When selling your home, you will require the expertise of a Residential Property Solicitor to help deal with the conveyancing process.
Conveyancing refers to the legal and administrative work involved with transferring ownership of a building or plot of land from one owner to another.
In the case of the seller, the conveyancing process starts with accepting an offer and finishes with the handing over of the keys to the new owner. Understanding the conveyancing process for selling a residential property will help you to ask the right questions and enable you to choose the right firm of solicitors to represent your interests.
As members of the Law Society’s highly regarded Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), a recognised quality benchmark for residential conveyancing, Lanyon Bowdler has been supporting clients throughout Shropshire, Herefordshire, The Midlands and North Wales with residential property transactions, and other property-related legal matters, for many years.
Renowned for being friendly, approachable, and residential conveyancing expertise, allied to superb customer service and deep knowledge of the local property market, Lanyon Bowdler’s solicitors can provide expertly tailored legal advice whether you are buying, selling, transferring, or financing a residential property.
Lanyon Bowdler’s detailed step by step guide below allows you to understand the various stages of the conveyancing process for selling your home and offers you an insight into what your solicitor will be doing when helping you sell your home.
Once you have received an offer you are happy to accept, you need to formally instruct your solicitor to proceed with the conveyancing process to allow the sale to progress effectively.
To minimise delays, it is advisable to select the solicitor you intend to use before you are under offer, around the time you choose your estate agent.
When you are selling your property, you will need to complete and gather together various documents so that your solicitor can pass them on to the buyer’s solicitor and the buyer themselves.
The list below briefly outlines much of what is legally required, but we’ll be there to advise and support you throughout the process. We are always available to answer any questions you might have and to offer solutions to any issues which may arise.
As the seller of a property, you will need to provide:
Proof of identity is required to satisfy anti-money laundering laws. You will be asked for at least three forms of ID including one photo ID such as a driving licence or passport, and two documents proving your address such as a bank statement or utility bill.
This form provides the buyer with all the information they need to make an informed decision about buying the property. The answers are legally binding so it’s important to complete this form accurately. The information on this form is quite detailed covering everything to do with the property, including the council tax band, utility suppliers, any disputes with neighbours, boundaries, safety certificates, guarantees and warranties, building works certificates and planning permission for any work carried out. Download a sample of the property information form.
If you do not own the freehold, you will need to provide details on the leasehold (TA7), including ground rent charges and the statement of payments, or the commonhold (TA9)
You will need to complete this form to list everything that will be left in the property when you leave. It tells the buyer exactly what is included in the sale of the property from curtain rails and radiators to kitchen and bathroom appliances.
The is more technical, but also includes finalisation details including arrangements to hand over the keys, how and where you will complete, and ensuring that the house is free of all mortgages and liability claims.
If there is a mortgage on the property you will need to provide the lender’s details so that the Conveyancing Solicitor can work out the balance to be paid on completion day
An energy performance certificate, detailing the energy efficiency of the property, must be included in the documentation for the sale of a property by law. Your local estate agent may be able to arrange this for you but it’s just as easy, and probably cheaper, to arrange it yourself.
Whilst the seller is legally required to provide all of the above documentation when selling a residential property, the documents detailed below are only required if you, the seller, have had certain specified work carried out on the property whilst owning it.
If your windows and doors have been replaced since 2002 you’ll be asked to provide a FENSA certificate. This certificate proves the installers were competent to carry out work that complies with building regulations. FENSA installers will issue a certificate to the property owner and register the installation with the local authority. If you have lost the certificate a copy can be obtained from www.fensa.org.uk/fensa-certificate for a small fee. If you don’t have the FENSA certificate for any reason, there are several solutions available. Your Conveyancing Solicitor will be able to advise you.
If you have replaced the boiler a CORGI or gas safe certificate should be provided. It is not a legal requirement to do so but it may slow down the sales process if the buyer requests something you cannot provide. It’s always a good idea to keep records of major installations and safety certificates.
