The legalities of selling your home

All Estate Agents in the UK have to comply with the same legal requirements to 'know' their customers before they commence marketing of any property. To ensure Estate Agents comply with the regulations, they are supervised by HMRC, who can impose significant fines and/or sanctions on those not complying. Whilst there can be no deviation from the regulations, they are designed to protect you as a home owner.

 

These legal requirements may change depending on which of the following applies to you:

 

Owner of property

Owner of property lives at a different address

Selling a property as part of an Estate

Owner of property lives overseas

 

Owners of the property

Our first legal obligation when selling a property is to establish who owns the property to be sold, and then verify their identity. This is also checked by your solicitor as part of the conveyancing process.

To achieve this, we prefer to meet all of those identified as the owners of the property at the valuation appointment, and scrutinise documents which proves their identity (Proof of Identity - POID), these including:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid photo card driving license (Full License only)
  • A Government issued ID Card (British ID Cards are not issued by the UK Government)
  • A firearms certificate
  • Police Warrant Card
  • Armed Forces ID Card

If we cannot meet all of the owners at the appointment, they can bring their POID into the branch, or a Reeds Rains branch local to them at a later date (Please note, we cannot commence marketing until all owners/co-owners have been met face to face, and their POID verified).

Therefore, to help you get your property onto the market with Reeds Rains as soon as possible, we would recommend that all owners/ co-owners are present at the appointment and that the aforementioned documents are at hand.

If you do not have any of the listed documents, don’t worry - we will advise you accordingly.

Our next legal obligation is to verify each owner’s normal residential address. We do this using an electronic verification system, which means you will probably have to do nothing further. This system does use a credit referencing platform and as such will leave a “soft” record of the search on your credit file. It will not however, affect your credit rating in any way.

If this system cannot find you, we may have to ask you for alternative proof of address, such as seeing a current utility bill.

If we've assessed your situation incorrectly, and one or all of the owners no longer live at the property, then let us know in advance, and we'll tell you what to do.

Owner of property lives at a different address

We have identified you as being in a situation whereby one, or more of the owners lives somewhere other than the property that is potentially to be sold, and will now need a solicitor to verify either your Identity, and possibly your Proof of Address too.


Proof of Address can be provided by either sending the originals of one the items below to us, or getting a solicitor to send a verified copy to us:

  • Most recent utility bill/statement or a certificate from a utilities (Mobile phone bills are not acceptable)
  • Most recent original UK bank, building society or credit card statement (Internet statements are not acceptable)
  • Local council tax bill for current year
  • A valid full photo card drivers licence... so long as we haven't already used this to prove your ID.
  • Most recent original mortgage statement from a recognised lender
  • Inland Revenue self-assessment statement, tax demand, Notification of PAYECoding, Tax Credit Notification (not P60 or P45 as this is employer produced)
  • State Pension Benefit documentation
  • Solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation of address.



ID however has to be verified face to face, and so you will have to visit a solicitor, in person with one of the following:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid photo card driving license [Full License only]
  • A Government issued ID Card [British ID Cards are not issued by the UK Government]
  • A firearms certificate
  • Police Warrant Card
  • Armed Forces ID Card



The solicitor must do the following:

1) State the document is “Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me”.

2) For ID, state that “This is a true likeness of the person”.

3) Include an official stamp of the person certifying, or be on headed paper.

4) Sign and date with a printed name of the solicitor.

5) Include the position held, address and telephone number of the Solicitor.

6) Be sent directly to us from the Solicitor business email account [i.e. not by you, nor from them to you, before being sent to us.]

We strongly advise you to show this list of instructions to your solicitor to help them get it right for you, and avoid having re-do any part of it.

Selling a property as part of an Estate

If selling a property as part of an Estate, which is a difficult enough time as it is, we aim to help guide through how legal requirements effect you.

