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12 Apr, 2024/ by Homeward Legal /Buyer, Sale & Purchase, Seller

Back in October 2023, we published an article about getting property information earlier in a digital age, which assessed the plans being made by the authorities to ensure the safe and correct digitalisation of property information. 

This highlights the necessity for a smoother process for the transfer of ownership of title from the point of putting a property up for sale to all parties completing and the name being changed as owner at the Land Registry.

It's a lot more complicated than that straightforward statement implies, of course, which is why getting anything satisfactorily completed in the property business necessarily takes a fair amount of time to get right before its implementation.

Another step in the process is to ensure that estate agents provide a minimum amount of information concerning a property before they advertise it for sale. With this in mind, the number of transactions that fail should be significantly reduced.

Estate Agent details - what they need to provide

According to an article by The Law Society of England and Wales - the body that oversees all aspects of the legal system - the National Trading Standards' Estate and Lettings Agency Team (NTSELAT) has stipulated within its latest guidance just published that estate agencies and lettings agencies must provide a minimum level of information regarding a property they are planning to put on their books before it is advertised.

In particular, the NTSELAT state the following details unequivocally required for all properties are:

  • The purchase price (also known as the asking price, which is open to negotiation)
  • A floor plan with room measurements (to show the full dimensions of the property)
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating (to highlight the property's energy use and approximate energy costs)
  • Council tax details (the property's band, cost and local authority responsible)
  • Tenure (to establish the lease length for rental properties)
  • Additional financial charges (this might include service charges, management company fees, ground rent, etc.)
  • Utilities status (which utilities are provided and which are connected to the mains)
  • Broadband (availability, strength and provider)
  • Mobile phone coverage (status of the coverage and strength)
  • Parking (e.g. parking on-site, on the road, separate garaging facility, etc.)

Some properties will have specific points to note, so the guidance also stipulates that, where relevant, the following information should be provided:

  • Restrictions on use and alteration (for example, the property might have listing status, be located in a conservation area, have covenants restricting what can be done, etc.)
  • Rights of way (for example, access across someone else's property to take the bins out)
  • Reservations (any additional restrictions and limitations regarding the property's sale)
  • Accessibility (any issues and constraints with accessing the property)
  • Mining (the likely impact where historical or current mining activity has taken place in the proximity of the location, which might exacerbate current issues or lead to future problems, such as subsidence)
  • Flooding (the history of flooding in and around the property, along with an assessment of how much at risk the property is from local bodies of water such as rivers and lakes)
  • Coastal erosion (assessment of current risk and historical information in the location where erosion of the coastline will put the property in danger)

What you need to do

Most, if not all, of these edicts make complete sense to any homebuyer, simply because it is precisely all this information that you will want to know when you are buying a property. Some of it is obvious, other items less so but that doesn't diminish their importance.

One of the points you might have noticed is that some of the information is usually provided as part of the searches performed by the buyer's solicitor, but here it is firmly placing the onus on the selling side before a buyer receives the details from the agent.

That's not to say that your solicitor won't have to worry about this aspect of the conveyancing when you are looking to buy a property, but it does provide you with the information before you get anywhere near putting in an offer and instructing your own solicitor.

In fact, the Law Society's article underlines the point that sellers are advised to get their conveyancing solicitor involved to assist in preparing this information with the estate agent in a kind of partnership. With these details as part of the agent's package on the property, your buyer will have all the relevant information at their fingertips to make a decision on going ahead with the purchase before something is unearthed after an offer is accepted which then scuppers the transaction and it all falls through.

So, as a buyer, you should check how much of this information is available in the property details - although be aware that this information and guidance is very new to most agencies, so they may not have had time to act on furnishing the requisite details just yet.

As a seller, you should appoint your conveyancing solicitor as soon as you are considering putting your property on the market. The sooner that happens, the sooner the required information can be obtained, collated and published by the estate agent.

Worried about the cost of getting a solicitor involved so early?

That's where Homeward Legal can really help with affordable but quality conveyancing services! They will start work on your planned purchase and/or sale as soon as you agree to the quotation and appoint them to represent you, and will work hard to complete the process in as short a time as possible. 

Homeward Legal will also provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay for standard conveyancing process.

There are some unforeseen items that might arise during the purchase and/or sale, but the solicitor discusses these and their cost as they come up. 

In addition, to protect the homebuyer further, Homeward Legal operates a ‘no completion, no fee' promise, which ensures that, should the purchase or sale not go through as planned to completion status, no payment is required.

Call  to get your conveyancing quote started, or to discuss your concerns with your plans to move.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Homeward Legal's easy-to-use quote generator.

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