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Selling your house


You must tell us if you are purchasing a property at the same time, as it is important that we complete both transactions on the same date.


You may be using an Estate Agent to market your property and negotiate on your behalf. Your Estate Agent will charge a fee for this service and you will be billed by the Estate Agent when your sale has completed. You may wish to pay their bill yourself or you can instruct us to pay this bill from the money received from the sale of your property.


You may have a Mortgage on the property which must be paid off when your property is sold. We will ask you to provide us with details of your mortgage lender, your account number and their address so that we can write to them for a Redemption Figure. The Redemption Figure is the sum of money that your mortgage lender requires to remove the note of their Mortgage from the property. Some mortgage lenders may charge an additional fee, called a Redemption Fee, for early repayment of the mortgage. The Redemption Figure is important because we must ensure that when you sell your house, the sale price is sufficient to redeem your mortgage.


You will need to complete various forms giving information to your buyer about the property. Usually you will fill in a Fixtures Fittings and Contents Form. This form is used to tell the buyer what you propose to leave at the property and what you propose to take with you when you leave. The Property Information Form is used to tell the buyer about the property, for example whether you have carried out work at the property such as double glazing, cavity wall insulation and building work and you should provide us with any guarantees or planning permissions in relation to such work. If your property is Leasehold, (see Buyers Information Guide), you will need to complete a Leasehold Information Form. This form is used to tell the buyer who collects the ground rent, the amount of ground rent payable on your property and other information about the property. We will also ask you to complete a Utilities Information Form which is used to tell the buyer about the current Utility Suppliers to the Property. Finally, if your property is close to a Church, Rectory or similar building, we may ask you to complete a Chancel Repair Questionnaire which is used to tell the buyer whether he may have a liability to contribute towards the repair of Church Property.


The Buyer may then raise Enquiries before Contract. This is a set of questions asked by Buyer about the property and which are not covered by any of the forms mentioned above. We will usually assist you in completing this form.


We will prepare Contracts for the sale on your behalf. The Contract for sale is a legally binding document between yourself and the buyer and contains the main terms of what has been agreed, ie the property, the price and the names of the seller(s) and buyer(s). It is important that you if you hold any Title Deeds (the documents that show your ownership of the property/land), that you give these to us as the buyer’s solicitors may ask for copies of some documents relating to the property, particularly in the case of Leasehold Property where a copy of the Lease will usually be asked for. Title Deeds usually comprise of documents known as Conveyances, Leases and often some earlier searches carried out against the property. If you do not have any Title Deeds we may have to apply to the Land Registry for copy documents. The Land Registry is where all properties are registered and they often hold copies of the documents most important to your property. The Land Registry charges a fee for supplying copy documents.


The buyer’s Solicitors will carry out Searches against the property. These usually consist of a Local Authority Search, Environmental Search and Coal Mining Search, although a Chancel Repair Search and Water and Drainage Search may also be carried out. The purpose of these searches is more fully explained in our section on Buying a Property. The Buyer may then ask some further questions about matters revealed by their searches, for example whether you have ever been asked to contribute to the repair of roads or pavements surrounding your property, whether your property has ever been flooded or whether your property has ever been damaged as a result of mining activity. You will be expected to provide an Energy Performance Certificate which means that you will have to instruct a provider to attend at your home and check the various appliances and the property itself for energy efficiency. If you are selling through an Estate Agent, it will probably be able to arrange this for you. If you are not selling through Estate Agents we can provide you with details of some Providers so that you can make your own arrangements. (Please note that we do not have any arrangements with any Providers and will not recommend any particular Provider).


Once the buyer’s Solicitors are satisfied that everything is in order we will proceed to Exchange of Contracts. You will sign your part of the Contract and the Buyer will sign his part of the Contract. Once a date has been agreed for Completion, which is dependant upon whether you are also buying a property and your Buyer is also selling a property, Contracts will be exchanged. This means that your part of the Contract will be sent to the Buyer’s Solicitors and the Buyer’s part of the Contract will be sent to us and there will be a fixed date for completion of your sale. Usually on Exchange of Contract the Buyer will pay a Deposit. The Deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price but may be less if the Buyer is obtaining a mortgage for more than 90% of the purchase price and is agreed by you. Once Contracts have been Exchanged, the Buyer must buy and the Seller must sell. If either you or the Buyer wish to pull out after exchange of contracts penalties will be incurred and action may be taken to force the Sale or the Buyer may forfeit their deposit.


After Exchange of Contracts the Buyer’s Solicitors will carry out a Bankruptcy Search and a Priority Search, these are explained in our section on Buying a Property. We will obtain an up to date Redemption Figure to ensure that the money that we send to your mortgage lender is the correct amount to redeem your mortgage on the day on which we complete your sale. The Buyer’s Solicitors will provide us with a Transfer Deed which is the document that transfers ownership of the property from yourself to your Buyer and which will be signed by you.


