Conveyancing Guides - Sale & Purchase combined
Ignorance is not blissWhen it comes to buying and selling your own home, ignorance is NOT bliss. It can be a stressful time, and not knowing what happens next only adds to the worry. To help with this we always make a point of keeping you informed throughout the transaction. This guide should help some more by giving you an overview of the main steps in a sale and purchase.
(If you move your mouse over any of the "Jargon" words (in red) an explanation of what they mean will pop-up).
Important - see the note at the bottom of the page about the effect of tying in your sale and purchase. Although we've put the sale guide and the purchase guide after each other below, in reality they are each progressing along independently of each other (and hopefully at the same time!)
On your sale
We will firstly need to get the information together for sending to the buyers solicitors. The Property Information Form, and Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form, are filled out by you, the seller. They are questions about the property that you should be able to answer quite easily. However, if you are unsure about any of the questions then you should contact us.
We'd normally be able to instantly get a copy of the Title deeds from the Land Registry. In the unlikely event that we can't then if you have a mortgage, the Title deeds may be held by your bank or building society; if you don't have a mortgage then you should know where the deeds are kept. However we obtain a copy of the deeds we need to let the buyer's solicitors have a copy. This is to prove to them that you own the property, and to show them any rights of way or other conditions that exist.
Once we have the title deeds we can also prepare the Contract. This sets out the main terms of what has been agreed - your names, the buyers' names, a description of the property and the price. You will now have to wait until the buyer is ready to proceed.
Once the buyer and the seller are ready, a Completion Date (the 'moving date') is agreed. We will then exchange contracts (this simply means swapping the contract signed by the seller for one signed by the buyers - together with a deposit provided by the buyers). After contracts are exchanged the contract is binding and neither party can withdraw without incurring massive expense.
On the day of completion we receive the balance of the sale price, in return for which we will hand over the title deeds to the property. We will use the money to repay the mortgage the seller had on the property and secondly to pay the costs of sale - the Estate Agent's account and our own fees. If there is money left over then this will be sent to you on the day of completion, unless you are using this money on an onward purchase.
On your purchase
We will ask you to let us have £250 so that we can order a pack of searches upon your behalf. This contains the local authority and water searches. If the property is in a mining area we'll have to request a mining search as well. Searches are simply a list of questions about the property that are sent to the local council, the water authority and the Coal Authority. We'll also request the Sellers solicitor to let us have a copy of the title deeds, a contract, and questionnaires completed by the seller (including fixtures and fittings) and any documentation in support.
The only other thing we will need before we can proceed is a copy of your mortgage offer (if applicable). Once we have all of the relevant documents, we will ask you to sign the contract. If you are just buying then we will ask you to for a deposit as well (you will be told how much is needed), but if you are buying and selling then this will generally not be needed.
We will go through all the above documents with you (either in the office or by preparing a plain english report for you to read at your leisure) and explain any problems there may be with the property. Once you are satisfied that there are no major problems, then you are ready to exchange contracts.
Once the buyer and the seller are ready, a Completion Date (the "moving date") is agreed. We then exchange contracts (this means swapping the contract signed by the seller for one signed by the buyers - together with a deposit provided by the buyers). Once contracts are exchanged the contract is binding and neither party can withdraw without incurring massive expense.
We must then within twenty-eight days arrange for the payment of stamp duty (if appropriate) and, within two months of the completion date, apply to register the buyer's ownership at the Land Registry.
Important Note - Tying in your sale and PurchaseBecause you are tying the two transactions in together, there are a number of additional problems. There's nothing different legally, it's just that you have the problem of different sets of people with different priorities.
As an example you may be selling to a private buyer, and buying from a builder. Your buyer may want to delay it until he is ready to go, or until the school holidays, or until the end of his financial year. The builder on the other hand will generally be pushing you from the word go to get the purchase completed as soon as possible - the sooner the money goes into his bank account, the sooner he stops paying interest on an overdraft. You are the piggy in the middle, and can easily be pushed one way and then the other by each side.
There's no easy solution to any of this, as it depends on the personalities involved. As a general rule we would advise our clients to communicate directly to the other party, because it encourages people to be more considerate - when you have a legal adviser or Estate agent acting as a go-between, people can sometimes feel divorced from the consequences of their demands - in such circumstances it's very easy for everyone to get irritated, and risk losing the sale or purchase.
This obviously depends upon the personalities involved - there are some people that it may be best not to talk to! Most importantly, if you do agree something directly with the other party, then make sure your solicitor knows about it as soon as possible - it may not be possible or legal!
Problems will often occur when completion dates are being set - now you have a number of people involved some form of compromise is usually inevitable.