I am buying a new home – do I need my documents notarised?

You have spent a lot time finding your new home, returned home and your agent has asked you to notarise your documents. Was your first question “what does notarise mean?” Don’t worry, it often is!

We don’t use notaries a lot in the UK for day to day or domestic matters like other countries do. Notaries are used more commonly in places like the US and India or when something important needs to be signed, attested or verified in another country.

Whether or not you need your documents notarised depends on what you have been sent. Normally contracts with the agent or lawyer don’t need to be, but Powers of Attorney (POA), Warranty Deeds and affidavits do. If you plan on returning to the country to complete all work, check with your representative whether or not it has to be done now and notarised, or can be done when you return. This would save costs, but not necessarily time.

The most common document we see for purchases is the POA. This document is a deed and needs to be signed correctly for it to be valid. This means we need to sign it as a deed to comply with the law of England and Wales as well as the recipient country. Sometimes all pages need to be signed by everyone, including witnesses, some need copy identity documents attached, others with a blue pen. Because of the variances, I always ask for signing instructions. This means we can get it right first time, and you don’t need to keep coming back!

Warranty deeds are normally for US documents. They tend to be sent in a set format with a recognisable notarial block at the end. Some will ask you to go to the US embassy, but due to the time and cost, ask if a notary can do it for you instead. Not often, but sometimes an apostille is needed, but you will be asked by the closing agent to obtain it if needed as this varies by State.

As with many documents being used abroad, you may need an apostille or legalisation. This is to ensure that the document has been issued correctly. This does add time and cost to a document, so check that it is needed, however we are normally told in advance of this requirement, and this can all be factored in. At the time of writing, I haven’t completed any of these documents digitally nor remotely. The nature of the transaction means I need to identify you and watch sign the document, and that normally cannot be done remotely. Digital documents can be produced at an in-person meeting, but they aren’t normally accepted.

The easiest thing to do is contact me with any queries that you may have. I will ask to the documents and the instructions, and this will give me a complete pictures of your needs, and allow me to give a full and accurate quote.

Need help notarising your documents for a home purchase?

If you need the support of an experienced notary public, please get in touch.