What documents do I need to sell my house?
There's a lot to do when it comes to selling a house: finding an estate agent, deciding the sale price, organising viewings etc. And then there's the paperwork. Here's the definitive list of what documents you need to dig out to be "sale ready" and to avoid delays further down the line.
What documents do I need to sell my house?
If you’re selling your house, there are several pieces of information that you’ll need to have at the ready.
Whilst you’re pulling these documents together you’ll want to find a conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal side of the sale. One of the first things they will ask you to do is complete a Property Information Form, also known as a TA6 form, and a TA7 form if you are selling a leasehold property. Our TA6 guide takes you through the TA6 form step by step. But you’ll need to gather the information below before you can fill it in. A good estate agent will ask you for similar information before you market the property via their Property Information Questionnaire or Buyer and Seller’s Form.
Whilst it is possible to do some of this work yourself, you need to be fully aware that any mistakes you make could be very costly and you could find yourself sued by a buyer if the information is inaccurate. We would always recommend having a conveyancing solicitor on your side.
So, cast your mind back to when you first bought your home and try to locate the files and emails. Here’s what you’re looking for:
1. Proof of identity
An easy one to start with! Estate agents, legal representatives and mortgage lenders are required by law to check your identity in order to protect against money laundering. You will need to provide them with proof of identity e.g. passport or driving licence and proof of address e.g. driving licence, bank statement, or utility bill (not more than 3 months old).
2. Land Registry title documents
The title deeds prove that you are the rightful owner of your property. Your solicitor should have sent them to you when you purchased your home. If you can’t find them, check with your mortgage company to see if they are holding your original deeds or if they are with your solicitor.
The UK government decided in the 1980s that all property should be registered with the Land Registry. If you can’t find your title deeds, you can check with Land Registry and request a copy for just £3.
However, around 15% of land and property in the UK is not registered with HM Land Registry. If this is the case for your property, things will be a little more complicated as you’ll need to prove you are the legal owner of the property. Your first step should be applying for “first registration”. You’ll need some specialist help with this, so contact a conveyancing solicitor to help put your case and application together.
3. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
If you bought your home in the last 10 years you may have an EPC already. You can check whether you have one on the government’s online database of every EPC in the UK. Using the register’s EPC retrieval page, you can search for a property’s energy performance certificate by postcode.
If the property you’re selling doesn’t have an EPC, you’re legally obliged to get one before it is marketed. You can arrange an EPC now with locally accredited energy assessors.
4. Leasehold documents
If your property is leasehold, then dig out your lease. The estate agent should highlight the tenure of the property in the marketing material, setting out how many years are left on the lease, current ground rent and service charges as well as any planned increases.
Many mortgages won’t cover shorter leases, with less than 80 years. If yours is this low, then it may hinder your house sale. If you have lived in the property for at least two years you could look at extending your lease or at least starting the process.
Your solicitor will also contact your freeholder and/or managing agent to obtain the leasehold information pack from them. This can take a while to obtain so don’t delay on this. For more information, see our guide on leasehold conveyancing.
Your buyer will also want to understand:
- the key terms of the lease, including service charges, ground rent and administration fees.
- documents relating to service charges including a copy of accounts, share certificate, memorandum and articles, buildings insurance, and recent correspondence from the freeholder or managing agent. These should be sent to your solicitor.
- whether there are any major works planned at the property, for example replacing the roof.
- fire risk and other assessments (e.g. asbestos).
Compare Conveyancing Quotes
Compare quotes and find the cheapest, nearest and best rated conveyancers from our panel of 120 quality assured firms
5. New build warranties
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. You can find out more in our guide to new home warranties.
6. Gas checks completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer
A gas safety certificate issued by a Gas Safe registered engineer (previously CORGI) shows your boiler is checked and safe. You’re not legally obliged to have a gas safety certificate when you sell your home. But if you have a gas boiler, then a gas safety certificate – which you will have obtained when you last serviced your boiler – is recommended for your own safety. Having evidence your boiler is safe and regularly maintained will no doubt be a positive for prospective buyers, helping drive them closer to the sale.
