Getting Your Rural Land Ready for a Sale – Part 2: deeds and documents

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By Victoria Sandberg, Partner specialising in Commercial Property and Head of Rural

This is the second in a series of blogs about preparing your rural land ready for a possible future sale. As I said in my first blog on this subject, now could be the perfect time to spend time ensuring everything is in order in case you want – or need – to sell your land in the near future.

One of the first things you should do to get your land ready for a possible sale, is to actually find all the title deeds and documents. If your land is registered, then this is less of a concern. However, it is still wise to make sure you have all the related documents available, so that your solicitor can answer any queries that the buyer’s solicitor might raise. If your land is unregistered, then you will need to find all the deeds as soon as possible. (I will write about why you should consider voluntarily registering your land if it is unregistered, in a subsequent blog.)

The deeds may be with your current solicitor – albeit that they may not actually be able to retrieve them for you right now! If you have changed solicitors in the past or are intending to do so, track them down sooner rather than later, to avoid delay.

If the land has been in your family for a long time, you may well have the deeds stored in your home or in an office. I do also hear about deeds stored in barns and other places around the farm!

If the land has been charged previously, the deeds might still be with the bank even if you have discharged the loan.

Once you have found all the deeds and if you are thinking of selling at some point in the not too distant future, speak to your solicitor at an early stage, and ideally before any terms are actually agreed. We can go through the deeds and documents for you, and let you know if there is anything missing, so that you have time to locate it. If any deeds can’t be found, it then gives us time to try and deal with that.

We can also check, for example, whether there are any particular issues in any of the title documents that could be a potential stumbling block for a buyer. In my experience, if an issue crops up after terms have been agreed, the buyer may well use that as a reason to reduce the purchase price. However, if the buyer knows of the issue in advance, even if their solicitor raises further queries regarding it, we generally find that the buyer is more likely to proceed with the sale, at the agreed price.

In my next blog I will discuss the types of issues that might arise, and suggestions for how they could be dealt with.

This blog was originally intended to form part of my talk at Longmores’ annual rural seminar at Knebworth House in March. For obvious reasons it has been postponed. We hope to run the seminar again this year if at all possible. If you would like to be added to the invitation list, please e mail our marketing manager:

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.