The exchange

Residential Property Partner Christopher Bean writes on the sale process for your home

After various emails and telephone calls you have answered the enquiries that the buyer has asked. You may have learnt a few things about your house for the first time even, just as you are about to move! Who knew that you were not allowed to run a business as a beer shop or off licence, or raise farm animals… luckily you hadn’t and so all is now good to proceed.

The next stage is Exchange of Contracts – commitment time!

In order to get to this stage you, your buyer and everyone else in the chain needs to be ready and to agree a date to complete. Completion is the day that you receive the money for the house and hand over the keys to the buyer so it is important to fix a date that works for you and your removers (be they family, friends or a removal company).

Here the agents often help us and you and coordinate with the other agents and home movers to find an agreed date. It must be a week day but otherwise there is free choice as long as all agree. You usually need at least a week between exchange and completion so that the buyers can get their money to their solicitors (including any mortgage money) and also so that we can get a final redemption statement for any mortgages that you might have to pay off.

When we are all ready to exchange there are a series of phone calls between the various solicitors who double check the names, properties and of course the price in the contract that you have already signed. There is no need for you to be present for exchange but we do need to speak to you to confirm you are happy to go ahead. So, the Solicitors make arrangements for the exchange and then fix the date and then all are committed to the process and of course the completion date. 

Once you have exchanged we prepare the final completion statement showing the net proceeds of sale after payment of any mortgage, agents fees and our fees. You have of course got to pack and clear the property and also make sure that final readings for utilities are taken and submitted.

Before you know it completion will be upon you and it will be time to hand the keys into the agents. They hang onto them until we receive the money from the buyer’s solicitors and only pass the keys to the buyers when we tell them they can. You will usually receive the net proceeds of sale into your bank account the same day (depending on timings) and then you have done it, you have sold!

Next time I will take a look at things from the buyers viewpoint and explain some of the work that we do in investigating the title of the property you are buying. 

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