Selling your house is an exciting time, but it’s also bound with a lot of red tape. This handy guide will take you through all the ins and outs of property contracts, so you know what to expect from the outset.
“The legal process begins as soon as you accept an offer. This includes arranging for the drawing up of contracts, arranging appropriate payments and making sure that the property is legally transferred to the new owner.” Says Central London estate agent, LDG.
Both you and your buyer will need to instruct solicitors and/or conveyancers to do all the legal work on your behalf and ensure that everything is above board.
The legal process of exchanging and completing contracts with your buyer generally takes the following steps:
- Terms are agreed between seller and buyer and you both instruct legal parties to do the conveyancing work on your behalf.
Your lawyer obtains the title deeds and prepare draft contracts for your buyer’s lawyer to approve.
Your lawyer sends the draft across to the other lawyer, along with the other documentation required to form the contract.
The buyer’s lawyer reviews the documents and does the appropriate searches and reviews. They will then confirm that there is a mortgage offer in place and check the progress of any dependent sale in order to proceed.
Contracts are then signed by both parties and exchanged. At this stage a completion date is agreed.
The buyer’s lawyer will prepare the Transfer Deed, which will then be sent to yours for approval and signing.
Your buyer will obtain the necessary funds for purchase, either directly, via a lender or through the sale of their own property.
On the completion date your buyer’s lawyer will send the required funds to yours. As soon as these are received the purchase is deemed complete.
Finally, the buyer’s lawyer will pay any stamp duty that is due on the property and register the buyer as the new owner with the Land Registry.
“The time the whole process takes depends on various factors, like whether there is a chain or the property is subject to any planning permissions, but on average you can expect it to take between six and eight weeks” explains Andrew Reeves.
To make things move as quickly as possible from your end it’s advisable to instruct your lawyer to start working on the paperwork before you find a buyer. This may seem like false economy but it can save a huge amount of time further down the line and make the whole transition much smoother.
Things they can do in advance include calling for information regarding title deeds and other important documents that can take a while to get hold of. You can also complete other documents in advance, such as the “Sellers Property Information” form and “Fixture Fittings and Contents” declaration.
“If you do as much as you possibly can now, you’ll be thankful in the long run” says Wimbledon estate agent, Robert Holmes.