Real Estate UK

What is a memorandum of sale?

memorandum of sale

A memorandum of sale, also referred to as an agreement or understanding document, records the key terms and conditions agreed upon between buyers and sellers of real estate transactions. It acts as a preliminary agreement or confirmation prior to formal contracts such as purchase agreements being prepared and signed.

Selling property

A Memorandum of Sale typically provides information such as

1. Parties Involved: Provide names and contact details of all involved parties such as buyers and sellers as well as real estate agents or solicitors involved with the transaction.

2. Property Details: An accurate account of the property to be sold, including its address, legal description and any details that help uniquely identify it.

3. Purchase Price: This refers to the agreed-upon purchase price for the property, which may either be an exact figure or range depending on where negotiations have reached in terms of negotiation.

4. Deposit: When purchasing real estate, buyers often make an earnest money deposit as evidence of their intent to proceed with the purchase agreement. A memorandum will typically detail payment timelines and what happens in case of breaches or cancellations.

5. Conditions and Terms: Any specific conditions and terms agreed to between both parties that need to be satisfied before the sale can proceed, such as satisfying property inspection standards, mortgage approval approval or fulfilling other prerequisite requirements before closing can take place.

6. Target Completion Date: This date indicates when all parties involved intend to complete the transaction – typically, this includes transfer of ownership and payment of the balance purchase price.

A memorandum of sale does not constitute a legally bind contract in its own right; rather, it serves as evidence that both parties intend to proceed with the transaction under agreed-upon terms. Furthermore, it acts as an outline of all key points and provides an excellent starting point when creating formal contracts later on.

Once both parties sign the memorandum of sale, it is typically forwarded to their legal representatives so they may complete all the required legal documentation and paperwork in order to complete the sale.

Note that the specific content and format of a memorandum of sale can differ based on local practices, regulations, and the preferences of all involved. It is wise to seek legal or real estate agent advice familiar with local processes in order to ensure compliance and accuracy in documenting property transactions.

When is a memorandum of sale issued?

Once buyers and sellers have agreed on key terms of a property transaction, a memorandum of sale should be created as an informal agreement or confirmation before formalizing it into a formal contract.

Timing can vary depending on individual circumstances and practices involved; typically though, a memorandum of sale will be issued when both buyer and seller have reached an agreement on essential aspects of their transaction, including price, deposit amount, conditions, and completion date.

Memoranda of Sale are typically issued in one of three scenarios:

1. Offer Acceptance: Once a seller accepts an offer to purchase property from a buyer, a memorandum of sale should be issued to formalize this acceptance and confirm their intention to proceed with their purchase.

2. Subject Removal: In some instances, the memorandum of sale will only be issued once all specified conditions or contingencies have been fulfilled in an offer document. For instance, if it was subject to satisfactory property inspection or mortgage approval criteria in its offer letter, then its memorandum will only be released once such criteria have been fulfilled or waived off by either side.

3. Early Stage Agreement: Under certain conditions, a memorandum of sale may be issued early in the negotiation process when buyer and seller reach an initial understanding on key terms before finalizing all details. This document serves as a baseline document that serves as the foundation for further discussions and formal contract creation.

Note that issuing a memorandum of sale does not bind parties legally, it simply serves as a written record of their intent to proceed with the transaction on agreed-upon terms. A formal contract, such as a purchase agreement or sales contract is typically created and signed separately incorporating terms outlined in a memorandum of sale.

Practices and procedures surrounding the creation of a memorandum of sale vary based on local customs, regulations, and the preferences of all involved. Therefore it’s wise to consult legal professionals or real estate agents familiar with local practices in order to ensure compliance and accuracy when documenting property transactions.


How long does it take from a memorandum of sale being issued to completion?

Timeline of Property Transaction varies considerably based on a range of factors and personal circumstances, however here are a few considerations that could influence its length:

1. Complexity of Transaction: The complexity of any transaction can have a dramatic effect on its timeline for completion. Considerations such as the number of parties involved, chain transactions (where one party needs to sell their existing property before purchasing something else) or unique legal or financial considerations can add significant time.

2. Financing and Mortgage Approval: When financing their purchase with a mortgage loan, approval can add significantly to overall timeline. This involves lender evaluation of buyers financial situation and property valuation as well as satisfying any conditions or requirements set by their loan contract.

3. Legal Processes and Conveyancing: Legal processes such as property searches, title deed examination, contract drafting/review and any legal issues/queries can take time; their efficiency also impacts this timeline.

4. Property Inspections and Surveys: When dealing with transactions that require inspections or surveys such as structural surveys or environmental assessments, such as scheduling inspections, reviewing reports, and addressing identified issues can all take time.

5. Buyer and Seller Cooperation: Cooperation between buyer and seller can make an immense difference to the timeline for closing a property transaction. Timely communication, provision of needed documentation and quick decision-making on both ends will all speed up this process significantly.

6. Local Factors and Practices: Local practices and procedures in real estate markets can have a direct impact on timelines, including factors like availability of required professionals, local regulations, public holidays and the effectiveness of government or regulatory bodies involved in the process.

