What Certificates Do I Need To Sell My House?
Unsure of all the documents required for selling a house? We've got you covered.
Selling your house on the open market can turn into a juggling act...
First you've got to decide how, and through who, you're going to sell your home (agent/ auctioneer).
On top of that you've got to find a solicitor who works by a clock (not a calendar), remind yourself how a property sale actually works and even brush up on your small talk in case you're roped into doing viewings. And that’s before you’ve settled on your onward purchase, got to grips with the vendor, put forward your offer.
So it's only natural that when such a small detail like 'What certificates do I need to sell my house?' adds another 10+ things to your 'to do' list, that your brain goes "You know what - I've had it" and you think about abandoning a property sale altogether.
Although, before you do so, consider this - there is a way you can avoid this whole mess. What exactly we'll reveal at the end of this blog. But now, for those readers who've managed to remain calm, collected and have their heart set on making a move, here's our guide to all documents required for selling a house...
What are certificates when selling a house?
A certificate (sometimes referred to as a guarantee) is a document, either digital or on paper, that shows authentication of a certain characteristic to do with your property.
The majority of certificates are required for legal or safety reasons as evidence of any claims you make. For instance, if you inform your buyer that your house has been fully rewired, the certificate backs that up and also acts as proof that it was done by a reputable company, so it's hopefully not a cowboy job.
However it's worth remembering that not all the documents required for selling a house are for you to hunt down. Getting hands on any legal certifications is often a job for your solicitors.
Why are certificates important when selling a house?
As you’re already aware, selling your property isn’t always a walk in the park, especially when you’re rummaging around your spare room thinking "What certificates do I need to sell my house? And why do I even need them?". So, to help you get your head around why all the documents required for selling a house are necessary, here's two interesting points...
NOTE: There are two types of certificates you should be aware of: Certificates needed when selling a house (required by law) and certificates that are advised, or advantageous to have when selling a house.
No certification = not legal
In the majority of cases, certificates can be a legal requirement when selling your house. There’s a variety of reasons behind this but the most obvious is that your buyer and their solicitor need to be 100% sure that the property you’re selling them is what you say it is - and if course it's yours to sell. No buyer wants to complete on a purchase only to find that the leasehold fees are a LOT more than they expected, or that they’ve bought their way into a boundary dispute (cringe).
No certification = less trust
Trust is a vital ingredient that any seller should look to achieve; nothing says trust like comprehensive paperwork, which is why providing all the documents required for selling a house can be a fantastic trust indicator.
Not only do they give them confidence in doing a deal, but on the most part they also show that the property has been cared for, especially guarantees. Lack such documents and it's more likely you'll stumble into a chain break, or worse, not be able to sell your property at all.
Confused? Think of selling a house like selling a car. If you've got a car with a full service history as well as a guarantee, you're far more likely to receive high interest and have a far stronger hand in negotiations.
Moral of the story: You don't want to be selling a house without the relevant certificates, and in some cases, you can't.
What certificates do I NEED to sell my house?
Understanding of the various documents required for selling a house is essential if you’re after a smooth and well-oiled sale. Being clear on what documents are required of you is an easy way to ensure you’re not the cause of any delays, while at the same time broadening your knowledge of the property sales process. Valuable knowledge that can also help you suss out and secure a good onward purchase.
So with this in mind, listen up – this is our full list of documents required for selling a house…
Certificate 1: Proof of identity
So let’s get the basics out of the way first. Before you can even begin a property sale, you first need to provide both your solicitor and agent/ auctioneer with proof of your identity. This will be the same when dealing with a ‘Sell House Fast’ company like us.
Reason being that anyone dealing with a property sale is obliged to do their due diligence before you commence with a transaction. This is to ensure that, A: you have the legal right to sell the property (possibly a slight hurdle in the case of probate) and B: you’re not selling the property as a means to launder money.
In the event an agent, auctioneer or solicitor fails to do they’ve broken anti-money laundering regulations and could be subject to severe penalties, especially if you’re selling the property unlawfully.
To pass these identity checks, you must provide 2 forms of identity – one photographic (i.e. a passport/ driving licence) and one proof of address (utility bill/ bank statement etc.).
NOTE: Worried about your privacy? Don’t be. While these are one of the documents required for selling a house, they’re only kept for 5 years before being destroyed.
Certificate 2: Title deeds
So now it’s been established that you are you, and not some fraudulent imposter, you next job is to prove that your property is yours to sell. You do this through the title deed – a certificate outlining the past and present ownership of your property and any associated land.
