By Julie Huntington

A guide to selling a property for the first time.

The conveyancing process enables a property to be transferred from one legal owner to another.

Selling a property comprises of three main stages:

1. Agreeing the sale/purchase
2. Exchanging contracts
3. Completion

Once you have agreed a sale your conveyancer will draft and forward you a contract and they will also send a contract pack to your buyer’s conveyancer.  The pack will contain:

A Property Information Form 
This will have been completed by you, the seller. Answering questions about your property, ranging from disputes with neighbours, guarantees for any work you have had done to the property.  It will also include details of alterations to the property such as extensions, new windows and doors, the addition of a conservatory and information relating to the boundaries etc.

A Fittings and Contents Form  
This will also have been completed by you.  It is effectively a check-list to show what you intend to leave at the property and what you intend to take with you.  You will have the opportunity to indicate any items you may wish to offer to your buyers, either free of charge or at an agreed price.

A Copy of the Official Copy of Register 
Provided the title to your property is registered at the Land Registry your conveyancer will apply for an up to date copy of the official copy of the register, together with the title plan for your property.  This will confirm that you are the legal owner of the property and the person who is entitled to sell it.

Contract 
This document will show you as the seller and will also show the names of your buyers.  It will include the address of the property and its title number (the unique number for the property at the Land Registry).  It will state the purchase price for the property and includes some standard and some special conditions which your conveyancer will add/delete where appropriate.

Additional documentation, such as planning permissions and documentation, building regulation compliance certificates, warranties and guarantees etc.  If you are able to provide your conveyancer with any documentation that you hold at the start of the transaction this can often save time and speed up the selling process

Your buyers’ solicitors will raise any necessary questions arising from the contract pack provided and once all have been answered satisfactorily a completion date is discussed.

The completion date is not fixed until contracts are exchanged.  It is usual at this point, for the Estate Agents to get involved, as they can liaise between you and your buyers and other parties in the chain.  The completion date is finally agreed just prior to exchanging contracts.

On exchange of contracts, your buyer will pay a deposit (usually 10% of the selling price).  If you have a mortgage on the property your conveyancer will ask your lender how much will be required to pay off the mortgage on the completion date.  Once contracts are exchanged both you and your buyer are committed to selling/buying the property on the agreed completion date and neither can back out without incurring a large financial penalty.

Between exchange of contracts and completion, you will be asked to sign a Transfer, which is the legal document which officially transfers the property from your name into the name of your buyer.  It is held by your Conveyancer until completion.

Once the completion money is received from your buyer the Transfer is handed over to your buyer’s conveyancer and they are then registered at the Land Registry as the new owners of the property.

On the day of completion your buyers’ conveyancer will transfer the completion money to your conveyancer and, if you have a mortgage, the amount required to repay it is sent to your lender by bank transfer.  The fees of your estate agent and conveyancer will also be taken at this time.  Any money left over will be paid to you (unless it is required for your purchase of another property at the same time).

TOP TIPS
• When you first decide to sell your property it is a good idea to look out all the paperwork you have for the property, such as FENSA Certificates (for replacement windows/doors), GASSAFE Certificates (following the installation of any new gas boiler), any Guarantees or Warranties you may have:
• On completion, remember to read the meters and pass the readings to the service suppliers; and
• Arrange for your mail to be forwarded to your new address.

About the author – Julie Huntington is a Legal Assistant within the Property Department dealing mainly with residential sales and purchases of freehold property.  Julie also deals with Transfers of Equity. 

For more information on selling your property, or any other property matter, please contact Julie Huntington at WBW Solicitors on 01626 202404 or email Juliehuntington@wbw.co.uk.