UK Property Conveyancing Guide to Moving

Good Afternoon readers today I am going to give you a simple guide to organise a move and a checklist to follow during the progress of the transaction

“l will never do this again!” So many people say this at some stage when they are buying and selling a house in the UK that I have prepared this guide to assist you. I suggest you avoid discussing any completion dates until such time as exchange of contracts is imminent.


1. Contact your property lawyer soon as you are proposing to put your property on the market with an estate agent or when a buyer has been found, or you are optimistic that an offer will shortly be made, so that:-
(a) They can review the proposed agreement with your Estate Agent to ensure that you fully understand its legal implications and to negotiate any changes on your behalf. Please note that not all lawyers will do this within their estimated price
(b)They can organise the home information pack which is now required on all property that is marketed in the UK. This is usually an additional cost over and above the fees for the sale of the property
(c) They can apply for documents from your lender, to ensure that there is no delay in issuing a contract once negotiations have been finalised
(d) They can give you a breakdown of the costs involved including their fees for carrying out the work on your behalf
(e) You can complete a Sale Questionnaire and Fixtures and Fittings List to enable your specialist property lawyer to issue the draft contract promptly

2. A draft contract will be issued to the buyers lawyers, together with all the necessary supporting documents. When the contract has been approved your lawyers will ask you to sign this in readiness for exchange of contracts.

3. When the buyers have received their searches and mortgage offer and their lawyer is satisfied as to the title, your lawyers will negotiate a completion date which will not normally be less than 10 working days from exchange, and the deposit. Contracts can then be exchanged.

4. On the day of completion, you must clear and vacate the property by 12 noon, leaving the keys with the Estate Agents. Your specialist property lawyers will redeem your existing mortgage and discharge the Estate Agents account.


1. When you have agreed to purchase a property, the Estate Agent may require you to pay a deposit. If this happens, an allowance will be made for this at completion. Please let your lawyers know if you have paid such a deposit.

2. When you let your property lawyer know you have found the home of your dreams, they will ask you to complete a Purchase Questionnaire, the answers to which will assist them in their enquiries. They will also ask you for money on account, so that the preliminary searches can be carried out.

3. When your specialist property lawyer receives the draft contract from the sellers lawyer, they will:-

(a) Approve the contract and title. They may feel it necessary to raise additional enquiries of the sellers’ lawyer. When your lawyers are satisfied that all is in order, they will return one copy of the contract to the sellers’ lawyers, for signature in readiness for exchange of contracts
(b) On receipt of your mortgage offer, (if applicable), your lawyers will apply for the required searches , together any other searches that they consider appropriate

4. If you require a mortgage, the offer has to be received from the Lender before exchange of contracts.

5. If you are arranging any new endowment or life policies, acceptance of risk must be received from the insurance company before exchange of contracts. You may also need to have available Buildings Insurance. Youe specialist property lawyer may be able to arrange a quote if required.
6. When your property lawyers have received the various searches and offer of mortgage and have satisfied ourselves as to the title, they will report to you and ask you to sign the contract purchase transfer and mortgage deed. They will also ask you for the deposit to be used on exchange of contracts. If you have a related sale, they will usually be able to arrange that the deposit received from your buyers is used for your purchase and passed up the chain.


1. At this stage, your specialist property lawyer is ready to arrange an exchange of contracts once a completion date has been agreed. It is at this stage, that stress levels rise! However, an expert property lawyer can take the strain. The majority of people buying and selling are involved in A CHAIN! This means that there is a linked series of transactions and EVERYBODY wants to sell and buy on the same day so that they do not have to pay for bridging finance or rented accommodation. Your property lawyer therefore will have to wait until all parties in the chain have:-
(a) A mortgage
(b) The required searches
(c) Title approved
(d) Agreed a completion date (which is not normally less than ten working days from exchange)
(e) Calculated the draft statement of account detailing any sums due.

Your specialist property lawyer will liaise with the Estate Agents, and other lawyers until the exchange has been achieved.

2. When exchange has taken place, the completion date is legally binding and you can now swing into action and organise your move. The following are just a few reminders of the things you must deal with:-

(a) Arrange contents and buildings insurance (your lawyers may be able to provide a quote for this)
(b) Contact Gas, Electricity, Water and Telephone Services, Arrange for meters to be read and accounts to be transferred
(c) Book the removal van.
(d) Cancel Bankers Order for Mortgage payments, after exchange of contracts
(e) Notify Local Authority of move and arrange apportioned account for council tax
(f) Notify: all insurance companies,premium bonds office ,employer, Accountant ,dentist and doctor ,schools ,church ,clubs ,banks ,building societies ,DVLC and Tax Office, relatives and friends
(g) Arrange for friends to look after the children and pets on moving day!
(h) Arrange for mail to be re-directed.
(i) Arrange any for endowment or Life insurance policies to be activated


1. Your specialist property lawyer will let you have a statement showing all the costs and disbursements due and will draw this up as soon as possible so that you can arrange to let them have the balance four days before completion.

2. On completion day, if you have a sale, your property lawyers must wait for the buyers lawyer to send them the sale money by telegraphic transfer before they can send out the money by the same method on your purchase. This means that it is unlikely that you will get the keys to your new house before lunch time on the day of completion. I suggest that you do not leave your old house, before you have checked with your lawyers that it is in order for you to do so. If you just have a purchase, your lawyers can usually send the money quite early on the morning of completion, but you are unlikely to get the keys before midday as you must allow the seller time to vacate the property.


I hope this guide will be of some assistance and remove some of the uncertainty associated with moving house. However, if at any time you do have a problem or are unhappy with your service, then do complain as this is the only way that standards will improve.

If you are happy with the service you received, please tell all your friends and colleagues and write to your lawyer saying so! Everyone likes to be congratulated

In my next post I am proposing to talk about how to choose your estate agent particularly some of the things to watch out for as regards poor practice

thank you for reading


© Kingfishers, Licensed Conveyancers, Maidenhead, Berkshire

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