When people decide to purchase a property, it often occurs at the same time as a big life change; when a couple move in together, when a couple divorces, when a new baby is arriving, or when people need to get into the house before school places are announced, which all add time pressure. It can also be a time when emotions are heightened and so you will want to be able to look to your estate agent for support.

Buying and selling property involves the process of conveyancing. Maddisons have a dedicated sales progression team, with years of experience helping our sellers and buyers through the process of conveyancing. Here we help you understand the process if you're a buyer.

What information does your vendor’s estate agent need after your offer is accepted for a sale to progress?

Once your offer has been accepted, the estate agent acting on the sale will need information on a few things to get the legal wheels underway: the buyer’s proof of address and identity, proof of funds and any chain details. Also, they need to have the details of your solicitors (conveyancers), who will be progressing your offer through to completion.

The seller’s estate agent will:

  • Look both up and down your chain and understand where each buyer and seller is in their sale or purchase to ensure the process is moving and that everyone’s preferred timings can be met
  • look at your finances to ensure you have the necessary funds to make the purchase
  • carry out anti-money laundering checks

Once this information has been obtained and the seller has confirmed they are happy to proceed, the memorandum of sale is drawn up.  This document includes the headline details for the sale: the names of all parties, their addresses, the address of the property being sold, the solicitor details for both, the price and of course any negotiated conditions. Within that, at Maddisons we always include the positions of the purchaser and the vendor in order that everything is clear from the outset. For example, we would explain within the Memorandum of Sale:

  • The buyer’s position - for example, whether the buyer is purchasing the property with the sale proceeds from their existing property and / or with a mortgage whether their property is under offer and confirmation of their buyers position.
  • their vendors position – for example, if they are seeking  to make an onward purchase and where they are with their search.
  • detailed information that's included in the sale specifically – such as any furniture and crucially if there is any timeline or dates to work towards that are specific to the offer’s acceptance.


What information will your solicitor need when acting on your behalf to progress a property purchase?

Your solicitor will set out their terms of business in writing. If you are buying the property in joint names, they will want to know whether you want to purchase it as “joint tenants” or “tenants in common”, and they will also need to verify your identity if they’ve not acted for you before and will also run anti- money laundering checks. At the same time, the vendors solicitor will ask the seller to fill in paperwork known as protocol forms. These forms request all of the information that the vendor has on their property and includes the completion of a property information form and a fixtures and fittings information form, which clarifies what is included in the sale, what they're going to leave and what they're going to take.

Once these are completed, the protocol forms and the draft contracts are sent to the buyer’s solicitor as a ‘Draft Contract Pack’.


What happens when the buyer’s solicitor completes due diligence on a property?

Your solicitor will need to complete ‘due diligence’ on the property to be purchased to ensure that all legal issues are in order and that it is a property that you would like to buy, or a mortgage company would like to lend against.

This will include:

  • reviewing the registered title / unregistered deeds and
  • carrying out various ‘searches’.

The searches reveal information held by the local authorities,highway authorities and the water and drainage providers in relation to the property.  The buyer’s solicitor will review the local authority search, the water and drainage search, the environmental search and sometimes a chancel search. These all help to build a picture of the property, and usually result in a number of enquiries, which are then forward to the seller’s solicitor for answering.   

Buyers will need to consider booking an independent building survey and a mortgage valuation survey

Concurrently, while the searches are being ordered, reviewed and any enquiries raised, buyers should be instructing a surveyor if they require an  independent building survey. This is where there is often a delay - surveyor’s calendars are busy and it can take up to ten working days to receive the surveyors report.

At this stage, buyers should also be finalising their lending arrangements and ensuring that any mortgage valuation survey is carried out. It is worth noting that lenders can issue a mortgage offer within 48 hours of the valuation but have also been known to take up to two months which can push timings considerably.

What happens if the value of the property is down-valued by a mortgage valuation survey?

There are times when the valuer doesn't agree with the value of the property and the property is ‘down-valued’ against the property sale price. The buyer has two options here:

  • continue, and find the extra funds
  • or walk away from the purchase 

At Maddisons Residential, we will advise our sellers to consider offers that reflect market value, to try and avoid these situations occurring.  It can be heartbreaking for the potential buyer and costly in time and money for all involved if a sale collapses especially where chains are involved.

Buyers will receive a full report from their solicitor on the property

After reviewing the ‘Draft Contract Pack’, receiving the answers to any enquiries raised, reviewing the result of the searches and receiving any mortgage offer (if required), your solicitor will then send you their report on the property and talk you through any pertinent issues and how these may be resolved. For instance:

  • if the vendor extended the property since they bought it, was there proper planning in place?
  • If there is evidence of some damp which is common in older properties, you may wish to source a specialist to come and have assess the damp.

If further investigations are required, these reports need to be received and understood and comfort sought on any of the salient points. 

Final report on the title

Once all enquires have been raised by the purchaser’s solicitor and answered by the vendor’s solicitor the final ‘Report on Title’ is produced.

’Exchange of Contracts’

When you’re happy to proceed, a deposit of 10% is usually required by your solicitor (unless you’re part way down the chain and will be using your buyer’s deposit for your onward purchase) and you will need to sign the relevant contracts and transfer documents.

Conversations around the preferred dates for exchange and completion start to take place at this stage and, once contracts have been signed by both the buyers and seller, they can be ‘Exchanged’ – this means both parties are legally committed to the transaction, and neither can withdraw without facing a financial penalty.

Arrangements for ‘Completion’ of the sale

Completion can take place on the same day as exchange but this is highly stressful and so usually occurs some days or weeks later. Your solicitor will prepare a ‘Transfer Deed’ for the seller to sign, prepare a Completion Statement and, if applicable, apply to your mortgage lender for the release of funds.

How Maddisons manage chains during the sales progression process

If there is a chain, involved, all of those moving pieces have to come into the same place for the whole chain before the whole chain can Exchange. Chains can prove quite complex if, for example, you have two small chains of three links each – all of which need to work though the stages of conveyancing to be ready to Exchange on the same day.   Managing this process is crucial to ensure the chain and therefore the sale does not collapse.

If you are buying or selling a property, Maddisons Residential will expertly manage the process, every complicated step of the way! For more information contact our friendly team.