The whole legal and administrative process is probably the main reason why property purchases take such a long time.
As a house seller there are less administrative issues you have to bother about, it is still recommended that you hire a professional solicitor or conveyancer. The legal aspect is highly important, and you should not run the risk of inaccuracies that might cost you dear later on.
The house conveyancing process involves the following steps:
- Sale agreement. The solicitors will exchange contact details and letters specifying the particulars of the sale.
- If you have not organised an Energy Performance Certificate you will need to do so now.
- Title deeds. Your solicitor will have to obtain the property title deeds for the lender. They will be sent back to your solicitor at a later stage.
- Property information form. List of all the details to be included in the draft contract. Have to be checked and approved both by you and the buyer’s solicitor.
- Answer buyer inquiries. The buyer’s solicitor will send a list with questions concerning property details, tenure, utilities, items to be included in the sale etc. to your solicitor. This should erase any ambiguities as early as possible.
- Draft contract. Your solicitor might have done this as soon as you instructed him. This is not a standard contract and will probably be changed quite a lot before you sign it. The draft consists of two parts: The Particulars of Sale spell out property details and items to be included in the sale.
- The Conditions of Sale concern the proposed completion date and deposit required on exchange of contracts. As soon as the title deeds are returned, your solicitor will send the draft contract to the buyer’s solicitor.
- When the completion date and the terms of the draft contract have been agreed by the solicitors, it will be sent to you for approval. As soon as approved, the standard contracts will be set up and sent to you for signature.
- Sign contract. After signing it, send the contract back to your solicitor. Remember that until contracts have been exchanged, the whole thing is not legally binding! Exchange of contracts. Now there is no way back. Each party signs all the contracts and sends them back.
- The solicitors will agree a date for the exchange of contracts. As soon as you have signed the contract, the sale becomes legally binding for both parties. You will receive 5 to 10 per cent of the agreed sales price as a deposit, and your solicitor will set a completion date.
- Receive deposit.You will now receive the buyer’s deposit, if there is one.
- Transfer of money. The buyer’s mortgage lender will send the money to your solicitor by electronic transfer.
- On the completion day, you will receive the outstanding amount of money (usually transferred directly to your account) and hand over the keys.
That completes the house conveyancing process!
Since the house conveyancing process takes on average 2 to 3 months, it is safe to get a solicitor as soon as you decide to sell your house. It will not cost you any more to instruct him early, so you can avoid serious delays by getting him to set up legal documents like the contract when you start advertising.