What is involved in a sale?

There are essentially three main stages to the legal process which are:

  • The pre-contract stage – what we do before you commit to selling your property;
  • The post-contract stage – what we do to make sure ownership is transferred to the buyer; and
  • The post-completion stage – dealing with outstanding issues after you have completed your sale.

Rest assured we will always let you know what is happening and when things need to be done by you.

1The Pre-contract stage
  • We will start by taking your instructions. Ideally this should be as soon as possible after someone has offered to buy your property or – if your sale is linked to the purchase of another property – as soon as you have found a property to purchase.
  • We will ask you where the documents for your property are, whether you have a mortgage that needs to be paid off and whether you are buying another property. We will also need to ask for evidence of your identity so that we can comply with the strict money laundering duties the law places upon us.
  • Normally we will be contacted by the estate agent selling your property for you and they will give us details of the purchasers of your property and their solicitor/conveyancer. If no agent is involved, you will need to provide that information.
  • Where you are selling a leasehold property, we will tell you about any specific duties there are such as notifying the landlord and if it is owned jointly about any issues that arise.
  • Once we have the documents to your property, we can prepare a contract and send all of the relevant documents to the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer.
  • The buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer will check the contract and documents, carry out searches and ask questions – called pre-contract enquiries – about the property. We may need you to help us to answer those since they could relate to utilities such as gas or telephone, improvements you have made to the property or matters such as flooding or subsidence.
  • When the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer is happy from a legal point of view, and the buyer is ready to go ahead, we will ask you to sign one copy of the contract which we will then “exchange contracts” – in other words make a binding agreement to sell the property to the buyer. Note that timing might depend on any related purchase you have or how quickly your buyer can go ahead. You will agree the completion date at this time.
  • On exchange it is usual for a deposit to be taken. Normally this will be 10% of the sale price although you may be asked to accept less if, for example, your buyer is getting a 95% mortgage or has had to accept a reduced deposit on their sale.
  • The deposit shows that your buyer intends to go ahead with the purchase and will be forfeited if they pull out of the transaction.
2The Post-contract stage
  • After exchange, we will approve the transfer document, find out how much is needed to pay off your mortgage (if any) and make sure everyone else in the transaction is ready to proceed. You will need to sign the transfer in readiness for completion.
  • We will work out the financial details and let you know how much you will be receiving from the sale or, if you are buying another property, how much extra we will need to complete your purchase. If you are buying, that sum will include any other payments we still need to make such as the land registration fee and any stamp duty land tax and you must pay those to us before we can complete.
  • On completion day, if there are no other problems, we will receive the balance of purchase money from the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer and send them any deeds and documents relating to your property. We will make sure you know when to hand over the keys to your property to the buyer.
  • Usually, until the money is received by us your buyer cannot move into your property and you should not let them do so until we tell you it is safe.
3The post-completion stage
  • After completion has taken place, we will pay any outstanding mortgage from the sale proceeds and account to you for any balance which is due. If you are purchasing another property will carry out the remaining purchase tasks.

What will it cost?

There are two aspects to the costs of selling a property - the fees that we charge for doing the work and the payments we need to make to others (called disbursements) on your behalf. Both will depend upon several factors including the value of the property, the nature of the transaction and where the property is situated.

We want you to be as clear as possible about the charges we will make and the additional payments that will be required. To find out more, please go to our “Pricing” page where you will see those charges set out and where you can obtain from us a quotation as to the actual cost for the property you are selling. If you have any doubts as to those charges, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How long will it take?

How long your sale takes will depend on several factors including the property itself and how quickly others in the chain want to deal with it. Rest assured that we will always try and make sure that your transaction takes no longer than is absolutely necessary.

On average a transaction takes roughly 8 and 12 weeks. Simple transaction might be quicker but, if there is a long chain of transactions, then it might take longer.

We will always make sure that you are kept fully up-to-date with the likely time-scale. Some of the factors that can influence how long the transaction can take include how quickly the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer is able to deal with the transaction and, if the property is leasehold, waiting for the management company to provide details of service charges and ground rent.

You can always help speed up the transaction by responding promptly and fully to any questions that we ask you.

To ensure your transaction proceeds as quickly as possible we will always chase up the progress of your transaction and will not simply wait for something to happen. However, just because the transaction is not moving forwards does not mean that it is us that is holding it up.

Who will be carrying out the work?

Our residential conveyancing team has many years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to sales and purchases. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Vishal Sharma who is a partner in the Firm.

You will find full details of the team on the “Meet the Team” page using the menu at the top of the screen.