If you are a landlord you will need to show a gas safety certificate undertaken within the last year.
7. Electrical checks
If you have extended or altered the wiring in your home since January 2005, you must by law obtain a certificate known as a ‘Part P Building Regulation Certificate’ and have it ready for your solicitor to pass on to the buyer. This proves that all new electrical work and any changes meet standards. If you can’t locate your certificate, speak to the electrician who carried out the work.
If you haven’t had any such works done, then sellers are under no legal obligation to provide buyers with an electrical safety certificate – also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report. The onus is on the buyer rather than the seller of a property to check the electrics are safe.
8. FENSA or CERTASS certificates for windows
If you have replaced windows since you moved into the home you are selling then you’ll need to provide a FENSA or CERTASS certificate. This proves that the windows comply with building regulations. These certificates are usually valid for 10 years. You can search for certificates on the FENSA and CERTASS websites. If your installation wasn’t carried out by an approved workman, or you simply cannot find the certificate you may need to pay for indemnity insurance for the new owner.
9. Planning permission and Building regulation certificates
If you’ve made changes to the property, you’ll need to show evidence that you obtained the proper consents and approvals. For example, you will need to provide copies of planning permissions, Building Regulations approvals and completion certificates. As a seller, you should also give details of any building or alteration work that doesn’t have the necessary consents and permissions, and details of all unfinished building and alteration work too. You may want to read our guide on selling without building regulation approval.
If you live in a listed building, you need details of any listed building consent obtained for any interior and exterior works. Likewise, anyone living in a Conservation Area where consent forms are required for certain works should gather evidence that any changes comply with local rules.
10. Guarantees and other warranties
Houses are never perfect, so you don’t need to pretend yours is. If there’s something wrong, and you’ve taken action to treat it, then it shows you’re a responsible homeowner. So whether it’s damp or japanese knotweed, find copies of receipts or guarantees for work undertaken.
The same goes for any warranties you might have for electrical goods or other fixtures and fittings you are planning to leave behind. Any fixtures, fittings, appliances or pieces of furniture, that you do not want to take with you can be included in the sale or offered to the buyer for a fee. Thinking about these things sooner rather than later will speed up your sale.
11. Other documents and “material facts”
You should be prepared to tell your estate agent all the relevant material facts about your property. Your estate agent will provide more guidance, but the government guidance defines material facts as things which may have a major impact on whether a buyer decides to purchase your home. For example, if it regularly floods or is of non-standard construction. Estate agents are legally required to share this information with potential buyers.
You will also be asked for any non-optional financial commitments such as council tax, leasehold charges and rentcharge costs if your property is on a new build estate.
Government guidance for selling a house suggests you should provide any Party Wall Agreements for works done that impacted on a shared wall with your neighbour, if relevant. It also suggests any insurance policies you may have taken out when buying your home, such as indemnity insurance policies. These may want to be carried over by the new owner. Details of any restrictive covenants will also be relevant.
While you want to present your home in the best possible light, you should not mislead potential buyers by covering up defects. For example, by painting over damp patches. Any problems are likely to come up in the buyer’s survey. This could then lead to price negotiations and possible delays which could have been avoided.
What documents do I need to sell my house? Just be up-front!
Hopefully this guide has helped if you’ve been wondering “what documents do I need to sell my house?”. But the key thing to remember is that the more material information and documentation you can provide up-front to your solicitor, the better. You can then get their advice on what needs to be passed onto the buyer. This will reduce the risk of avoidable delays, costs and buyers pulling out when information materialises at a later date.
- Step by step guide to selling your home
- How to buy and sell at the same time
- Porting your mortgage
- How long does it take to buy & sell a home?
- Selling your home at auction
- Types of buyers and dealing with offers
- How much does an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) cost?
- Selling a home with a Help to Buy equity loan
- Selling a shared ownership home
- Capital gains tax when selling a home
- How long does conveyancing take?
- How do I exchange contracts?
- Completion what to expect
- How to protect your property from fraud
- How much do removals cost?