Your Guide To

Sales Progression

Specialists in Village,
Rural & Country homes

Sales progression is crucial in the process of selling your home. 

Here at RJ Country Homes, we specialise in selling village and country properties therefore we know the pitfalls and potential “hiccups” that can occur along the way to the final completion of your property.

We advise our clients on what can be done to get ahead and set you up for success every step of the way.

Setting yourself
up for success

The Sales Process

The process from when a sale has been agreed to completion of contracts can appear to take a long time, whilst paperwork is being sorted, searches applied for, possible mortgages and surveys carried out and enquiries raised. We are here to liaise with all parties and help streamline the process.

If you are in a chain, everyone has their own timescales and pressures – it can be an emotional time both as a buyer and seller. We will ensure that we keep you informed as to what point your property has reached in the sales process.

At RJ Country Homes, we are extremely thorough with our sales progression as we understand some of the complications that can arise with village and country homes. Our team have the relevant professional experience to help overcome any potential problems.

We have saved many sales over the years due to our team of expertise; it is this particular element of our service which has resulted in many of our clients using us again and again. They have been safe in the knowledge that we will go that extra mile to see the sale through.

You will be assigned to a dedicated member of the team purely to work on your sale. You'll receive regular updates and clear communication, delivering our high level of customer service all the way.

Negotiating Your Offer

With our experience and expertise, we are able to negotiate on your behalf to get the best possible price for your property. When we receive an offer on your property, we will ensure that we obtain the following:

Proof of Identity

Usually a certified copy of a passport or driving licence from your buyer(s).

Proof of Finances

Including bank statements to show cashflow, a mortgage in principle (if required) and other relevant financial paperwork.

If selling a property, then we need proof that the buyers property is sold subject to contract (SSTC). We will check this before we inform you of the offer, by ringing the buyers estate agent and getting all the relevant information of the buyers situation and any chain involved. 

Remember, it’s not just about putting forward an offer, it’s important to make sure we give our vendors all the information they need on the prospective buyer and the current market conditions in order to make an informed decision.

We will issue all parties with a memorandum of sale as soon as we have all the information above. This document relates to the ‘sale agreed’ part of purchasing a property. It details all parties involved, the possible buyer’s interest in buying the house and the seller’s terms of sale. 

Please note that a memorandum of sale isn’t legally binding, instead it’s written confirmation that a price has been agreed and both the buyer and seller wish to proceed with the sale.

Your home is your biggest asset and it is important that the legals are done thoroughly with an experienced conveyancer or solicitor.

Conveyancing

This is the legal process of buying and selling property, or to give it, it’s legal definition, it is the ‘act of transfer of title to property from one person to another’.

We always advise our client to be legally prepared, so you are ready for the conveyancing process. This starts with choosing your solicitor or conveyancer.

What is the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?

A conveyancing solicitor is fully trained in all legal services but specialises in conveyancing, and a licensed conveyancer is trained in conveyancing only. Solicitors and conveyancers are subject to different governing bodies and it’s entirely up to you who you decide to instruct.

Choosing the right solicitor or conveyancer

The conveyancing process involves a lot of paperwork and it is vital that all aspects are correctly completed. If the solicitor or conveyancer is not diligent and efficient in sending off the right bits of paper at the right time, they can cause considerable delays to the process.

Most solicitors send as much correspondence and information as possible via email, though some still deal with things by post – always worth checking as this can delay the process. The longer the sales process takes, the more likely that there is a chance something can fall through. To help smooth the process, some modern conveyancing practices operate with online case tracking facilities. This allows you access to up to date information on your transaction 24 hours a day.

Some solicitors and conveyancers can be difficult to get hold of, making it hard to track how your case is going, or to get any questions answered. This can be the case with solicitors who undertake other work outside of conveyancing – often out of the office or attending court. Conveyancers are often office based, facilitating better client communication. It is always worth checking that they do work full time.

Check that cheap quotes aren’t missing hidden costs and be wary of any quote that does not fully itemise all charges. Do your research and make sure you are aware of what the final bill will be; our guide on conveyancing fees will help. And whatever you do, avoid solicitors/ conveyancers who charge an hourly rate. Remember that you get what you pay for and your cheapest solicitor isn’t necessarily your best option.

How long should it take?

It generally takes between 8-12 weeks, but can take longer if you’re part of a chain of buyers and sellers. It can also sometimes be longer if there is a complication during the conveyancing process and additional surveys need carrying out or changes to titles need sorting or additional paperwork has been requested.

Being Sale Ready

When you have instructed your solicitor or conveyancer, it is important to provide them with information to help aid the sale process.

Proof of Identity

In order to comply with money laundering regulations, your solicitor will need you to supply two means of identification. One needs to be photographic, so a passport, driving licence or bus pass. The second is proof of residency, such as a recent utility bill. Please note that the solicitor will require original documents.

