When buying and selling property there will be documents that you will need to acquire in order to complete the transaction.​These will be slightly different in all cases depending on the needs of your particular purchase and sale. Your conveyancing solicitor will advise you more on when and how these documents are to be used.

Firstly, we will deal with the documents involved in the purchase of a property:

Title Deeds

Only a few years ago, you would have been handed the title deeds to your new house in paper form, to keep safe until needed in the future. Nowadays, the Land Registry records are all digital and your particulars are kept on a database. It is still possible to be given a paper copy in certain circumstances, such as the purchase of a previously unregistered property, but this is becoming more and more rare as time goes on.  You should still receive some form of confirmation from your solicitor that you have been registered as the new owner of the property. However, this will be kept as a digital file until needed. Your solicitor should be able to provide you with a copy of the registered title showing you as “registered proprietor”. This will come through within a month or two of completion.

Copy of Lease

If your property is leasehold, your solicitor must give you a copy of the lease with the lease plan of your property. Your lease contains a lot of very important information such as: the names of the original parties on the lease, a description of the property and any other areas it covers, your rights relating to access over shared areas or other parts of the building and rights granted, the rules you must abide by when living there such as having carpets, rules on the keeping of pets etc, how much ground rent is payable, event fees, service charges, admin charges and other rules and regulations that govern your living there. This is all very important information that you must be given before you move in.

Solicitor’s Report on Title

A lot of the time, banks, building societies and other mortgage providers ask solicitors to act on their behalf to provide a report on title in respect of both commercial and residential properties. It is a certificate that is provided to the lender by solicitors to confirm that the lender’s instructions have been complied with in accordance with the CML handbook (Council of Mortgage Lenders). 

It is a useful document; as well as including a summary of the legal title and the search results, it should also include the seller’s property information form which contains lots of useful information like the location of the gas metre, electricity box, and confirmation of who is responsible for which boundary fences (amongst other things).

Buildmark (NHBC) or New Home Policies/Warranties

If you are buying a new build or a property under 10 years old, these documents are proof of the varying levels of protection you have. These certificates can also be passed on to subsequent owners. Make sure your solicitor obtains a copy for you to examine at the earliest opportunity. Buildmark gives protection against certain problems that could occur with your home and land that are a result of the builder: becoming insolvent or acting fraudulently; or failing to meet the NHBC Technical Requirements (R1 – R5). All builders registered with the NHBC must meet their Technical Requirements. 

Indemnity Insurance Policies

Indemnity insurance is an insurance people sometimes purchase during property transactions. In a one-off payment you buy a policy  that protects you from a specific potential problem with a property you are buying, that could cost you in the future. For example, the seller might fail to provide you with building regulations for a loft conversion they made. This policy would protect you from costs associated with this. If you take out indemnity insurance your solicitor should provide you with a copy of the certificate.

You should have a copy of any restrictive covenant indemnity insurance policy, chancel repair indemnity insurance or any other legal cover if appropriate for your transaction. If needed, the reasons why will be explained in the solicitor’s report on title.

Proof of Stamp Duty Payment

At some point in the purchase process your solicitor should have taken payment from you to cover the SDLT charges. Your solicitor must pay stamp duty within 30 days of completion or penalties apply which you will be eligible for. Ask your solicitor to confirm payment as soon as possible.

Documents Needed when
Selling a Property

If you are selling your house you must locate the following documents and pass them on to your conveyancing solicitor who will in turn, pass them on to your buyer’s solicitor, who will pass them to the buyer.

Guarantees

If you have had central heating fitted, damp proofing installed, appliances or new double glazing put in, you should dig out the guarantees they came with and pass them on to your solicitor. A lot of home improvements and upgrades come with between 12 months to 10 year guarantees and these will be essential for the new home owners should they need repairs carrying out.

Electrical Certificates

If you have had any electrical work done such as re-wiring or the installation of electric boxes, new sockets or switches, then keep hold of the paperwork that came with them They could be of benefit to the new homeowners in the future should further work need to be undertaken. 

Building Control Certificates

If your house has an extension/conversion or any other work which alters the structure in some way, then the people buying your home will need to get a hold of these certificates. Not doing so could cause them problems in the future.

Boiler Service Receipts

If you have maintained your boiler with regular services in order to keep the warranty valid, you should pass the records of service to your solicitor so they can give it to the new owners.

More Essential Documents for Home Buyers

Proof of Identity

Everyone involved in the transaction is required to provide proof of identity to their conveyancing solicitor at some point. You will need an original document that proves that you are who are say you are. A valid passport or driving license is ideal.

Proof of Address

You will also need an original document as proof of your current address. This can be a utility bill from the past three months, a council tax bill, a recent statement from your bank or building society and so on. Different documents must be used for proof of address and identity. 

Proof of Funds

Buyers will need to prove that they have the funds to complete the purchase. This will be your mortgage offer, as well as a proof of deposit, normally a bank statement. You should provide these documents as soon as your offer has been accepted. These documents are also used to comply with money laundering laws.

Insurance Policy Details

For both building and contents. You will need to organise cover and acquire proof for both.  Buildings insurance will be required by your mortgage lender and is up to you to organise.

Survey Report

If you have had a building survey, it is a good idea to keep a copy of the report to keep a record of any issues that might need addressing in the future.

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