Given all these variables, it can be challenging to provide an exact timeline; however, property transactions typically take several weeks to a few months from receipt of memorandum of sale to completion. All parties involved should maintain open communication channels, address any issues promptly and work hard towards timely completion.

Consult legal professionals, real estate agents or conveyancers familiar with your area for an accurate estimation of when transactions will close in your locale.

The average property sale through an estate agent takes 2-3 months.

What happens after a memorandum of sale is sent?

Once a memorandum of sale is sent, several key steps usually occur in order to successfully close on property transaction. While specific sequence of events can depend on local practices and circumstances of each deal, here are some common ones which often follow:

1. Draft Legal Documents: After signing the memorandum of sale as an initial agreement, legal professionals or conveyancers representing both buyer and seller work on drafting formal legal documentation such as purchase agreement or sales contract to formalise this transaction. They incorporate terms from memorandum into contract terms while meeting any additional legal requirements that arise during sale process.

2. Contract Review and Negotiations: Once the contract has been created, both parties and their legal representatives review and negotiate it to ensure it accurately represents agreed-upon terms while meeting any specific conditions or concerns that arise during its creation. This process continues until both parties are happy with its content and terms.

3. Exchange of Contracts: Once both parties are in agreement on a final contract, the next step should be the exchange of contracts. Usually conducted between buyer and seller or their legal representatives, this exchange entails signing and exchanging executed contracts, at which point both sides become legally committed to complete their sale transaction.

4. Deposit Payment: Once contracts have been exchanged, buyers are usually required to submit an earnest money deposit or pay an agreed-upon deposit, which demonstrates their serious intention to proceed with their purchase and will be held in a designated account until completion.

5. Fulfilment of Conditions and Contingencies: If the memorandum of sale includes specific conditions or contingencies such as property inspections, mortgage approval or any other requirements, buyers must meet those within their prescribed timelines – this may mean scheduling and completing inspections, obtaining necessary approvals or addressing identified issues.

6. Finalizing Financing and Mortgage Approval: If a buyer plans on financing their purchase with financing from their lender, they must work together to complete all required paperwork and secure final mortgage approval. This may involve providing additional documents and fulfilling any outstanding requirements, as well as making sure enough funds are available to finish off their purchase.

7. Completion and Transfer of Ownership: After all the conditions for completion have been fulfilled and the completion date arrives, the final step in completing any transaction involves the transfer of ownership between seller and buyer as well as payment of remaining purchase price. Legal representatives or conveyancers typically coordinate this step of the process and registering the transfer with local authorities for registration purposes.

Note that exact steps and processes may differ depending on local regulations, practices and the nature of your transaction. Speak to legal professionals, real estate agents or conveyancers experienced in handling property transactions in your area for guidance on what you can expect after sending in the Memorandum of Sale.

What can go wrong with a memorandum of sale?

Memoranda of sale are used as preliminary agreements between buyers and sellers during property transactions, yet can present several difficulties or obstacles that must be navigated carefully to be successful. Common issues related to memoranda of sale agreements may include:

1. Buyer or Seller Declining to Proceed with Transaction: At times, either party to a transaction may change their mind, leading to a breakdown in agreement and potential disagreements regarding deposits, payments or costs incurred during its completion. This may cause disputes over payments to cover deposit requirements or costs incurred during transaction.

2. Failing to Reach a Formal Contract: Despite all efforts, some complications can arise when trying to finalize a formal purchase agreement or sales contract. Differences over terms, negotiations or legal complexities may stall negotiations or prevent it altogether – which threatens the transaction altogether.

3. Failing to Fulfil Conditions or Contingencies: If the Memorandum of Sale contains specific conditions or contingencies that must be fulfilled prior to finalizing a sale agreement, such as property inspections, mortgage approval or any other requirements, failure to fulfill them within an agreed timeframe can create complications in completing the deal or even terminate it entirely. Both parties could have the right to terminate or renegotiate terms as appropriate.

4. Financing Issues: If the buyer relies on financing for his/her purchase, there can be issues associated with obtaining a mortgage loan. Delays or rejection can interfere with completion of transactions and threaten completion.

5. Property-Related Issues: Between signing a Memorandum of Sale and completion, issues related to the property can arise that were unanticipated. Inspections or surveys could uncover structural damage that must be repaired; title complications needing resolution may arise as well; these complications can necessitate additional costs or even cancellation of the transaction altogether.

6. Alterations to Market Conditions: External factors, including changes to the real estate market, interest rates or economic conditions can have an enormous effect on transactions. Fluctuations in property values or mortgage rates could reduce buyer financing options or change either party’s willingness to proceed with agreed-upon terms.

7. Legal or Regulatory Concerns: Issues related to legal regulations such as zoning restrictions, planning permission issues and property boundary disputes can arise during a transaction process, delaying its completion if they aren’t properly addressed.

Noting the challenges and risks associated with memoranda of sale transactions varies based on local legal and regulatory environments and individual transaction circumstances, making engaging qualified legal professionals, real estate agents or conveyancers to assist through this process a wise investment that may mitigate risks while addressing potential issues that may arise.


About the author

David Evans

David is Editor-in-chief.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *