Selling your property – what you need to know

House key on a house shaped keychain

How to stop your dream house move from becoming a potential nightmare - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Moving house can sometimes be a stressful experience. 

Giles Tyas, Residential Conveyancing Solicitor at Ellis-Fermor & Negus Solicitors, offers his advice on ensuring a smooth property sale. 

1. Sort the paperwork out early 

English cottage seen in Peak District between Bakewell and Chatsworth, Derbyshire, England.

'As soon as you make the decision to move, get your paperwork together'. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If possible, as soon as you make the decision to move, get your paperwork together; ideally you should do this before you even instruct an estate agent or solicitor.

Some properties are not registered with the Land Registry, which means you might need to track down deeds that could be with a bank or mortgage lender (this can be the case if you have lived in your house for a long time).

You will need paperwork proving you have planning permission or building regulation approval for any work done to the house.

If work has been done without permission or you cannot find the paperwork, then we can usually help to find a solution, but it might take time. If you can, try not to leave it until you have had an offer accepted on your property you might be surprised how quickly things can start to move at this stage.

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Once you have sorted out the paperwork you can concentrate on the more enjoyable side of moving to your new home – and it will be more stress free. 

2. Choose the right solicitor 

Headshot of man smiling to camera

Giles Tyas, residential conveyancing solicitor at Ellis-Fermor & Negus Solicitors. - Credit: Ellis-Fermor & Negus Solicitors

We often find people instruct us after they have accepted an offer on their property, but if you instruct a solicitor beforehand once your house has been put on the market, it reduces the likelihood of delays.

Moving is really stressful so having someone who you can build a relationship with is really important.

When choosing a solicitor, look for someone who will answer the phone and talk to you when you need them to.

I would suggest someone local, so you can drop documents and deeds off and make it easier when you need to deal with your identification.

Try to find someone approachable and experienced, especially if it is an unregistered property.

Most local firms should offer fixed fee quotes – then the price won’t change even if the job becomes more time consuming.

3. Respond quickly 

Once instructed, your solicitor will send you some forms, so you can say what is included in the sale and what is not included.

You will also need to outline any work carried out to the property and whether you have planning permission and building regulation approval.

Try to respond quickly and provide any required documentation as soon as you can. This way, any questions or missing documentation can be dealt with at an early stage, and you can concentrate on the other parts of your move.

4. Prepare for completion day 

The whole moving process can sometimes be fraught because of the way the conveyancing process works.

Until you have exchanged contracts, anyone in the chain can pull out if they get a bad survey, can’t get a mortgage or change their mind.

What genuinely helps is when your solicitor tries to stay in contact and keep you informed.

Completion day can be particularly stressful – thankfully, because of the size of our firm, we have the capacity to keep clients up to date during this difficult time.

It can be frustrating, especially when there is a long chain and you are waiting for money to arrive in a bank account.

On our side, the money doesn’t just sit but can be moved on very quickly by members of our accounts team.

I always explain in advance exactly what will happen on completion day to let sellers know what to expect. 

5. Remember the process may be slightly affected by Covid at the moment 

Everyone involved in the conveyancing industry has worked hard to minimise disruption  as much as possible during these difficult times but the process has needed to change in some ways.

We obviously can’t sit and chat to people face to face anymore, which is one of the things I enjoy most about my job.

Every so often someone in the chain has contracted the virus or had to isolate, making completion dates suddenly unachievable.

We have noticed that mortgage lenders can be slower to make an offer as it can take longer to get valuers out to the house.

Sometimes it can take longer to get hold of some of those involved in the buying and selling process, while at other times it might perhaps be quicker if they are working from home.

In every situation, we will always do our best to prepare for any potential challenges to keep things moving and to keep you informed. 

Ellis-Fermor & Negus Solicitors has offices across Derbyshire and Nottingham and prides itself in offering specialist expert advice and clear information to its clients through a personalised service

Get in touch to make an appointment by calling 01773 821 665, email or visit
The Old Registry, 6 Derby Road, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1UU.