What is the process of selling a property?

A typical conveyancing transaction has two major phases: the exchange of contracts and completion.  The process for a sale is as follows:

  1. Marketing the Property. The transaction begins with the seller putting the property on the market. Once an offer has been placed by a buyer and accepted, the conveyancing process can begin. It is important to note, at this stage there are no legally binding contracts.

  1. Instructing a solicitor. The conveyancing solicitor will obtain documentary proof of your identity, in order to comply with anti-money laundering regulations. The solicitor will also ask you to complete the relevant protocol forms.


  1. Checking title. Documents showing proof of ownership of the land must be obtained as well as other documentation relating to the property (e.g. EPC, Buildings Insurance, Gas Safety Certificate etc.). The seller’s property solicitor will then prepare a contract pack containing the title documents, a draft contract and completed property questionnaires. This pack is sent to the buyer’s solicitor.

  1. Review and enquiries. The buyer’s solicitor will review the contract pack and conduct their searches. They will then raise enquiries. At this point, as no formal contract exists, the buyer may withdraw from the transaction without penalty (as may the seller).  In the meantime, if there is a mortgage over the property the property law solicitor will be communicating with the lender, requesting the redemption figure.

  1. Signing contract. Once all enquiries have been asked and answered and the contract has been approved, the contract will be sent to both parties to sign.

  1. Exchange. When both solicitors are holding their client’s signed contract and the buyer’s solicitor has the deposit funds, contracts can be exchanged. This is when the contract becomes legally binding.  The deposit funds now belong to the seller and neither party can withdraw without penalty.

  1. Preparation for completion. The seller will now sign a Transfer deed, which is approved by both parties. This deed transfers the property from the seller to the buyer and must be signed prior to completion.

  1. Completion. On completion, the buyer’s solicitor will send the completion funds to the seller’s solicitor. Once monies are received, the seller’s solicitor will confirm completion and release the keys and will also,
  • send the Transfer deed and any other relevant original documents to the buyer’s solicitor for them to complete registration of the property in the buyer’s name
  • use the completion monies to repay the mortgage before sending the sale proceeds to the seller.

If you have any queries regarding the conveyancing process, please contact our property solicitors in Guildford on 01483 451900.