In the interest of full disclosure, this list is what I often bring up with my vendors in the West Essex area (Woodford, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill, Loughton, Theydon Bois, Epping & Abridge) to help expedite their sales. Not every vendor chooses to follow every tip on the list but those that have found it extremely beneficial with the reduced timescales helping them to exchange and complete months sooner than “normal”.
Never before has it be so critical to a successful sale for estate agents, solicitors and the plethora other professions involved in your sale to work together to get your move across the finish line.
Below are my tried and tested tips that will supercharge your sale and get you in the position to exchange and complete around 3 months faster that is “usual”at the present time of writing (1st March 2021 - Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday expires on 31st March 2021 and the local authorities are struggling to return local searches in time).
And yes - it is mostly PAPERWORK related. I know it's boring and you want to get on with putting your house on the market and carrying out viewings. Yet, like selling a car with full service history, if you haven't got your ducks in a row you'll find a buyer delays making a decision until more information is available. Many buyers of a property will spend months going the the process of discovery from mortgage and homebuyers surveys to having a review of the legal documentation - most of which they only see for the first time when the solicitor asks them to review the contract and sign it. The more information supplied up front, the more transparent the sale and the quicker it'll proceed.
Once you have a buyer, having the following matters packaged and ready to go for your purchaser will dramatically increase the speed at which you will be in a position to exchange and confirm a mutually agreeable completion date.
- Gather your paperwork. Obvious, right? Have you done it? Save yourself a couple of weeks of turfing out every drawer in the house in search of what you thought you had put away for safe keeping and is now so safe that even you can’t locate it. Do it now and you’ll be glad you did when the contract goes out to your buyer the same day your sale is agreed. [Save 1-2 weeks]
- Ensure your home complies with current legislation/building regulations, or complied at the time of completion of works. We’re talking extensions, new windows, septic tanks, gas, electrics, rights of way, etc. If you have completely misplaced this vital documentation, you can check various websites to find copies of your certificates; FENSA for windows; Gas Safe for boiler/heating installs, NICEIC for electrical work name but a few.
- Instruct your solicitor before we’ve found you a buyer. This gives you an early opportunity to establish a rapport with your solicitor and test that when crunch time comes that they’ll be able to perform as expected. I have several tried and tested solicitors I recommend. What I look for most in a solicitor is their ability to communicate by your preferred method of contact and respond in a timely manner above all else. This will also save time in filling out the relevant forms required to instruct your solicitor, provide them with copies of your ID and for them to compile responses to standard enquiries ready to send out with the contract to the buyer’s solicitor. If you haven't yet decided on a solicitor, at least attempt to complete Law Society Property Information Form (TA6), Law Society Fixtures and Contents Form (TA10) and if leasehold, Law Society Leasehold Information Form (TA7). [Save 2-3 weeks]
- Apply for local authority searches on your own home and sell them to your buyer’s solicitor. At the time of writing, this is the single greatest and longest cause of delays to practically every sale. Epping Forest District Council normally quote a 5 week [25 working days] turnaround between your buyers’ application and their provision of the local search to their solicitor. At present, with this extreme level of demand we’re finding it’s not uncommon for that lead-time to become 8-9 weeks. Historically, buyers could apply for personal searches to reduce this delay. Yet, in 2021 the lenders are becoming ever more authoritative over what is required for them to agree to lend and the official search from the local authority is something they generally want to satisfy their criteria. You can sell these to your buyer’s solicitor at cost price once you have agreed a sale. [Save 8-9 weeks]
- Pre-empt known issues arising and have quotes in place. We’re talking about the big things; damp, Japanese knotweed, subsidence, etc. These are issues that will be cited on even as basic a survey as a mortgage valuation. Obtaining quotes now when you have the time to shop around and get the best price/service will help negotiations post-survey, if required. [Save 2-4 weeks]
- Get quotes from removal companies. Quotes will vary greatly dependent on where you’re moving to, how far you’re moving and whether you’ll be placing your possessions in to storage at any point. Ensure your removal company has the appropriate insurances to cover your possessions. Traditionally, this is done when you are nearing an exchange of contracts but then of course, you’re under pressure to make a decision and place a deposit. Do it once you have agreed a sale and you’ll have more breathing room to make a decision, obtain several quotes and pick and choose the best option for your needs. [Save 1-2 weeks]
Bonus Hacks for Leasehold / Share of Freehold Properties.
- Speak to the Managing Agent of your building and ask about requesting the “leasehold pack”. This is also why solicitors charge more to sell a leasehold property compared to a freehold property. There is more work involved and it takes longer. Your buyers’ solicitor needs to comb through the leasehold pack to check the building in which your leasehold property is situated is being maintained correctly. [Save 2-6 weeks - it depends on the efficacy of the managing agent]
As an estate agent, this is often seen as beyond our remit. Yet, it is become part of my service to vendor clients to help get them "sale ready" and to expedite their sales as soon as a buyer is found.
Are you thinking of selling a property in East London / West Essex areas?
Have you got any questions?
Lyttons Estate Agents Ltd