Moving into a new home

Are you thinking of moving to a new area? Are you thinking of selling or buying a property?

Changing or moving a house is one of the most stressful experiences a person may in his or her life. It can be more stressful than a break-up of marriage or starting a new job. It can also be very stressful for the children moving to a new school or college.

We hope we can make the process of buying and selling a house as smooth and stress free as possible.

We set out below the process of buying and selling a house which you might find useful.

Are you buying or selling property?

How does the conveyancing process work? What is involved in buying and selling property?

There are 3 main stages involved in selling or buying a property which involve a series of standard steps:

First stage

Once the sale is agreed it is important to let your solicitor know as soon as possible. Your solicitor will then

If you are selling

* Apply for your Title Deeds

We will need to know the mortgage account number and the name and address of the lender

* Require you to fill in a Property Information Form

Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form.

These will give us basic information about the property such as details of boundaries, any neighbour disputes and information about what items are to be included in the sale.

  • Prepare a Contract – this sets out the main terms of what has been agreed – the names of both buyers and sellers, a description of the property and the price.
  • Send copies of the above (the legal information pack) to the buyer’s solicitors and answer any questions they may have
  • Negotiate the moving (completion) date.

If you are buying

  • Ask you for money on account of expenses
  • Make any additional enquiries necessary on receipt of the information and contract from the seller’s solicitors. Sometimes it may take a while for all this information to arrive
  • Carry out local authority searches – these are a list of questions sent out to the Local Authority (and Coal Authority for a mining search, if applicable) and review the results
  • Receive a copy of your mortgage offer (if applicable)
  • Request a deposit (or may use proceeds of sale if applicable)
  • Ask you to sign the contract once you are satisfied there are no major problems

Second stage

Exchange of Contracts

Once contracts have been exchanged the sale becomes legally binding on both parties and neither can withdraw without incurring a substantial penalty.

If you are selling your solicitor will:

  • Receive the buyer’s deposit
  • Obtain a settlement figure to pay off your mortgage
  • Approve the transfer deed and arrange for you to sign it

If you are buying your solicitor will:

  • Send the contract and deposit to the seller’s solicitor
  • Prepare transfer and mortgage deeds for you to sign
  • Arrange further searches
  • Prepare final accounts and request any necessary payments from you

Third stage:

Completion (the day you get the key and move in)

If you are selling your solicitor will:

  • Receive the balance of the purchase price
  • Pay off the mortgage
  • Send transfer and deeds to the buyer’s solicitor
  • Send you the balance or use it towards your purchase

If you are buying your solicitor will:

  • Send the balance of payment to the seller’s solicitor and receive the deeds
  • Pay stamp duty (if any) within 28 days
  • Register the purchase at the Land Registry
  • Send the deeds or confirmation of transaction to the lender (Bank/ Building Society)

Combining a sale and a purchase.

There is no difference legally when you combine a sale and a purchase from when the two transactions are completed separately but there are more people involved and it may be more complicated to agree deadlines. It often helps for the two parties to negotiate terms, such as completion dates, directly as it gives the whole process a more human face – as long as both solicitors are kept informed to ensure that any agreements made are possible (and legal!)

People often mortgage or re-mortgage their property for a variety of reasons without there being either a sale or purchase involved. There are two important points to check before deciding whether to go ahead:

  • Does your current mortgage have an Early Redemption Penalty? – If so, you will need to take this into account when working out the amounts involved.
  • We would recommend you take independent financial advice to ensure you are being given the best deal on your new mortgage.

If you decide to go ahead then your solicitor will:

  • Ask your current lender for a Mortgage Redemption Certificate and the Title Deeds to your property
  • Apply for local authority searches and any other necessary searches
  • (You will need to make an application for a new mortgage yourself or through your financial advisor)
  • Advise you and your new lender of results of searches
  • Check if there are any life policies with the Deeds

A completion date is arranged

This is usually at the end of the month to simplify the calculations.

Your solicitor will then:

  • Send the Mortgage Deed to you for signature and return
  • Ask the current lender for an updated Mortgage Redemption Certificate to be made up with the exact figure owing
  • On completion as soon as the money from the new lender has been received the existing mortgage is paid off and any balance due sent to you on that day
  • Send the mortgage deed to the Land Registry so that they can update their records
  • Send the Title Deeds to the new lender once they have been returned from the Land Registry

There may be other transactions you would like to enquire about e.g.

  • Transfer of equity
  • Letting or leasing your property
  • Or using your property for commercial purposes – Please email us at

Why use us?

Osmans Solicitors is a small friendly firm offering a personal service to meet all your conveyancing needs. We recognise that for many busy clients it is often difficult to arrange personal visits to your solicitors’ office or indeed to take the time to speak directly to your solicitor on the phone. We will try our best to be as flexible as possible.