In our video below, we explain what you need to do when selling your home, what your conveyancer will do and what they need from you, all in a matter of minutes, so you can be ready for when a sale is agreed.
Step 1: instruct a conveyancer
When it comes to selling a house, you’ll most likely need a conveyancer to act on your behalf to complete the legal work, once an offer has been made. It’s worthwhile instructing a conveyancer as early on in the process as possible, so that everything can be prepared for when a buyer is found.
Step 2: check yours and your property's details
Your details: ID Check:
Once you have instructed a conveyancer to act for your house sale, they will complete an ID check. You will have to provide your primary ID, such as a passport or driving licence as well as proof of residence in the form of a bank statement or utility bill.
They will get further details from you about the sale, such as, any known costs for paying back your mortgage early and any leasehold details. At this stage they will also let you know what forms you will need to complete.
Calculate outstanding monies:
If you have a mortgage (or other loan) secured on the house you are selling, your conveyancer will request a redemption figure from your lender to find out how much is outstanding, this figure will then be paid out of your sale proceeds on completion.
If the property you are selling is a leasehold, they will contact your landlord / management company to find out more details about how the lease works and whether there are any works due to be done or payments outstanding etc.
Step 3: request Title of Deeds
Your conveyancer will then need to obtain a copy of the title and send a draft contract to the buyer's conveyancer.
If you bought or remortgaged the house you are selling, in the last 25 years, it's likely that the property is registered at the Land Registry, showing you as owner, they should also have a plan of the property and any additional documents they hold for the property.
If no transactions have taken place in the last 25 years, then the property could be unregistered and you should have the title deeds to the property. You may hold these or your lender may have them if you still have a mortgage, either way your conveyancer will need these to sell the property.
Step 4: completing questionnaires for your buyers
Before you exchange contracts, you’ll need to complete and return detailed questionnaires for your buyers, about the property, and what you intend to include with the sale. This can include a Property Information form which has specific details about the property, its boundaries, any alterations to the property etc. and a Fixtures, Fittings and Contents form to say what you will be taking and leaving behind.
These will then all be sent to the buyer's conveyancers, along with any additional documents you have provided. Your buyers may then instruct searches and arrange for a survey to be carried out on the property.
Step 5: exchange of contracts
When all the details are sorted, you will need to agree a completion date with your buyer and exchange contracts. Before you exchange contracts, you will need carefully read the contract, sign it, and return it to your conveyancer. You will also have to sign the transfer document, which is a legal document that both seller and buyer need to sign or transfer the ownership of the property. This must be signed in the presence of an independent witness over the age of 18 years and the original should be sent back to your conveyancer.
Step 6: completing your house sale
Both seller and buyer are legally obliged to complete on the date stated when you exchanged contracts.
On the day of completion, the buyer’s conveyancers will transfer the money to purchase your property to your conveyancer by telegraphic transfer. As soon as this has been received, your conveyancer will then use this to pay off any outstanding balances such as, the existing mortgage on the property, the estate agents' fees or leasehold charges and then transfer legal ownership.
Time to move out!
Step 7: final step - post completion
Once you have completed on your house sale, your conveyancer will then send the signed transfer to the buyer’s solicitors so that they can register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry.
You must remember to keep paying the mortgage and home insurance until after completion.
You may also want to set up a temporary postal redirection service, so your mail gets delivered to your new address.
Your conveyancer will then account for their fees, estate agent or mortgage costs and pay any balance to you by bank transfer. If you’re wondering what the fees associated with a sale are, you can read all about the cost of selling a house
If you’re still not sure where to start, our top ten tips to prepare your home for the market may help you when selling your house.
Tips for sellers
Energy performance certificate
Energy performance certificates (EPCs) set out your property’s energy efficiency rating. It’s a legal requirement to make it available within seven days of putting your house on the market, it’s a good idea to get it done as early as possible. However, as EPCs are valid for 10 years, if you’ve owned the property for less than a decade, you may be able to use the existing EPC rather than having to pay for a new one.
If you have an outstanding mortgage on your house, your conveyancer will obtain a redemption statement from your lender. This sets out how much you still owe the mortgage provider, and the total figure will include any fees for terminating the contract early.
In order to prove that you’re legally permitted to sell your house, you need a copy of the title deeds. As they’re usually be held by the Land Registry, your conveyancer will request a copy for you. If your property isn’t registered (which is possible if it hasn’t changed hands in the last 25-30 years), then it’s most likely that your mortgage provider has the title deeds, or you may even have them yourself.
The exchange of contracts is often done by your conveyancer over the phone, with hard copies of the documents then sent in the post. Once you’ve exchanged, you’re now legally obliged to sell your house, on the completion date which has been agreed. If you’re involved in a chain, then all parties need to agree on completion in order to move forward before you’ll be able to exchange contracts.
You should take meter readings and let your utility companies know that you’re moving out, as this will help you to pay the correct final bills. For further advice on moving out, check out our handy moving house checklist.
Dropping off your keys
Make sure you drop off your keys with your estate agents no later than 2pm on completion day, so your buyers can get in as soon as it has been completed.
Remember to change your details
Once you’ve completed, make sure you promptly update your address with relevant providers and suppliers, including things like your bank account and driving licence. You can use the Royal Mail’s redirection service to ensure your post reaches you at your new address.
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