Building Regs and the like…
How are you with your admin? Is all of your paperwork screwed up in a shoe box in the back of your wardrobe or have you neat labelled files in a filing cabinet in your study?
Hopefully the later if you are considering selling your home.
If you thought preparing your house ready to sell, picking an estate agent, doing viewings and negotiating a sale was hard enough? You haven’t seen anything yet! Wait until you have agreed a sale and the paperwork and endless questions start.
You will be asked the normal stuff like if you are leaving the curtains, who supplies your electricity and your full names. They are the easy ones (hopefully). Then you will be asked things like, what fence is yours, have you got any Tree Preservation Orders and has your property been built on a former coal mine?
They will also ask questions about whether you have ever made any alterations to your property or extended. These are obviously pretty easy to answer but have you got all of the relevant paperwork to back it up? When carrying out extension work, especially if it is a large job, by the time you get to the end you have completely lost the plot and will basically do anything to get the builders out of your house. The idea of having yet another inspection by a man with a clip board fills you with dread and you don’t bother getting the completion certificate for your works.
You don’t care, you know how the work was carried out and were happy with it at the time and blissfully go about living in your new home. 5 years later when you come to sell, you are asked about the construction work of the extensions and amazingly they don’t believe you that everything was done properly. The builder you used has seen gone bust but you ensure the buyer he was a good bloke. You are told to produce your completion certificate from the council. When you cannot you have to try and get a retrospective certificate which will probably lead to an intrusive survey or a structural engineers report when they have to expose the beams and footings to ensure the extension work was carried out correctly.
Worse still, you blatantly don’t bother to finish your building work correctly or cut corners. Trust me, it will come up when you sell the property! Even if it is a good few years later.
You have extended in to your loft and don’t bother getting the proper fire doors fitted. You open up your kitchen in to your conservatory to make it a bit brighter, you knock the wall down between your lounge and dining room or you remove an old chimney breast because it takes up to much room. All these things require building regulations and that one piece of paper can cause enormous stress and huge delays if you haven’t got it. It may sound like a good idea to get your mate down the pub to help you knock a wall down but make sure it is done properly and adheres to the regulations and is signed off correctly.
Don’t think you have got away with it if any works were carried out before you moved in to your house. If they weren’t done correctly or weren’t signed off you could still find yourself liable. You or your solicitor may have been willing to ‘take a view’ and overlook any missing paperwork? You may have even been advised to take out a basic indemnity insurance policy to cover it but your new buyer or their solicitor and especially it seems nowadays their lender might not be so lenient.
It seems that conveyancing and mortgage lending has become a bit of a tick box exercise and all about the crossing of the t’s and dotting of the I’s. If they don’t have the right answers or relevant paperwork then there is no budging them. Everything is very black and white and there is definitely no areas of grey.
So if you are thinking of selling your property you have even more work to do. Still worry about getting the carpets cleaned, sorting the garden out and painting your sons bedroom now he has left for university but also and possibly more importantly make sure all of your paperwork is in line and to hand. You will be asked for it all!