Once you have accepted an offer the legal process starts to arrange for contracts to be drawn up and agreed, to confirm payment is made for your property, and that legal title is properly transferred to your buyer.
To support these activities you (and your buyer) will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to do this work on your behalf.
The choice of who will act for you is entirely at your discretion but to help you with this, we promote a range of different and very competitive conveyancing options.
Summary of the legal process
In summary, the overall legal process to exchange and complete contracts with your buyer generally takes the following steps:
- Terms are agreed between Seller and Buyer and both parties instruct their conveyancer to work for them.
- The Seller’s conveyancer obtains the Seller’s title deed and prepares the draft Contract for the Buyer’s conveyancer to approve
- The Seller’s conveyancer send to the Buyers conveyancer the draft Contract together with rest of the documentation needed to form the overall contractual package.
- The Buyer’s conveyancer reviews the detailed terms of the Contract, does the Searches and reviews the results, confirms that there is a Mortgage Offer in place, and also checks the readiness of any dependent sale (in the same chain) to proceed.
- Contracts are then signed and exchanged at which time a Completion Date is agreed between both parties.
- The Transfer Deed is prepared by the Buyer’s conveyancer and approved by the Seller’s conveyancer, and then signed in readiness for the Completion Date.
- The Buyer’s conveyancer obtains the funds for the purchase from the Buyer – either directly, or though the sale of his/her previous property – and the lender (if there is a Mortgage)
- On the Completion Date the Buyer’s conveyancer sends the required funds to the Seller’s conveyancer (on behalf of the Seller). When receipt of these funds is confirmed by the Sellers conveyancer, the purchase is deemed compete and the Buyer can take legal occupation.
- The Buyer’s conveyancer pays any Stamp Duty due, and registers the Buyer as the new owner of the property at the Land Registry
Our advice: The time it takes to progress through this stage is dependent on various factors – but the entire process could take at least 6-8 weeks. However, to speed up the process from your end, we recommend you instruct legal representation prior to finding a buyer as there are various things they can do well in advance, and hence save time later. This includes calling for your title deeds office copy entries and various other documents – all of which can take some time to get hold of. Its worth completing various documents in advance – such as the “Sellers Property Information Form” and “Fixture Fittings and Contents” declaration – as these will also help speed up things later.
In parallel to the legal process, one of more surveys may be commissioned on your property. If the Buyer requires a Mortgage their lender will make arrangements for a very basic survey (known as a Valuation) to provide assurances that it’s worth the price being offered for it. In addition to this, the Buyer may also commission a more comprehensive survey – which will assess in more detail the condition of the property and make appropriate recommendations.