A beginner’s guide to exchange and completion

Has your offer been accepted and you’re on the route to buying property? If so, this can be an incredibly exciting time, but there’s still work to do before getting the keys.

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Buyer’s Jobs

Before the exchange goes any further, the buyer should commission an independent house survey and consider price negotiations should anything be found to be amiss.

They should also obtain a written mortgage offer and contact their Help to Buy or Lifetime ISA provider if they’re looking to use a government scheme to assist with the purchase. Buildings insurance must also be in place from the date of exchange.

If you’re purchasing a leasehold, ensure the lease has been read and any questions have been properly discussed with your conveyancing solicitors London, who can help with even the most difficult clauses.

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Seller’s Jobs

A seller must also play their part in ensuring a smooth exchange. The most important tasks on their side include arranging the property’s paperwork, completing forms, informing their building insurance they are selling, and ensuring they’re ready to vacate the property if they have not already done so.

When do you exchange?

Once all the paperwork and formalities are ready, the buyer and seller sign identical contracts, and legal representatives exchange at a set time, often over the phone. At this point, the sale becomes legally binding and neither party can back out.

The exchange deposit will also need to be paid. This is usually 10% of the property value, or the amount that isn’t covered by mortgages.

How long does exchanging take?

Usually, the gap between exchange and completion is around two weeks, but this can be longer or shorter depending on what the parties and solicitors agreed.

If the agreed completion date isn’t met without prior agreement to extend, legal action can be taken. Using respected solicitors such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/conveyancing-solicitors/conveyancing-solicitors-London should minimise the risk of delays.

What happens once you’ve completed?

Assuming everything runs smoothly, the buyers’ solicitor will contact them on the completion day to confirm the mortgage and deposit have been transferred and completion has taken place.

Once this is done, you simply need to collect the keys from the estate agent and can move in as soon as the property is vacated.

About the author


Kim Lee lives in Tampa, Florida and focuses on living an intentionally happy life, helping others live better, and having a whole lot of fun. She loves to write, read, enjoy the outdoors, and play with dogs.

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