A Quick Guide to Selling and Buying a House - Sutherland & Co Law
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We have produced a quick guide to selling and buying a house to assist you in understanding the legal process

Selling Your Home


The sellers and their solicitors must provide certain information to the purchasers and their solicitors at the outset of the transaction. Once an offer has been made, we will need to know whether you hold any pre-registration title deeds to the property and if so, you will need to provide these to us. If you do not hold any then we can still obtain copies of your legal title from the Land Registry so long as your property is registered. If you have a current mortgage on the property we will also need to know your mortgage provider and the account details including the address and account number. This is important information and we will ask you for the details in our Sales Questionnaire.


We will send you a Property Information form which contains questions in relation to the boundaries of the property, any disputes or notice information, details of any works to the property etc, together with a Fixtures and Fittings form and a few other forms for completion.


When you return the completed forms, we will also need you to send any planning permissions and building regulations which you hold together with any guarantees such as damp proof course, woodworm treatment, cavity wall insulation and window/door replacement, including any certificates you hold for these.


Making sure that you provide all the necessary information at the start of the transaction assists us in providing the relevant documentation in the form of draft Contracts to the buyer’s solicitors.  Once the buyer’s solicitors have received our draft Contracts, they will then be able to raise their necessary enquiries and carry out any additional searches over the property for their clients.  


Exchange and Completion


There is a process that your Conveyancer has to follow in order to ensure that your sale runs are smooth as possible. 


Once the Buyer’s Conveyancer is satisfied that all the enquiries have been answered in full, and that all the documentation is in place to complete the transaction they will discuss an ‘Exchange and Completion Date’ with us and we will then in turn discuss this with you.  The Completion Date is when you legally have to vacate your property. This is the date the Buyer’s Conveyancer will send the sale monies through the banking system.  If there are monies due to you from the sale of your property (after payment of any mortgages/charges on your property, the legal fees and the estate agents fees), these can be released to you by electronic Transfer, unless you request these in cheque form.  Usually keys are left with the estate agent or arrangements can be made between you and the Buyer.  You MUST NOT hand over your keys until we have told you that completion has taken place and we have the sale monies cleared in our client account. 


If you are buying a property as well, then please see our quick guide to buying a property.  If you are buying a house to move into on the same day you sell your house then exit is strongly recommended that exchange and completion of both your sale and purchase take place on the same day.


Once dates have been agreed, the solicitors acting for each party will arrange to Exchange Contracts on the property.  Exchange of Contracts is when each party becomes legally bound to carry on to completion.  A final Completion Date will be entered into the Contract and this cannot be altered.  When there is chain, solicitors will try and Exchange Contracts prior to Completion.  If there is not a chain, i.e. one client is selling and the other purchasing, then we may be able to simultaneously Exchange Contracts and Complete the matter on the same day.  When there is a Simultaneous Exchange and Completion all transactions take place on the same day and all parties must have vacated their properties on or before the Completion Date.