A Brief Guide to the Process

Selling your home is a big step to undertake and is likely to be one of the most significant decisions you will make. It is an exciting time but can also be daunting and stressful – there are many things to organise and think about. To help prepare yourself and give you some knowledge of the selling process, we have set out below a summary of what happens during a typical sale transaction. To assist, we have split the sale transaction into 3 main stages:

  • Commencement to exchange of contracts
  • Exchange of contracts to completion
  • After completion

Commencement to exchange of contracts

The buyer needs to investigate matters affecting the property to ensure that they are acceptable. We believe it is best to obtain all of the required information as soon as possible so that the matter can be progressed swiftly. The process will involve:

  • Sale details
    Obtaining full details of the transaction including the address of the property, purchase price and other special terms you have agreed.
  • Title documentation
    It will be necessary to provide evidence of your legal title to the property. Therefore you will need to confirm whether your property is registered at the Land Registry and/or where your title deeds are held (which may be with your lender if there is a mortgage over your property).
    If the property you are selling is leasehold, we will need to have the original Lease. It may also be necessary to obtain your Landlord’s consent to the sale of the property and to request documentation from any management company which the buyer will need to complete.
  • Mortgage
    If you have a mortgage secured over your property, you will need to provide details of your lender and the relevant mortgage account details so that a redemption figure can be requested. This is because all outstanding sums due under the terms of your mortgage will need to be paid to the lender upon completion of the sale.
  • Joint ownership of the property
    If more than one person is selling the property, you will need to confirm how the property is held, i.e. whether as joint tenants or tenants in common. This is because it will affect how the net sale proceeds are apportioned and paid to you.
  • Energy Performance Certificate, Searches & Survey
    As seller, you are obliged to provide the buyer with an Energy Performance Certificate, which is usually arranged through the estate agent prior to your property being placed on the market for sale. The buyer will wish to carry out usual conveyancing searches in relation to the property and their solicitors will arrange to do this on their behalf. The buyer (and/or their lender) is also likely to arrange for a survey of your property to be undertaken.
  • Enquiries of the seller
    It is normal for you to be asked to provide replies to various standard enquiries. These will ask you to give information about the property such as responsibility for boundaries; whether any extensions have been made to the property; or if there have been any disputes with neighbours. Additionally, you will be asked to provide details of the fittings and contents which are to be included in, or excluded from, the sale.
  • Contract
    A draft contract relating to the sale of the property will be prepared on your behalf. This will be sent to the buyer’s solicitors for approval. When the terms of the contact are agreed and the buyer has received satisfactory search results and replies to enquiries, the contract will be signed and matters can proceed to exchange. The buyer will make arrangements to pay the required deposit, which if you are also purchasing another property as part of the transaction, may be able to be used as a deposit (or for part of the deposit) in relation to that purchase.
  • Estate Agents
    It is normal during the transaction for any estate agent involved to contact us and request information, particularly regarding progress, in relation to the matter.

Exchange of Contracts to Completion

The exchange of contracts to completion stage will involve:

  • Exchange
    Exchange of contracts is when all parties are committed to the transaction. Until this time, either party may withdraw. The deposit will be paid by the buyer, showing the buyer’s intention to proceed. There will be serious implications for you in the event you withdraw from the transaction after exchange of contracts.
  • Chains
    If you are involved in a chain of transactions (for example, where you are buying another property which is dependent on the sale of your property), we will deal with exchanging contracts so that your sale and purchase are linked together.
  • Documents to be signed
    If they are not already in place, the requisite documentation including the transfer (which is the formal document transferring legal ownership of the property to the buyer) will need to be signed by you in readiness for completion.
  • Moving out
    You should make arrangements with removal companies, etc to move out of the property so that it is vacant (usually by 1pm) on the completion date.
  • Mortgage redemption
    Prior to completion, if you have an existing mortgage secured against the property, an up to date redemption statement will be requested from your lender. This will set out the total sum payable to redeem your mortgage which will need to be paid on completion.
  • Completion statement
    We will normally send you a completion statement shortly before completion to set out the financial aspects of the transaction.
  • Completion
    We will normally telephone you to confirm that the purchase monies have been received from the buyer’s solicitors, that completion has taken place and that your property has been sold.

After Completion

  • Redeeming the Mortgage
    The mortgage secured over your property will be redeemed using all or part of the completion monies received from the buyer.
  • Balance of Completion Monies
    When completion has taken place and your mortgage redeemed, any balance of the net sale proceeds will be sent to you in accordance with the figures detailed in our completion statement.
  • Fees of Estate Agents
    If you have used estate agents to act in connection with your sale, it is normal for them to request that their fees be paid from the sale proceeds.
  • Service Providers
    We recommend that prior to vacating the property, you arrange to read meters at the property and notify the suppliers of services to the property that the property has been sold.
Please note that the information in this article is not designed to provide legal or other advice or create a solicitor - client relationship. No liability is accepted for any loss caused in reliance upon its content and you should not take or refrain from taking action based upon the same.