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How to sell or claim on old derelict house in the UK

Derelict house

How to sell or claim on old derelict house in the UK

In this article we will cover how you can sell or claim an old derelict house in the UK.

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

In the UK, over a quarter of a million properties are classed as derelict, with the North East exhibiting the highest number of derelict properties, indicating more than 1.4 unoccupied properties for every 100.


If you are looking to sell or claim an old derelict house in the UK, there are several important steps to keep in mind. Firstly, if you are looking to claim or sell an old derelict house in the UK, then you will need to evaluate the property’s value, consider its location, its state of disrepair and its potential for attractive renovation.

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What is an old derelict house?

An old derelict property, also known as an abandoned property, is characterised by its prolonged period of vacancy or neglect. Since August 2022, homeowners have no legal obligation to uphold a specific standard of maintenance for their property.


Nonetheless, when a house is flagged as derelict because of issues such as broken windows or doors, roof damage, boarded-up entrances, or excessively overgrown outdoor spaces, the local council retains the authority to contact the owner. They can issue a request for necessary measures to be taken in order to ensure the property’s safety and habitability.

Why do properties become derelict?

Several factors contribute to the dereliction of properties. Frequently, derelict properties require extensive repairs or have structural issues that the owner lacks the financial resources to address, leading them to remain untouched for extended periods.


Various other circumstances contribute to properties becoming derelict, including insolvency or repossession proceedings, unfinished property developments, issues related to inherited properties and environmental problems such as contamination or subsidence.

What is a semi derelict property in the UK?

If you have ever taken the time to look down an auction house portal, you may have noticed properties that are labelled as ‘semi derelict’. Well, a semi derelict property refers to a building that is not entirely in a state of disrepair but exhibits significant signs of neglect and deterioration. 


Semi derelict properties tend to have visible signs of wear and damage, including issues like a partially collapsed roof, broken windows, or some structural damage that impacts a building’s stability. 


While they are not fully dilapidated, semi derelict properties require substantial renovation and repair work to restore them to habitable condition. They may still have salvageable elements or architectural features worth preserving, making them potential renovation projects for investors or buyers interested in restoring historic properties.

What’s the difference between abandoned and unoccupied houses?

An abandoned property is one that has been left inhabitable and in a state of disrepair for an extended period of time, whereas an unoccupied property is one that is still maintained by the owner but is not yet open.

When is a derelict house considered dangerous?

Derelict properties are considered dangerous when basic upkeep and protection from the elements are neglected, causing rapid deterioration. Instances where a property may be classified as a dangerous public health risk include:


  • Severe structural issues due to a lack of maintenance. 
  • Unsafe conditions resulting from fire or storm damage.
  • The presence of flammable materials or risk of explosions.
  • Unstable walls or fencing susceptible to collapse.
  • Unsafe flooring or non-weight bearing roof spaces.
  • Poorly maintained roofs with potential for falling tiles.
  • Unstable chimneys at risk of collapsing. 


In cases where a property becomes hazardous following a natural disaster or fire, temporary precautions such as fencing, warning signs, or netting are often employed to prevent further risk. 


Purchasing a derelict house requires a comprehensive assessment to identify potential hazards and determine the necessary measures to ensure safety before any further actions are taken.

Can I claim an abandoned house in the UK?

Yes, you can claim a derelict or abandoned house. Claiming an abandoned house allows individuals to become property owners without spending much money. But, claiming a derelict property is not as straightforward as it may seem. 


Claiming an abandoned property can be daunting, but it can provide an opportunity to own a property that would otherwise be unavailable.

How do you spot an abandoned house in the UK?

To effectively identify an abandoned property in the UK, you should keep an eye out for properties with a neglected appearance, overgrown gardens, and broken or boarded-up windows. However there are other ways of confirming the abandonment status of a property:


  • Check for unattended post: The accumulation of uncollected parcels and letters is a clear sign that the property may be derelict.
  • Engage with neighbours: Speaking to neighbours can provide valuable insights into the history of the property. They might have information about the duration of the property being unoccupied and any past attempts to sell or rent it out. 
  • Consult HM Land Registry: Utilise the HM Land Registry website to access property ownership details. However, it’s essential to note that the absence of registration does not guarantee abandonment. Consulting a conveyancer can help delve deeper into the property’s history. 

Contact the local council: Local councils often maintain records of abandoned properties within their jurisdiction. They can offer information on abandoned properties and their registration status.

What is the conveyancing process for abandoned property?

Once you’ve identified an abandoned property you intend to claim, the conveyancing process can vary depending on its registration status. This is the conveyancing process for an abandoned property:


  1. Confirm property registration: If the property is registered with the HM Land Registry, your solicitor or conveyancer will obtain the title information, which includes the current owner’s details and any legal charges or mortgages on the property.
  2. Unregistered property conveyancing: In the case of an unregistered property, the conveyancing process shifts to Adverse Possession Law. This law allows an individual to claim ownership of land or property if they have been in possession of it for a specific period, and if the original landowner has not taken any legal action to regain possession. Adverse Possession may take anywhere from a few months or several years.

In order to claim an abandoned property by Adverse Possession, you will need to follow:


    1. Documenting possession: Your solicitor or conveyancer will assist in documenting the period of your possession of the property. This documentation is crucial to support your claim.
    2. Notice to the landowner: In some cases, the owner may be notified of the intention to claim adverse possession. This notification serves as a precautionary measure before initiating the claim.
    3. Time to wait: The landowner will be given a set period of time to respond to the notice, if they do not respond within the timeframe specified then you may continue with the claim. 
    4. Application for Adverse Possession: Your conveyancer will guide you through the formal application process, which usually involves submitting an application to the Land Registry outline your claim and providing evidence of your continuous possession.
    5. Property registration: When the claim becomes successful, the property and land will be registered and registered to your name.

What are the risks when claiming abandoned properties?

There are many risks when claiming an abandoned or derelict house, the major one being that if the original landowner returns with proof that they are the owner, you will be unable to keep the property.


Furthermore, if you claim the property without the proper legal procedures and documentation then you may face legal action from the original landowner or local authorities.

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Can you buy abandoned property in the UK?

Yes, you are able to buy an abandoned property in the UK, but the process is not as straightforward as buying an occupied commercial or residential property. 


