What happens after you get an offer?
As a seller, it’s a fantastic feeling when you receive an offer on your property, however, there is still some considerable work to do before you celebrate the sale. It requires patience in the period between offer and completion, as searches are performed, mortgages are approved and all of the enquiries are answered.
According to the latest figures, once an offer is made there is unfortunately still a 40% chance of the sale not completing successfully. After an offer is made, it is the opportunity for an estate agent to add real value to the process. This is where the experience at Resides Swindon will support you through every step of the process and maximise the chance of a successful conclusion.
Between offer and completion there are a number of steps to ‘progress’ through and a number of parties involved, this includes; solicitors, surveyors & mortgage companies, the buyer and seller and of course, the agent in the wider chain. It takes a considerable degree of coordination to keep things moving along and above all, a proactive approach from your estate agent to ensure your requirements and timeline are met.
The steps of the sales progression
Instructing your solicitor or conveyancing firm
Now that you have agreed a sale subject to contract, it’s time for you to instruct your solicitor or conveyancing firm to conduct the legal aspects of the sale on your behalf.
Memorandum of sale (MOS)
Once a sale has been agreed, we will confirm each party’s solicitor and check any outstanding identification documentation in order to issue the ‘Memorandum of Sale’ (MOS). The MOS is confirmation from the agent of the agreed terms and conditions of the sale.
Completion of property information forms
As the seller, you will need to complete a number of 'property information forms'. These provide the buyer with further information on the property, the fixtures and fittings to be included in the sale, and additional details that may be required, such as the conditions of any leasehold. You should aim to complete these forms as quickly as possible and remember that all information provided in the property information forms, need to be fully correct as if it is determined that you have misled the buyer with the information provided, you may be liable to legal action. The solicitors cannot progress the transaction until these forms have been completed, so it is important that you deal with them as quickly as possible.
Management pack (only required for leasehold properties)
If the property being sold is leasehold, then a 'management pack' will typically be required (otherwise known as an LPE1 form). The management pack provides information with regards to the land owner or a wider property, such as a block of flats in which the leasehold is held. It will detail what the maintenance charges are, whether there is a reserve fund etc. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay for this pack.
Your solicitor will request the deeds to the property from your mortgage lender and office copies from Land Registry. A contract will be drafted by your solicitor and sent to the buyer’s solicitor for review. The contract will set out the key terms of the sale including the selling price, the time between the exchange of the contract and completion and any other critical matters. Resolution of Enquiries The buyer’s solicitor might raise a number of enquiries/questions about the property based on the draft contact, search results, survey or any other matter. Ideally, all enquiries will be in a single communication, however, they often are raised one at a time, as more information is received by the buyer’s solicitor. Your solicitor should answer the majority of the enquiries, however, on occasion they might need to refer the matter back to you for your input or decision.
Additional actions your buyers will need to take
While you have a lot of work to do to complete the sale, your buyer and their solicitors have an even bigger job; your buyer will likely undertake the following tasks: Their mortgage lender will require a valuation/inspection of the property to ensure that it represents sufficient security for the amount your buyer wishes to borrow. This inspection will also identify any major issues with the property such as damp, movement etc. It is important that you work with the buyer to ensure that they get access to your property at the earliest opportunity. The lender will release the mortgage offer once it has completed all of its underwriting and due diligence. This typically happens between one and two weeks after the valuation. In addition to the mortgage lenders valuation/inspection, your buyer might commission an independent survey, which is a more comprehensive examination of the condition of the property. Your buyer’s solicitor will undertake what is known as 'searches'. There are predominantly three searches that will be undertaken: - Local Authority Search – where information is supplied by the local council on any development or enforcement issues that might affect the particular property. - Water and drainage search - which will establish a number of things, but specifically if the property is connected to mains water and drainage supply, and if and where any pipes run across the land. - Environmental search - is used to identify any risks in the immediate area such as flooding and landslides.
Exchange of contracts
Prior to the exchange of contract, in UK law there is still no contractual obligation on either party to proceed and either party may withdraw without penalty (other than paying the costs that they have incurred for solicitors, surveyors etc). However, the exchange of contract between your respective solicitors creates a legally binding commitment on both buyer and seller to complete the transaction. If either party withdraws from the transaction after the exchange, there will almost certainly be legal and financial consequences. Once all enquiries and outstanding matters have been dealt with and a formal mortgage offer received by the buyer’s solicitor, an exchange of contracts can take place. Both the buyer and the seller will sign identical contracts and the 'exchange' is undertaken between solicitors. At the time of the exchange, the buyer typically makes a 'deposit' payment of 10% of the contract amount to the seller’s solicitor. The balance of the purchase price is paid on the completion date. It is normal practice to allow between 1 and 4 weeks (with 2 weeks usual) between exchange and completion to allow all of the parties to finalise their preparations.
Completion is the day that you will receive the funds from the sale of your property and the buyer will be handed the keys. Your solicitor or estate agent will notify you when completion takes place. Depending on the mortgage company, this normally takes place in the morning of the completion date, however, where there is a long chain or there are banking delays, it can happen slightly later in the day. Where you have an outstanding mortgage on the property, the lender will calculate the redemption value as at the date of completion and the solicitor will remit this amount from the proceeds received. Your solicitor will also normally deduct their fees and your estate agents’ fees, and pay any balance to you. Following completion, your solicitor will register the change of ownership with Land Registry.