Essential house purchase documents
Buying a house is a long, complicated process and it's all too easy to forget the finer details. We take a look at the legal documents for buying a house that you need to have.
Essential house purchase documents your solicitor should provide
During the house purchase process your solicitor should provide you with most of the essential house purchase documents. These are:
- Title Deeds. Normally you won’t have title deeds – this is because the Land Registry records are now all digital. You may have title deeds if your property hasn’t been registered before, but this is becoming quite rare. You should still get confirmation from your solicitor that they have registered you as owner of the property.Your solicitor should provide you with a copy of the registered title showing you as “registered proprietor” within a month or two of completion.
- If your property is leasehold, your solicitor should give you a copy of the lease (with lease plan of your property) and any service charge accounts or forecasts. Our guide to leasehold conveyancing has more information about the documents you will need to purchase a leasehold property.
- Your solicitor’s report on title is a useful document to keep handy. As well as including a summary of the legal title and property search results, it should also have attached the seller’s property information form. This contains lots of useful practical information like the location of the water stop cock, electricity and gas meters and confirmation of who is responsible for which boundary fences.
- For new builds (or properties under 10 years old) you should have a copy of your Buildmark (NHBC) or other new home policy/warranty documents.
- Confirmation from your solicitor that stamp duty has been paid within 30 days of the completion date.
- As appropriate, you should have a copy of any restrictive covenant indemnity insurance policy, chancel repair indemnity insurance or any other legal cover if required by your solicitor. If it is required, the reasons for this will be explained in the solicitor’s report on title.
Have a look at our moving house checklist for more questions to ask the seller.
What documents do I need to sell my house?
If you are selling your house you need to gather the following documents and give them to your conveyancing solicitor. They will then pass them on to your buyer’s solicitor who will, in turn, hand them to the buyer.
- Guarantees – e.g. any recent damp-proofing, new appliances (oven, boiler, etc), FENSA (double-glazing) certificates. FENSA certificates last 10 years; damp proofing guarantee should also be about 10 years. New appliances can have a warranty period of anything from 12 months to perhaps five years for a boiler.
- Records of servicing of boiler.
- Electrical certificates for any electrics works/rewiring.
- Building control certificates for any extensions or conversion works that may have been done to the property.
Essential documents for home buyers
As well as the documents you should get from the vendor when buying a house you also need to organise some yourself. These are:
- Buildings insurance policy details and contents insurance policy details. Buildings insurance will be required by your mortgage lender, but it is up to you if you decide to get contents insurance. Find out more with our guide on how to insure your home.
- Survey – if you have had a buildings survey, it is useful to keep a copy of this to remind you what issues were raised/might need attention soon.