Certifications

Have you had any extension or conversion work done to your property? If so, then your solicitor will need to see any related documents such as planning consents or building regulation certificates. If such alterations took place prior to you owning the property, it’s likely that these documents will still be required. If you have copies from your purchase of the property it will speed things up if you supply them to your solicitor.

If you do not have this documentation, you should consult your solicitor before trying to get copies from your local council. The lack of documentation can sometimes be dealt with by an indemnity insurance but usually only if the council has not been asked for copy documentation.

Guarantees & Receipts

If you have had any electrical rewiring, damp-proofing, window replacement or timber or roof treatment, then these will also be requested. Once your solicitor or property conveyancer has above information, they will be able to send out a contract package on your sale. Any lack of information can usually be overcome but its absence can result in delays to the transaction.

At RJ Country Homes, we work closely with all parties to ensure that solicitors, buyers, sellers and any other estate agents in the chain are working together to achieve a succesful sale.

The Next Steps

You’ve instructed your solicitor/conveyancer, they have your ID, property documents and memorandum of sale from us. What happens next?

Contract pack

Your solicitor will send you a Contract Pack which will include a Property Information Form and Fixtures & Fittings form. These straightforward questionnaires provide your solicitor with the basic information that will enable them to draft the contract they will send out to your buyers and should be completed and returned along with any relevant paperwork.

Valuation

If you are purchasing an onwards property you may need a mortgage. If this is the case, a lender will commission a mortgage valuation. The valuation advises the lender of the value of a property and any characteristics including significant defects which might affect its value.

A valuation survey determines whether the property you are wanting to buy is worth the amount you have agreed to pay for it. This is primarily for the mortgage lender so that it knows its loan will be covered if the property has to be repossessed and sold.

Mortgage lenders, banks and building societies, deal with the application process in different ways. Some lenders will instruct a surveyor to carry out a valuation of the property as soon as the application is made, while others will not instruct the surveyor until all the references have been taken and the mortgage is approved subject to valuation. We will give you a call once we have heard from them to arrange an appointment for them to come to the property. As a rule of thumb, the mortgage valuation should be carried out in the first 2-3 weeks.

It is a common misconception that a mortgage lender’s valuation report represents a survey, but it does not. It is merely a valuation carried out on the mortgage lender’s behalf and is not designed to highlight any potential problems with a property. An independent survey is normally advised, and commissioning this allows you to make an informed decision before committing to the purchase.

Surveys

There are three main types of survey: Condition Report, Homebuyer Report and a Full Structural Survey

Condition Report

Condition reports were introduced in 2011. It is the cheapest option and usually costs between £100-£250 depending on a number of factors including a property’s size.

Designed for newer properties and conventional homes, it provides a clear and concise report on the condition of a property, plus details of urgent faults and advice for legal advisors.

You will not get a property valuation with a survey of this kind. This may not prove a problem if – like most people – you are funding the purchase with a mortgage, as the lender providing the mortgage should carry out a valuation.

You should only opt for a condition report if you feel confident about the state of the building, though, as some issues could be missed due to the simplicity of the survey.

Full Structural Survey

If you have reason to be particularly worried about the structure of a property or are buying a period property, then it is probably best to go for a full structural survey.

This includes information on defects and repairs, maintenance options and is also essential if you are buying a larger property or are planning to carry out major works.

As with the other two types of survey, costs will vary depending on the size of the property and where it is. However, you can expect to pay around £1,000 for a survey of this kind.

This may sound expensive, but it can be well worth paying if it identifies issues which could cost thousands to put right. A full structural survey should provide you with all the information you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to proceed with the purchase or pull out because it has identified problems you hadn’t anticipated.

Homebuyer Report

Homebuyer reports, which provides a market valuation, an estimate of the insurance rebuild cost, as well as all the information offered by a condition report, offer greater peace of mind.

It costs between £250-£400 and includes advice on defects that may affect the value of a property due to repairs and ongoing maintenance, making it a good choice if you have some concerns about the state of the property and how much any problems could cost to fix further down the line.

A homebuyer report should be adequate for properties built in the last 100 years.

Specialist Surveys

Most of the homes we sell here at RJ Country Homes are individual; from period properties, equestrian to listed buildings.

Therefore, some buyers will want to carry out a specialist survey to satisfy any concerns they have.
If you have concerns about particular aspects of a property’s structure or condition, then you may wish to have a ‘Specific Defect Survey’ carried out which will provide an insight with advice on remedial measures and associated costs.

You may be purchasing a thatched property and would like a specialist roof survey carried out.

RJ Country Homes work closely with industry specialists to help to ensure you receive the right advice you need.

