Property Transaction Guide
Here is our guide to the property transaction which we hope will better inform you about the process after an offer is accepted.
The Memorandum of Sale
Once an offer has been accepted, the estate agent will need to know's the name of the solicitor who will be acting for the buyer and the seller. The estate agent will then issue the Memorandum of Sale. Copies of this go to the seller, the buyer and their solicitors.
If the buyer is having a mortgage, they should now arrange to complete their mortgage application and pay for the mortgage valuation.
The solicitors for both parties will now write to their clients to confirm instructions. The seller’s solicitor will send out forms to the seller namely a Property Information Form and Fixtures Fitting and Contents List, which ask the seller questions about the property and what contents will be left.
The seller’s solicitor will also obtain the title deeds for the property so they can send initial paperwork to the buyer’s solicitor.
The Mortgage Valuation
If the buyer is having a mortgage, then once their mortgage application has been processed, a valuer will be instructed. The valuer will arrange to go out to the property being sold to prepare a report for the mortgage lender.
If there is no mortgage involved, the buyer may decide to have their own private survey carried out instead.
The Mortgage Offer
If the buyer is having a mortgage, then following the survey taking's place, the mortgage offer will be issued.
Copies of this will be sent to the buyer and their solicitor. Sometimes, a valuer may hold back part of the loan if they have concerns over an issue (called a retention) or they may request further information about a certain aspect of the property. This may involve the need to obtain specialist reports and these points will need to be satisfied prior to the mortgage company agreeing to release funds.
The Draft Contract
Once the seller’s solicitor has received back the forms from the seller, they will then send these on to the buyer’s solicitor along with a copy of the title deeds and a draft contract which is a legal document confirming the parties to the transaction, details of the property and the price the property is being sold for.
The solicitor for the buyer will then check over these documents and raise any queries they may have with the seller’s solicitor.
The buyer’s solicitor will also put in hand searches for the property. Usually they will request a local search from the Council which reveals things such any planning applications, who is responsible for the maintenance of the road, etc.
A mining report will also be requested from The Coal Authority which will provide information on any previous mine workings that may have taken place in the vicinity of the property, as some areas of Stoke-on-Trent have a history of mining.
The buyers solicitor may also request a drainage search from Severn Trent to confirm the property is connected to the mains drains and sewers and an environmental report which provides information on the likelihood of flooding, the proximity to any landfill sites etc.
The Draft Transfer
Once the buyer’s solicitor has received the mortgage offer and their search results, they will then be ready to proceed further. They will now check the all the information collected to date and prepare a draft transfer, which is a legal document that both parties will sign to transfer the legal title for the property from seller to buyer. The buyer’s solicitor will send this on to the seller’s solicitor for them to check and approve.
At this stage, both solicitors will now contact their clients to ask them to arrange to sign all the paperwork.
Signing the Paperwork
At the point of signing the paperwork, the solicitors for the buyer and the seller will discuss completion dates and between them, they will agree a proposed completion date.
If the buyer is having a mortgage, then the buyer’s solicitor will contact the mortgage company to request release of the mortgage funds in readiness for the completion date.
Exchange and Completion
In the run up to completion (or on the day itself) the seller’s solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor will contact each other to perform an exchange of contracts, which legally binds both the seller and the buyer.
On the completion day, the buyer’s solicitor will transfer the purchase price over to the seller’s solicitor and once this has been received, the seller’s solicitor will confirm completion and authorise release of the keys for the house to the new owners.
Following completion, the buyer’s solicitor will register the property into the buyer’s name at the Land Registry.