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You’ve just agreed the sale of your property...What happens next?

Nov 1st, 2018

Sally Cottam , Partner

You’ve just agreed the sale of your property or found your dream home...What happens next? Partner Sally Cottam talks us through the realities of moving home.

I have been a residential conveyancer for over 30 years and have been involved with lots of clients in a range of different transactions. Moving home ranks amongst one of the most stressful events a person can go through.

There is no wonder; there are lots of people involved and a lot to organise and it’s only when all those people have organised everything people can finally start to plan their move. While a conveyancer deals with transactions day in day out, clients moving home of course don’t, it may be their first time or it might have been years since they last moved.

With the process being unfamiliar to most, its an emotional time and the unknown is enough to make anyone anxious. The conveyancing process can be cumbersome and in fact following a recent Call for Evidence, which we responded to, the Government have accepted that it is stressful, time consuming and costly.

The Conveyancing profession and the Government are working to improve it using technology and helping home movers understand more about the conveyancing process.

In a nutshell, once you have sold your home, the process will be along the following lines:

  1. Your conveyancer will send you a pack of information and some forms to complete and return, a seller will need to complete a Fixtures and Fittings Form and a Property Information Form (Protocol forms)
  2. You will be asked to provide evidence of your identity
  3. A sellers conveyancer will obtain copies of the deeds (Official Copies) , these can usually be obtained quickly from Land Registry
  4. A sellers conveyancer will then prepare and send a contract, your completed Protocol forms and Official Copies to your buyers solicitors
  5. On behalf of a buyer, a buyers solicitors will raise enquiries regarding the property which your conveyancer will discuss with you and respond to
  6. A buyers solicitors will request searches against the property, the results may prompt further enquiries
  7. If a buyer needs a mortgage they will apply to a lender for a mortgage offer which their solicitors will need before they can commit the buyer to proceed with their purchase
  8. Once the sellers and buyers solicitors have satisfied themselves regarding enquiries, searches and finance they can advise their clients, have documents signed, agree a completion date and commit (exchange contracts) to moving (completion)

The above makes it look simple! It can be, but there are things that can soon complicate and delay matters, for example:

  • Several people in the chain all with different transactions and personal circumstances to accommodate
  • An adverse survey, down valuing a property or resulting in a property requiring estimates or even essential work to be carried out before completion
  • Someone in the chain unable to secure a mortgage
  • Problems with the title to the property e.g. missing documents, inaccurate plan, defective lease, breach of covenants, lack of necessary planning permission/building regulations
  • Leasehold properties invariably take longer to complete due to additional information which needs to be collated from the Landlord and/or Management Company
  • Adverse search results which result in further investigations
  • People simply changing their mind about moving

Our team can help guide you through the conveyancing transaction. We will work with you, the estate agent and the solicitor on the other side to ensure your move proceeds smoothly and quickly.

Once you decide to proceed you can help the transaction get off to a good start by fully completing and returning forms, providing information requested, your money on account for third party expenses and evidence of your identity.

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Sally Cottam


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