If you are contemplating selling your property in the future, now is a good time to plan ahead and have any legal problems affecting your property checked and resolved.
Many properties are affected by hidden problems that can and do cause huge delays when trying to sell. These types of problems can mean that a prospective purchaser will delay in signing contracts, and further difficulties and delays can also be encountered in completing the sale. These delays and difficulties can cause serious headaches for vendors with untold stress and worry. Amazingly, many of the issues which delay, and even jeopardise, sales are due to the vendors’ own oversight! So how can we help you to avoid these problems and assist you in planning for a straightforward sale?
The first unnecessary delay is when the vendor only informs their solicitor of his/her intention to sell the property after the property has gone “sale agreed” with the estate agent. Most properties have mortgages. Therefore the deeds of title will be with the banks. It can take banks many weeks to retrieve the deeds from their archives. Accordingly, we recommend that you inform and instruct your solicitor to request your deeds from your bank as soon as you decide to put the property on the market.
Secondly, instruct your solicitor to immediately carefully check all aspects of the title to the property and to have draft contracts on file for when the call comes through from the estate agent to let you know that the property has gone “sale agreed”. All titles will be carefully analysed by the purchaser’s solicitor so it is better to ensure as early as possible that there are no stumbling blocks that could cause delays later. These days purchasers’ banks make huge legal demands of the purchasers’ solicitors. Therefore an astute vendor will engage an experienced solicitor who will ensure that the demands of purchasers’ banks can be answered satisfactorily and quickly.
What are the “legal problems” that can delay the exchange of contracts and the closing of the transaction?
There are many causes of delays in conveyancing and the vast majority of these can be avoided. For example, if there is a dispute with a neighbour, please inform your solicitor about it. Furthermore, uncertainties about boundaries with neighbours’ properties can cause unnecessary delay and these types of issues are best sorted at the outset.
An integral part of the conveyancing process is the closing stage when searches are conducted in public records against the sellers. These searches are conducted against both the vendors and the property itself. These searches will identify anything that might compromise the purchase. Any undisclosed issues, such as debts owing by the vendors, will surface on the searches and these will then delay the closing, often with serious embarrassment. Accordingly, if there are any issues with respect to financial difficulties and debts, please inform your solicitor from the very beginning.
With rural properties or houses on large grounds there can sometimes be rights of way over the property which the vendor themselves might be unaware of. It is important to establish at the very outset whether there is any right of way and if yes, to clarify how it was established and when it was last used. Furthermore, your neighbour might have an old septic tank at the bottom of your garden or a right to enter onto your grounds to paint the side of their house. These types of issues must be disclosed to your solicitors as soon as possible.
In recent times many properties were built in developments which have a management company structure in order to manage the green areas and the common areas. These types of developments with management companies can have additional problems. In some instances management companies have been struck-off and/or have become insolvent. The annual management charges and sinking funds of the management companies must be regularised as otherwise there can be no sale.
If there are any such difficulties with your property, we strongly recommend that you seek our advice as soon as possible. Acting early reduces the risk of delays and unnecessary stress.