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Why instruct your solicitor at the same time as your estate agent?

View profile for Emma Gilroy
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As we know, there are strict restrictions currently in place due to COVID-19, which limits home moves and prevents viewings of properties.  This does not mean that sellers should not begin to get arrangements in place ready for when restrictions are relaxed.

By doing so, you will be getting yourself ahead of the game ready for (hopefully) a quicker exchange and completion once lockdown is lifted. In some cases, this could mean you could exchange around 4 weeks earlier than if you wait to start the legal process when a buyer is found.

So, what can be done while the stay at home provisions are in place?

  1. Get your ID verification in place. 
    Solicitors have a legal obligation to check their clients’ ID. This is usually done via electronic checks as well as a certified copy of your passport and utility bill.The current restrictions will make it difficult to get ID certified, but your solicitor will be able to explain ways that this can be overcome.
     
  2. Forms and documents. 
    There are a number of forms that the seller of a property must provide to a buyer. These forms are quite long and can take some time to complete, so using this time now to fill them in will undoubtedly speed up the process. The forms will refer to guarantees or certificates for works that have been done, for example, FENSA certificates for windows. Spending time locating these documents now will prove invaluable.​
     
  3. Leasehold properties. 
    When selling a leasehold property, you will need to give certain information to your buyer. This information is usually obtained from the Landlord or their managing agent and can take a considerable amount of time to be provided to your solicitor. By instructing your solicitor at the same time as you put the property on the market, they will be able to make the application to the managing agent for you and get the ball rolling. This will help enormously with the progress of the sale. The managing agent will charge a fee for providing the leasehold information, which you will need to provide to your solicitor.

If you are a buyer and have made an offer which has been accepted, you can still instruct a solicitor during the lockdown period. Your solicitor will be able to review all the legal paperwork provided by the seller’s solicitor, order your searches and raise any queries they may have regarding the documentation with the seller’s solicitor. Undertaking this work now will hopefully get you to a position where all the legal checks have been made and any discrepancies resolved so that once the restrictions are relaxed or lifted, you will only require your mortgage documentation (if needed) and we will be ready and able to move quickly to exchange and completion.

If you are not sure what to do for the best,  give a member of our residential property team a call on 01792 773 773 or use our website and our 24/7 live chat to leave your contact details and we will call you back at a time that suits you. We would be happy to have a no obligation chat with you about your next steps.

To keep up to date with the latest news from JCP Solicitors, including COVID-19 developments relevant to you and your business, please sign up to our mailing list here.

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