On the Completion Date (when the buyer passes to the seller the Title Deeds, Keys and other documents in return for the balance of the purchase funds)fixed by the Contract, the Buyer’s Solicitors will send to us the balance of the purchase money (usually the purchase price less 10% deposit already paid). Once the purchase money has been received, the property no longer belongs to you. On receipt of the purchase money we will send to the Buyer’s Solicitors the Transfer Deed, the document which transfers ownership of the property to the buyer, together with our Undertaking (a legally enforceable promise between Solicitors) to discharge your mortgage on the property, any Title Deeds, Guarantees and Indemnity Policies (Insurance policy; the Buyer’s Solicitors may ask for such a policy in the event of say, your property is leasehold but you have not paid the ground rent and do not know who owns it). We will send the redemption money to your mortgage lender and we will authorise your estate agent to hand the keys to the property to the Buyer. If you do not have an estate agent, we will advise you that we have received the purchase money and that you may hand the keys to the Buyer. Unless your property has Tenants (a person who is occupation under the terms of a Lease/Agreement or otherwise renting the property) and your buyer is aware that he is buying tenanted property, you must leave the property, usually by no later than noon, on the completion date and all furniture and other items must be removed other than those that it has been agreed that you will leave behind.


We will also pay the Estate Agents Bill from the purchase money unless you have instructed us that you wish to deal with this yourself. We will then account to you for the purchase money and pay to you the Balance of the Proceeds of Sale; this is usually the purchase price less the amount required to redeem your mortgage, the Estate Agents Fees and our costs and disbursements and pay this money to you by cheque in your name. If you wish us to pay the money direct into your bank account, you must supply us with full details of the bank account into which you require the money to be paid together with a bank statement relating to that account. We will then make payment by way of CHAPs Transfer, a same day payment but we will charge you £23.00 which is the Bank’s Charge for this service.


Buying a House


You must tell us if you are at the same time selling a property as it is important that we complete both transactions on the same date.


Once you have chosen a property either through an Estate Agent or from the Seller in person and negotiated a purchase price you will need to provide the agent or seller with full details of your Solicitors so that arrangements can be made for the Seller’s Solicitors to send the necessary documents for sale.


If you are buying with the assistance of a Mortgage (a loan from a bank, building society or other financial institution), you should obtain advice from your lender or mortgage broker as to the best mortgage for your circumstances. We do not provide financial advice or make recommendations in relation to mortgages. You should give your lender or mortgage broker our details so that the Mortgage Instructions are sent to them. Mortgage Instructions are details sent to your Solicitor as to how much your mortgage lender will lend, who they will lend it to, how the money is to be repaid and over what period. Additional charges may be added to your loan for Surveyors Fees (Survey: your mortgage lender will require that their Surveyor visit the property in order to ascertain that it’s value exceeds the amount to be lent and the state and condition of the property and to prepare a Report), Arrangement Fees (the cost of arranging your mortgage) and other sundries, for example Bank Charges.


We will usually receive from the Seller’s Solicitors the Contract for Sale (explained in our section on selling your house), copies of any relevant Title Deeds (explained in our section on selling your house) and various completed questionnaires (also explained in our section on selling your house). We will then place in hand your Searches against the property. These are usually the Local Search which is a list of enquiries with the Local Authority and will cover such matters as whether the roads and alleys around the property are maintained at public expense, whether there are any planning permissions relating to the property and whether the Local Authority has any plans for the property (i.e. Compulsory purchase) amongst other things. If you have any concerns that there may be activities at a nearby property which could affect the value of the property you are seeking to buy, you must advise us of this in order that we may raise additional enquiries with the Local Authority. The Coal Search reveals whether the property is in a Coal Mining Area and, if so, whether it is likely to have been adversely affected by Mining Activity. Environmental Search will reveal whether the land around the property is likely to be contaminated and whether the property is prone to flooding amongst other things. You may also wish us to carry out a Chancel Search if the property is close to a Church Rectory or other religious building to ensure that you will not be liable to contribute to the repair of such building. The Water and Drainage Search will reveal whether the property has mains water services, whether the property has a metered water supply and other matters relating to the water and draining at the property.


The documents supplied to us by the Sellers Solicitors will tell us whether the property is Leasehold (that is to say whether the property is built on land that will not be owned by you and which is subject to a Lease (the terms and conditions of your occupation)); or Freehold (where you will own not only the property but also the land upon which it is built); and whether it is subject to the payment of rentcharge. Leasehold property is usually subject to the payment of ground rent. The documents supplied will also reveal “covenants and conditions” which usually relate to payment of the ground rent or rentcharge, the use of the property and repairing obligations amongst other things.


Once we are satisfied that there is nothing to prevent the sale of the property to you and that nothing has been revealed by the documentation and searches which would cause us to recommend that you do not proceed, and that your mortgage offer is in place, we will Exchange Contracts (see our Section on Selling a Property). On Exchange of Contracts a date will be fixed for the Completion of your purchase. You will usually be expected to pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price on exchange (See our Section on Selling your House).


