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What happens after you’ve accepted an offer on your house sale?

Congratulations, you’ve accepted an offer on your house. Whatever you’ve got planned next, this is a big step in that direction.

But what happens after you’ve accepted an offer on your house?

We’re here to explain it all, from accepting an offer to completion. Let’s get into it.


You’ve just accepted an offer on your house…

So, what's the process after you've accepted an offer on your house? At this stage, you’re set on your next move – be it upscaling, downsizing, or relocating to a new town or city. Accepting an offer on your house marks significant progress toward your goal.

Regardless of the plan, hiring a conveyancer is crucial for handling the legal aspects of selling your property.

How long does it take to sell a house after accepting an offer?

Typically, after accepting an offer, the sale and conveyancing process may span anywhere between 12 to 24 weeks.

Each property transaction is distinct, and the conveyancing timeline varies. Factors like property searches, chain complexity, survey results, negotiations, and more can impact your property sale timeline.

Your conveyancer will offer an estimated completion date once they’re informed and understand your specific situation.

What happens in the stages after you’ve accepted an offer on your house

Here’s the process of selling a house and the work that your conveyancer will do, broken down into phases:

  • Instruction
  • Pre-exchange
  • Exchange of contracts
  • Pre-completion
  • Completion
  • Post-completion

Step 1: Instructing a conveyancer

This can actually be done before or after accepting an offer. When purchasing a property, the typical process involves waiting until you’ve had an offer accepted before instructing a conveyancer. However, the process can differ when selling. As you own the property (and that’s not going to change) you can instruct a conveyancer as early as when your house is on the market.

While some tasks that involve working with the buyer’s conveyancer must wait until you have a buyer, early instruction can give you a head start and reduce potential delays. Before securing a buyer, your conveyancer can:

  • Verify identity
  • Source property deeds
  • Obtain a copy of the lease (if applicable)
  • Draft the contract
  • Have the seller complete conveyancing protocol forms


Completing the above in advance of accepting an offer can shave weeks off the beginning of the transaction and ensure there are no unnecessary hold-ups on your end. While you can still instruct a conveyancer after finding a buyer and accepting an offer, you miss the advantage of pre-completing these tasks.


Plant Stand

Step 2: Pre-exchange

Once you’ve accepted an offer, you’ll step into the pre-exchange phase, the longest part of the conveyancing process. Your conveyancer collaborates with the buyer’s conveyancer, estate agent, and other involved parties to advance your case.

If you instructed your conveyancer after accepting an offer, this phase will also include everything from step 1 as you did not get that head start before accepting an offer.

Your conveyancer will be sending a lot of crucial documents and forms to the buyer’s conveyancer, including the draft contract pack, protocol forms, title deeds, and more. They will also address queries from you, the buyer, the buyer’s conveyancer, or any other party involved.

They’ll also lead negotiations over the draft contract. Things to negotiate and agree on include:

  • Date of exchange and completion.
  • Inclusions in the sale price (fixtures and fittings).
  • Buyer's payment for additional fixtures and fittings.
  • Resolution of issues from the buyer's property survey or an adjusted sale price reflecting survey results.

If you have a mortgage on the property, your conveyancer will request a redemption statement from your lender to determine the outstanding amount owed. This informs how much of the house sale proceeds will go to your mortgage provider.

Step 3: Exchange of contracts

You and the buyer will have an agreed date to exchange contracts in the previous step. Your conveyancer will exchange the contracts on your behalf, submitting the signed contract you endorsed, and the buyer does the same with their duplicate version.

It’s at this stage where the buyer will pay the seller their exchange deposit (usually 10% of the total transaction or whatever is agreed). The deposit will be kept safe and secure by your conveyancer until completion.

You and the buyer are now legally bound to the property transaction, the buyer is obligated to buy your property and you’re obligated to sell. Neither party can back out now without risking the return or loss of the deposit.

Step 4: Pre-completion

Breathe, the period of uncertainty is over, you and the buyer are legally bound to the property transaction. Your completion day could be anywhere between 7-28 days away, or as per your agreement. There’s no minimum or maximum required time between exchange and completion.

During the time between exchange and completion, ensure your home is packed up and prepared for the buyer to move in. You may want to organise a removal company to assist with transporting your belongings for the upcoming completion day.

Coffe Table

Step 5: Completion

It’s moving day! The buyer’s conveyancer has the funds ready and transfers them to your conveyancer. Your conveyancer settles your remaining mortgage and any other house sales costs, before releasing the remaining funds to you.

They’ll also let the estate agent know that they’ve received the buyer’s funds, and they can release the keys to the buyer at an agreed time. You need to be all moved out by this time to allow the buyer to move in.

Check out our guide to completion day for more.

Stage 6: Post-completion

Time to start your next chapter. Leaving your previous home can be bittersweet, but it marks a major milestone.

After completion, you simply need to pay any fees you owe. This could be to your conveyancer, estate agent, or any other party that was involved in the sale of your property, and that’s it, you’ve completed the sale of your property.


Frequently asked questions

What does ‘offer accepted’ mean?

When a home seller accepts a buyer’s offer, it means they have agreed to the price and any other terms proposed for the sale of their property. Your estate agent will now say that your property is “under offer” and they will send your conveyancer the memorandum of sale.

If an offer is accepted on a house sale, is it legally binding?

After you’ve accepted an offer on your property, the property transaction will move forward (as described above). But this does not mean that you, nor the buyer are legally bound to the transaction.

You are not legally bound to the transaction until the exchange of contracts. At this point, if you were to pull out then you would need to return the exchange deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price). If the buyer pulls out, then they would risk losing their exchange deposit.

What do estate agents do after you’ve accepted an offer?

Once you’ve accepted an offer on your property, the estate agents’ main roles include:

  • Issue a memorandum of sale containing the agreed price, buyer/seller details, and appointed conveyancers to all parties. This kicks off the conveyancing process.
  • Assist in arranging access for the buyer’s surveyor to conduct their survey/valuation if required.
  • Handle any further negotiations if queries arise from the survey reports.
  • Work with conveyancers from both sides to push the sale towards exchange.
  • Provide updates and chase for progress from the buyer and seller.
  • Agree on a completion date that works for all parties involved as well as making sure it suits the rest of the property chain (if there is one).

How long to sell a house after an offer has been accepted?

After accepting an offer, expect the house sale process to take anywhere between 12 – 14 weeks. But remember, each transaction is unique, your journey could take longer, or it could be shorter. Here are some of the things that can impact your timeline:

  • How quickly the buyer’s mortgage is approved (if applicable)
  • Whether the property is freehold or leasehold (leasehold could take longer)
  • If the property is part of a chain of sales and purchases (and how long that chain is)
  • If any issues arise during conveyancing searches or surveys
  • How quickly all parties (buyers, sellers, solicitors) respond and progress

This is by no means an exhaustive list, if you want to learn more check out our conveyancing timeline guide.

Can I keep my house on the market after accepting an offer?

If you do keep your property on the market, then it means you can expect to still receive offers. Your buyer will likely ask if you can remove it from listings, as this would leave them prone to gazumping.

Can I reject a house offer?

Of course you can, although it’s common to go back to the buyer with a counteroffer to see if you can get closer to your asking price. If there is no room for negotiation, then it is your choice whether to accept or decline an offer on your property.

Front Door

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