What is the Conveyancing Process for Selling a House?

20 September 2018

When you are buying or selling a property, you'll need to instruct a licenced Conveyancer to carry out the legal work for you. There's less Conveyancing work involved in the sale of a house than there is in the purchase of a house, but it still involves a significant amount of work and can take time to complete.

So that you know what to expect, we've outlined what's involved in the Conveyancing process for selling a house.

1. Instructing a Conveyancer

It may seem obvious, but the first thing you will need to do in order to sell your property is to instruct the Conveyancer to carry out the Conveyancing work for you. Some people choose to instruct a Conveyancer before they have accepted an offer on their property to avoid any delays once a sale has been agreed.

It's best to shop around to find the Conveyancer that's right for you. Conveyancing fees and the level of service offered can vary dramatically, so it's important to establish exactly what's included in the price, review any recommendations and compare like-for-like Conveyancing quotes before instructing a Conveyancer.

With Co-op Legal Services we can provide you with a no-obligation fixed fee Conveyancing quote. We will explain exactly what's included in the quote and all the quotes we provide include a No Sale No Fee Guarantee.

2. Conveyancer Confirms Instructions

Once you have instructed your chosen Conveyancer, they will write to you to confirm your instruction to sell your house. The letter will set out the terms and conditions of the agreement between you and will also confirm details of their fees and other costs you will have to pay, which are known as disbursements.

3. Proving Your Identity

Once you have agreed to the terms and conditions, your Conveyancer will need to confirm your identity by carrying out identity checks. You may need to take proof of identity to the Solicitor's office so that they can verify these documents or they may ask you to post the originals to them or send through certified copies.

Your Conveyancer will provide details of the identity documents that are required and how they would like you to send them.

4. Completing the Property Sale Paperwork

Your Conveyancer will then send through some paperwork for you to complete. This will include a fittings and contents form and a property information form. The purpose of these forms is to provide the buyer with comprehensive information about your property, so that they can make a fully informed decision on whether to proceed with the purchase.

The fittings and contents form will outline what is and isn't included in the property sale (such as appliances, curtains, shelving, carpets, etc.). The property information form will ask you to provide details of everything else, such as who the utilities providers are, whether there are any disputes with the neighbours, whether there is Japanese knotweed on the property and details of planning permission or any alterations that have been carried out.

5. Obtaining the Title Deeds

Whilst you are completing the relevant forms, your Conveyancer will obtain the title deeds. If the property is not registered with theLand Registry you will need to provide the paper deeds to your Conveyancer to prove your ownership of the property and your Conveyancer will carry out some searches at the Land Registry. If the property is registered, then your Conveyancer will obtain official copies of the title from the Land Registry.

Some houses can be a combination of registered and unregistered titles. For example houses which were originally leasehold can still have the leasehold title unregistered even though the freehold title is registered or a house may be unregistered but some additional garden land bought later can be registered.

Even if the property is registered with the Land Registry, if you still hold the paper deeds then you should also send these to your Conveyancer. They could contain important information that isn't stored by the Land Registry. For more information, see Are Deeds Needed if a Property is Registered?

6. Confirming Mortgage Information

Your Conveyancer will need to confirm whether there is an outstanding mortgage on the property and they will need your mortgage account number if so. They will then get in touch with the mortgage provider to obtain confirmation of the outstanding balance as this will be paid from the proceeds of the property sale on completion.

7. Drafting the Contract

As the seller of the property, it will be your Conveyancer who will prepare the draft contract and the supporting documentation. Once the contract has been drafted, this will be sent to the buyer's solicitor.

The buyer's Conveyancer will review the contract and supporting documentation. They will then request any missing information and raise any queries with your Conveyancer. You and your Conveyancer will need to respond to these requests and enquiries.

Once the buyer's Conveyancer is satisfied that they have all of the required information, they will confirm this and approve the draft contract terms. They will also confirm that they have received acceptable results from the property searches that have been carried out and that the buyer is in receipt of a mortgage (if applicable). Your Conveyancer will then arrange for you to sign the contract in readiness for exchange.

8. Agreeing a Completion Date

The next step is for you and the buyer to agree a completion date - this is the date that you will need to vacate the property and the buyer can move in. If there is a chain, then the completion date will need to align with the other transactions in the chain.

9. Exchanging Contracts

Once the completion date has been agreed and you and your buyer are ready, contracts can be formally exchanged. This will be done by your Conveyancer and your buyer's Conveyancer. After the contracts have been exchanged, you and your buyer are both legally committed to seeing the transaction through. If either person pulls out after this stage then there are serious penalties.

At this point your Conveyancer will liaise with your mortgage provider (if you have one) to obtain a final settlement figure for the outstanding mortgage.

The buyer's Conveyancer will then draft a transfer deed (if your Conveyancer did not send one with the pre-contract package) and send this to your Conveyancer for completion. This is the document that will legally transfer the ownership of the property from you to your buyer. Your Conveyancer will review the transfer deed before sending it on to you to sign and return.

10. Completing the Property Sale

On completion day, arrangements will need to be made for you to vacate the property by a certain time and to hand your keys over to your buyer. The handover of keys can usually be done through your estate agent (if you are using one).

The buyer's Conveyancer will transfer the funds for the purchase of the property to your Conveyancer. Once the money has been received by your Conveyancer, they will arrange for the keys to be released to the buyer.

Your Conveyancer will then send the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer's Conveyancer. If your property is mortgaged, your Conveyancer will also arrange for the mortgage to be settled using the proceeds of the sale. They will also use the sale proceeds to settle the estate agent fees (if you used one) and to settle their own fees for the Conveyancing.

The remaining money will then be transferred to you, or if you are buying a new property on the same day, this will be transferred to your purchase file to be added to the funds that need to be sent on to your seller's Conveyancer.

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