Although the buying process can be similar to the traditional way to buy a property, there are a few things to consider when purchasing an abandoned or derelict property:


  • You may need to obtain special permission in order to carry out renovations, extensions and demolitions of a house.
  • You may be unable to carry out modifications or face tight restrictions if the property is a listed building or has historical significance. 
  • You may need to get an environmental survey completed before you can carry out any work.
  • You will need to make sure that the property is habitable for residential and commercial tenants before it can be rented or leased. 
  • You may face a restrictive covenant in which landowners are prohibited from carrying out certain modifications of the property. 


You will also need to ensure that when you are looking to buy an abandoned property, you check how long the property has been derelict for, if it is weather and watertight and if it is connected to utilities such as water, gas, sewerage and if there any restrictions on renovating or demolition.

What hazards are common within abandoned property?

Abandoned and derelict properties are have often become infested with several nuisances or hazards due to a lack of human presence, non-standard construction or human neglect:


  • Pests like mice and rats.
  • Bats.
  • Squatters.
  • Ground heave or subsidence.
  • Asbestos or RAAC concrete.
  • Unwanted leaks, dampness, rot and mould.

Can you insure a derelict house?

You will be able to insure a derelict property, but most home insurance providers will only cover an abandoned property for 30 or 60 consecutive days. If this is not enough, then you will be able to get a Specialist Unoccupied Property Insurance that will offer longer protection. 


There will be conditions attached to either insurance policy, keep requirements for you to visit the property on a regular basis or keeping heating on at a minimum. If you do not plan on living within the derelict house or it is not habitable for a while, then you may consider researching different insurance covers.

How do you secure a derelict house?

If you become the proud permanent or temporary owner of a derelict house then you will need to protect it from both the weather, and from other humans. The potential issues from not securing your property may include vandalism, squatters, arson and theft. 


Other than getting the proper insurance on your derelict property, you will need to secure it, which can be done by:

Ensure that the windows and doors have working locks, and that are locked when no one is in the property. If there are any broken entrances to the property, you may consider boarding the windows and doors.

Homes that look untouched for extended periods of time may become a target for burglars, which is why you should use timer switches to turn lights on so they illuminate at different times. This could also be done using smart lights and smart plugs which can be controlled by your phone.


You may want to ask for help from a neighbour to the property to keep an eye out on the property and report any suspicious behaviour to either you or the police.

If you are renovating your property, make sure that any tradespeople or yourself don’t leave tools within the property.

Having a security system with a good alarm and CCTV system can go a long way when securing a property. You could think about adding a smart CCTV home system installed which will give you notifications to your phone.

Older properties can have several outbuildings including stables, garages, sheds and barns. You should ensure that all of these are kept as secure as the rest of the property, as some criminals will use these as an entry into your property.

If there are any skips or bins on the property, make sure that they are cleared on a consistent basis. Excessive rubbish and litter will make your property a target for criminals.

Ask the post office to hold your post until the property is habitable, or alternatively redirect your post to your current address. Vandals and thieves will be on the lookout for property with excessive amounts of post.

Can you sell a derelict property?

Yes you can sell abandoned houses or derelict properties, but usually you might need to price it below market value due to the lack of renovations or modifications. 


Fortunately, there are a few avenues available for selling derelict properties. These include leveraging auction houses, finding cash buyers or working with an estate agent experienced in dealing with abandoned properties. 


Before listing the property, ensure it is safe and tidy to attract potential buyers. Making the building safe and addressing any outstanding liabilities or outstanding improvements is vital.


You may find suitable avenues in the UK housing market for the sale of derelict buildings or land for sale, including property auctions, privately owned portfolios, cash buyers and online estate agencies.

How do I sell my property in disrepair?

When your property is in disrepair and you prefer not to invest in renovations, there are still some strategies to sell your property. 


In the case of a property that has fallen into disrepair, you should seek professional advice from a chartered surveyor or structural engineer who will be able to conduct a survey of the property and let you know if the property is habitable or not – this will open or close your house selling options.


One option is to be transparent about the property’s condition and highlight its potential for investors or buyers looking for a renovation project.


Additionally, you could explore selling the property as is, emphasising its location, land value, or planning permission for demolition, which could make it an attractive investment opportunity for property developers. 


Alternatively, you could sell your property in disrepair to an online estate agent like us, who will be able to sell your property within 28 days. We work with a database of investors who will be able to either buy your property with cash, or be able to sell it on the open market at a more reasonable price.

How do I sell an empty property?

If you’re dealing with an unoccupied or empty property, the selling process can be relatively straightforward since there’s no need for anyone to leave the property. To streamline the sale, consider conducting a thorough survey of the property to identify any potential issues and disclose these to potential buyers upfront. 


Additionally, you should ensure that the property is well-maintained, secure, and is attractive in order to significantly enhance its market appeal.

What’s the best way to sell a derelict house?

The best way to sell a derelict house is to sell with us! We are a leading UK online estate agency with over 50 years of combined experience in the house selling industry. We can sell your property in only 28 days, and help you achieve the highest house price available.


We’ll go above and beyond to get your property sold faster, all while you benefit from an improved, streamlined service away from the traditional estate agents. You will be in safe hands as we cover everything from floor plans, photographs, write-ups, viewings and your legal fees.


Want to get the ball rolling?

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Selling A House With Subsidence: How Easy Is It?

Selling A House With Subsidence: How Easy Is It?

In this article, we will break down what Subsidence is, what the signs are, what underpinning is and how easy it is to sell a house with Subsidence.

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

The United Kingdom’s coasts are rapidly eroding, causing many houses to fall victim to coastal erosion. As a result, the mere mention of Subsidence can send alarm bells ringing for homeowners and potential buyers alike. 


Whether you buy a cheap property on the coast, look to renovate it, and then realise the previous owners didn’t disclose a history of Subsidence or the ground has begun to erode while you have lived within the property, the thought of selling a house with Subsidence can be daunting.


But selling a house with Subsidence doesn’t have to be complicated. A property with Subsidence can be easily rectified as long as the underpinning is secure.

What Is Subsidence?

Subsidence in a house refers to the downward movement or sinking of the ground beneath the structure, which can result in the shifting of the building’s foundations. 


