The conveyancing process for home sellers
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the legal ownership of a house or flat from a seller to the buyer. If you are selling your property, you will need a conveyancing solicitor to carry out this legal work to complete your sale.
We explain the conveyancing steps involved when selling a property.
In this article:
Instruct a solicitor
Once you have accepted an offer from a buyer, you will need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer. Many sellers choose to instruct a solicitor before securing a buyer, as doing so allows for much of the preliminary work to be done in advance, saving time once a buyer is found. If you do decide to instruct a solicitor before you find a buyer, find one that works on a no sale, no fee basis.
When is the best time to instruct a solicitor?
Instructing a solicitor as soon as you put your property on the market makes more sense. While you wait for an offer from a buyer, you can:
- Complete the verification of identity, money laundering, instruction forms and any other solicitor formalities
- Completed the property forms
- Apply for managing agents information
- Locate missing documents e.g. planning permissions, building regulations and electrical certificates
- Liaise with your solicitor to agree on a pre-emptive strategy to deal with any legal or property defects
Completing the above steps before you find a buyer could shave weeks or even months off the time it takes to complete.
As most solicitors work on a no sale no fee basis, there is no financial downside to instructing a solicitor early in the presale process.
Complete the property forms
Your solicitor will send you a pack of documents including their terms of engagement, a formal instruction form, a verification of ID form and a copy of the quote.
The pack will also contain the following property forms, which must be completed and returned to your solicitor as soon as possible:
TA6 - Property Information Form
This form provides the buyer with detailed information about the property. You can download a specimen copy of the TA6 form here:
The TA6 for is where you will need to disclose any issues, problems or disputes you have experienced while you have owned the property. We have a series of guides explaining what you can do if you are selling a property with any of the following problems:
TA7 - Seller's Leasehold Information Form (if leasehold)
This is another lengthy form to be completed by sellers of leasehold properties. Some of the questions are detailed e.g. service charge history, freeholder disputes, consent granted or denied and lease extension details. Your solicitor will send you a copy, and you can download a specimen TA7 form here:
TA10 - Fittings and contents
You will need to complete this form, which lists room-to-room detail of everything that is included in your sale. You can download a specimen copy of the TA10 form here.
Obtain the title deeds and other documents
Leasehold management information
If you are selling a leasehold property, your solicitor should immediately apply to the freeholder or managing agent for the leasehold management pack.
This is a set of documents about a leasehold property, that includes details about service charges, ground rent, building insurance, and any upcoming major works. This information is essential for prospective buyers of leasehold properties and their solicitors, to assess the obligations and costs associated with buying the leasehold.
The pack will also be forwarded to the solicitor.
Draft sale contract
The sale contract of sale is the legal agreement between the buyer and seller, setting out the terms of the property sale. It will include things like the selling price, amount of deposit and any other points agreed between the buyer and seller.
A draft contract of sale is forwarded to the buyer’s solicitor, along with the completed property forms and any other relevant documents.
Once the sale documents have been reviewed, the buyer's solicitor will raise additional enquiries, which are further questions about the property a how you have used it. These might be further questions about issues mentioned in the property forms, for example how a neighbour dispute has been resolved. They might also relate to installations in the property, such as boiler servicing details or new window warranties.
If the buyer is taking out a mortgage, the mortgage lender will carry out a Mortgage Valuation Survey to confirm the property's value. The buyer may also carry out a RICS Homebuyer's Report or Building Survey.
Contractual negotiations will then follow. These might include:
- Agreeing a target completion date
- Agreeing which fixtures and fittings are included in the sale
- Potential negotiations around price
Contact your mortgage lender
If you have an outstanding mortgage on your home, it will need to be redeemed (paid off) on completion. Your solicitor will contact your lender to find out the outstanding balance on the mortgage.
Exchange of contracts
As you get closer to exchange, your solicitor will send you the sale contract and title transfer deed (TR1 Form) to sign. It is advisable to sign and return these documents to your solicitor ASAP - even if you receive them weeks ahead of exchange. The contract will also be signed by the buyer.
Agree exchange and completion dates
An exchange date and completion date will then be agreed and finalised between all parties.
The solicitors will exchange contracts on the date you have agreed with your buyer, at which point you are both legally obliged to complete the transaction.
Contracts will be exchanged between all other parties in the chain (if there is one) at the same time.
Your buyer's deposit is then sent to your solicitor,
Your solicitor will send you a financial completion statement with a breakdown of the final mortgage redemption figure, any other loans relating to the property, the estate agent's commission and the solicitor’s legal fees and disbursements.
The buyer’s solicitor will transfer the remaining purchase funds to your solicitor.
...inspired confidence from the outset... our move went ahead without a hitch!The Good Solicitor Guide
Completion is the point when property ownership legally transfers from you to the buyer. On the day of completion, your solicitor will call you as soon as the sale completes.
Your estate agent will be notified by your solicitor and instructed to release the property keys to the new owner.
If there's an outstanding mortgage on the property, it will be redeemed (paid off) at this point.
Your solicitor will forward the title documents to the buyer, confirming their new ownership of the property.
Transfer of sale proceeds
The estate agent's commission and any solicitor's fees will be deducted from the proceeds of the sale before the remaining money is sent to you.
Vacate the property
You will now be expected to vacate the property, making way for the new owners to move in.
How we can help you
If you are buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring equity in a property, our solicitor panel can help make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
- No Move, No Fee Guarantee
- Fixed fee conveyancing service
- CQS-accredited panel solicitors
Fixed fees from £415 inc VAT
Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.