Legal kerb appeal...
There’s lots of information available on preparing your home for sale, in fact, here’s our blog on just such matters 'Preparing your home for sale'. Ensuring the best possible first impression is crucial; buyers will scrutinize online and drive-by, kerb appeal really matters.
But to secure the best buyer and complete the sale quickly, sellers now more than ever do need to think beyond the property marketing. They must consider how they can gain an edge by improving the property’s legal kerb appeal.
What is legal kerb appeal?
Put simply it is the strengths of the property when considered from a legal perspective.
Buyers are increasingly aware of the legal context of property, even if they don’t think about it in actual “legal” terms they may spot the warning signs during a viewing. A savvy buyer may spot evidence of a neighbour’s right of way, a flying freehold issue or an unofficial roof terrace. A good estate agent armed with the facts (provided by a solicitor) during a viewing will be able to allay any fears of pursuing an interest in the property. Advising a buyer that the property is offered with a legal remedy in place, or with indemnity insurance, will put their mind at ease.
Why legal kerb appeal matters more now
Addressing the property’s legal aspects early on, when (or before) the property goes on the market, offers two major benefits.
The first is that the property’s strengths from a legal perspective are identified, and the property can be marketed on this basis. Common examples include existing planning permission for an extension or loft conversion and rights of access over another property.
Buyers of flats and apartments will be particularly interested in management companies, building maintenance programs and lease terms, it’s important to have this information confirmed legally as soon as possible so that it can be used to help ‘sell’ the property and the building or block.
The second benefit is that potential legal issues can be identified before a buyer is found, giving solicitors the time to solve them or identify solutions whilst the property is on the market.
And as mentioned, it can also empower agents to immediately and confidently address any concerns made by knowledgeable buyers.
We have seen record-breaking interest and transaction levels since the pandemic. Buyers are in a strong position with more property available for sale in years, demands for surveys, searches and managing agent packs could cause significant delays. Legal issues that are uncovered later in the conveyancing process will cause delay, could create frustrations and possibly risk sales falling through or renegotiation.
Improving legal kerb appeal
How can you identify a property’s strengths in legal terms? What can you do to make the legal aspect of the offering stronger? These fundamental questions cannot be clearly answered without a property lawyer’s input. Instructing a conveyancer before a buyer is found is a good strategy regardless of the legal state of the property. Much of the conveyancing work on the seller’s side can be done preemptively, before accepting an offer. Encouraging the solicitor to proactively identify the property’s legal weaknesses means the issue won’t be uncovered later, causing delays, shaking a buyer’s confidence or providing the buyer with an excuse to renegotiate.
More money upfront
Understandably you may be reluctant to part with money in advance of finding a buyer, and we don’t suggest that you have to. But there are risks posed by delays in getting the required information prepared, especially for leasehold properties (flats & apartments). Being legally prepared early will certainly help navigate potential delays.
If you would like to know more about our conveyancing services here are some useful links -
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And get a quote for here Ocean property lawyers
Get in touch if you would like to know more, and by the way, you do not have to be using Ocean estate agents to sell your property and take advantage of Ocean property lawyer's expertise (although we'd, of course, be very happy to sell for you too...)
Blog updated 20/8/20 & 19/01/21
Wed 06 May 2020