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Selling a Freehold or Leasehold Property

Selling a Freehold or Leasehold Property

The below is a guide to the Conveyancing process for selling a Freehold or Leasehold property. Please note that it is intended to be a very basic guide to the main stages of the process and is far from being a complete overview. The stages set out below are based on a standard residential transaction. Please note that the stages do not always follow the same sequence and are meant for information purposes only.

How long it will take from the point you accept an offer on your property to the move day will depend on a number of factors.  The average process takes 8-10 weeks.  If the property is Leasehold the average time is 10-12 weeks.


An offer is accepted via estate agents (or privately). All parties will then instruct solicitors. The estate agent (or if private, the parties themselves) will send out a Memorandum of Sale to all parties concerned which will confirm the agreed sale price, details of the buyer and seller, details of the buyer and seller’s solicitors. The seller’s solicitor will apply for a copy of the Deeds, including the lease (if the property is leasehold) from the Land Registry. If the property is leasehold, the seller’s solicitor will also write to the Landlords or their solicitor and request additional information such as details of the landlord, rent and service charge payments.  Both solicitors will then write to each other to confirm their instructions. Once the seller’s solicitors have received the copy Deeds from the Land Registry and completed information forms/questionnaires from the seller, they will send out the ‘Contract Package’ to the buyers solicitors.


The buyers solicitor will examine the ‘Contract Package’ and submit a local search and any other required searches, such as coal mining search or an environmental search. The buyer’s solicitor may request additional information about the property, the legal title or the surrounding area from the seller’s solicitors. The seller’s solicitor will deal with any legal enquiries they are able to answer but may need to forward some enquiries to the seller to answer. If the property is leasehold, additional information may be required from the landlord and/or management company. The buyer’s solicitor’s will review the replies to their enquiries and may raise further enquiries with the seller’s solicitors.


Once the buyer’s solicitors are satisfied with the replies to all of their enquiries, they will arrange for the buyer to sign the Contract and at that stage, they will request a deposit (if required) from the buyer. The buyer will be invited to sign the Contract usually when the buyer’s solicitors have approved the Contract. Once the buyer’s solicitors have received a copy of the buyer’s mortgage offer, local search results, replies to all of their enquiries, signed Contract and cleared funds in respect of the deposit (if any), the buyer’s solicitor is then ready to exchange Contracts.


The buyer’s solicitor will contact the seller’s solicitor to advise if they are ready to exchange contracts and they will suggest a date for when the process can complete. The seller’s solicitor will then contact the seller to make sure if the proposed completion date is suitable and try to agree the date with the seller. If the completion date is not agreed, the solicitor will negotiate with the buyer’s solicitor (or via the estate agents) a completion date which is acceptable to all parties. Once a completion date is agreed, the buyer’s solicitor and seller’s solicitor can exchange contracts. N.B. both parties are now legally bound to buy and sell the property for the agreed price on the agreed completion date.


On the completion date, the buyer’s solicitor will send by the same day, the money in which to complete the purchase of the property. Once the money is received, the seller’s solicitor will authorise the release of keys to the buyer either via the estate agents or via the seller direct. The seller’s solicitors will then pay off any existing mortgages secured on the property, pay the estate agent fees and the net proceeds of sale to the seller.

The sale is complete…

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