Ideally you should have already found a solicitor or, in England and Wales only, a licensed conveyancer. (Read about how to find one) Unless, that is, you’ve decided to do the legal work yourself. Be careful about this. It may be a saving too far.
While it is possible to do, it can be time consuming and specialist work.
You will have to do the various "searches" and pay for them; deal with a solicitor or conveyancer and organise for receipt of payments.
In particular you will have to be able to understand legal property documents
to make sure there isn't a problem hidden in them. (There might well be).
Whether using a professional - or doing it yourself - here are some tips:
When you’ve found a buyer,the first thing to do is swop your solicitors or conveyancing agent details
The buyer's solicitor or conveyancing agent has to send a letter confirming they have finances in place - eg a mortgage offer or a mortgage in principle.
This letter should be sent to you or to your legal representative.
It's a good idea at this point to confirm exactly what the price includes with regard to fixtures and fittings and other peripherals. This could be done by separate letter.
The legal details start to be thrashed out between the legal representatives They will be looking at the title deeds, the lease and so on.
When all has been agreed you Exchange Contracts
You now agree a completion date ie when you will actually sell. On this date the buyer's legal representative hands over the money. Your solicitor or conveyancing agent makes sure the money has been transferred properly and confirms you can hand over the keys.
Bear the following in mind
Sell first buy second. If you’re buying as well
as selling, make sure your sale is completed before buying.
Even though it is highly unlikely for a buyer to pull out after the exchange
of contracts, to be completely safe, wait until you have the money.
If you employ a solicitor they should be able to arrange simultaneous completion.
If you intending to do the conveyancing (ie all the legal stuff) yourself decide how much of a deposit you intend to ask for and arrange for details of a bank account for the buyer to make payments to.
The cost of delay. Delays costs money. Make sure you provide or make available all the information you need promptly. Once an offer has been made make every effort to keep things rolling.
This means: Keeping your solicitor's nose to the grindstone.
There’s nothing more infuriating than delays caused by inefficient solicitors.
Don’t assume they’re going to do everything on time. Check
up on proceedings regularly. Go and talk to one of the partners
if you’re unhappy. Be cordial but insist on good service.
Once contracts have been exchanged it’s time to think about moving. Contact utility providers like the phone and fuel companies for final meter readings and the council to arrange to stop payment of council tax.
Once the sale has been completed and the money paid you can hand over keys. But don't ever allow this to happen until the money is in your bank. Regardless of any excuses do not give the buyer the keys until your legal adviser confirms that you can do so.
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