First of all the disclaimer. I'm not an expert in International Real Estate. However since my daugher and her husband own a home in Southeast England they've taught me that it is an entirely different process than what we are used to in Virginia.
They've had the fun (term used lightly) of purchasing their first home and then discovering that their home needed far more than just cosmetic repairs. No home inspections and contingencies to protect a buyer from a lemon. As a result they've stripped their home to the studs and rebuilt it doing most of the work themselves. Now they are returning to the US and it's time to sell their home.
They contacted a few local estate agents and found one to list their home. The first big difference in selling a home in the UK is there is no multiple listing service. You list your home with one agency and anyone looking to buy must go through that agency. Internet savvy agency are hard to find and most agencies post photos in the windows of their offices and wait for the buyers to walk in.
Fortunately they found an agency that understands the value of technology and photos of their home at 76 St. Michaels Grove on the internet. Despite the news in the UK of a down trend in the housing market they had an offer on their property in less than a week. The estate agents don't handle any of the writing of contracts or processing of the transaction. Everything is handled by solicitor's aka attorney's to a US folks.
The seller's solicitor sends out a draft contract to the buyer's solicitor who who then puts together a draft offer. With the draft the buyers and sellers agree on dates for the survey on the property, exchange of contracts and proposed date for completion. There are no legal obligations until contracts are signed which means either party can drop out of the contract,
Once the contract has been signed by both parties the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) is paid by the buyer's solicitor to the seller's solicitor. The completion date is then set by mutual agreement and the sale is complete with final exchange of contracts and the buyers mortgage approval.
Hopefully they will have a better selling experience than they did buying. The couple buying their home will find a home that doesn't have rotted floor joists or "wonky" plumbing. Now that they are skilled rennovators I think I'll put them to work on one of my investment properties...I"m sure they'll love that idea.