Subsidence happens when the soil beneath a building is made up of a high percentage of clay and is, therefore, unable to support the structure’s weight. Clay expands in wet weather and reduces in warm weather, exaggerating the subsidence rate.


Subsidence is especially alarming when the ground is sinking at different rates and the property’s foundations become misaligned.

What Are The Signs Of Subsidence?

If you suspect that your property is at risk of Subsidence, then you should consult a structural engineer or building surveyor who can assess the situation; however, here are some common signs:

Look out for new or widening cracks in the walls, particularly those wider than 3mm or diagonal cracks that appear internally and externally. These cracks may be thicker at one end and taper as they move across the wall.

Cracks form around window and door frames, especially if they are diagonal or have a stepped pattern. These cracks may indicate that the building’s foundations are settling unevenly.

It could be a sign of Subsidence if doors and windows become difficult to open or close correctly. The frames may become misaligned as the building shifts or settles, causing doors and windows to stick.

Check for sloping or uneven floors, particularly on the ground floors. If the floor feels uneven or slopes noticeably in one direction, it could indicate that the foundation is moving.

Gaps or separation between walls, ceilings, or floors may indicate that Subsidence is causing different parts of the building to move independently, leading to visible holes or cracks at the junctions.

In severe cases of Subsidence, the entire building may exhibit signs of leaning or titling, which can be observed from the outside, where the structure appears visibly off-vertical.

What Is Historical Subsidence?

If your property has had Subsidence in the past, fear not! It is not impossible to sell your home; you must disclose the historical Subsidence to your estate agent. 


When you inform the estate agent, they will make sure all potential buyers are aware, be prepared that it may take longer to sell your home as Subsidence can be-off putting, even if historical. 


You will need to instruct a building surveyor to assess your property, and they will distinguish if your property has ongoing Subsidence or historical subsidence issues:


  • If your property has historical Subsidence, any continued movement is unlikely, and you will not have to make any further structural changes.
  • If your property has ongoing Subsidence, you must carry out structural changes to secure the property.


If the property has historic Subsidence, you will need to provide evidence of any past insurance claims and the specifications of renovations that have been used to improve the security of the structure, as well as present a Certificate of Structural Adequacy.

What Is Underpinning A House?

Underpinning a house is a structural improvement technique used to strengthen and stabilise the foundation of a building. 


The process involves strengthening the existing foundation or constructing a new foundation beneath the existing one to provide additional support, enhance its load-bearing capacity and prevent further movement. 


Underpinning a house is usually the go-to method when structural engineers look to improve a home with Subsidence. 


Underpinning a house could cost anywhere from £8,000 to £30,000 or more for an average-sized home.

What Is The Process Of Underpinning A House?

A structural engineer or a specialist contractor will assess the existing foundation, soil conditions and any signs of foundation issues. 


They will conduct a detailed engineering analysis to determine the most suitable underpinning method and create a plan for the project. 


The area around the foundation is carefully excavated, usually in small sections, to provide access to the existing foundation. The depth of the excavation will depend on the specific underpinning method chosen and the desired stability.


Temporary supports, such as props or jacks, are installed to ensure the stability of the structure during the underpinning process. These supports bear the weight of the building while the foundation is being strengthened.


The Engineer will then implement the chosen underpinning technique, which could involve pouring mass concrete, constructing reinforced concrete beams, installing mini-piles or injecting grout. 


After the underpinning construction, the new foundation elements or materials need time to cure and settle. This period allows the foundation to gain strength and stability.


Once the underpinning has settled and achieved the desired strength, the excavated areas are backfilled with suitable materials. 


The soil is compacted in layers to ensure proper support and prevent future settlement. Any disrupted structures or finishes, such as flooring or walls, are reinstated. 


After the underpinning process is completed, ongoing monitoring must be conducted to ensure the foundation’s stability and the underpinning’s effectiveness, which may involve periodic inspections and measurements to track any changes.

How Much Does Subsidence Devalue A Property?

Selling a house with a history of Subsidence can affect its property value as Subsidence is categorised as a structural issue and can raise serious concerns for potential buyers about the stability and condition of the property.

How Much Does Subsidence Devalue A Property?

If you go to sell your property on the open market, Subsidence means you take a hit of around 20% of your property’s value, as the future owner will spend around that trying to sort out the Subsidence. 


If your property were valued at £290,000, you would expect to receive offers of around £232,000. But this will vary depending on the severity of the Subsidence.

Does Subsidence Affect House Prices?

Yes, Subsidence will affect the house price when selling. If your property has ongoing Subsidence, you can expect to receive a 20-25% below-market-value offer, while historical Subsidence with no signs of resurgence may not affect the house price.

Does Underpinning Devalue Property?

Underpinning a house does not necessarily devalue a property; as it is often used to stabilise a property’s foundation and address subsidence issues, it may positively impact a property’s value by restoring its structural integrity.


However, it’s essential to consider that the perception of underpinning and the associated history of Subsidence can affect the perceived value of a property. 


Some potential buyers may view a property that has undergone underpinning as a potential risk or a cause for concern, impacting their willingness to pay the total market value. 


Four factors may impact how much you get for selling a house with Subsidence:

The quality of underpinning work is vital and must be completed by qualified professionals using appropriate techniques and materials that successfully resolve the subsidence issue. 


This can reassure potential buyers and help maintain or enhance the property’s value.

Proper documentation and guarantees for the underpinning work can help instil confidence in potential buyers. This includes providing information about the scope of work, warranties and insurance coverage.

The impact on property value can also be attributed to the local housing market conditions and buyer sentiment. 


The impact may be minor in areas like London or the South East, where subsidence issues are common, or buyers are more familiar with underpinning. 


However, the impact on property value may be more significant in markets where Subsidence is less prevalent, like Yorkshire.

It’s worth noting that underpinning a property may impact insurance coverage or premiums. Some insurance providers may require additional information, inspections, or specific policies for properties that have undergone underpinning.

How Much Does Underpinning A House Cost?

The cost of underpinning a house will vary depending on the scope of work needed and the underpinning required. 


When you look for quotes, the scope of work, duration, property access and whether the Subsidence has caused aesthetic or structural issues will be considered.


The surveyor can suggest the best type of underpinning for your property. 


Piling is the most expensive type of underpinning, which is only used for deep foundations. But, mass concrete fill and beam, and Base are the most common ways to underpin a building. 


