A Guide to Buying or Selling Your Home

by dburke on November 22, 2013

  • Sumo

The normal property conveyancing process takes between 2 and 3 months. Sellers will have to draw up an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), before they can attempt to sell the building. They must also make their offers through their estate agent, if they’ve decided to work with a third party company to sell their property. Once an offer has been accepted, a legal contract must be drawn up to transfer ownership. The process isn’t legally binding until contracts are exchanged.

Let’s expand on that a little bit:

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

For potential buyers and tenants, an EPC shows the property’s energy use and the typical costs for owners or residents. Alongside this information, there will also be advice on how to save money through reduced energy use. You can ascertain how energy efficient a property is with the A-G scale, ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least efficient. This rating is valid for 10 years, unless something drastically changes the property.

You don’t need EPC if the building is a place of worship, a temporary building, an industrial site, non-residential agricultural building, a property due to undergo demolition, holiday accommodation, listed building, or a residential building that will only be inhabited for 4 months.


It is possible to make your offer directly to the seller, to keep the transaction private. You can make an offer ‘subject to contract’, if you wish, which means the price is negotiable, in the event that a survey – or something else – finds a problem with the property.


The contract should contain the sale price, property boundaries, legal restrictions and rights (such as, public footpaths), planning restrictions, and property services. A conveyancer or solicitor, like Vincent’s conveyancing solicitors, usually takes care of drafting the initial contract and can negotiate contract details. Once the contracts are exchanged, that’s the deal finalised. The conditions become legally binding for both parties.

The money then should be transferred from the buyer to the seller. Any legal documents that show ownership of the property pass on to the buyer. The seller then hands over the keys, and everything is complete!

More Than One Owner

A joint tenancy is common and can be arranged. The max amount of people who can own a property together is 4. If you’re not fussed about passing over your share of the house to specific loved ones, in the event of death, a joint tenancy is fine and will automatically hand your share over to your tenancy partners, who share the house with you. If you wish to prevent this from occurring, you will have to explore other options.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

If your property costs more than £125,000, you will have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). This is usually 1% to 7% of your property’s price. You won’t have to pay SDLT if your property is worth below £125,000.

Marketing executive working on behalf of Vincent's Solicitors, helping promote their conveyancing activity.

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