Providing you purchased your house after 1986 this should be something either you or your solicitor can dig out; your solicitor will have to apply for the ‘official deeds’ through the Land Registry anyway, so if you can’t find them, don’t fret.
However, for those who bought their property before 1986 and can’t find their title deed, things may be a little trickier.
You may have to take a different approach. This would be to apply to the Land Registry for what’s called a Title Absolute. Applying means you’ll have to prove you’re the legal owner of your property and its freehold – a time consuming process, so if this is you, don’t hang about!
Certificate 3: Energy Performance Certificate
Can you sell a house without an EPC?
Unfortunately not. No residential property can be sold without an EPC, be it your primary residence or part of your buy to let portfolio. EPCs are one of those documents required for selling a house that you cannot afford to forget.
In a nutshell, an EPC is a visual representation of your home’s Co2 impact that’s determined by a Domestic Energy Assessor who MUST be accredited.
To complete the EPC, the DEA needs access to all the rooms in your house to do things such as measure, take photographs and inspect your heating system.
Your EPC rating will be judged by two main factors:
Amount of energy usage per m2.
Level of carbon dioxides produced by your property per year.
And don’t go thinking just because you’ve managed to find the EPC from when you bought the property that that’s the end of it. Check the date – EPC certificates only last for 10 years. Any older than that and it’ll need to be renewed.
Certificate 4: Share of freehold/ leasehold documentation
If your property is either classed as share of freehold or leasehold, keep reading. Some extra certificates may be needed when selling a house with this type of tenure.
Details of the share of freehold/ leasehold structure are key.
Documentation like this would outline factors such as the freehold structure (i.e. is the freehold split or owned through a management company) or the terms of the lease. It’s important you make sure your buyer is clear on these details to minimise complications down the line.
For those with a leasehold property, you’re first port of call is to get a copy of the lease. You’d have to get this from your landlord or management company, which may take some time depending on how efficient they are.
If they’ve been slow in the past, don’t chance it. Apply for these certificates early to avoid holding up your sale.
Certificate 5: Leasehold information pack
For those of you with a leasehold property, it’s a good idea to reach out to your landlord or management company for a leasehold information pack.
Much like it sounds, a leasehold information pack contains details of the leasehold agreement, for instance details of any ground rent/ service charges, the freehold itself, buildings insurance and any disputes that relate to your property (something to watch out for!).
FYI: The cost of these packs usually sits in the region of £350-£500!
Certificate 6: The fixtures and fittings form (AKA TA10)
This form certifies precisely what you’ll be leaving or removing from the property at completion.
Your typical form will include items like a shed, greenhouse, free-standing wardrobes, lamps, kitchen appliances, curtains and so on… basically anything in your property that’s not built-in.
These are classed as fixtures, while anything that’s built-in or attached to the land goes by the name of a fixture. It’s vital that you complete this form accurately to avoid any future disputes.
TOP TIP: You as a seller can charge extra for fixtures so we’d advise you do – they act as great bargaining tool that you can use to justify your asking price in the face of a cheeky offer.
Certificate 7: The Property information form (AKA TA6)
For those frantically asking “What certificates do I need to sell my house?” then the TA6 is arguably the most important of the lot. The TA6 is a form filled out by you, the seller, that makes your buyer aware of all the ‘need to know’ details about your property – think of it as the T&Cs of living in your property.
Find just a few examples of what a property information form includes and what certificates are required below…
|Disputes||An outline of any outstanding disputes, be they with neighbours or the local authority.|
|Environmental methods||An assessment of the flooding risk and energy efficiency of your home (EPC certificate).|
|Insurance||The rough insurance costs for your property. This is particularly important if your property is leasehold or share of freehold.|
|Proposals for development||An overview of any applications for development in your area. This could be anything from an extension next door to a new build estate down the road.|
|Guarantees and warranties||Proof of cover for objects currently on your house, for instance the boiler, solar panels or a new driveway.|
|Planning applications||Certification of extensions, new windows, a recent loft conversion. Basically any home improvement that’s required you to seek planning permission.|
|Parking arrangements||An outline of whereabouts you park your car, how many spaces you have and any arrangements for right of way.|
|Utilities||A note of the condition and any arrangements to do with the utilities in your home. The reason we say arrangements is because some properties can be all-electric, while others way source their water from a privately-owned bore hole.|
|Tenants||Mainly one to look out for if you’re in buy-to-let or if your buyer is thinking of using the property as a buy to let. In which case you may be able to the property with the current tenants in situ.|
|Additional Costs||An overview of any maintenance charges, ground rents etc. and who they’re payable to.|
|Your situation||An overview of your situation to inform you buyer if you’re making an onward purchase or have any special requirements.|
Certificate 8: Proof of your mortgage
Mortgage details aren’t really one of those documents required for selling a house as such, but you will have to certify your mortgage (i.e. provide proof of any outstanding finance). Usually you’ll be required to confirm your account details as well as the amount you still owe.