In terms of costs, the underpinning methods are:


  • Mass Concrete – £1,500 per m2
  • Beam And Base – £2,000 per m2
  • Piling – £2,600 per m2


But, you will also need to consider the costs for labour and services:


  • Structural Engineer – £70 per hour
  • Party Wall Engineer – £700 per neighbour
  • Building Control Application Fee – £200
  • Planning Permission – £33

What Impact Does Underpinning Have On A Mortgage?

If a property is underpinned, lenders will agree to a mortgage, but if the property is undergoing Subsidence, it may be challenging to get a mortgage.


Subsidence is seen as a high-risk structural issue, so it’s vital that you carry out any fixes as soon as possible. 

You may also get a mortgage on an underpinned house if you can secure home insurance. 


This is due to mortgages being dependent on the property being able to be insured.

Does House Insurance cover Subsidence?

Subsidence is covered by most house insurance, but only if the property has never had issues with Subsidence before. 


You may need to find a specialist insurance package if:


  • You wish to carry out any underpinning method.
  • The property is at risk of riverbank or coastal erosion. 
  • There is any damage to the land the property sits on. 


The insurance should cover all damage, the cost of reparations and any alternative accommodation. 

Selling A House With Subsidence: The Process

Selling a house with Subsidence is similar to selling conventionally. However, you will need to ensure that you have the correct documentation and are as transparent as possible throughout the process.


Before you put your house on the market, you should have a building surveyor or structural Engineer assess the property to evaluate the subsidence issue and determine its cause and severity. 


The assessment will provide valuable information you must share with potential buyers and estate agents.


We recommend that you carry out any repairs or underpinning suggested before listing the property for sale as this will increase your chances of getting full market value & instil confidence in any potential buyers.


Transparency is vital when selling a house with Subsidence. You must disclose the subsidence history to potential buyers upfront. 


Providing accurate information about the subsidence issue, including the results from the survey, will help build trust and manage expectations. 


If you lie to the potential buyer and they request their survey, they may either pull out or give you a much lower off on the property.


When setting a realistic price for your property, you will need to consider the subsidence history and how well the underpinning has resolved the situation.

Selling A House With Subsidence: How Easy Is It?

Selling a house with Subsidence or underpinning can be a hassle, especially if it’s your first time selling up. But it doesn’t have to be!


Here at The Property Selling Company, we pride ourselves in creating an utterly hassle-free selling process, where we believe that selling a property should be three things; fast, effortless and free.


We can help sell your property in as little as 28 days while handling all aspects of the sale, including negotiating, surveys, and even covering all your legal fees. 


We offer you a complete online estate agency service because it’s our mission to change how you sell your house. We understand that underpinning can be a substantial upfront cost, so we won’t charge you any estate agent fees. 


We will work alongside you every step of the house sale, and our team of property experts will continue to be there even after the process is complete.


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What Is A Red Book Valuation?

What Is A Red Book Valuation?

Join us as we break down what a red book valuation is and why you would use one.

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

When it comes to assessing the value of your home, accuracy, transparency, and credibility are paramount. In the United Kingdom, one term that consistently emerges as the gold standard is the Red Book Valuation.


The comprehensive set of guidelines ensures that valuations are carried out consistently, transparently, and in compliance with professional standards. It is widely recognised and trusted by mortgage lenders, investors and professionals throughout the property industry.


In this article, we will delve into all things Red Book Valuation, exploring its purpose, the valuation process, and why it holds significant relevance in property transactions.

What Is A Red Book Valuation?

A Red Book Valuation in the UK is a property valuation conducted in accordance with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Valuation – Global Standards. These standards are commonly known as the Red Book due to the colour of their cover.


The RICS Red Book is a set of guidelines that outline the best practices for property valuations and provides consistent, transparent frameworks for valuers to follow when assessing a property. 


Red Book valuations will be carried out by a qualified chartered surveyor who has received training and is a member of RICS. This type of valuation is often required for various purposes, including property transactions, mortgages, financial reporting, taxation, and legal proceedings. 


As a homeowner selling your home, you may not directly need to commission a Red Book valuation yourself. 


But it may still be beneficial for you to be aware of Red Book valuations and how they work because they can help you set a realistic and competitive asking price for your property and have a stronger negotiating power later in the house selling process.


Most estate agents will handle the Red Book Valuation for you if it is necessary for your property, but not all will pay for it.

What Is The RICS Red Book Valuation Criteria?

The RICS Red Book valuation criteria covers everything from duty of care, to ethics, to the minimum content of a valuation report, to the valuer’s qualifications. 

The criteria also structures which of the five valuation methods the surveyor should adhere to, which will vary depending on the type of property. 

When Would You Need A Red Book Valuation?

Red Book valuations are needed any time you require a formal valuation for legal proceedings or tax purposes, which must be done by a RICS Registered Valuer.


 Some circumstances in which you will need a Red Book valuation include:


  • Tax planning purposes.
  • Calculating Capital Gains Tax or Inheritance tax.
  • Transferring assets into a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) Fund.
  • Any property being sold by a charity or that is probate.
  • Court proceedings, like during a divorce case.
  • Landlord rent reviews. 
  • Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs).
  • Shared ownership and social housing (Registered Prover) purchases. 
  • Disputed under resolution via mediation or arbitration.


Red Book valuations are only valid for three months, and must be renewed for a further three once lapsed if data is still recovered. 

How Much Does A Red Book Valuation Cost?

Red Book valuations in the UK can cost as little as £150, but as they are based on the property’s location, value and size, this can vary significantly.


At most, you could be looking at £1200, or more.

What Is The Red Book Valuation Process?

By following the Red Book valuation standards, a RICS certified surveyor will:

Confirm the terms of engagement using an official letter and check for any conflict of interest regarding the valuation, as well as the sale or purchase of the property in question.

Next, they will check title and lease deeds and then inspect the property’s condition, confirming the size and property valuation.

They will inspect three comparable properties from the same area, which have been sold in the 6 months preceding the valuation.

Undertake a check on current and historic planning consents & permissions for the property as well as checking the rights of way, restrictive covenants, flood risks, chancel repair liability, land contamination and other mortgageability factors. 

Check the efficiency of utility services.

