Common Mistakes People Make When Moving Home - Part 1

Common Mistakes People Make When Moving Home (And how to avoid them)

For most people, buying or the selling a home can be one of the most stressful times of their life. Our residential property team understands this. We also understand the importance of communicating with everyone involved in the process, the importance of acting quickly so that there are no delays and, most importantly, in providing a value for money service.

Usually, a house sale or purchase involves a chain of transactions which extends beyond your immediate control. Timing, negotiation (and often a sense of humour!) all play a vital part in achieving a successful outcome for you.

To help you through this stressful time, we've compiled a list of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them. We'll be releasing a new part each week so keep checking our site for updates.


Part One - Preliminary Matters

1. Not instructing a solicitor early enough

When selling a property, most people often only decide to instruct a solicitor once they have found a buyer and agreed a price. However, instructing a solicitor from the very beginning before a price is agreed means that the solicitor is able to obtain full instructions on the proposed transaction. This will ensure that all the contract papers are ready to be forwarded to the buyer’s solicitors as soon as a buyer is found. This will help to avoid any delays.

2. Not taking time to choose the right solicitor

A sensible way of choosing a solicitor is by personal recommendation. For example a friend, family member or work colleague may be able to recommend a particular firm they have recently used. Alternatively, we would recommend appointing a local solicitor. Whilst it is possible to appoint a solicitor in any part of the country, the local solicitor will have valuable local knowledge and will be readily accessible for face to face meetings.

3. Not checking the chain of transactions at the outset

It is important that you check that the chain of transactions is complete below and above you and that everyone is in a position to proceed. Normally your Estate Agent should verify these details for you.

4. Not taking time to understand the legal terminology - For example, ‘exchange’ and ‘completion’.

Exchange and completion are the key dates in any transaction. Exchange is the date when contracts for either the sale or purchase are exchanged between the respective parties. At this point a binding contract comes into existence meaning neither party may withdraw without incurring liability for the breach. On exchange both parties will agree a completion date which is normally 2 weeks after exchange. This is the date when you will move house.

5. Not knowing when and if you can withdraw

Always remember that you can withdraw from a transaction at any time before contracts are exchanged and that there is normally NO obligation to pay any fees of the other side whatsoever.


Contact the Sedgwick Legal office for further information about our services and our costs without obligation.