Legal Guides

We use plain and simple English to give you an overview of the most common areas of law.

The key stages of selling your home

Once you have accepted an offer on your property, your Estate Agent will ask you to provide the name of your solicitor. There are many solicitors that offer conveyancing services but the costs do vary dramatically. As with any service, make sure you speak with the company first to ensure that you trust them to get the work completed for you before instructing them. Check that they are regulated by the CLC or the SRA – this information will be provided on their website.

Initial Paperwork

When you have supplied your solicitor’s details to the Estate Agents, they will send out the “Memo of Sale” to all parties. This includes the buyers, the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer, yourself as a seller and also your (the seller’s) solicitor. This will include all the key details such as the property address and the agreed sale price. At this stage, you will be asked by your solicitor to provide the following :

  • your personal details
  • primary ID such as a passport or driving licence
  • proof of residence in the form of a bank statement/utility bill.

You will also be asked to complete a Property Information form including specific details about the property, including:

  • its boundaries
  • any alterations to the property
  • Fixtures and Fittings form (what you will be leaving at the property)

These forms are long and sometimes the wording is not that straightforward.


If there is a mortgage/other loan secured on your property, your solicitor will request a redemption figure from the lender(s) to establish how much is outstanding.  This sum will be paid out of your sale proceeds on completion. You will be sent the redemption figure in advance to make sure that you are still happy to proceed. Some lenders charge quite excessive Early Repayment Charges (ERCs), so it is important that you are aware of these before selling your property.

Drafting Contracts

Contracts are drafted by the seller’s solicitor and sent with the property information forms and land registry documents to the buyer’s solicitor, as well as any additional documents you have provided.

If your buyers are using a mortgage to obtain the property, it is at this stage they will obtain the searches. The searches can take up to three weeks to come back. The searches will provide the buyer and their solicitor with a clear profile of your home.  On receipt of the search results, they may request further information. If your buyer is a cash buyer, it is not a legal requirement for them to obtain searches but they may still request them especially if they are not aware of the area.

Sign the Contract and TR1 

At this stage, your solicitor will send you a draft contract and transfer (TR1) for signature. You should read the contract carefully, sign it and return it to your solicitor. The Transfer is the legal document which both seller and buyer sign to transfer ownership of the property. This must be signed in the presence of an independent witness over the age of 18 years and it cannot be a family member or someone who lives in the same household as you. Often people use neighbours but don’t worry if you want your solicitor to witness the signatures, they will be more than happy to assist.


The buyer’s conveyancer will examine all of the documentation and raise any enquiries they have and your solicitor will normally contact you to discuss anything that has been queried. These are normal but often people may be taken aback by the amount of enquiries that are sometimes raised. Don’t worry, your solicitor will be able to explain the complex legal speak into everyday language that everyone can understand.

Completion Date

Once the buyer’s searches and mortgage offer are received by their conveyancers and all outstanding issues are resolved, the chain will begin the process of agreeing a completion date in readiness for exchange of contracts. A completion date needs to be agreeable by both parties. Everyone has commitments so do not feel pressured into agreeing a certain date.

Final Redemption Figure

Once your solicitor has an indication of the proposed completion date, they will obtain final redemption statements from your lender(s) and make sure they have all of your signed documents. These are required to show how much is needed to pay off the mortgage and to see the amount of funds that will be due to you on completion.

Exchange of Contracts

This is the part when you can get excited. Your solicitor will get your verbal authority that you still want to exchange on the transaction. This is often done via telephone.

When the contracts have been exchanged, both seller and buyer are contractually bound to complete on the agreed completion date. Neither party can withdraw at this stage otherwise they will be liable for costs.

Transfer of Money

On the agreed day of completion, the buyer’s conveyancers will send the monies to purchase the property to your solicitor by telegraphic transfer. Once they hold the funds on the account, they will confirm completion and release the keys to Estate Agents and yourself.

Balance Of Proceeds

Finally, your solicitor will send you the balance of sale proceeds by bank transfer.

Article written and contributed by : Dave Lavery of Adlington Law

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. It is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered above, please speak to Adlington Law directly.

Published on 13th July 2020
(Last updated 7th May 2021)