And, finally, calculate a suitable valuation and present these findings in an official report.

How Do You Arrange A Red Book Valuation?

To arrange a Red Book valuation, you should determine the purpose for which you require the valuation; whether it’s for a property transaction, mortgage financing, taxation or legal proceedings. 


Next, you should look for a qualified and experienced chartered surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). 


You can search for RICS surveyors on the RICS website, but you should ensure that the surveyor has experience with Red Book valuations. 


When instructing a surveyor, you should first request a quote from them which will vary in cost depending on the scope of your house. 


Once you agree on the terms, including the fee, timeframe and scale of the survey then you can schedule an appointment for the surveyor to inspect the property. 


On the agreed-upon date, the surveyor will visit the property and conduct a thorough inspection. You will need to make sure that the entire property is easily accessible, and remove any obstructions to doorways. 


After the property inspection, the surveyor will undertake the necessary research, analysis and valuation calculations to prepare the Red Book valuation report. Once it is ready, they will send you the report, and your estimated market value. 

What’s The Difference Between Red Book & Market Valuations?

Red Book valuations ensure that the valuation process is conducted in a professional and consistent manner, with transparency and compliance with recognised industry standards. 


Market valuations on the other hand, refer to the broader practice of determining the market value of a property which can be conducted using various methods and different professionals including those who may not follow the specific guidelines of the Red Book.

Red Book Valuations

Red Book valuations refers specifically to any property valuation conducted in compliance with the RICS valuation – Global Standards (Red Book) which provides a set of guidelines and practices for valuers, ensuring consistency, transparency and professionalism.


The Red Book valuation is therefore far more accurate and unbiased than the Market Valuation. But, Red Book valuations do not factor in market conditions like supply and demand into the valuation. 


During a Red Book Valuation, the RICS surveyor must produce defined and justified valuation results.

Market Valuations

A Market Valuation on the other hand is a broader term that encompasses any valuation of a property’s market value, which could be done by an estate agent, chartered surveyors and independent property valuers.  


Market valuations refer to the process of determining the estimated worth of a property in the open market, considering factors such as supply and demand dynamics, recent comparable sales, location, condition and other relevant market factors.

When Do You Not Need A Red Book Valuation?

Although Red Book Valuations are preferred for their adherence to professional standards and recognition within the industry, there are a few situations where strict compliance with Red Book valuations is not necessary, such as:


  • Personal financial planning.
  • Simply curious. 
  • You only need a rough estimate of your property.
  • Non-market value assessments like property insurance surveys or assessments for specialised assets (solar panels).
  • Unregulated property transactions, like transfers between family or to a charity. 


However, it’s important to note that even if you don’t require a Red Book Valuation, you should still seek financial advice. 


You also don’t legally need to have a formal valuation in order to buy or sell a property, instead you could do an estate agent’s value appraisal. 


If you are looking to know your home’s valuation due to wanting to sell your home, then please fill out our sign up form and one of our property consultants will get in touch with you and provide you with any advice you require.


At The Property Selling Company, we can help you sell your house in as little as twenty eight says. We will take the hassle out of the house selling process for you, arrange all surveys, negotiate with buyers and handle conveyancing — while covering all costs usually associated with selling your house. 


That includes your RICS Red Book Valuation, if needed. Want to get started today? Click get offer below.

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Do You Need A Solicitor To Sell Your House?

Do You Need A Solicitor To Sell Your House?

Looking at whether you need a solicitor to sell your house, and the difference between solicitors and conveyancers.

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

Do You Need A Solicitor To Sell Your House?

Hiring a solicitor to sell your home is not legally required, but it is highly recommended. 


Selling a house can be complex, and many legal and financial considerations must be considered. A solicitor can help you navigate the process and ensure everything is done legally and correctly.


When you sell your property, a solicitor will offer you a conveyancing service where they will check the legal title of the property, ensuring you have the legal right to sell the property and make sure there are no restrictions or issues with the title.


The solicitor will guide you through the process from the moment you have accepted an offer to the exchange of contracts to completion. 


You will need a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, whether you are selling a property via auction, an estate agent, cash buyer or privately.

What Does A Solicitor Do?

A solicitor, property lawyer or licensed conveyancer is a legal professional who provides legal advice and representation to clients. 


Their day-to-day role is advising clients on legal matters, representing clients in legal proceedings, drafting legal documents to ensure they are legally sound, conducting legal research, and managing cases. 


A solicitor’s primary goal is to help their clients navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome in their case. Most solicitors will have a speciality in a particular area of law, for example, property or medicine.

What Does A Conveyancer Do?

A property or conveyancing solicitor will provide legal advice and assistance to clients involved in property transactions. Their role is to ensure that the sale or purchase of a property is legal and to protect their client’s interests. 


A conveyancing solicitor will advise clients on the legal aspects of buying or selling a property, including contracts, searches and surveys. They will draft legal documents, such as sale contracts, leases and transfer deeds.


A property solicitor conducts various searches, such as local authority and land registry searches, to ensure that the property is legal and that no issues could affect the transaction.


If needed, a property solicitor will negotiate with the other party’s solicitor on behalf of their client to ensure that the terms of the sale or purchase are fair and reasonable. 


To ensure the process runs smoothly, the property solicitor will liaise with mortgage lenders to provide the necessary funds for completion. They will also manage the transaction from start to finish and resolve any legal issues if they do appear. 

Should You Hire A Solicitor Or A Licensed Conveyancer To Sell Your House?

All solicitors can legally perform the conveyancing process, but again we recommend that you find a property specialist as they will provide a more streamlined service. 


When it comes to selling a house, you can hire a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer, who are qualified and regulated professionals who can help you sell your property. 


However, there are some differences between the two that you should consider before making a decision. 


Solicitors are qualified lawyers who have completed a law degree and professional training; they will have a broader legal knowledge and can provide legal advice on a wide range of matters beyond conveyancing – they can even represent you in court if necessary.


Solicitors can help you in complex house-selling situations like divorce or probate as they have a more general understanding of the law. 


On the other hand, licensed conveyancers specialise in property law and are trained to handle all aspects of property transactions, including buying and selling properties, remortgaging and transfer of equity. The Council for Licensed Conveyancers regulates them. 

When deciding whether to hire a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to sell your property, you should consider your individual needs and the complexity of your transaction. 


