When Do I Sign?

Posted on 1 September 2019
When Do I Sign?

Congratulations!  You've either accepted or had an offer accepted on a property,  and you're keen to know when you're likely move in date is so that you can make plans.

You are at the beginning of the actual sale process and frustratingly for you, no-one is going to want to pin a date, or anything near a date on it, just yet.   Pinpoint Property's experienced sales team can tell you the average sale, all going smoothly takes approximately 12-14 weeks at the moment - the key phrases being 'the average sale' and 'all going smoothly'.  Whilst we can't eradicate all the bumps in the path, Pinpoint Property are here to help make your 'Life's Moves Made Simple and so have produced a guide to the timeline for 'the average sale'.

WEEK 1 - 2
Once you have instructed a solicitor to act for you in the sale let us know their details, we will issue a memorandum of sale letter.   There will be a completion date on it - it's an estimated date only - there only to give everyone a point in time to aim towards.  It's not cast in stone, and things that arise during the sale process could push it back - rarely will it come forward.  An exact date for when you can expect to get the keys to your new home won’t become clear until we get further down the line. 

BUYERS - Speak to your financial advisor as soon as possible and get your mortgage application underway.  Check with them if the mortgage lender has any restrictions about which solicitor you can use - some ask that you choose from the solicitors on their approved panel list e.g. at time of writing Sainsbury's only have two solicitors on their mortgage panel.   Pinpoint Property can help you access independent, expert and FREE financial advice about available NI mortgages at a time and location that suits you through our partner Faye Culbertson of Milecross Financial.   Faye does not charge an arrangement fee for setting up the mortgage which saves you money against the cost of any surveys required.  Get in touch with Faye here for more information.

VENDORS - When your solicitor receives the memorandum of sale, they will get your instruction to contact your bank/lender to request (call down) the title deeds.  Most banks store deeds in large centralised archive storage banks - how long this takes depends on the administrative efficiency of your lender - a couple of weeks is the norm (6-8 weeks at worst).  Significant time can be saved at this point if you instruct your solicitor to call the deeds down when putting your property on the market.

WEEK 2-6

Solicitors are gathering documents,  Pinpoint Property start checking in with all solicitors involved to get progress reports, provide you with updates and to see what we can do to help.  We do advise that you keep in touch with your solicitor every couple of weeks yourself to ensure your file stays in the forefront of their action list.  You can help keep the sale moving well if you are responsive and act quickly on anything they require you to do.

VENDORS - Once your solicitor receives the title deeds from your lender, they will ask for your instruction to apply for property searches and certificates, they will draft up a contract and forward the title and contract on to your purchasers solicitor.  Most of the searches can be obtained within hours or at most days.  One of those property certificates they apply for takes approx. 3 weeks to arrive.  This is because it has to go to a central admin team in the DOE/Council who send out information requests to different departments and collate the responses to complete the required document.   During this time your solicitor may send you out some standard forms to complete and return e.g. fixtures and fittings list etc. Discuss with your solicitor any alterations or amendments made to your home during your ownership e.g. damp proofing, gas heating installation, building extensions etc.   They will advise if you need to supply them with, or arrange for, updated paperwork relating to it e.g. building control, gas safety certificates etc.   Doing this now can save delays in the conveyancing process and may be required for the buyers mortgage approval.

BUYERS - During this time, if you are applying for a mortgage you should be working with your financial advisor on your mortgage application and arranging for any surveys to be undertaken as required. 

WEEK 6-10

When all the searches and certs are back the pace begins to pick up a little.   Solicitors are beginning to review documents and raise any questions they may have.  Pinpoint will continue to be in touch weekly with solicitors, providing updates, getting updates and nudging things along as best we can.  Once the survey results are in and the sale has moved past this point, if we have good progress updates from both solicitors we will stick our necks out a little and guesstimate an approximate completion date.  Until the solicitors have everything they need this will only be an informed guess but our mission is your Life's Moves Made Simple and the more time you have to plan and prepare helps to reduce any stress you may be feeling.

VENDORS - Your solicitor may be in touch to ask for answers to some questions that they may be asked e.g. when did you construct the extension or to request further certificates e.g. electrical safety test.  Act on their queries as quickly as you can.

BUYERS - Survey results should be in.  Additional surveys may be required.  You can help keep the sale moving well if you are responsive and act quickly on anything your financial advisor/mortgage lender requires you to do.  If there is an issue raised following survey that concerns you, speak to the estate agent and your solicitor for advice on negotiating a mutually acceptable resolution.

WEEK 10-12

Subject to all questions having been answered and solicitors being happy with documentation they will call parties into sign contracts, set completion dates and requisition funds from the lender.

All of the above is subject to change dependent on factors such as availability of documents, finding your solicitor isn't on the lenders panel and having to instruct new solicitors,  administration turnaround time at banks, lenders, solicitors etc, and more frequently than anything - life.  Life is the biggest factor that influences completion dates - exams, births, deaths, holidays etc. etc. and talking to your agent, solicitor to explain and let us know your holiday plans helps us to negotiate and smooth the path to completion. 

Pinpoint.  Life's Moves Made Simple