What documents should I receive when buying a house in the UK?

Last updated: April 2024 | 4 min read

Buying a house involves a lot of paperwork. But hopefully, your conveyancer will manage most of it, leaving you to review only the most important documents.

You'll be given some documents as part of the purchase process, and some documents after.

Your conveyancer will guide you through the process of conveyancing and help you obtain the necessary documents, but it is still essential to be aware of what to expect.

Key documents for UK homebuyers

You might be wondering, what documents should I receive when buying a house UK? Here are a few essential house purchase documents that you should receive:

Transfer deed used by the Land

The transfer deed officially changes ownership of your property from the seller to you.

It's the legal document that, once signed and witnessed, verifies you as the owner of the property.

After completion, the transfer deed is registered with the Land Registry, cementing your status as the new homeowner.

Mortgage deed

When you buy a house with the aid of a mortgage, your mortgage lender will require you to sign a mortgage deed.

This document sets out the terms and conditions of your loan, and is the agreement between you and the lender. Before you sign, make sure you read this document carefully.

Following the completion of the property purchase, the mortgage deed is kept with your mortgage lender until the loan is repaid in full.

Learn more about the types of mortgages available in the UK.

Leasehold property documents

If you're looking to mortgage a leasehold property, you'll encounter some additional paperwork. These documents set out the relationship between the leaseholder (you) and the freeholder (your landlord).

The lease agreement outlines the length of the lease, any ground rent or service charges (possibly in a separate service charge schedule), and additional responsibilities or rights associated with the leasehold, such as rights of access to common spaces or facilities.

Make sure you're clear on these terms before committing to the property as the seller may not have disclosed all of them fully to you. For example, you may be expected to pay the management company for a service that you weren't aware they provided.

You will also receive a leasehold information pack. This will give you the required information for your conveyancer to start making enquiries.

Energy performance certificate

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives information on the property's energy efficiency.

Ranging from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), the EPC offers recommendations on potential improvements.

Remember, a more energy-efficient home can lead to reduced energy bills.

Stamp duty receipt

Stamp duty is a tax payable when buying a property in the UK, and the receipt acts as evidence of payment.

After completing your property purchase, you'll need this receipt to demonstrate you've paid stamp duty.

Property information form (TA6 form)

The TA6 form delivers a snapshot of the property from the seller's perspective. This includes details like who is responsible for boundary fences, disputes with neighbours, and past occurrences of flooding. It's an important document to review for a clear picture of the property's history.

Fittings and contents form

When buying a house, you'll want to agree on what's included in the sale, including which fixtures and fittings will be left behind. This form provides a list of items the seller intends to leave, from integrated appliances, such as dishwashers, to garden sheds or treehouses.

Indemnity insurance certificate

Certain defects or legal risks might arise when buying a property. The indemnity insurance certificate offers protection against potential future claims related to these risks.

Historical title deeds

The deeds held at the title register (the Land Registry) are proof of property ownership in the UK.

They also show previous owners, and in some cases, how ownership evolved. They can provide an interesting history of your home.

With details like a copy of the registered title, the latest records validate the seller's right to sell the house to you.

Most Land Registry records are digital now.

Additional documents

Local authority search results

Local authority searches provide information about the surrounding area of the property you're buying.

These include details on future development plans, conservation areas, and tree preservation orders.

For instance, a new supermarket or a train station planned close by can affect your property's value positively or negatively.

Water and drainage search results

Water and drainage searches reveal how your property connects to the main water supply and sewage system.

They indicate whether your home relies on public sewers, has a septic tank, or encounters frequent flooding issues. You'll also gain insights into shared drains and your responsibility concerning their maintenance.

Property information pack

The property information pack offers relevant information and insights from the current homeowner.

Containing information not available in the property search results, this pack touches on neighbour disputes, informal property modifications, and any known defects.

Service charge accounts and schedule (leasehold property)

Leasehold properties might have a service charge.

Service charge schedules outline these costs, detailing what the charges cover, such as building maintenance, communal area cleaning, and gardens. Knowing the service charge ahead of time helps in budgeting for your new home.

Building control certificates

When modifications are made to a property, they need to meet specific regulations. When buying a new property look for these.

Building control certificates confirm that alterations, like extensions or loft conversions, comply with these rules. It ensures the work on your property is safe, sound, and up to code.

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.

Chancel repair - potential church repair costs

In some parts of the UK, homeowners might be liable for repairs to their local church, a throwback to medieval laws.

Chancel repair searches determine if your property falls under this potential obligation. Though rare, understanding this liability helps avoid unexpected costs.

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