Selling a property

Contract StatementCan I sell a property if I own it jointly with other people?

If you own a property as a joint tenant, you cannot sell it without the agreement of all other owners. If you own the property as a tenant in common, you can sell your own individual share without agreement from the other owners.

Energy Performance Certificates

You must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) free of charge to potential buyers. An EPC gives information on the energy efficiency of a property. It is produced by an accredited domestic energy assessor.

You and anyone acting on your behalf, such as an estate agent or legal adviser, must try to ensure that a certificate is available within 7 days of the property first being put on the market.

From 9 January 2013, all sales advertisements for properties, whether on the internet, in newspapers and magazines, or in written material about the property, should show the EPC rating. The Trading Standards office can issue a notice with a penalty charge of £200 per property if an EPC is not provided.

If I accept an offer, can I change my mind?

If you have accepted an offer, there is nothing to prevent you from changing your mind and accepting a higher offer from someone else. This is called gazumping. To prevent this happening, the buyer may ask you to take the property off the market or sign an exclusivity agreement but it is up to you to decide if you want to do this or not.

The buyer may also pull out because, for example, they may not get a mortgage or their survey may show up some structural problem. In some cases, the buyer will wait until the contracts are about to be signed and then they will reduce their offer in the hope that you will accept less for the property. This is known as gazundering and could be a problem for sellers in a falling property market.  

Gazundered

If you are selling yourself it may be a good idea to keep the names and addresses of all potential buyers who make offers, in case the one you accept falls through.

What information do I need to give to a buyer?

When you have accepted an offer, the buyer (through their legal adviser) will make a number of enquiries about the property. You will need to provide your legal adviser with the following information:

  • the title deeds or Title Information Document for the property or your mortgage details so they obtain the title deeds from your lender
  • all loans secured against your property as these will need to be repaid upon completion of your sale
  • complete a detailed questionnaire on the property, covering things like who owns the boundaries and whether you have had any disputes with neighbours  
  • complete a form showing what is included in the sale (Fixtures and Fittings)
  • if your property is leasehold, provide details of the freeholder,  managing agents, lease and so on

Your legal adviser will draft a contract which will be sent to the buyer's legal adviser. When the completion date and the terms of the draft contract have been agreed, your legal adviser will send it to you for approval and signing. At the exchange of contracts, both you and the buyer sign copies of the contract; the buyer’s copy is sent to your legal adviser, who will send your copy to the buyer’s legal adviser. The buyer will send the deposit, if there is one, and a completion date is set. Once contracts are exchanged, neither you nor the seller can pull out of the sale. The deposit is usually held by your legal adviser until completion and may be used as a deposit if you are buying another property.

On the day of completion, you will receive the outstanding amount of money, which will be transferred directly to your account (via your legal adviser). You must hand over the keys for collection by the buyer and leave the property by an agreed time. If you are also buying a property, you can use the proceeds of sale to help pay for the purchase. 

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