Guide

Selling a home: the legal process

Last updated: 9 October 2017

First steps

There are a number of steps you should take before putting your home up for sale.

Contacting your solicitor

You should contact your solicitor to discuss your plans to sell.

Your solicitor will inspect your title deeds (the document that says you own the home) and make sure they're available for the buyer's solicitor.

They will also carry out searches with your local council to make sure there are no legal notices, orders or proposals on your home that might stop you being able to sell it.

Make sure all the necessary documents are available for your solicitor to look at. These include guarantees and warranties.

Home Report

If you decide to sell, the first thing you need to do is get a Home Report. This will give you, and potential buyers, more information about the condition and value of your home.

The Home Report has three documents - the seller completes the property questionnaire, and the single survey and energy report are prepared by a chartered surveyor. You can contact firms directly or get your solicitor or estate agent to do this for you.

So long as you don't take your house off the market for more than 28 days, you do not have to update these documents.

Exceptions

Even if you plan on selling your house yourself, you will still need a Home Report, unless your house is covered by one of the following situations:

  • houses that have been on the market since before 1 December 2008
  • new houses that are being sold off-plan or to the first occupier
  • newly converted homes that haven't been used in their converted state yet
  • right-to-buy homes
  • dual-use homes used for both residential and non-residential purposes
  • seasonal holiday homes that can only be used at certain times of the year (not second or holiday homes you could use all year if you wanted)
If someone is interested in buying your home and you don't give them a Home Report within 9 days of them asking for it, you can be fined £500 by your council's trading standards service.

Other considerations

Before you put your home up for sale, you should:

  • check with your mortgage lender to see how much money is needed to pay off your loan on your home
  • consider whether it's worth doing any repairs, maintenance or redecorating
  • make sure your solicitor knows about any changes you've ever made to the house that needed planning permission or building control consent
  • check that the certificates for any remedial treatment you've had done on the house (for example, to deal with dry rot or woodworm) are valid and you know where they are
Selling a home: the legal process
First steps