A seller’s guide to conveyancing
This quick guide is intended to give you an overview of a typical residential sale but please bear in mind that every transaction is unique and that variations may arise.
The start of the process
Property information forms and other documentation
Once a buyer’s offer has been accepted he will want to obtain more information about the property. We will send you the standard property information forms to complete. These forms will contain questions which will be within your knowledge about the property, such as boundaries, alterations to the property and utility providers.
We will also ask you for originals or copies of other documents relating to your property such as planning permissions, building regulation approvals, NHBC certificates and any guarantees. Copies will be sent to your buyer’s solicitors at this stage as the buyer will want to ensure that all necessary documentation is in place.
If the property you are selling is leasehold (which will always be the case if you are selling a flat) your buyer will require extra information. We will ask you to fill out a separate leasehold property information form and to provide information and documentation relating to ground rent and service charges (if any) so that we may forward this on to your buyer’s solicitors.
Your buyer may have already received a Home Information Pack (HIP) from your estate agent or other HIP provider. A HIP is now obligatory before residential properties can be put on the market (with some limited exceptions). If the HIP has not been arranged we can do this for you at no charge provided we are instructed to act for you in the sale of the property.
If your property is subject to a mortgage we will obtain the title deeds directly from your mortgage lender. You will need to provide us with their name and address and your mortgage account number. In some cases you may need to write to the bank authorising them to release the deeds to us.
If there is no mortgage it is likely that you will have the deeds at home or will have lodged them with a bank or building society or another firm of solicitors for safekeeping. We will need you to bring/send them to us or to make arrangements for the relevant third party to send the deeds to us.
We will also obtain any current Land Registry copies of your deeds from the Land Registry.
At the same time as applying for your title deeds from your mortgage lender we will ask for a redemption statement and give the lender formal notification of your intention to redeem the mortgage. The redemption statement is a statement issued by the mortgage lender stating the amount required to pay off the mortgage (including interest) based on an anticipated completion date of one or two months later. If you are aware that an early redemption penalty is applicable to your mortgage you should let us have details as this may affect the timing of the transaction.
We will send you a copy of the redemption statement for your information; however you should note that we are unable to get an accurate figure until we know the exact date of completion.
Drafting the contract
We prepare a draft contract for the sale of the property and send it to the buyer’s solicitors together with the property information forms and copies of the relevant deeds and documents.
When your buyer’s solicitors have agreed the contract we will arrange for you to sign it and ask for your instructions on a completion date. When we have received the signed contract and your instructions regarding the completion date we will be ready to exchange contracts with your buyer.
Agreeing the completion date
The completion date is not fixed until exchange takes place and it is written into the contract. It is usually 2-3 weeks after exchange but can be any working day that you and your buyer agree on.
Traditionally a buyer will pay the seller a 10% deposit, although it is common for buyers to offer smaller deposits in which case we will need your instructions as to whether or not you will accept this.
The deposit is for your benefit. Its purpose is to compensate you in the event that your buyer fails to complete the transaction. If the buyer fails to complete after notice has been given to him you will, generally speaking, be entitled to keep the deposit and re-sell the property. We can help you to make an informed decision as to whether or not to accept a reduced deposit.
Replies to additional enquiries
We deal with any additional enquiries raised by your buyer’s solicitors; we will often need your help on these replies.
Exchange of contracts
Contracts are exchanged and a date is fixed for completion. From this point onwards both you and your buyer have a contractual obligation to complete the transaction.
Steps between exchange and completion
The transfer deed is the document which, on completion, transfers legal ownership of the property to your buyer. The transfer deed is prepared by the buyer’s solicitors and, once we have approved it, we will arrange for you to sign it before the completion date.
Final redemption statement
We will apply to your mortgage lender for a final redemption statement based on the actual completion date.
We will send you a completion statement specifying the income and expenditure involved in the whole transaction and this will let you know the final amount that will be due to you on completion.
Completion of the transaction
You will need to move out of the property on or before the completion date and your buyer will be entitled to move in once we receive the purchase money from his solicitors. We will call the estate agents to instruct them to release the keys to your buyer. If you have a mortgage this will be repaid on completion out of the sale proceeds.