The process involved in selling a property can be frustrating especially if you don’t understand the terminology involved. The following narrative is intended to act as a guide to assist you in the house selling process.
A Buyer is found:
Once a buyer has been found for your property, you will need to appoint a Conveyancer to act on your behalf. There are many advantages of choosing a Conveyancer prior to your buyer being found as they will often prepare all of the legal documentation associated with the sale of your property prior to the property being sold. Some Conveyancers undertake this work on a “no sale no fee” basis. The advantage of undertaking this work early is in order to ensure that you are in a position to issue contract documentation to your buyer’s Conveyancer as soon as the sale is agreed.
Once you have appointed a Conveyancer they will write to you enclosing their contact details and the Terms and Conditions under which they are instructed to act. In this letter your Conveyancer will ask you for the name and account number of your mortgage lender so that the cost of repaying your mortgage can be ascertained. As property title deeds have now “dematerialised” (meaning that mortgage lenders rarely hold the title deeds to a property in mortgage and any title deeds and other relevant documentation have probably been sent to you) you should send to your Conveyancer all such deeds and documents as they may be useful in resolving problems which may arise. Your Conveyancer will also request that you complete a Property Information Form in relation to the property which you are selling. This form will contain questions in relation to the property, such as whether or not any extensions have been built, or whether or not there are any on-going or past neighbour disputes. The letter will also contain you will also be asked to complete a Fittings and Contents Form making clear those items which you have agreed to leave at the property and those, if any, which you will be removing. Your Conveyancer will also request that you provide full details of any planning permissions, building regulation consents or guarantees which are available with the property.
Now that the sale of your property has been successfully negotiated, a document known as a ‘Memorandum of Sale’ will be forwarded onto your Conveyancer. The Memorandum of Sale will confirm the full address of your property, the sale price agreed, the buyer’s and the sellers details and details of their respective Conveyancers..
Upon receipt of the Memorandum of Sale your Conveyancer will request up to date copies of the Register entries of your property from the Land Registry. These documents are known as ‘Official Copies’. 90% of all property in England and Wales is now registered at the Land Registry. The Official Copies of your title deeds will show the up-to-date position including all relevant mortgages on your property as at the date of request. Following receipt of the Memorandum of Sale and the return of your pre contract enquiries, your Conveyancer should be in a position to provide the following documentation to the buyers Legal Team:
• Official Copies of the Register entries from the Land Registry
• Draft Contract documentation
• The Property Information form.
• Fittings & Contents Form
• Planning permissions and other miscellaneous documentation and guarantees
A Local Authority Search will be required. A Local Authority Search will provide information as to whether or not roads have been adopted by the Local Authority; whether alterations have been made to the property and general information affecting the property of which the Local Authority are aware.
Water and Drainage Search. This search provides information as to whether the property has the benefit of foul drainage and surface water to a public sewer and whether adoption agreements have been entered into with the relevant Water Authority in this regard.
Coal Authority Search: To identify if there is or has been any adverse mining activity in the area.
Environmental Search: To check whether or not the property is built on land which is considered to be Contaminated Land under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Once your buyer is in a position to proceed, i.e. once the contents of the draft contract has been agreed by your Conveyancer and the buyer’s Conveyancer , the buyer’s Conveyancer has checked and accepted your legal title to your property, the buyer has received a suitable offer of mortgage and acceptable results of the searches, your Conveyancer will write to you and request that you sign all relevant documentation
The documents that you will need to sign will include a contract and a transfer document (which will transfer the property to your buyer on completion).
Exchange of Contracts
The contract is the document that will commit you to selling the property and commit the buyer to buying the property. The contract will contain details of the seller and the buyer, the property and the purchase price. The purpose of exchanging contracts is to commit all parties to the property transaction. Its purpose is also to fix a completion date. The completion date is the date that the property transaction is finalised and the date that you will sell the property and on or by which you must move out of the property. More often than not a contract is exchanged by the Conveyancers acting for both parties talking to each other over the telephone and confirming that contracts are exchanged.
Post Exchange of Contracts
Following the successful exchange of contracts your Conveyancer will need to undertake the following work on your behalf:
• Obtain redemption figures for any mortgages on the property.
• Prepare a Statement of Account which will show any balance due to you or from you prior to completion of your property transaction. The Statement of Account will contain full details of all monies expended and received throughout the course of your transaction, including your Estate Agent fees.
The completion date is the day that you will finalise the sale of your property. The keys to your property should be deposited with your Estate Agent with strict instructions for them not to release the keys to your buyer until such time as they receive notification from your Conveyancer that they may do so. The keys will not be released to your buyer until such time as your Conveyancer has received the full purchase price from the buyers conveyancer. On completion your Conveyancer will:
• Obtain the purchase monies from the buyer’s Conveyancer..
• Notify the Estate Agents that they may release the keys.
• Send the Transfer deed and any title deeds through to the buyer’s Conveyancer.
• Repay any mortgages on the property.
• Pay the Estate Agents fees on your behalf.
• Account to you for any balance due.
Work continues after completion whilst your Conveyancer awaits confirmation of the discharge of your mortgage from your mortgage lender. Once received this documentation is forwarded onto your buyer’s conveyancer.
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