What Are Missives?

Missives Word Cloud

“My mortgage adviser says that I must sign the missives – what does this mean?”

Good question.

“Missives” aren’t as complex or strange as you may think.

It is simply a collection of letters, usually between solicitors, which, taken together, form a contract in connection with a property.

This is usually a sale/purchase of property but can also refer to a lease (as in “missives of let”).

You can maybe understand why your mortgage broker shortened this to “missives”.

Breaking down the missives procedure

Typically, the process is that your solicitor will make a written offer for a property on your behalf.

This is usually a letter of about 6 or 7 conditions including:

  • the price you will pay,
  •  the completion date,
  •  any special conditions, and
  • a clause incorporating a Schedule of Standard Conditions.

The Standard Conditions cover matters which apply to most properties, such as that the seller has the appropriate documentation for alterations.

The seller’s solicitors will then accept the offer in writing in a letter. This is the “acceptance”.

They will probably make some adjustments, for example, that the house has a septic tank.

Once all points are agreed, in usually about 3 or 4 contract letters, the missives are said to be “concluded” and, at that point, the contract is binding.

A binding agreement

  • “conclude the missives”
  • “conclude the contract”
  • “binding contract”
  • “concluded missives”
  • “missives in place”
  • “contract in place”
  • “conclude the bargain”, and
  • “bargain”

are all phrases that are used and mean the same: that the contract, which has been constituted by these letters, is binding on both parties.

It is not essential that the seller or purchaser signs any of the missive letters and it is possible for a property to be bought without the purchaser having to sign anything.

Help from your solicitor

Your solicitor will make sure that you understand the provisions of the contract and the letters will only be issued following your instructions.

If you are interested in reading the Standard Clauses in detail, they can be found here, along with the guidance.

Please remember that every property is slightly different and not all conditions will be relevant to your property or the property you hope to buy.

How we can help

We hope this article gives you a bit of insight into what are missives and how they work, in practice.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this article or about our Property Purchase / Sales and Estate Agency services, in general.

Phone our Property Team on 01343 544077 or send us a Free Online Enquiry.

All initial discussions are free of charge and without obligation.