1. The seller’s Solicitor obtains details of the Title, drafts the contract and submits the completed Fixtures, Fittings and Contents List and the Property Information Form.
2. The buyer’s Solicitor checks the Title and contract, obtains relevant searches and raises any queries.
3. This leads to the exchange of contracts: it is when contracts are exchanged that the seller and the buyer become contractually committed. Each may then be liable to severe penalties if they fail to complete. On exchange of contracts, the buyer pays a deposit (usually 10%) which is held by the seller’s Solicitor until completion but, by agreement, the seller may use this deposit in his own purchase.
4. The contract will state the agreed completion date.
5. Ownership is transferred when the sale ‘completes’. The buyer’s Solicitor collects the mortgage advance and any other funds that are being used and pays them to the seller’s Solicitor who simultaneously releases the signed Transfer document to the buyer’s Solicitor. The seller’s Solicitor then pays off any existing mortgage on the property.
6. On the completion date monies have to move around the banking system to give effect to all transactions in the chain; completion is rarely achieved before lunchtime. On completion the buyer is entitled to be given vacant possession.
7. After completion has taken place the buyer’s Solicitor registers the buyer at the Land Registry as the new owner and registers any new mortgage.