It’s really the last thing you need to happen – alongside all the uncertainty and excitement of finding a home and having an offer accepted, you’ve also got to arrange all the documents to make the purchase go through. And there can be a lot of them. But what do you do if you can’t find a key document and you’re up against the clock?
If you’re not sure you’ve got all the right paperwork to begin with, have a look at our paperwork for buying a home list so you’re prepared.
1. Don’t panic
It’s easy to spiral and believe that this one document is going to hold up your entire move, or lose you the property. Chances are, the process will continue on, so even if it takes you a while to find, or you need to order another copy, don’t think the worst.
2. Let your solicitor know
If your conveyancing team is waiting for a particular document, don’t hold off speaking to them until you’ve found it. Let them know, after all, they may be able to accept an alternative. For example, if you don’t have a utility bill as proof of address, they may be able to suggest something else, or accept a digital copy in the interim.
3. Make a decision about replacements
If you’ve stayed calm and looked in every possible place you can think, then it’s worth just getting a replacement. For bank details, this may mean going into the bank or waiting on hold on calls for a while. It’s frustrating, but the sooner you get going, the better.
4. Go digital or pay to speed it up
If your passport has expired or you’ve lost your driving license, you’ll want to push these through as soon as possible. If you’ve already digitally connected these documents previously, you may simply be able to order a new driving license online, using your photo from your passport. This can significantly speed the process up.
When it comes to passports, the Post Office offers a speedy service for digital renewal where the form is checked, the photo is taken in the branch and you’ll receive updates. This will still take around 3 weeks.
If that’s still too long, you can use a 1 week Fast Track service by booking an appointment and paying a £142 fee.
5. Call for copies
If it’s something as simple as a bill, most places are happy to resend. Council tax is often the easiest bill to ask to be resent promptly, and if you’re buying with someone you currently live with, it covers both your names and your address, so can often double up.
Realistically, there are very few scenarios where an outstanding piece of paperwork is going to cause a huge hold up. Many of your documents will be sent digitally as well as physically, so you should always be able to find a back up. Proof of identification is a bit more serious because it does take time to process, but even then, the moving home journey can take time too! So be open and honest with your solicitor, mortgage advisor or whoever is helping you, and just make sure you’re proactive. Sticking your head in the sand won’t help. As much as you may feel embarrassed or worried, it happens, and you can fix it. So when you’re certain a document has been lost, take decisive action and keep your conveyancing team in the loop.
Of course, when your new document arrives, you’ll celebrate…and find the original immediately. But that’s okay. It’s all part of your moving home story.