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Top ten tips to a hassle free property sale or letting
Although some sectors of the Property market have been quiet over the last few years, there are still many transactions going ahead in both freehold and leasehold property. As an owner of commercial property who may be considering selling or leasing part of whole of your property, there are quite a few actions you can take now to ensure a sale or letting proceeds through to completion with less hassle. Most of these are common sense points but experience shows that getting your 'house' in order early on can save time and money and assist in getting the deal over the line.
1. Do you possess all the necessary up to date title documents for the transaction? These might be available via the Land Registry's website (for a small fee) or if unregistered with your bank or solicitor. On one occasion a client's aunt had them under her bed, but this wasn't discovered until a thorough search of everywhere else first! It is advisable to obtain these in advance together with any other relevant document referred to on the title. From these you can establish if there are any erroneous entries that need dealing with or may pose an issue.
2. If the transaction involves a sale or letting of part, do you have a scaled plan showing the extent of what is being sold or let? If the transaction is registerable this will be required by Land Registry and having a decent plan early on in the transaction will make it easier to show what is being sold or let, where certain rights are needed and if relevant what alterations may be required. A surveyor will be able to provide a scaled plan if the title plan is not sufficient.
3. It is legal requirement on marketing a property to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These can be obtained via your commercial agent or if you are dealing with the matter yourself, from an EPC assessor. These are valid for 10 years so it may be worth seeing if one already exists.
4. If you still hold a file of papers from when you bought the property it would be useful to have a flick through these to see if there is any relevant information or documentation that may be required on this transaction. Getting this to hand now will save delays in future when you are keen to progress the transaction but end up delayed, waiting on copies from another source.
5. Does the Property have the benefit of any planning permissions and building control completion certificates? If you don't have these to hand, they can often be obtained from the local authority's website or if these are historic permissions you can contact the local planning office for copies. A note of caution here, if you believe there may be any potential planning issues on the Property it would be better not to contact the local authority before discussing this with your professional advisors.
6. Have you undertaken the necessary Asbestos management plan and fire risk assessment? Though not all properties require these, the vast majority do. Further details can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive's website:
7. If there are any occupiers in the Property and :-
You are selling subject to these - are the necessary leases and/or licences in place?
You intend to sell with vacant possession - have you read the relevant terms in the agreement/s dealing with termination and diarised to serve the requisite notice/s?
8. If you own a property subject to a superior lease, what are your obligations to your landlord and if relevant head landlord? If consents are required to an assignment or sub-letting what do you need to provide to them and what will you need from your buyer/tenant? If you are selling a leasehold property have you complied with your obligations? For instance if you have carried out alterations did these require consent?
9. Agree heads of terms with the other party, if you have instructed a surveyor they will work with you to agree these. Heads of Terms, though not legally binding, set out the agreement between the parties and make it easier for your solicitor to draft the necessary documentation.
10. On most property transactions the buyer/tenant will ask for replies to enquiries. In the majority of transactions a set of Commercial Property Standard Enquiries (CPSEs) are used. Not all the questions will be relevant to every property but contacting your solicitor early on to get these completed will act as a good health check on most of the above points and establish if there are any issues you need to deal with before they potentially delay or worse still scupper the transaction.