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…
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 conveyancing take when selling a property?
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.
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:
- Exchange of contracts
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Need help selling your home?
We understand that selling a home can be overwhelming. We’re here to make it simple.
We will be in touch with you weekly, providing updates and being there when you need us. You can contact your property lawyer whenever you need, to ask us whatever you need.