The process of legally transferring home ownership from you, the seller, to the buyer is known as conveyancing.
It begins with accepting an offer and ends with the buyer receiving the keys. A solicitor or conveyancer typically conducts the conveyancing process.
Instructing your conveyancing counsel is the first stage in the conveyancing procedure for sellers. You must formally instruct your solicitor or conveyancer to commence the conveyancing procedure once you have accepted an offer in order for the sale to proceed smoothly.
It’s probably preferable to determine the solicitor or conveyancer you wish to use before you are under offer, around the time you choose your estate agent, to avoid delays and speed up the conveyancing process.
Conveyancing process questionnaires
Before exchanging contracts, the next step in the conveyancing procedure for sellers is to fill out a series of thorough questions regarding the property and what you plan to include in the sale, which will be handed to you by your solicitor/conveyancer. You may be requested to complete the following:
- The (TA 6) form is a general questionnaire that asks about boundaries, disputes and complaints (such as reported noise complaints or boundary disputes), known proposed developments (such as highways or railways), building work, council tax, utilities, sewerage, and contact information.
- If you do not own the freehold, you should provide more details about the leasehold (TA 7) or commonhold (TA9).
- The (TA 10) specifies which fixtures and fittings you would like to include with the property.
- The (TA 13) is more technical, but it also includes finalisation details like how and where you’ll complete, arrangements to hand over the keys, and making sure the residence is clear of any mortgages or responsibility claims.
The seller must complete these forms honestly and to the best of their knowledge; if it is later discovered that the seller has not been completely truthful, they may be sued for compensation.
If they discover out before the contracts are exchanged, the buyers may become concerned that the seller are misleading them about other aspects and withdraw from the purchase.
Draft contract and negotiations
Your solicitor or conveyancer will prepare a contract using the information from the questionnaire. This is forwarded to the buyer for approval.
Negotiations over the draught contract will be led by the conveyancing solicitor. Date of completion (usually 7-28 days after contracts are exchanged), what fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale price, how much the buyer will pay for other fixtures and fittings, and who will fix any issues raised in the buyer’s survey, or an update on the sale price that reflects the survey’s outcome, if applicable are all things to agree on.
Pay off your mortgage
You must first pay off your mortgage by seeking a redemption figure from your mortgage provider before you may switch contracts. This is the amount you pay at the end of the sale.
Exchange of contracts
You and the buyer will have set a date and time for the contract exchange. Your solicitor or conveyancer will exchange contracts on your behalf as part of the conveyancing process. This is typically accomplished by both solicitors/conveyancers checking that the contracts are identical before mailing them to one another.
If you or the buyers are part of a chain, the solicitors/conveyancers will do the same thing, but only if all of the other persons in the chain agree. This means that if one individual cancels or delays, the entire chain is slowed.
You’ll be in a legally binding contract to sell the property once you’ve exchanged contracts. This means that if the buyer fails to finish the transaction, you will most likely keep their deposit and have the option to sue them.
They have the right to sue you if you cancel the sale. When you exchange contracts, you can no longer accept another offer on your home.
Between exchange and completion
You should receive the buyer’s deposit, which is normally 10% of the property price, shortly after the exchange. You legally own the property until it is finished, so there is no reason to leave before then.
However, it will be far less stressful if you can move out a few days ahead of time rather than waiting until the last minute.
You will hand over the keys on completion day. In most cases, the buyer receives the keys from the estate agent, and you leave any extra sets in the house.
You or your conveyancer/solicitor will receive the remaining sale price, send over the legal documentation proving ownership, and use the sale profits to pay down the mortgage.