A licensed conveyancer may be suitable if your transaction is straightforward and you do not require advice beyond conveyancing.


However, a solicitor may be better if you need broader legal advice or representation.

How Do You Find A Solicitor Or Conveyancer?

There are several ways to find the right solicitor or conveyancer for you. The legal professionals will handle your property transactions, including asking for recommendations, using online directories, checking reviews, checking accreditation and getting quotes — so it’s vital that you find the right one for your situation.


Ask family members, friends, or colleagues who have recently bought or sold properties for recommendations when looking for a legal advisor. 


Many online directories exist for solicitors and conveyancers, such as The Law Society’s Find A Solicitor or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers’ Find a Conveyancer. 


By reading online reviews and testimonials from previous clients, you can get an idea of the solicitor’s experience and how their customer service is. 


It would help if you always looked for any mention of contact time, as you will need to stay in touch with your solicitor as much as possible to keep the process moving forward. 


Most solicitors will be part of an agency and have a conveyancing team behind them, although you may also be able to find independent solicitors.

What Are The Average Conveyancing Fees For Selling A House?

When you sell your property, the conveyancing fees will vary depending on if your property is:


  • Leasehold or freehold.
  • Where the conveyancer is based.
  • If you are using a licensed conveyancer or solicitor.
  • The price of your property.
  • The length of your property chain.
  • If you are in a shared ownership property. 


However, saying this, the average cost of a conveyancer in the UK is £610-£950, depending on the value of your property. You can expect to pay around £300 more if the property is leasehold. 


We recommend doing your research, getting conveyancing quotes from many different solicitors, and weighing these up against their online reviews before deciding.

What Is The Conveyancing Process?

The conveyancing process is the legal work behind a house purchase or sale; it will typically involve:

The conveyancing process will begin when you instruct a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to act on your behalf. We recommend finding a solicitor with prior property knowledge and excellent reviews.

Your solicitor or conveyancer will draft a contract of sale and send it to the buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer for approval.

They will then conduct various searches and enquiries to ensure the property is legal and suitable for purchase. This will include the following:


  • Searches with local authorities.
  • Checking Title Deeds.
  • Raising any necessary enquiries with the buyer’s solicitor.

If you require a mortgage to purchase your onward purchase, the solicitor will liaise with your mortgage provider to ensure the funds are available for completion.

Once all the necessary checks and searches have been completed and any issues resolved, you and the buyer will exchange contracts. This is a legally binding agreement to sell and purchase a property.

On the agreed completion date, the purchase price balance will be paid, and ownership of the property will transfer to the buyer.

Your solicitor will register the property in your name and pay any necessary stamp duty; they will also send you a final report and account.

What If Your House Sale Falls Through?

If a house sale falls through, the solicitor’s role will depend on the circumstances and terms of their agreement with you. In most cases, the conveyancing fees must still be paid, even if the sale does not progress.


However, some solicitors may offer a “no sale, no fee” arrangement, where they will only charge fees if the sale is completed. 


It’s essential to check the terms of the agreement before you instruct the solicitor before hiring them to ensure that you understand what fees will be payable in the event of a failed sale.


If the sale falls through due to issues with the legal process, such as problems with the title or searches, the solicitor may need to continue working to resolve these issues even if the sale does not proceed — in this case, you will still need to pay the solicitor fees.


Suppose the sale falls through due to issues outside the solicitor’s control, such as the buyer pulling out or the property being withdrawn from the market. In that case, the solicitor’s role will be limited to advising on legal implications and finalising outstanding matters, such as returning deposited funds. 


In any case, it’s essential to maintain good communication with the solicitor throughout the process and to seek their advice and guidance if any issues arise.

Can I DIY The Conveyancing Process?

While it is legally possible to handle the conveyancing process yourself, it is generally not recommended.


The conveyancing process involves many legal and financial considerations, which can be complex and time-consuming.


You must have a solid understanding of property law and be familiar with the conveyancing process to complete the process correctly and efficiently. 


Instructing a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out the legal legwork is generally recommended. Hiring a qualified and experienced solicitor or licensed conveyancer to handle the process on your behalf is worth the investment. 


There are many potential risks associated with DIY conveyancing, including:


Making Errors Or Omissions

With a proper understanding of conveyancing’s legal and financial aspects, you may avoid errors or omissions that can have serious consequences.



Handling the conveyancing process yourself can be time-consuming, and if you make any mistakes, it can cause delays that can be costly and frustrating. 


Legal Issues

If legal issues arise during the process, such as buyer or property title problems, you may need more legal expertise to resolve them. 



You may be liable for any resulting losses or damages if you make any mistakes or omissions during the process.

Can A Solicitor Help When Selling A Leasehold Property?

It doesn’t matter if you are selling a leasehold or freehold property; you should seek the guidance of a solicitor. 


However, as leasehold properties tend to be more complex, we recommend hiring a specialist leasehold solicitor trained to deal with tenanted properties. 


A leasehold solicitor or conveyancer will be able to help you review the lease and advise you with any restrictions or obligations that may affect the sale, such as requirements to obtain consent from the landlord or comply with certain conditions. 


Like the standard conveyancing process, the solicitor must also conduct searches to ensure that no outstanding charges or arrears are owed to the landlord, third party or management company that could affect the sale.


The property solicitor will then advise on any service charges or ground rent payable and ensure that these are properties apportioned between the buyer and seller. They will then draft any legal documents, such as the contract of sale and transfer deeds. 


Once completion day comes around, the leasehold solicitor will then handle the completion of the sale, ensuring that all necessary documentation is signed and exchanged and that the sale proceeds are property distributed.

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Property Buying & Selling Guide: What’s The Difference Between Exchange And Completion?

What's The Difference Between Exchange And Completion?

Property Buying & Selling Guide To Conveyancing

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

What's The Difference Between Exchange And Completion?

It doesn’t matter if you are buying or selling a property through DIY conveyancing or the usual route, using an estate agent or a cash buyer; you will come across the exchange and completion process. 


Exchange is when it becomes legally binding, but you may ask yourself which came first, the chicken or the egg. 

Well, the exchange came first. 


The exchange of contracts shows a seller that the buyer is committed as they pay a deposit and begin to get down the gritty world of solicitors. 