Searches

Once you have applied for a mortgage (if applicable), submitted all the information within your contract pack and had a survey carried out, your buyer’s solicitor will apply for their searches which include:

Environmental | Water & Drainage | Local Authority

Environmental and water and drainage searches generally return within a week of request, but the local search can take up to 4 weeks, so it is always advisable to get searches paid and applied for as soon as possible.

Some solicitors will wait for the results of the searches before raising enquiries of your solicitor; others may do so before the search results come in, raising further enquiries once the results are received. Many of the questions raised can be answered by your solicitor without reference to you, often by using the information you will have supplied. Some may require further input from you.

Solicitors may well raise further enquiries at a later stage, either as a result of the answers that have already been given, or because of further information that has come to light.

Exchange of Contracts

Once all enquiries and searches have been satisfied, it’s time to sign on the dotted line.

The buyer’s solicitor will approve the contract and send a copy to your solicitor for you to sign. A further copy will be signed by the buyer once all legal checks have been completed and their mortgage offer is in place. At this point the buyer will be asked to provide a deposit. The contract always allows for 10% of the purchase price however solicitors will regularly ask to reduce the deposit to 5%.

Some solicitors, particularly if you are buying a property, may well ask you to come in and go through the contract papers in person. It can be useful to have a meeting with the solicitor to ensure that you fully understand the legal title of the property you are buying.

On exchange, the contract is binding between you and your buyer. At this point a completion date is set. The process of exchange starts at the bottom of the chain. The solicitor acting for the buyer at the bottom offers a “release”, this means they release the contract for exchange to the solicitor above them. This process goes up the chain to the top.

If the release is accepted all the way up, then the exchange will have taken place. If the release isn’t accepted all the way up to the top of the chain by close of business, then the exchange has not taken place and the whole process has to start again on the following working day.

This can be frustrating but then again you wouldn’t be too happy with your solicitor had they exchanged on your sale but not on your purchase!

Things to Consider

Timescales

In the first flush of excitement, when the sale is agreed, it can often be tempting to try to set some sort of personal timescale. However, it is important to bear in mind that your sale may well be in a chain of transactions where each homeowner will have their own agenda, not necessarily matching yours

There are many variables to a sale, so across a chain of 4 or 5 properties it is not hard to see how time can be eaten up by delays. Try to bear in mind that the average person stays in a house for 7 years, so a delay of a few days or weeks should be kept in perspective.

Gifted Deposits

In these times of austerity quite a few of the first-time buyers we have introduced to our clients are being helped with the deposit by their parents or relatives. This is known to the bank or building society as a “gifted deposit”.

Lenders are happy to accept this arrangement but will often want the first time buyer’s solicitor to verify where the money is coming from before an exchange can take place. On occasions, this has caused some delay.

Down-valuing & Over-valuing

As mentioned earlier, a property is likely to be surveyed at some point to satisfy the buyer’s lender that it offers a good risk for them to lend money on. It is rare that a property is down valued by a surveyor, but when it does happen it can impact on the buyer’s ability to borrow the full amount they have applied for.

This may result in them trying to renegotiate the price. Similarly, any private survey may point out remedial works that your home requires and, if shown to be significant, may prompt the buyer to get quotes for the work required, possibly resulting in them wanting to revisit the price they are paying.

Completion

On the day of completion, the monies are transferred between the parties and ultimately, the keys are handed over. It is the day you will move house!

Generally, the contract requires that you vacate your property by 1pm. The time of day that completion takes place can often be dictated by the length of chain you find yourself in and the speed with which each respective solicitor transfers the monies from their account.

On occasions, completion will go beyond the 1pm deadline but your solicitor will keep you informed of developments. It is very rare for a completion not to take place on the date set.

Moving Home

When it comes to moving home, there is no such thing as enough time. Here is a quick guide to the things you need to think about as soon as you have exchanged and you have received your moving date, which is usually the completion date.

Firstly, get the biggest job out of the way and decide how you are going to move everything from your old home to your new home.

If you’re thinking about a professional mover, try getting 3-4 quotes and make sure you build a good rapport as it will make the transition as smooth and painless as possible.

Important questions to consider asking are:

  • Can I provisionally book now and pay when I have exchanged contracts?
  • What happens if my move day changes?
  • Do you have storage facilities in the event of a delay?
  • What are the costs?
  • Does the quote include a packing/unpacking service?
  • Does the quote include insurance?
  • Is the quoted price the final price?
  • Can you provide a written move schedule?

Meter Readings

Before you leave, get a final meter reading of all your metered services and call the relevant suppliers to inform them of the numbers so you can settle up the final balance and close the account ready for moving.

Home Insurance

It may be the last thing on your mind, but ensure your policy has started and everything is covered for your new home.

Unpacking

Make up your beds in the new house first. So when you’re tired later and you can’t face anymore work, you can hop straight into a comfy bed and get a good night’s sleep.