Vendors urged to have property dossiers amid difficult market conditions

Property dossiers are something every serious property seller should have given the current economic and political climate, according to Stacks Property Search.

The company says that vendors need to prepare for what is fast becoming a buyers’ market, amid tougher housing market conditions.

Bill Spreckley of Stacks Property Search said: “As if these external factors weren’t enough, the length of time conveyancing is taking is making the situation worse for those who have received a mortgage offer at a rate that may only be valid for a limited period of time.

“It’s taking around four months, and often much longer, to go from agreeing a sale to exchange. Solicitors are asking for countless documents and records, and each time a new document is requested, the process stalls while the vendor searches for the appropriate information.”

Clare Coode of Stacks Property Search added: “Vendors can make their homes more attractive, more saleable, and more likely to appeal to buyers who want the conveyancing process to be as straightforward as possible by preparing a comprehensive property dossier that will help to avoid delays in the sale procedure.

“Time spent by the vendor gathering as much information about their property as possible will not be wasted. Present it in a virtual or real folder, sensibly divided up into different subject headings. As a minimum requirement we’d suggest you gather all the vital documentation that a solicitor will request, but extra benefits will come from non-essential information relating to the property and its environment such as running costs, contact details for local tradespeople, paint colours and so on.”

Stacks Property Search has put together a list of the sections and documents that a property dossier should contain:

Information the buyers’ solicitor will require (where relevant):

  • Land Registry documents
  • EPC
  • Compliance sign off for septic tank
  • Wood burning stoves and fires – HETAS certificates
  • Electrical certificate
  • Agreements relating to shared drives or other shared space
  • Planning permission and building control sign off documents where building work has been undertaken
  • Existence and details of any covenants
  • Building and content insurance documents
  • Who owns boundary fences/walls
  • Any easements, rights of way, access issues
  • Leasehold documentation
  • Often solicitors ask for FENSA certificate if any windows have been replaced
  • Any other warranties / guarantees relating to the property along with electric / boiler checks documentation

Not required but good to have:

  • Details of external and internal work that’s been undertaken, dates, suppliers / tradespeople
  • Copies of recent utility bills
  • Copies of insurance documentation
  • Contact details for local tradespeople used for repairs / maintenance / supply of logs
  • Broadband provider and speed
  • Paint colours used throughout the property

Selling points:

Use the opportunity to highlight what’s marvellous about the property / area such as:

  • Local shops / pubs / cafes / bars / markets that you recommend
  • Local societies
  • Local schools
  • Proximity to nearest stations/tube stations

When it comes to leaseholds, Stacks Property Search’s Sara Ransom commented: “Leasehold properties are a whole subject in themselves, and often strike fear in buyers, especially those who are unfamiliar with leasehold. Providing information on who the Managing Agents are, what the Service Charge includes, how often it’s increased, how the sinking fund operates, and any work that’s recently been undertaken or is in the pipeline can be very reassuring.”



Email the story to a friend


  1. tim main

    Music to our ears. [Sentence removed as it breached posting rules]
    We believe that having gathered all this information together why not share it with potential buyers before they bid so they know more about what they are buying. Better informed buyers leads to less fall throughs and quicker exchanges.

  2. GreenBay

    Why isn’t the conveyancing industry pushing for this type of product? Rob Hailstone?

    1. Rob Hailstone

      If conveyancers were instructed when a property was first marketed they would collect many of those documents before a buyer had been found and they could then prepare a Property Transaction Pack!

      1. Ric

        Hi Rob,

        Would they (solicitors) really do what you say?

        Yes, it makes sense, but in reality I don’t think they will collect the documents.

        They don’t make phone calls now to chase things missing, they simply refer to the initial and often only request for the information some weeks, or even months ago. (So when they HAVE TO be proactive they are not, the system wouldn’t be slow if solicitors were as proactive as you think they would be)

        Until the system is changed (Mandatory Sale Ready Packs), agents who support the idea of having all the info upfront will find it difficult to sell the concept to the seller, who has also been pitched to by a decent enough competitor EA who says… nah… not required, lets get you a buyer first and go from there.

        Also – 1 link of the chain all set up and then you get 2 links not set up in the same proactive way… so you only end up as good as the slowest link.

        Needs to be mandatory otherwise, brilliant idea which will never really happen.

        I do wish it was different mind you.

