There are three main stages to the process of selling a property:
1. The pre-contract stage What we do before you commit to selling your property
- We will start by taking your instructions. Ideally this should be as soon as possible after someone has offered to buy your property or – if your sale is linked to the purchase of another property – as soon as you have found a property to purchase.
- We will ask you where the documents for your property are, whether you have a mortgage that needs to be paid off and whether you are buying another property. We will also need to ask for evidence of your identity so that we can comply with the strict money laundering duties the law places upon us.
- Normally we will be contacted by the estate agent selling your property for you and they will give us details of the purchasers of your property and their solicitor/conveyancer. If no agent is involved, you will need to provide that information.
- Where you are selling a leasehold property, we will tell you about any specific duties there are such as notifying the landlord and if it is owned jointly about any issues that arise.
- Once we have the documents to your property, we can prepare a contract and send all of the relevant documents to the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer.
- The buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer will check the contract and documents, carry out searches and ask questions – called pre-contract enquiries – about the property. We may need you to help us to answer those since they could relate to utilities such as gas or telephone, improvements you have made to the property or matters such as flooding or subsidence.
- When the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer is happy from a legal point of view, and the buyer is ready to go ahead, we will ask you to sign one copy of the contract which we will then “exchange contracts” – in other words make a binding agreement to sell the property to the buyer. Note that timing might depend on any related purchase you have or how quickly your buyer can go ahead. You will agree the completion date at this time.
- On exchange it is usual for a deposit to be taken. Normally this will be 10% of the sale price although you may be asked to accept less if, for example, your buyer is getting a 95% mortgage or has had to accept a reduced deposit on their sale.
- The deposit shows that your buyer intends to go ahead with the purchase and will be forfeited if they pull out of the transaction.
2. The post-contract stage What we do to make sure ownership is transferred to the buyer
- Following exchange of contracts, we will begin the work leading to completion (that is to say the date upon which the property becomes yours to move into).
- We will draft the purchase document, complete the mortgage documents (if any), carry out any final searches and make sure that everyone else in the transaction is ready to go ahead. If there is a “chain” of transactions all completions will usually need to happen on the same day.
- We will ask you to sign the various outstanding documents, calculate the final details of the finances and then ask you (and your mortgage provider) to let us have the money we need to complete the purchase. This MUST include any other payments that still need to be made such as the land registration fee and any stamp duty land tax and we cannot go ahead unless we have all of the money needed.
- If everything is in order then, on the day of completion we will transfer the balance of purchase money to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer and receive from them the deeds and documents relating to the property. We will check with you so you can arrange to get the keys to the property and move in. Do bear in mind that you will not be able to move into the property until the money is received by the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer.
3. The post-completion stage Dealing with outstanding issues after you have completed your sale
- After completion, we will finalise the paperwork and arrange for the payment of any stamp duty land tax and arrange for your title to the property to be registered at the Land Registry.
- When this is all finished, we will send the documents either to you or the mortgage provider, as appropriate.