UK Property Law
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Thanks for your question. Could you provide a bit more information please.
At what stage of the transaction do you mean "have to be present"; when they make an offer, when they exchange contracts, upon completion?
Are you based in the US?
It's common practice the solicitor acting in the conveyance to meet with the client in order to verify their identity to comply with money laundering regulations (ie. taking photographic evidence of their passport etc. proof of address). After tha,t their face to face contact with the client can be very minimal. There is no formal requirement for the client to be present upon exchange of contracts or completion of the purchase.
Were you out of the the country and wishing to purchase a property you would have to verify your identity by going to see a notary, and then possibly appointing someone (would could be your solicitor) to act as your attorney if signing the appropriate documents is a practical difficulty.
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Yes, it is not particularly difficult to do this.
Just get the person to speak with a UK solicitor who deals in conveyancing. They will be able to arrange the sale without them being in the UK, they will just require him to go and see a notary or equivalent (depending on the country he is in when the sale goes through) in order to verify his identity.
It really is not a problem. You can find UK solicitors through the Law Society's search engine, enter the postcode of the property he is selling and select "conveyancing residential" from the drop down menu:-
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