 

Probate

Where Probate has been obtained we will need to see a copy of the Court papers granting Probate. This also serves to identify the person(s) authorised to act in the disposal of the property. We will then need to verify this person, as laid out below. If Probate has not been granted, then we will need to see a copy of the relevant parts of the Will detailing who the Executors are, and then we will need to verify them. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it also safegaurds you against any rogue individuals trying to a sell a property when they have no right to do so.

 

Verification and proof of address and identity

For each person we need to verify, proof of address can be provided by either sending the originals of one the items below to us, or getting a solicitor to send a verified copy to us:

  • Most recent utility bill/statement or a certificate from a utilities (Mobile phone bills are not acceptable)
  • Most recent original UK bank, building society or credit card statement (Internet statements are not acceptable)
  • Local council tax bill for current year
  • A valid full photo card drivers licence (if we haven't already used this to prove your ID).
  • Most recent original mortgage statement from a recognised lender
  • Inland Revenue self-assessment statement, tax demand, Notification of PAYECoding, Tax Credit Notification (not P60 or P45 as this is employer produced)
  • State Pension Benefit documentation
  • Solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation of address.



ID however has to be verified in person, either with a member of our organistaion (we have branches nationwide), or each person will have to visit a solicitor, in person with one of the following:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid photo card driving license [Full License only]
  • A Government issued ID Card [British ID Cards are not issued by the UK Government]
  • A firearms certificate
  • Police Warrant Card
  • Armed Forces ID Card



The solicitor must do the following:
 

1) State the document is “Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me”.

2) For ID, state that “This is a true likeness of the person”.

3) Include an official stamp of the person certifying, or be on headed paper.

4) Sign and date with a printed name of the solicitor.

5) Include the position held, address and telephone number of the Solicitor.

6) Be sent directly to us from the Solicitor business email account [i.e. not by you, nor from them to you, before being sent to us.]



We strongly advise you to show this list of instructions to your solicitor to help them get it right for you, and avoid having re-do any part of it.

The solicitor themselves may be one of the Executors, and we will need to verify them also, but we can talk to them directly about that, to make things easier for you.

Owner of property lives overseas

If you reside overseas, this alters the way in which we will need to verify your Identity (ID) and Proof of Address (POA).  Also, overseas Sellers are targeted by criminal gangs who intercept communications, switch chanels of on going contact, pretend to be the owner and then try and get an agent to sell the property, before making off with the proceeds. We definitely don't want that to happen to you.

So our first legal obligation is to establish who owns the property to be sold, and then verify their identity. This is also checked by your solicitor as part of the conveyancing process.

To achieve this, we prefer to meet all of those identified as the owners of the property at the valuation appointment, and scrutinise documents which proves their identity (Proof of Identity - POID), these including:
 

  • A valid passport
  • A valid photo card driving license (Full License only)
  • A Government issued ID Card (British ID Cards are not issued by the UK Government)
  • A firearms certificate
  • Police Warrant Card
  • Armed Forces ID Card



If we cannot meet all of the owners at the appointment, they can bring their POID into the branch, or a Reeds Rains branch local to them at a later date [Please note, we cannot commence marketing until all owners/co-owners have been met face to face, and their POID verified].

We understand that if you or any co-owners of a property reside overseas, this will not be possible, but do not worry; we can accept certified ID from your solicitor or local notary. 

That said, there are strict rules regarding certification and your solicitor/ notary must do the following:
 

1) Provide certified copies of POID and proof of address, such as a recent utility bill.

1) State the document is “Certified to be a true copy of the original seen by me”.

2) For ID, state that “This is a true likeness of the person”.

3) Include an official stamp of the person certifying, or be on headed paper.

4) Sign and date with a printed name of the solicitor.

5) Include the position held, address and telephone number of the Solicitor.

6) Send the POID/ address directly to us from the Solicitor’s business email account [i.e. not by you, nor from them to you, before being sent to us.]



We strongly advise you to show this list of instructions to your solicitor to help them get it right for you, and avoid having re-do any part of it.

We hope you have found this information useful. It is part of our commitment to offer a professional service and we look forward to acting on your behalf, without any undue delays.  If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local branch.