OFFER ACCEPTED - WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
It’s a great feeling for both buyers and sellers to see ‘Sold (Subject to Contract)’ on the board outside a property but, for both sides, the hard work really starts once an offer has been accepted.
Buyers and sellers really do play a crucial part in the process and quick-thinking, as well as organisation, can be extremely helpful in keeping the sale on track.
Here is the Ellis & Co guide to everything that happens once that offer is in the bag - it will help you stay on top everything from finances to conveyancing.
COMPLETE YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION
Once an offer has been received, the buyer should always aim to complete their mortgage agreement in principle, which should always be in place when you start your search for a new home.
Once the application is complete, knowing your funding is in place will provide peace of mind for both you and the seller.
SEARCH FOR A SOLICITOR
‘Word of mouth’ is crucial here. Ask family and friends who they used the last time they moved home – a recommendation from someone you trust can mean everything.
Alternatively, speak to your local Ellis & Co branch who can advise on solicitors in your area. Once you have your solicitor in place, aim to get all documentation they require to them quickly in order to keep the process moving.
FIND A SURVEYOR
The last thing any buyer wants is a costly, nasty surprise just days after moving in to their new home.
Ellis & Co would always recommend that buyers carry out a survey on the property they are purchasing. A Homebuyers Report or structural survey can sometimes seem like a large cost, but compared with what you are spending on the property itself, it is only a small percentage and the peace of mind it provides is priceless.
Be warned, however: Surveyors can become extremely busy, so start making calls as early as you can to keep things on track.
HOW WILL YOU MOVE?
If you decide to use a removals company, start contacting potential firms as early as you can. Like surveyors, they become busy during the spring and early summer in particular and finding out availability is crucial.
As with the search for a solicitor, speak to those you trust to get recommendations.
WHAT DO THE SOLICITORS DO?
A lot! Which is why they often don’t take kindly to being rushed.
Remember, the property sale process is a legally-binding transaction involving vast sums of money: It needs to be done properly.
While it can be frustrating when it appears as if nothing is happening, buyers and sellers can do their bit to get things moving by supplying documents quickly and answering queries in good time. Solicitors and conveyancers are busy people with potentially dozens of cases on the go at one time – they don’t have time to chase you for your fixtures and fittings form!
Have a look at Ellis & Co’s guide below, which is a fly on the wall look at what goes on during the sale process in your solicitor’s office.
WHO OWNS THE PROPERTY BEING SOLD?
Why the seller of course! Even so, solicitors need concrete clarification that the seller is the owner of the property being sold.
Office copy entries will be requested from the Land Registry proving ownership, while if the property is unregistered, the solicitor will seek the title deeds either from the seller or their mortgage lender.
Further into the process, the buyer’s solicitor will inspect the property register or charges register for absolute clarification on ownership.
CONTRACTS DRAWN UP
The seller’s solicitor will use a duplicate standard document to draft a contract of sale and will also request a redemption figure from the seller’s mortgage lender.
A copy of the contract, plus a host other documents, including fixtures and fittings forms, will be sent to the buyer’s side.
This can be a time-consuming stage of the sale as local authorities are often snowed under with search requests.
The buyer’s solicitor will send queries to the council on planning approvals in and around the area near the sale property, as well as checking things like planned road improvements and tree preservation orders.
It’s a crucial phase of the process but both buyers and sellers should be prepared for a slight delay in proceedings.
ENQUIRIES FROM THE BUYER
Buyer’s enquiries can, again, take time and sometimes, as a seller, it will feel as if you are going backwards and forwards like a swing.
But sellers can help keep the process moving forward by supplying key information quickly and accurately here.
The buyer’s solicitor will raise a number of queries regarding the property or documentation supplied from the seller’s side and while the seller’s solicitor will be able to answer many of the questions, the seller may be asked to step in.
Enquiries can range from fixtures and fittings queries to more complicated issues such as boundaries or leases.
As long as all the buyer’s enquiries have been answered adequately and ownership of the property has been proved beyond doubt, solicitors for both the buyer and seller will approve the draft con-tract and obtain signatures from their clients.
The buyer’s solicitor will be asked to supply the agreed deposit and the signed contract. If you are in a chain as part of the sales process, all other buyers and sellers will need to be in position and agreed on a proposed date of completion in order for the sale to proceed.
A big moment! This makes the sale legally binding!
The exchange of contracts is usually done over the phone by both solicitors and they will agree the contents and sign off the documents.
Mortgage redemption numbers will be finalised by the seller’s solicitor and the buyer’s side will clarify that funds are available for the purchase on the proposed completion date.
A draft transfer or conveyance will be prepared at this stage, which transfers ownership of the property to the buyer. This is only official, however, when lodged with the Land Registry.
After some final checks, the buyer’s solicitor will ask for a signed mortgage deed from the buyer and prepare the figures on a completion statement.
It’s done! Congratulations on taking that next step on your property journey! Completion day can be extremely busy, particularly if you are in a long chain.
The seller’s solicitor will hand over title deeds and collect the funds transfer from the buyer’s side. The keys will only be released once the funds have transferred.
Finally, the seller’s solicitor will redeem the seller’s mortgage, completing the sales process.
For more information and advice on the process of buying or selling a home, speak to your local Ellis & Co branch who will be happy to help.