Knowledge Hub | Articles

04 February 2014

How to ensure a stress-free move

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Traditionally, Spring is one of the most popular times of the year for moving home and, with property prices set to increase by between 4% and 8% during 2014, if change is on your agenda, now is a good time to start planning ahead.

It’s well documented that moving home is one of life’s most stressful events, but there are measures you can take to mitigate the pressures and ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Martina Razaq, associate solicitor in the residential property team, explains:

“Deciding to move home can be very exciting and daunting at the same time. It’s always a balance between finding a buyer whilst also looking for a new property and of course, once you’ve found your dream home, you don’t want there to be any delays.

“We recommend appointing a solicitor as soon as you put your house on the market, this ensures they are well prepared to help you move promptly once a sale is agreed. They can ensure all the necessary paperwork is in place and, if some documentation isn’t available, they can help you find a solution.

“Local knowledge and personal face-to-face service can also make a real difference. When you’re making one of the biggest purchases of your life, you want to deal with a solicitor who takes time to get to know you, rather than simply be a reference number for an online service.

“A good local solicitor will have your best interests at heart and be as keen as you are to get the deal completed, that’s the kind of support you require.”

Speaking from experience, Martina says she has seen many sales delayed by failure to produce certificates and paperwork such as:

  • Planning permission and Building Control completion certificates for extensions, conservatories (where applicable) or loft conversions.
  • FENSA certificates where windows have been installed.
  • NICEIC certificates where there has been electrical work.
  • Gas safety certificates where there has been any work to gas products eg boiler.
  • Current guarantees for any appliances remaining in place

“Sales can be held up for weeks as sellers hunt around trying to find these documents in the middle of a transaction. Not only is that very frustrating from the point of view of the deal not being able to go ahead, but it also means you could be at risk of losing out on your planned new home if you can’t proceed in time,” she continued.

“You should also locate any paperwork in relation to your original purchase, which may contain title deeds and, when you receive your seller’s questionnaire, return it promptly with all the certificates attached, even if you haven’t been asked for them.”

As well as helping smooth the path for a prompt sale, solicitors can also advise on the steps to be taken to proceed with buying a new home, including agreeing terms of purchase, exchange of contracts and local searches relating to the property.

When a home is being bought in joint names, a solicitor can provide advice on the ways joint buyers can own a property, for example as either joint tenants or tenants in common and, as the sale progresses, will handle issues such as Land Registry searches, checking the seller’s legal title to the property and facilitating the transfer of funds.

“There are so many things to think about, especially if you are selling and buying simultaneously, so good communication is really important.” said Martina. “The estate agent will have set out a timetable for each party, and you have to keep on top of developments and react quickly to any problems which might arise during the transaction.

“Stamp Duty Land Tax, Registry fees and other disbursements all need to be paid and a good solicitor can make all the difference between a swift and smooth transaction or a bumpy, slow ride.”

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