Find out below as we delve into all things exchange and completion and what it means for buyers and sellers.

What Is An Exchange Of Contracts?

The exchange of contracts is legally binding between buying and selling parties under English law. This process is usually carried out by solicitors and conveyancers trained in property transactions.


The exchange of contracts can only occur after a particular set of criteria has been met, including carrying out necessary searches and agreement to contract terms. 


The process is carried out by solicitors and conveyancers who will read out contracts over the phone in a recorded conversation to ensure the arrangements are the same. 


The contracts will then be posted to the other solicitors, and once the warranty has been exchanged, the homeowner and potential buyer are now legally bound to carry out the transaction.

Why Is It Necessary To Exchange Contracts?

It is necessary to exchange contracts to ensure the process becomes legally binding.


If the buyer does not complete it within two weeks, the seller can rescind their contract, and the buyer will forfeit their deposit. 


The seller will then be able to resell their property to another buyer and could even pursue you for losses incurred if they do not reach the same sale price.

When Do You Need To Exchange Contracts?

As the buyer, you can exchange the contracts if you are committed to purchasing the property after you have made your offer and all necessary documents have been obtained.


You should only exchange contracts once:


  • The offer has been agreed upon.
  • Relevant Law Society forms (TA6 & TA10) have been inspected.
  • Surveys have been carried out.
  • Your mortgage lender has carried out a house valuation.
  • Your solicitor has carried out searches.
  • The EPC has been checked.
  • You have enough funding in place for the house deposit.
  • You have a completion date in mind, and it has been agreed upon.
  • You have put building insurance in place.
  • You have read through the contract, asked any relevant questions, and signed it once it is complete.

When Do You Need To Exchange Contracts?

You will not need to exchange contracts; your solicitor will do this. Usually, this is done over a phone call, ensuring the arrangements are identical, and then the contracts will be posted. However, it may be done in person, although this is rare.

What Is Completion On A House?

The completion process occurs on a date predetermined during the exchange of contracts. It is the last step in the property transfer process, and it is the day on which the ownership is legally transferred from seller to buyer.


The buyer will get the keys to the property, and the seller must move out of the property. It is also the day the money is transferred from the buyer to the seller.

What Should You Do Before You Exchange Contracts?

Although similar, the process will differ slightly depending on if you are a buyer or seller. Property ownership can only be transferred once contracts are exchanged, so checking that any paperwork has been completed is vital.

Buyer - Before Exchange Of Contracts

Because the exchange of contracts is a legally binding process, you should ensure that everything is in order before signing anything:

Your solicitor or conveyancer should do all parts of the conveyancing process, but you should always communicate consistently with them to ensure a smooth transaction.


You must ensure that your solicitor has completed any searches, which are the enquiries with local authorities for more information on the property.


You will need to agree with your solicitor on a completion date that suits you before you exchange the contracts, as the solicitor will agree with the seller’s solicitor on a completion date that will be set in stone. 


We also recommend that you read over the contract with your solicitor present and ask any questions about it if you are unsure, as this will ensure you know the process better, and you won’t be able to read it once the exchange has been completed. 


This also applies to ensuring you know what’s included in the property offers, for example, any fixtures, fittings and if you need to pay for a holding or contract deposit in case the seller requires one — which means having the funds available (£500 to £1000). 


If the seller attempts to renegotiate the purchase price, you should seek advice from your solicitor, who will help you negotiate them back up.

You will need to ensure that you have your mortgage in principle, which is a written estimate from a mortgage lender that indicates how much money you can borrow.


As well as ensuring that you have the correct funds for your mortgage deposit.

You must ensure you are covered if the seller pulls out before the exchange, as you will have no legal right to recover any costs from them. 


Getting indemnity insurance coverage will ensure you can recover any wasted costs, but your solicitor will be able to provide you with more insurance. 


You will also need to organise building insurance and ensure it is valid from the exchange date.

Seller - Before Exchange Of Contracts

As the exchange of contracts is a legally binding contract, you will need to ensure that all of your information is in order before you sign the contract:

You should ensure that your solicitor has your signed contract and signed transfer of title document and that the deposit has at least been lodged with the buyer’s solicitor and is ready for transfer.


Your conveyancer should also have an estimate of any mortgage redemption costs, especially if there are any early redemption charges you may have to pay. 


You will also need to ensure you have responded to all enquiries and provided all necessary documentation:


  • Warranties.
  • Guarantees. 
  • Certification of Works.
  • Signed Contract.
  • Signed Transfer of Title Document. 


You will also need to confirm a completion date with your solicitor.

What Happens After The Contacts Are Exchanged?

Once the contracts have been signed and exchanged, the buyer is legally bound to purchase the property. The solicitors will need to ensure that the transfer of ownership has been registered with the land registry. 


If the property is tenanted, the buyer must tell the freeholder that they are the new owner. 


Usually, the period between contracts exchanged and completion will be when the buyer confirms removals, packs their belongings, plans the move, and contacts utilities and services to inform them of the property transfer or end of service. 


The buyer’s solicitor will ensure that the mortgage lender is on track to transfer the funds on completion and draw up a completion statement.

The property seller will also need to confirm removals and pack, notify utility companies and ensure everything agreed to include in the purchase is left in place, set up mail redirection and leave a set of keys with the estate agent.


The seller’s solicitor will confirm the redemption amount with the mortgage lender and draw a completion statement.

Is It Possible To Exchange And Complete It On The Same Day?

It is possible to exchange and complete on the same day, although this differs from the path many homeowners choose. 


The time difference between the two allows for necessary arrangements like property removals and ordering mortgage advances.

How Long is Between Exchange And The Completion Date?

The time between exchange and completion will vary depending on the speed of sale needed but generally will take 7 to 28 days, although it typically takes around five working days. 


The exchange and completion period can be affected by various factors, including the length of a property chain or if the property is being bought for cash. Most cash buyers will speed up the process, making the completion day closer to the exchange. 


It will also depend on the speed of your solicitors and their service.


If the buyer buys a new build property, there may be a much longer delay as the property may have yet to be built at the point you exchange. 

If the seller has yet to secure an onward purchase, they can agree with a buyer to set a delayed completion date to allow them to find accommodation. 


