Top tips for a smooth sale when moving house

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 December 2016


So, you have decided to sell your property - you may even have seen a new one and in your mind you have already moved in! But how can you be sure the legal work will not hold you back?

What steps should you take to allow you to sail smoothly through the transaction process? Here are some pointers:

Instruct a solicitor as early as possible – preferably when the property goes on the market so that your solicitor can begin the groundwork and ideally be in a position to issue the buyers’ solicitor with contract papers as soon as they confirm their instructions. Solicitors must verify your ID and should not start work before this is completed. An added bonus of having a solicitor in place is that this shows the buyers that you are serious about selling.

Locate your title deeds – if you have them, pass them to your solicitor. If they are with another solicitor, or with the lenders, authorise their release.

Approve the Property Information Form and Fittings and Contents Form – the first is a useful form given to buyers and their solicitor at the outset and provides helpful information not usually obtainable by other means. Make sure all panels are completed as fully as possible to reduce the number of enquiries your buyers’ solicitor raises. Go through any questions you have with your solicitor and provide supporting documents such as guarantees, heating service reports, planning permissions and building regulations approvals.

Fittings and Contents Forms detail what is and is not included in the purchase price and make up part of the contract – again take time to go through this, make decisions on what is staying or going and state any additional items you are prepared to sell to the buyers and for what price.

Obtain a Mortgage Redemption Statement from your lender – advise that at this stage it’s just for information purposes rather than redemption. The statement will detail what the redemption charges are and if there are any penalties. This saves any surprises and misunderstandings later on – often the penalty is waived if you are transferring the mortgage to a new property but many lenders require it to be paid and then refunded later. Alternatively, provide your solicitor with all the mortgage details so they can obtain the statement.

Be realistic about exchange and completion dates and expectations of the chain – the estate agents have access to all the parties and can help to iron this out. Remember any dates until exchange are just targets; your buyer is not obliged to buy or complete on a certain date until exchange of contracts has taken place. Do let your solicitor know if there are any dates to avoid or times you will be uncontactable and return documents so that delays can be avoided and authorities to sign on your behalf can be obtained sooner rather than later.

These pointers should help, but be warned, the progress of a transaction does depend on various factors such as the behaviour of the parties involved, the length of the chain, and the time taken for search results to come back and mortgage offers to be issued, to name but a few!

For legal advice on residential, buy to let and investment property or land law issues, please contact Raj Sambi in the Guildford office of Penningtons Manches on 01483 791800 or visit

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