Many people may think that it makes no difference which estate agent they choose to market their property – if someone wants to buy your property then they will, no matter who it's on the market with. While that is true to a degree, there are benefits to using a solicitor estate agent that you may not be aware of.
All under one roof
What is a "solicitor estate agent"? It means that the solicitors firm also offers an estate agency service to market your property – you can have your property marketed and have the legal paperwork dealt with under the same roof. You will deal with the team in the estate agency department while your property is on the market and then your specified solicitor once a satisfactory offer has been received. You do not have to deal with two different firms and keep both your estate agent and solicitor informed of any updates/progress with regard to your property, as your solicitor and estate agent are already in contact and aware of your situation and the details of the transaction.
Not only this, but should you wish to make a written offer to purchase a property once you have received an offer for your own property, your solicitor will be fully informed at an early stage as to the terms of the offer for the sale of your property so they can best advise you on the terms of your purchase.
The importance of checking title deeds and documents early
One of the most significant benefits of using a solicitor estate agent from a seller's point of view, however, is that generally speaking your solicitor will be able to request your title deeds from your lender, your previous solicitor, or from you (depending on where your title deeds are and whether you have a mortgage or not) and check them at an early stage.
The absence of title deeds can often cause delays in transactions, particularly if you originally purchased your property prior to 2003, as these older title deeds are not stored electronically and it can take time for your lender to forward your title deeds. In the event that title deeds are needed very quickly or in the event that your original title deeds cannot be located, copies will need to be ordered and this can be costly depending on how many title deeds your property consists of.
It can also be the case that your property may have been altered or extended within the past 20 years, in which case a buyer's solicitor will ask to see all building warrants, stamped plans and Completion Certificate in respect of this work. If you carried out the alterations/extension you may have all of the necessary documentation in your home. Or it may be that a previous owner carried out such works and the building documentation may be with the title deeds or copies of the building documentation may need to be ordered from the local authority, which can take a number of weeks to obtain.
Ensuring that title deeds and building documents (if applicable) are in place at an early stage can save you valuable time during the course of the conveyancing (legal) side of your sale transaction. Some individuals will only instruct a solicitor to deal with the conveyancing work for their property once an offer as been received and, by that time, precious weeks could have been lost where title deeds and building documents could have been requested or copies ordered.
Once your title deeds have been received by your solicitor, your solicitor will generally check to ensure that all of the "links in title" that will be needed by a purchaser's solicitor are there. This includes the title deeds granting you ownership of the property, as well as the title deed showing the description of your property and a number of other title deeds which state various conditions that you must observe while you live at the property (otherwise known as "title conditions" – for example, that you must not park your yacht in your driveway, as it is for cars only!). If any are missing, your solicitor can request copies of these in good time.
In the event that one of the title holders has passed away (perhaps the seller initially bought the property with their spouse/civil partner/partner), some conveyancing and succession/executry work may be required to transfer the whole title into the name of the survivor. Your solicitor will be able to check this as part of the title deeds at an early stage even before the property is on the market.
The value of getting it right from the start
Should any further work be required, your solicitor will be able to point this out to you and advise you of the likely timescale required to rectify the issue. This will give you the opportunity to hold off placing your property on the market so that you can be confident that all matters are in hand and resolved before anyone can make an offer on the property. This may seem like an unnecessary delay in placing your house on the market, but should you put your property up for sale before such an issue has been legally corrected, then you will simply end up disappointed when you receive an offer, as your buyer may very well not want to wait as long as the matter will take to rectify - you could lose the sale and have to start the process again. By the time your property comes back on the market, the original buyers may have found another property.
Ready to make a move?
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