Once you’ve decided to sell your house, the first thing you will do is to instruct an estate agent. Selling a house involves a legal process that must be adhered to, otherwise there could be serious financial ramifications.

The estate agent will agree the terms of the sale and arrange any viewings. Once you’ve signed an agreement with your estate agent, you will be contractually obliged to pay a fee upon sale of the property; sometimes you may have to pay a fee if you withdraw the property from the market, so read the small print carefully.

Your estate agent will ask for your solicitor’s details as, when selling a house, the legal process necessitates the use of a licensed conveyancer. This part cannot be done by any other person.

Your solicitor (working for the vendor) will want to be put in touch with the buyer’s own lawyers when you accept an offer on the property.

Once this stage is reached it is not normal to change your mind, even if a higher offer comes in; sometimes people do this and it’s called ‘gazumping’. In Scotland the offer is legally binding, so it is not possible to break the contract at this stage.

Information relating to the property is now required. This involves recording all the fixtures and fittings and other details such as whether you’ve ever had a dispute with a neighbour. Local authority searches are the responsibility of the buyer’s solicitors. You will also be asked to provide documentation for building works, planning permission and any documents relating to appliances etc (guarantees).

Once your conveyancer has assembled all the details, they will pass them through to the purchaser’s solicitors for review and a draft contract will be drawn up.

The purchaser’s solicitor is also responsible for making sure that sufficient funds (cash and mortgage) are in place to make the purchase. In addition, there may be in a chain, so things may get complicated if the purchase depends on successful completion of the sale of a property to someone else.

Assuming all goes smoothly, contracts are signed and a completion date set once all details have been finalised. Exchange of contracts then takes place, deposits are paid (at which point the contract is binding); if your purchaser pulls out at this stage they forfeit their deposit.

Solicitors’ fees are calculated and any loans which need to be repaid will have redemption figures calculated; estate agent’s fees will also be deducted.

On completion day, your solicitor will receive the balance of monies outstanding from the purchaser’s solicitor for the purchase of the property and in return they are given the Land Registry information. Outstanding mortgages are paid off, together with any fees to be paid, and the residual balance from the sale is transferred to you. This is why selling a house involves a legal process that needs to be handled by a licensed conveyancer.

Your online estate agent will be able to help advise on appointing a solicitor to handle the transaction for you. Ask a member of the team at Zeviso Properties for more information.