or conveyancer throughout to understand where things stand. Once everything is in motion, you can focus on the next chapter.
Contract for sale
Your conveyancer handles all the paperwork, but reviewing and signing key documents yourself is important too. One such document is the Property Transfer Deed (TR1), which transfers the ownership from you to the buyer legally. Another important one is the contract of sale laying out transaction specifics such as buyer and seller info, address, price and terms.
You don’t have to prepare the forms yourself (thank goodness), but do stay in touch with your conveyancer on how it’s going. Checking that everything is orderly and your questions are answered will keep you informed as a seller before inking those signatures.
Summary: Being document ready
As you can see, there are a whole heap of documents needed to sell your home, and it can all get a little overwhelming.
To simplify things, you can sell your home directly to us. You’ll be able to use our local conveyancers for free! They will guide you through everything needed while making the process seamless and hassle-free. In fact, we can buy your home in just 48 hours if needed. Get a free, no-obligation cash offer for your home and see how much your property is worth.