However, if the property buyer has a mortgage offer, they should be wary of the offer expiring as they are only valid for three to six months.

Can You Get Solicitor Service For Free?

Yes you can! Here at The Property Selling Company we believe that house sales should be fast, effortless and free. Which means that we will cover all the fees associated with selling a house for you, even including any conveyancing fees!


We will work with you every step of the way to ensure that everything is looked after, so you don’t have to worry about it. The days of expensive solicitor fees are over, our team of property experts are only a phone call away.


We will market your property on popular portal portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove, organise viewings and negotiate better deals…for free! 


Want to get started? Click the button below for more information and no-obligation cash offer for your property.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Memorandum Of Sale 2024

Memorandum of Sale

Everything You Need To Know About The Memorandum Of Sale

This article will cover everything you need to know about the Memorandum of Sale when selling a property.

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

Everything You Need To Know About The Memorandum Of Sale

If you want to sell your house, knowing the process can be helpful when you need to sell your house quickly. A Memo of Sale is an important document that saves time between solicitors, estate agents, auction houses, or a cash property buying company. 



A Memorandum of Sale or memo of sale is not legally binding, but it is vital in the house sale process because it can speed up the estate agent-to-solicitor communication period.

What is a Memorandum of Sale?

A Memorandum of Sale is a document that confirms the essential legal details of a property transaction during the selling a house process. An estate agent draws it up after a property goes from Under Offer to Sold STC. The Memo of Sale contains as much relevant information as possible:



  • The address of the property.
  • The agreed sale price.
  • The names and contact details of the buyer and seller.
  • Contact details of the solicitors representing the buyer and seller.
  • The HMRC Registry number.
  • Expected dates for completion and exchange.
  • Whether it is freehold or leasehold.
  • Any special conditions agreed upon as part of the same.

Here is an example of the Memorandum of Sale; the structure could be replicated as a template if you wish to sell privately:

Memorandum of Sale The Property Selling Company

Who issues the Memorandum of Sale?

The estate agent will issue the Memorandum of Sale, which is usually completed within just a few days but occasionally can take longer if parts still need to be included. We advise that the buying and selling parties have all the documentation prepared beforehand.



It is doubtful that you will be able to see a copy of the Memo of Sale as it contains compassionate information about both parties, which are GDPR protected. The solicitors will sign the Memorandum of Sale.

When is a Memorandum of Sale issued?

The Memorandum of Sale will be created as soon as the estate agent makes and accepts the offer, which will then be circulated by email or post. The document is not legally binding, and changes can still be amended.



The timescale for the Memo of Sale is not set in stone but is once an offer has been accepted. Usually it can take 24 hours to over a week for the Memo to be completed. It will all depend on how quickly the solicitors can obtain the information.

How long does it take from a Memorandum of Sale being created to completion?

The average house sale through an estate agent takes 2-3 months; however, sales will depend on both the seller and buyer. The Property Selling Company has a network of solicitors that streamlines the process, creating a hassle-free process for you.

The types of Memorandum of Sale?

Depending on the efficiency of the sale process, the type of Memorandum of Sale may change. 


If you are selling through a traditional estate agent or privately, the Memorandum of Sale may take slightly longer to complete than a modern estate agency like The Property Selling Company, where the Memorandum of Sale is relatively fast.


This is because the sale process may involve negotiations and communication between the buyer and seller and their respective solicitors instead of us dealing with the solicitors on your behalf.

What Happens With Memos At Auction House Sales?

The Memorandum of Sale process also differs when selling a property at auction. Once the gravel falls, the contracts are effectively exchanged. 


The seller is then legally committed to the sale and will be required to complete the Memorandum of Sale is then expected to be satisfied immediately, as well as paying the deposits and auction house fees; all checks are then assembled, and the documents are sent to solicitors.

Why Is A Memorandum Of Sale Necessary?

Having a Memorandum of Sale is important because the document enables all the critical house-selling information to be located in one place. 


Unfortunately, vast amounts of time are wasted in the back-and-forth communications between estate agents and solicitors, sellers and buyers, so the Memorandum of Sale cancels this.

What Happens After A Memorandum of Sale?

A Memorandum of Sale is a document and the first step of selling a property; once it has been issued, the property listing will be changed to ‘under offer’ or ‘sold subject to the contract (STC)‘. 


Once both solicitors have received the memo, the actual house-selling process can begin. The conveyancing process will then start to transfer the property information being completed. 


Buyer checks, DIP (decision in principle) or AIP (agreement in principle) will also take place, including reviews on ID and proof of funds from the buyer. The evidence of funds will be a mortgage offer within the last two months and require proof of deposit. 


This includes buyers’ checks, conveyancing, searches, surveys, RICS General Condition Reports, RICS Homebuyers Surveys, RICS structural Surveys, Property Enquiries and Exchange of Contracts. 

These can be highly time-consuming, so ensuring you have a company to handle all the stressful parts of the house-selling process is vital. So why not choose us? We will take all the property negotiations and back and forth between solicitors and even pay for it!

Why Is A Memorandum Of Sale Necessary?

The issues after the Memorandum of Sale has been issued are due to the property chain. All parties involved should inform each other of potential complications or delays to minimise the risk of the chain breaking down entirely. 


In a property chain the buyer’s or seller’s transaction is dependent on another property sale. If that house sale falls through, perhaps due to someone changing their mind about the property, the rest of the chain will also fall apart. 


Some reasons why a Memorandum of Sale will fail are because: 


  • The expiration of Mortgage offers.
  • The seller of the property changes their mind.
  • The buyer of the property pulls out. 
  • There are delays in documentation completion.
  • Some issues surfaced by property surveys.
  • There was a slow instruction of solicitors.
  • There needed to be more funding by any involved property.
  • The completion date keeps getting changed.


Clear and open lines of communication between all parties involved can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal and can help to identify and address any issues as they arise. 


Another issue is the time frame, as the longer it takes to complete a sale, the higher the risk that the buyer or seller may try to renegotiate the price or back out completely. Buyers and sellers should have contingency plans if the sale falls through, such as lining up alternative properties or buyers in advance. 


Communication between estate agents and conveyancers at consistent points in the sales process should reduce the total time it takes for the property to complete. Ultimately patience, flexibility and a willingness to work together are essential to successfully navigating the property chain and completing a sale.