Legal Experts Baines Wilson run through everything you need to know before selling a commercial property. 

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Selling a property can be a complex and sometimes very lengthy process. 

Any well advised buyer will undertake a process of due diligence involving investigating title to the property, making enquiries/searches with the local authority and other statutory bodies and raising pre-contract enquiries via your solicitor. 

Once this process has been satisfactorily completed, the aim will be to enter into an exchange of contracts leading to eventual completion of the property sale and purchase. 

As the seller of a property once you have made that decision to dispose of a property you will likely want the whole process to be as streamlined, efficient and cost effective as possible once a suitable buyer has been found. 

Here are a few ideas to consider when selling your property with a view to achieving this.

Property ownership

It is a sensible idea to start collating your title information at an early stage. Your property title should either consist of title registered at the Land Registry, unregistered title deeds or a mixture of the two. 

Doing this should enable you to flush out any ownership issues of which you may or may not have been aware. 

Do you legally own what you think you own? 

For example, you may have been unknowingly using land which is not within your registered title and/or title deeds. What are your options here? 

For example, have you met the legal requirements to seek to claim possessory title to such land? 

Equally, a review of your registered title and/or title deeds may reveal that neighbour(s) have been encroaching on your property. What can you do about this and how?

Title matters 

A review of your registered title and/or title deeds may also note that your property is subject to title related matter(s) which may prevent or hinder a sale and/or make your property attractive to certain type(s) of buyers only. 

For example, you and/or any agent(s) you use may consider your property prime for housing development, but the title to your property may state your property is subject to covenants preventing the building of houses. What can you do in this regard?

Any third party considerations? Selling your property may depend on getting the consent of other parties. For example, your property interest may be leasehold and your lease may state that you need to get your landlord’s consent to a sale. 

Your property may be charged to a Bank and require the consent of your Bank to a sale. 

It will be likely sensible to involve such parties at an early stage to seek to avoid delay in obtaining such consent(s). 

Additionally, you and/or a previous owner(s) may have entered into say a right of first refusal enabling another party to purchase the property in the event of you the seller wishing to sell and/or say an overage agreement meaning that a property sale would trigger a payment by you the seller to a third party. What are the terms of any such agreement(s)?

Do I need to obtain vacant possession?  

Your property may be occupied by one or more parties and it may be the case that there is greater value in your property when unoccupied and/or that the likely parties interested in buying the property will require the property to be sold with vacant possession. If this is the case, what interest(s) do the occupiers have and how and when can they be correctly terminated?

Searches and related information 

A well advised buyer will make enquiries/searches with the local authority and other statutory bodies in relation to the property. 

Replies to such enquiries/searches of course take an amount of time. To assist the buyer whilst the buyer awaits such replies you the seller may wish to gather any historic enquiries/searches you made at the time you acquired the property and share this information with the buyer. 

Depending on the circumstances of the transaction you the seller may also wish to consider instigating and providing replies to enquiries/searches as part of the marketing process for the property. 

For help and advice in relation to the above, or any other property topics, please contact Sean Logue, Duncan Harty or Laura Barnfield on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.