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Make an offer on a property

In the United Kingdom a buyer must make an offer through the estate agent if a home is sold through one.

A buyer can make their offer directly to the seller for a private sale.
Buyers can make offers verbally (over the phone or in person) or in writing via this website.
An offer is not legally binding in England and Wales until contracts are exchanged.
If a buyer makes an offer ‘subject to contract’, this means the price can still be negotiated (e g if a survey finds a problem with the property).
Transferring ownership (conveyancing)

Once the offer is accepted

The seller is responsible for drawing up a legal contract to transfer ownership.

The contract contains details about:

  • the sale price
  • the property boundaries
  • which fixtures and fittings (like carpets and kitchen units) are included
  • any legal restrictions or rights, like public footpaths or rules about using the property
  • any planning restrictions
  • services to the property, like drainage and gas
  • when the sale will complete

If the seller has hired a solicitor or conveyancer, they will:

  • draft the initial contract
  • answer questions from the buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer (with the seller’s help)
  • negotiate the details of the contract if necessary

Exchanging contracts

When the buyer and seller are happy with the contract, both sides sign final copies and send them to each other.

The agreement to sell and buy is legally binding once this happens. Usually neither party can pull out without paying compensation. We will tell what that amount is closer to the time.

Completion

Once you exchange contracts and deal with any remaining checks the buyer has asked for:

  1. The money is transferred from the buyer to the seller.
  2. The legal documents needed to transfer ownership are handed over to the buyer.
  3. The seller moves out and leaves the property in the state agreed in the contract.
  4. The seller hands over the keys to the buyer.
  5. The property now belongs to the buyer.

Citizens Advice has more advice about buying or selling your home.

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