We will then prepare a Transfer Deed which we will send to the Sellers Solicitors for signature by the Seller in readiness for completion together with Requisitions on Title (which is a final set of questions to establish that there have been no changes to information previously supplied). If more than one person is buying the property we will require your instructions as to whether you are to be Tenants in Equity (that is to say, if one of you dies the other(s) will have the benefit of the whole of the property) or Tenants in Common (that is to say that if one of you dies, the other(s) will not automatically have a right to the benefit from your share). We will carry out a Bankruptcy Search (a search against your name to make sure that there are no County Court Judgments or Bankruptcy’s registered against your name – if you have a common name it may be that this Search will reveal entries against your name, even if this is not you and it will be necessary for you to certify that the entries do not relate to you) and a Priority Search; this search is carried out at the Land Registry and enables us to register your or your mortgage lender’s interest in the property so that no transactions can be carried out between Exchange and Completion of which we are not aware. We will need you to provide us with copy of the Buildings Insurance Policy which should be taken out in the name of yourself and your mortgage lender and which should insure the property to its full reinstatement value (a recommendation is usually to be found on the Valuation Report prepared on behalf of your mortgage lender and of which you will usually be provided with a copy).


We will prepare a Completion Statement which will set out the purchase price plus our costs and disbursements and account for any monies already paid (ie. The deposit paid, any monies paid to ourselves on account of costs and disbursements) and advise you of the amount that we will need from you to complete your purchase. We must be in receipt of cleared funds no later than the day before the date agreed for completion. We will send a Certificate of Title and Request for Funds to your Lender so that it may remit its loan money to ourselves in time for completion.


On the agreed Completion Date, the date on which the sale is completed and you become the owner(s) of the property, we will send to the Seller’s Solicitors the balance of the purchase money and we will receive from them the Transfer, their undertaking to discharge any existing mortgage on the property, any Title Deeds, guarantees and/or indemnity policies. You may be liable to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT tax payable on the sale of a property) on your purchase. In any event it will be necessary to complete an SDLT Form advising the Inland Revenue of the details of the purchase (to be accompanied by payment of Stamp Duty where applicable).


Once we have received the Inland Revenue’s Certificate and have all relevant documentation to hand we will proceed to Registration of your Title and the Interest of your Mortgage Lender with HM Land Registry. In carrying out the Registration the Land Registry will amend its record to show that you now own the property and that you have a mortgage (if applicable) on the property and on completing its Registration the Land Registry will issue a Title Information Document showing the current details of the owner and mortgage lender and other general property information. Registration incurs a Land Registry Fee which varies in accordance with the purchase price of the property.


Once Registration has been completed we will send to you a copy of the Title Information Document.


Mortgage Information


A Mortgage Lender will always require its loan to be secured against the property, that is to say, you will sign a Mortgage Deed which is a binding document creating a legal Charge over the property in the Mortgage Lender’s favour. This Deed will be registered at the Land Registry who will issue a Title Information Document showing you to be the property owner and the Mortgage Lender’s interest in the property.


On Completion of your purchase you will responsible for making the repayments on your mortgage. It is important that you maintain payment as if you fail to do so, your mortgage lender may take proceedings for possession of the property and sell the same.


You are obliged under the terms of your mortgage to keep the property insured to its full reinstatement value on a yearly basis.


If your mortgage is not a repayment mortgage you may be required to take out a life insurance policy or endowment insurance to guarantee repayment of the mortgage at the end of the term – We will require sight of such policy prior to completion.


Your mortgage may require you to carry out repairs to the property and it may be necessary for you to carry out these repairs prior to your mortgage lender releasing funds. In the alternative your mortgage lender may retain (i.e. keep back) part of the loan until the repairs have been carried out to the satisfaction of their Surveyor).


Please note that the above is not an exhaustive list of mortgage requirements and you should take the advice of your mortgage lender or broker before accepting your mortgage offer.


Re-Mortgage Of Property


You may decide to switch from your existing mortgage provider to a new mortgage provider or raise funds from the equity held in your property, this is by way of Re-Mortgage. It is not usually necessary to carry out searches against the property although your new lender may require a Search Indemnity Policy (a policy of insurance taken out when searches are not carried out insuring the lender against any matter which might affect the property and which searches would have revealed). As in a sale of property, it is necessary to obtain a Redemption Figure from your existing mortgage lender. On your new lender releasing the funds your existing mortgage must be redeemed (paid off). We will account to you for the amount of mortgage funds released less deduction of the amount needed to pay off your current mortgage and our fees and release the balance of the money to you. We will then make application to the Land Registry for the details of your existing mortgage lender to be removed and replaced with the details of your new mortgage lender. This attracts a Land Registry Fee. Once the Land Registry has completed it’s registration by removing the existing lender and replacing it with the new lender, it will issue a Title Information Document a copy of which we will send to.

Brief details