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Rightmove's guide to selling

Ensuring the sale goes smoothly

Step 5 - Ensuring the sale goes smoothly

Jargon Buster - Conveyancing

The process of transferring the legal ownership of property or land from one person to another.

Conveyancing is very time consuming and complex, so you will need to employ either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to do it for you.

Here are our top tips on choosing and using a conveyancer…

  1. Get at least three conveyancers' quotes. Ask friends, family and your estate agent for recommendations
  2. Tell your conveyancer if you want answers to any specific questions in advance
  3. Let them know when you would like to exchange contracts and complete. Tell them you will require regular updates of how the sale is progressing
  4. Try to negotiate a no sale - no fee deal, so if the deal falls through you don't pay anything
  5. Check and compare quotes carefully making sure they are like for like.

Once you have appointed a conveyancer, you will need to…

  • Give them some basic information to get started such as your mortgage roll number - so they can check you own the property and proof of your ID
  • Complete a detailed questionnaire on the property, covering things like who owns the boundaries and whether you have had any disputes with neighbours. It is a legal requirement to answer truthfully
  • Complete a form showing what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale
  • Answer conveyancing queries as soon as you can. Use registered post or deliver documents by hand.

Exchange of Contracts

In England and Wales, Exchange of Contracts is the last stage of the legal process after which a buyer cannot pull out (without losing their deposit).

Jargon Buster - Exchange of Contracts

When copies of signed contracts are exchanged between the buyer's conveyancer and the seller's conveyancer.

A date for completion is usually set for at least two weeks after the exchange date, giving you time to arrange removals. Your conveyancer will call your agent to tell them when the buyer's money has arrived so they can give the keys to the new owner.

Check the conveyancer's completion statement carefully - it should reflect the original quotation.

Selling in Scotland

In Scotland, the legal process is slightly different and buyers are committed at an earlier stage.

Here, the seller usually sets a guide price and interested buyers put in bids and suggested completion dates. Once the seller accepts their preferred bid, there is a compensation penalty to be paid if one of the parties changes their minds. For this reason, buyers need to have arranged a mortgage before they put in a bid.

Unlike in England and Wales, many conveyancing solicitors in Scotland also have an estate agency part to their business.