Published: 12th September 2018
It would be lovely if selling a home worked much the same way as standard retail. Pick your home, pay your money, get the keys and move in. In the real world, however, there a legal process to complete, which is known as conveyancing. Here is a brief guide to how it works from a seller’s perspective.
Usually you’ll want to pick your conveyancer before you receive an offer on your home, in fact, you may even pick your conveyancer before you’ve even officially put your home on the market. This means that once you receive an offer, you can get the sales process started as quickly as possible.
Even though there is often a certain level of formality around making an offer on a property, the offer itself is essentially the opening point of the real sales-negotiation process, rather than the final step in it.
Basically an offer states how much a buyer is willing to pay for the property, assuming that its particulars are confirmed to be as they were represented during the selection process. From a buyer’s perspective, the process of conveyancing is, fundamentally, about ensuring that everything really is as it should be with the property and therefore from a seller’s perspective it’s about providing the buyer with that reassurance.
When your conveyancer receives your instruction to proceed, they will send you a number of detailed questionnaires which you must complete. One of these is known as a TA 6, although it is often referred to as a Property Information Form. This form is both extensive and detailed and amongst its other functions, it is used to record any issues which could impact the buyer’s future enjoyment of the property.
It is absolutely vital that you make a full and frank disclosure of these as failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against you at a later date. You will also be asked to complete a TA 10 which will detail the fixtures and fittings to be included with the sale of the property and a TA 13, which sets out the practicalities of how the sale will be finalised, for example the date and the method by which the buyer will receive the keys.
If your property is leasehold or commonhold then you will need to fill in a TA 7 or a TA 9 giving details. Your conveyancer will use this to draw up a draft contract.
In principle, a buyer can simply accept a contract as it stands, in practice, there may be some element of negotiation involved. At some point, however, buyer and seller will reach an agreement and sign their individual copy of the contracts, which their respective conveyancers will exchange.
At this point in time, contracts are exchanged as physical documents, but moves are underway to digitise this process. Once the contracts are exchanged, the agreement becomes legally-binding. The buyer places a deposit with the seller as surety. The seller is equally committed to the contract, not only can they not accept another offer, they can’t back out of the sale either, at least not without the possibility of having to pay a penalty.
Once you have your completion date, your lender will be able to tell you exactly how much you will need to pay to redeem your mortgage.
Unless otherwise agreed, you must move out by the time of completion. In principle you can stay in your property right up to the point of completion. In practice, it may be less stressful at least to start the move beforehand so that you’re either moved out completely or only have minimal work to do to move out completely, rather than undertaking your main house move at the last minute.
However you approach your move, you will need to leave the property with all bar one set of keys inside it. When the buyer pays the remainder of the purchase price, they will receive this last set of keys along with the relevant legal documents.
You will need to pay off the balance of your mortgage. Generally speaking, however, your conveyancer will take care of this for you and simply send you the balance of the funds, out of which you will pay their bill and also your estate agent’s fee (assuming this latter is working on a pay-on-completion basis).
If you found this article useful and you are considering selling your Manchester property then please contact our local area experts at Portfolio8 who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, why not use our free online valuation tool to see how much your property is worth!