If you’ve had any electrical work done or rewiring, you will need to provide a certificate showing it meets building regulations. If the work was carried out by a registered electrician, they should have provided you with an Electrical Installation Certificate and a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate. If you do not have these for any reason, your solicitor will help you identify an indemnity insurance policy as a solution to this problem.
If you have built an extension, added a conservatory or decking, or significantly changed the interior of your property you will need to provide evidence of the required planning permission and building regulation approval for the work.
Not all work requires planning permission, but you should check with your local authority before you do anything of this nature.
Once you have completed the relevant questionnaires and located the required documentation, your solicitor will use the information you have provided to draw up a draft contract. This will then be sent to the buyer’s solicitor to be checked, ready for the buyer to approve.
It is normal at this stage for the buyer’s solicitor to come back with queries, these will need to be addressed by you and your solicitor before the conveyancing process can proceed any further.
Your solicitor will lead negotiations over the details included in the draft contract.
Details to be agreed upon include:
Provisional completion date - generally anything between a week and a month after the date of exchanging contracts
Which fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale price
The price of any fixtures and fittings not included in the sale price
Who will fix any issues raised in the buyer’s survey, or agreeing on a renegotiated sale price that reflects the survey’s outcome, if applicable
Before exchanging contracts, you will need to contact your mortgage lender and request a redemption figure. This figure represents the outstanding balance on the mortgage and is the amount you will be required to pay upon completion of the sale.
When you reach the agreed time and date for exchanging contract, both parties’ solicitors will exchange contracts on behalf of their clients. They will then check that the contracts are identical and will then immediately send them to one another in the post.
If neither party is involved in a chain then this process should be straightforward. However, if you and/or the buyers are in a chain it can be more complicated, with everyone involved needing to be happy to proceed for the process to work. This means that if someone in the chain pulls out or delays for whatever reason, then everyone in the chain gets held up.
Once contracts have been exchanged, you have entered into a legally binding contract to sell the property to the buyer. This means that if you pull out, the buyer can sue you for breach of contract. Similarly, if they pull out or are unable to pay the outstanding balance on the property for any reason, you are entitled to keep their deposit, and you can also sue them for compensation
Exchanging contracts also means that you can no longer accept another offer on your house.
As soon as you have exchanged contracts, your solicitor should receive the buyer’s deposit - typically 10% of the property price.
You remain the legal owner of the property until completion, and so are perfectly within your rights to remain living in the property until then. Although you could technically vacate the property on the date of completion, it is advisable and a lot less stressful if you move out a few days prior.
If using one, we would recommend this stage of the process as a sensible time to identify and book your removals company.
To avoid unnecessary issues on the day of completion, it is worth going around the property a day or so before complete to check that you haven’t left anything behind and to ensure that everything itemised on the fixtures and fittings inventory is still present in the property.
On the agreed completion day, the buyer will ordinarily collect the keys from the estate agent, with you leaving any spare sets you have in the property.
You or your solicitor will receive the outstanding balance of the sale price, hand over the required legal documents that prove ownership and pay off the mortgage with the proceeds of the sale.
You will be required to pay your solicitor and the estate agent the agreed amounts.
This is a considerable amount of information to digest, but don’t worry, your solicitor will be on hand to help navigate you through each step of the process. A key part of their role is staying in regular contact with you to inform you of any news and to advise you what you’ll be required to do next. The specialist Residential Property Solicitors at Lanyon Bowdler have extensive experience carrying out residential property transactions, so no matter what your situation is, you’ll be in safe hands.
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By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for legal advice regarding your property purchase, or for other legal services relating to property matters, you have the reassurance that you have the best legal expertise on hand to ensure a smooth property transaction. We are committed to providing unrivalled levels of client care and will work closely with you and the other stakeholders in the conveyancing process to ensure everything progresses at the pace you need, whilst also making sure your rights are fully protected and catered for at all times.
We have qualified Residential Property Solicitors in our offices in Telford, Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow and Oswestry, so are perfectly situated to act on behalf of clients throughout Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading regional full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.
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