During this you MUST also disclose any loans or charges you have against your property.
Once your details are confirmed you’ll then be required to sign what’s called an undertaking – a form of legal promise – to say that none of these debts will transfer onto the buyer’s shoulders.
You may have to clarify whether you wish to write them off using your own savings or the proceeds from the sale. Details of these charges should be on your title deeds.
NOTE: Check your deeds and you may find charges from a previous mortgage provider that are no longer valid. If so, you need to reach out to this provider and get these removed, otherwise your buyer could inherit this debt. Yikes!
Certificate 9: Offer acceptance
Nice and easy one to round off with… confirmation of your offer and its acceptance. Not to be confused with the offer confirmation you receive from an agent, this will be a separate document drafted by your solicitor that will legally outlay your offer acceptance.
What certificates are good to have when selling my house?
As you’ve probably guessed by now, there’s a variety of certificates and documents required for selling a house – without them your sale is going nowhere.
But aside from these, there’s also another bunch that are not as important but nevertheless good weapons to have in your arsenal.
Include these in your sale and you’re giving buyers no excuses to reduce their offer once you're Sold Subject To Contract. Remember: when you’re looking to sell a property fast, trust is EVERYTHING!
So to help you maintain this trust with your buyer, here’s a quick Q&A about a couple more certificates that we think you should be aware of and consider including in your sale…
FYI: You can include some of these with your TA6.
Certificate 10: Gas certificate and gas safety record
"Is a gas safety certificate required when selling a house?"
You can sell a house without gas certification, but we wouldn’t advise it. Why? Because it gives a buyer so much information.
It shows them that you’ve had the boiler installed by a Gas Safe engineer (someone skilled a reputable) so it complies with the building regulations in your local authority.
A great asset to any buy to let investor, as gas certificates are mandatory when letting a property out. Most buyers will request to see a copy, so if you can’t find yours you’re best off getting a replacement.
NOTE: To replace your gas certificate you’ll have to make an appointment with a Gas Safe engineer and foot a small charge.
Provide a copy of this, along with an up to date gas safety record to show your boiler has been regularly serviced, and you should avoid any unnecessary certificate hassle.
Certificate 11: Electrical safety certificate
"Do I need an electrical certificate when selling a house?"
Not necessarily - although you can sell a house without one, it’s yet again not something we’d advise.
In a nutshell, an Electrical Instillation Condition Report (EICR) details both the condition and safety of your electrical system.
Any electrical work done on your property, be it by a pro or yourself after 2005, must comply by law with building regulations.
This certificate is a great way to show buyers the calibre of your DIY or that you've invested the £££s on a professional.
After all, if your electrical work isn't up to scratch your council can force you to rectify it - a costly process (ouch!).
Which is precisely why if you ask us, one of these certificates can never go a miss when selling, especially if you want maintain that buyers' trust and make a move fast.
NOTE: For those of you who’ve had electrical work done in the last 5 years you may already have an electrical safety certificate that’s valid.
Certificate 12: FENSA certificate
"Can you sell a house without a FENSA certificate?"
By now you may have noticed a trend with this Q&A...
Yes, you can, but we wouldn’t advise it.
FENSA stands for Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme and was established to ensure that doors and windows are installed to a professional standard that complies with building regulations.
So, being able to certify that your doors and windows have been fitted to such high standards not only looks good on you as a seller, but may even assure buyers of any other home improvements you’ve done.
Plus, by using a FENSA approved installer you receive a free warranty and insurance!
Lost your FENSA certificate? You can download it on their website or have one drawn up for a small cost.
But, is there a way I can avoid all this certificate palaver?
To some extent, yes.
If, like most people, you’re looking to sell your property fast and minimise the hassle that comes with sourcing these documents then you may be in luck.
As a national homebuyer with over 50 years’ experience, we know that selling a house without relevant certificates can cause issues – issues that A: you don’t want, and B: don’t have the time to deal with.
Which is why as a special thank you for selling your house through us, we make sure the legal costs of your sale don’t fall on your shoulders.
We cover all your legal fees!
That includes solicitors, surveying costs and even those pricy leasehold packs (detailed above). And unlike your average homebuyer, we won't hold a lack of certification against you - we buy ANY home, in ANY location and ANY condition.