When it comes to buying or selling a property, it can be difficult to understand what steps need to be taken, when they need to be taken, and why they need to be taken. The acceptance of an offer is just the beginning - there’s plenty of work that needs to be done from this point onward!
Ensuring you’re well prepared and have things in order will go a long way to keeping the progression of the purchase or sale as straight-forward and stress-free as possible.
For this reason, we’ve listed these 13 progression milestone steps to help you stay on top of things:
Do your research on conveyancers as early as possible, as this will put you in the best position to instruct reliable solicitors that you can trust.
Client care letter - This letter will clearly explain all the information that you need to know about the services that your solicitor will provide as they proceed with the sale of the property. It will explain what the solicitor will be doing, what their objectives are and what the basis is for charging. ID and Anti Money Laundering will also be highlighted at this stage. You will be asked to sign this letter to confirm that you agree for the solicitor to work towards exchange of contracts.
Property information form - This form is to be completed by the seller to give more detailed information about the property and can be relied upon for the conveyancing process. For example, information on party walls, disputes, complaints or boundaries.
Fitting and contents form - This form gives details of exactly what will remain in the property. The seller must complete the form so that the buyer understand which items are to be included in the sale, which are not, and which may be available for purchase by the buyer. This form is included in the contract between the buyer and seller, so it’s very important that it’s completed accurately.
Leasehold information form - This form gives details of any leasehold aspects that may be related to the property. This will include a summary of the leasehold details, summaries of ground rent, the management company, and contact details of the landlord and managing agents.
Managing information pack (Leasehold only) - This pack contains information that is supplied by the management company to the seller. Typically, the pack will list details of any charges such as ground rent and service charges, the previous three years’ accounts, details of proposed works, and any notices that may have been served regarding these.
Identification - Solicitors must obtain evidence of the identity of everyone involved in the transaction, including anyone who is contributing money for a purchase. They also require evidence of the source of any funds, and this is usually provided with bank statements. This proves that the source of the funds is legal and traceable. Valid documents that can be used for photo evidence include passport, a driver’s licence, or EU State ID card. Valid documents that can be used for proof of address include Council tax bills (current year), driver’s licence, mortgage/bank/credit card statement, utility bill, or letter from the tax authorities stating National Insurance number. It’s important to note that any document used for proof of address, such as a utility bill, must be less than three months old, and you cannot use your driving licence for both photo evidence and proof of address.
A certified copy of any document can be provided, and this is a photocopy of the document that has been stamped and signed by a professional person. Only the following are acceptable: solicitor, post office, bank, chartered accountant, embassy, or notary public.
Client details confirmation - This is information you should provide to estate agents and solicitors that lists important contacts and contact details of any mortgage broker, along with any dates that you are away.
The client care letter, forms and documents must be returned to the solicitor once accurately completed.
This will confirm all details of all parties and will be received from the seller’s agent. The document records the transaction entered into by the buyer and the seller, and the conditions of the sale will be registered. Be aware that the memorandum of sale is not legally binding.
Some management companies insist on lawyers requesting the management pack. Typically, this will be done by the lawyer who will request payment for this upfront.
The seller’s solicitor will send this package. It’s an initial set of documents that will be required to start the process. This always includes a draft contract and copies of the title documents, but it should always include all property forms and the leasehold management pack, when appropriate.
The solicitor will receive the management pack and send it to the other side.
Any enquiries from the buying side can be made to ensure there aren’t any issues that could affect the saleability or value of the property being purchased. These can be raised at any time but are typically asked once the buyer’s solicitor has carried out the necessary searches or building surveys. This is usually the most drawn out part of the process, so it’s important that you have any relevant certificates and paperwork readily available to help answer any enquiries as soon as possible.
The answers to any enquires will be sent to the buyer’s solicitor for review. Once they have been successfully answered and the buyer’s solicitor is satisfied, a report will be produced for the buyer which includes the answers.
At this stage, the deposit will be paid by the buyer and the contract will be sent to the seller for them and the buyer to sign. When the transaction is nearing exchange, the buyer’s solicitor will receive a finalised version of the contract. The buyer will need to sign this contract, transfer deed (TR1 form), mortgage deed (if appropriate) and stamp duty land tax documents. The buyer must also ensure that the deposit money has been transferred to their solicitor.
The signed contract and transfer document will be received and checked by the solicitor to ensure they match with the signatures that are held on file.
This is the critical stage of the process whereby the sale of the property becomes legally binding. Neither part can withdraw, change the price or alter the date of completion. Once the solicitor can confirm that the deposit has been successfully lodged, they will confirm that contracts can be exchanged. This will involve a telephone call between solicitors to confirm that all terms of the contract are agreed, including the sale price of the property and the completion date.
At the final step, the buyer’s solicitor will be in receipt of the funds and mortgage advance, and these will all be sent to the seller’s solicitor. Once these have been received, the transaction has completed.
Following completion, the seller’s solicitor will pay off any existing mortgage and ensure it’s removed from the title at the Land Registry. Meanwhile, the buyer will receive the keys to their new property while the seller has an allocated contract time with which to vacate the property - usually between 1-2pm.If you’re buying or selling a property in Cardiff, why not contact our friendly and knowledgeable team here at CPS homes estate agents? We have three branches across Cardiff, in Roath, Cathays and Cardiff Bay. Alternatively, you can call us on 02920 66858, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.