        1. Rob Hailstone

          Conveyancers in the midst of a transaction don’t often have the time to chase things they have already requested. Too busy getting on with the legal work and dealing with constant interruptions (some of which are necessary of course, but many that aren’t).
          However, if they were instructed pre offer and acceptance, those interruptions would not occur or be minimal and they would then have the time to chase when needed.
          One easy change is needed, to instruct a conveyancer upon marketing and not upon offer and acceptance. After 6 months of doing that (in the majority of transactions) and I wager not only will transaction times fall, so will the abortive numbers.

          1. Ric

            I get your point, but (me being miserable) I still wonder if they would always be in the middle of an active sale (or 50) anyway and think… “no time for the set up of the 30 new instructions the agents have just passed us, because I have loads of sales proceeding to sort and I need to prioritise.

            My concern will always remain, as my team find out so often: you can get your link ready, but if the links above and below are not doing the same work at the listing stage, then you are back to being as slow as the slowest link.

            1. Rob Hailstone

              I think the way they work would change completely Ric. A bit like DFS delaying sofa payments for a year. Their first year must have been tough, but now, happy days!

              1. Ric

                Hi Rob, Agreed… as I was typing that, I thought… perhaps the cross-over of procedure would hurt, but the cycle will catch up for the better.

          2. Ric

            I should add, making this a “Must” and importantly “a chargeable event” would increase listing quality 10 fold also.

            Hated HIPS but also loved it for the improved quality of the listings.

            No serious seller should worry about a £250 or £300 admin fee for the Sale Ready Pack, because it is simply part of the overall fees they would have paid anyway, but as before, tough to get when you’re the only agent in the village selling the benefit.

  3. Bryan Mansell

    COMMENT REMOVED – PROPERTY INDUSTRY EYE TERMS & CONDITIONS #6. Users posting comments on the site may not post direct hyperlinks to other websites and especially may not do so by use of their username. Users may not use comments to promote a service or business.

  4. IanDibb

    COMMENT REMOVED – PROPERTY INDUSTRY EYE TERMS & CONDITIONS #6. Users posting comments on the site may not post direct hyperlinks to other websites and especially may not do so by use of their username. Users may not use comments to promote a service or business.

  5. GreenBay

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for replying.

    I completely agree, but that unfortunately is not a legal requirement.

    My point is, if we want to improve the house sale process, why isn’t the industry pushing for sensible, timely and logical systems to be brought in?

    Why does every transaction appear to start from scratch? Why don’t we start with the conveyancing pack that was used when the property was purchased as an example?

    I have no skin in this game anymore, I just do lettings now, but the costs and stress on EVERYONE involved in a house sale and purchase just seems utterly ridiculous.

    Why does the industry not appear to really want to change? I think that is the real question here and perhaps EYE can do some investigations, as it is one of the biggest things agents complain about and the current relationship between conveyancers and agents is poor to put it mildly!

  6. Residential Logbook Association (RLBA)

    This is exactly why the Residential Logbook Association have been codifying digital property logbooks and why the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) have been developing the Upfront Information Pack (a digital re-working of HIPs and a subset of a logbook’s data).

    Both Logbooks and Property Packs are supportive of the NTS’s work on Materials Facts Disclosure and will enable it to be delivered in digital form.

  7. jeremy1960

    Earlier this year we agreed to sell a flat with short lease on an informal tender basis. I gave the seller a list of items that would be needed, he visited his solicitor who took from him payment for searches, LPE, and their fees. Once the solicitor had confirmed receipt of the payment and signed terms from the owner I outlined our process with the solicitor i.e. we would launch property in 7 days for a period of 28 days at which point there would be 7 days for all interested parties to put offers forward in writing with evidence of funds. I have an email from the solicitor confirming all would be in place to issue paperwork as soon as buyer was agreed. we did our bit, we instructed solicitors on the 31st of May. 2 weeks later I chased solicitor as nothing received by buyer only to find that said solicitor had failed to apply for searches, failed to request LPE and had not got contract ready to go!  Eventually on the 15th August (12 weeks later) a contract was issued without searches and LPE! It took a further 4 weeks to get LPE to buyer’s solicitor and they have done their own searches even though our seller paid for them in April! That same solicitor has sat on enquiries now for at least 8 weeks despite me chasing and buyer’s solicitor chasing! All this on a “deal” that was done on the basis of 28 days from acceptance of offer to exchange, we are yet to exchange some 4 1/2 months later. Someone tell me what was the advantage of me and the seller getting things in place!

    1. Rob Hailstone

      That sounds pretty poor Jeremy1960. Not an acceptable excuse, but I guess earlier this year said solicitor was inundated with live cases and failed miserably to do what was requested.

      Proceeding in the way you tried has to become the norm. See my DFS reply to Ric.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.