11 documents you need to buy a property
It’s no secret that buying a property can take a long time. But what if you could prepare in advance, reduce the risk of delay and avoid any nasty surprises?
We’ve put together this guide on the forms you must complete, as well as the documents you'll need to help you along the way.
We’ve listed the types of documents you’ll need below.
1. ID and proof of address
You'll need ID and proof of address to start the process.
These ID documents are used in Anti-Money Laundering checks – they’re evidence of who you are and your source of funds.
You can usually use photo ID such as your passport or driving license, and proof of your address using a utility bill or a bank statement.
2. Title deeds
Title deeds prove you own a property and will provide the history of who owned it before you.
Usually, these won’t be physical documents, as most Land Registry records are digital now. Your solicitor should provide you with a copy of the registered title showing you as the ‘registered proprietor’ within a month or two of completion.
3. Copy of the lease
A leasehold is a type of long-term tenancy in a property. It’s not the same as outright ownership. You’ll need to get a copy of your lease from your solicitor to proceed with your purchase.
If you’ve bought a leasehold property, your solicitor should give you a copy of the lease with the type of property ownership – also known as ‘tenure’. The lease should state how many years are left on the lease, the current ground rent, service charges as well as any planned increases.
4. Management pack
A management pack offers you details about how the property you want to buy is managed.
The documents can help you to better understand what you’re getting into before you buy. It also helps clarify any ground rent or service charge fees and future works needed on the property.
You’ll only need a management pack if the property you’re purchasing is leasehold, or if you own a share of the freehold.
It’s a good idea to read the pack carefully, as the information you find could affect your decision to go ahead with buying the property.
5. Property information form
Also known as the TA6 form, or a TA7 form if you’re buying a leasehold property.
The seller must complete this form by law. It will hold information about practical aspects like electricity and gas meters and who is responsible for boundary fences.
The seller must complete the form to the best of their knowledge and provide all the supporting evidence they can. They need to make sure they don’t include anything misleading or exclude anything you need to know.
If they give you incorrect or incomplete information, you could claim compensation from them.
6. Fittings and contents form
Also known as the TA10 form.
This form sets out the fixtures and fittings the seller is including in the property sale. This can be anything from lights and curtains to white goods.
You’ll need to read it and make sure you’re happy with everything the seller plans to take with them when they leave the property.
Warranties, receipts and guarantees will show proof the seller has been a responsible homeowner. It shows they’ve been proactive in fixing the property when something wasn’t right.
Ask your solicitor if the seller can give you any copies of receipts or guarantees that shows any work that’s been carried out to improve or fix something in the home while they lived there.
You could also ask if the seller has any warranties for electrical goods or other fixtures and fittings they’re planning on leaving behind.
If the property you’re buying is a new build or under 10 years old, you should get a copy of your Buildmark (NHBC) and any other new home policy documents. This document is designed to reassure you that the developer will fix any defects in your property.
8. Stamp duty receipt
Stamp duty is a tax you might have to pay if you buy a leasehold or freehold property or land over £125,000 in England, unless you qualify for first-time buyer’s discount.
If you buy a property in Scotland, you’ll pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). If you buy a property in Wales, you’ll pay Land Transaction Tax (LTT) instead.
It’s always you as the buyer who pays stamp duty. You’ll have 14 days after you complete on your purchase to pay. Your solicitor will usually calculate and pay your stamp duty bill on your behalf. Your solicitor should send you a receipt to prove that you’ve paid stamp duty within 30 days of completion.
9. Indemnity insurance
Indemnity insurance is a policy to protect you against the potential costs of fixing problems with the property as the transaction progresses.
For a one-off payment, you’ll get a policy that covers the costs if a third party makes a claim against any issues with the property you’re about to buy. For example, if the seller can’t provide a building regulation certificate, you could take out an indemnity policy. This will cover any future costs if your local authority pursues a claim because you don’t have the certificate.
10. Energy performance certificate (EPC)
An EPC shows how energy-efficient a property is. The document will give the property a rating from A-G (A being the most energy efficient) and includes estimated energy costs and a summary of the property’s energy performance features.
An EPC will help you to consider how much it would cost to heat and light your property. The seller must provide you with an EPC by law.
If you arrange a building survey, a surveyor will carry out an inspection on the property you want to buy. They will prepare a report on what they've found, stating any repairs or alterations needed.
If you’ve had a buildings survey, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of this to remind you of what issues came up, or if you need to do any repairs.