Selling a home can be stressful. Among the myriad of things you need to deal with, contracts can be one of the most confusing. Thankfully we have solicitors to deal with the legal process, but you may still be left with plenty of questions.
One of those questions may be who signs the contract first? Is the first person who signs putting themselves at a disadvantage? It’s a common question, but in this blog, it’s one that we’ll give you all the answers to.
Why Do I Sign a Contract After Selling a House?
Once you agree to the sale price of your home, then you’ll need to sign the contracts with all the final details. Here, you’ll be placing your trust in your solicitor that everything is watertight and as agreed.
Once you have exchanged the contracts, then the sale becomes legally binding. This doesn’t always mean that it’s irreversible, but there will now be severe financial penalties for breaking the contract. This is almost the point of no return.
If the buyer backs out of buying your property after signing the contract, then they’d lose their deposit. On the other hand, if the seller was to back out, then they’d most likely become liable for all the costs incurred by the buyer.
When selling a property, the only other document you need to sign is the Transfer Deed. The Transfer Deed is a legal document that is used to transfer the ownership of the property from yourself to the new buyer. Your solicitor may ask you to sign this before or after the exchange of the contracts, but it needs to be ready for the day of completion.
What Should You Receive as Proof of Sale of Property?
There is nothing you specifically need as proof of the sale of property, although you can ask your solicitor for the relevant sale documents regarding the transfer of money.
As mentioned above, the sale becomes legally binding once there has been an exchange of contracts. Following this, the buyer’s solicitor will send the money for completion to your solicitor. Once this money has been received, then the sale is complete.
The relevant legal documents will be completed by your solicitor, and you can request them if you wish. The updating of the Land Registry is usually completed by the buyer’s solicitor, but you can obtain your own copy for a small fee.
There is the Property Transfer Deed that you would have had to sign, and you can also request a copy of this. However, you should rest easy. The keys will only be handed to the buyer once the transfer of money has been completed.
When Selling a House Who Signs the Contract First?
It doesn’t matter who signs the contract first when selling a property. The reason is that the contract isn’t legally binding when you’ve signed the contract. It only becomes legally binding once the contracts have been exchanged.
For example, let’s say you have signed the contract already, but the buyer hasn’t. If they try to change the terms or your lawyer is unhappy about a part of the arrangement, then you can still back out from the sale.
Once you have signed the paperwork, your solicitor will go over the final details with the solicitor of the buyer. If they are both happy, then the exchange of contracts will take place.
Things To Consider Before Signing a House Sale Contract
For many people, selling a home is the most important transaction they’ll ever do. It’s sensible to take your time and be patient. Here are some things you need to consider:
Are You Ready? – Is now the right time to complete the sale? Do you have another home to move into, or perhaps you need more time to sort out your affairs? Don’t be afraid to delay the process if you’re feeling rushed.
Check the Details – You’ll be working with a highly qualified solicitor, but it’s always a good idea to check over the contract yourself. A solicitor should be happy to talk through any terms that you don’t understand.
Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to. Selling a home is a huge undertaking, and you need to be comfortable with the process. If you have any doubts, then speak up to give yourself peace of mind.
Be Sure You Want to Sell – Until the contracts have been exchanged, it’s never too late to back out. If you don’t feel comfortable signing the contract, then don’t. Yes, it may be inconvenient to others, but you need to put yourself first.
It can feel awkward to delay the process, request documents, or ask a lot of questions, but you shouldn’t be shy about it. Selling a home is a huge milestone in your life, and sometimes you need a little reassurance along the way.
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