To some people, property sales form a part of their regular life, whilst to others, selling a property only occurs every so often.
The process can appear daunting to those who have not sold in a while and the levels of paperwork can often be overwhelming. There is a lot of initial admin associated with the sale as these will go on to form the Contract Pack.
We have set out five tips on how to cope and be as efficient as possible with the initial stages:
1. More information is always the best policy. Often the purchaser will ask for a hefty wad of papers relating
to various guarantees, warranties and certificates. It can be tricky trying to decide what may be needed.
Let us do that for you. We can review the papers and pick out those that will likely be needed. All
paperwork gets handed over at the point of completion in any event.
2. Forms are complicated. We understand that the protocol forms are long winded and can be difficult to
answer. Unfortunately these forms are created by the Law Society and are obligatory and we have to use
them. Whilst the forms can be awkward to complete, we deal with these daily, so do not be afraid to ask
3. Deeds. Whilst most property is now registered at HM Land Registry, having the Deeds is helpful to us, see
Paul Ross’ article as to why.
4. Appointing the Agent. Getting the right agent is important as they will also act as a go between for the
two Lawyers involved. We are happy to discuss agents with you and recommend as necessary.
5. ID. We are required to hold full and certified ID for clients and we cannot open a file without it. We
therefore suggest you come into the office to meet your lawyer, satisfy the set ID requirements and
generally have a chat about your sale.
We would expect a sale in complete within 8 - 10 weeks, depending on the complexity and length of the chain. However a lot does depend on how many enquiries the buyer raises, how quickly the buyer’s lawyer responds, searches, obtaining planning documents, financing, management packs and whether there is an issue with the property being sold, for example a defect in title.
The next step for you as the seller, following the contract pack being submitted to the buyer’s solicitor, is replying to enquiries. Again, I have some tips on these:
1. Honesty is always the best policy. Often a defect or issue can be remedied. If a problem comes to light
later that you deliberately did not disclose during the sale process, the buyer may be able to take action
2. It’s fine not to know! Enquires can be tough to answer and it is fine not to have an answer.
3. We are here to help! We will give suggested responses where appropriate, reject any enquires that are
not relevant and help you respond.
Once enquires are settled satisfactorily, we move to exchange. Contracts are sent to you to sign. We then take instructions on whether you are ready to exchange and agree a completion date. People often ask ‘what time period is usual between exchange and completion?’ The answer is not set. Once upon a time, 4 weeks was usual as this allowed money to be sent and cheques to be banked. In the modern technological age the standard 4 week period is no longer necessary. Completion can take place when both sides are happy to complete. It can be days or it can be weeks or even months. It does depend on what both sides are happy to agree on.
Once contracts are exchanged both parties are locked into the contract and are bound to complete the transaction. Failure to do so results in penalties and eventually forfeiture of the deposit. You will need to ensure the property is empty at the point of completion, and where possible we would recommend clearing your property the day before completion.
The selling process, whilst structured, can be stressful. We are here to reduce the stress and assist you as much as possible. Rather chat to us so that we know how to assist you best, than keep quiet in a state of anxiety.