Exchange & Completion: Your Questions Answered
April 14, 2021


Exchange And Completion

The exchange of contracts and the completion of the transaction are the final parts of the conveyancing process when buying a house.

Once your offer is accepted on a property, it’s tempting to imagine that the house is all yours. However, nothing is final until the contracts have been exchanged between the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors.

Exchange of contracts happens once both legal firms representing the buyer and seller are completely satisfied with the transaction. Once all the necessary checks and surveys have been carried out, both legal firms will approach their clients with a final contract, which must then be signed and witnessed. Once signed, the legal firms swap contracts. This is now legally binding, and neither party can back out of the deal.

Once contracts have been exchanged, the conveyancers will set the completion date.

How Long Does It Take?

The time between the seller accepting your offer and the exchange of contracts varies greatly depending on a number of factors. It can take anything from just a few weeks to several months. You should be proactive and clear from the start and help your conveyancer work towards a date that suits you.

To speed the process up, you need to respond quickly to your conveyancer, who will need a lot of information and signatures from you along the way.

The time between exchange and completion also varies. It is possible to do both on the same day. However, it is also possible that there’ll be weeks in between these dates. Both you and your seller have an influence here and can agree a mutually convenient day for the move. If there are lots of people in the buying/selling chain, it may take longer to agree on a date.

How Much Does It Cost To Complete A Property Transaction?

The average conveyancing costs for buying a house typically fall in the region of £800-£1,500. The price will vary depending on the size and value of the house, the area that you’re buying in (London will be more expensive) and whether you would like to pay for a fast-tracked service. Legal fees for buying a house are not the only costs involved in the process; you’ll need to pay for searches, registration fees, possibly Stamp Duty Land Tax and any other fees that may be required. Your conveyancer should explain the costs involved at the outset of your matter.

How Long Do Conveyancing Searches Take?

Searches can take anything from a few days to a few months, depending on the local authority performing them. Ten working days was the average but two months is the standard timescale at the moment.

Why Does It Take So Long?

There are a lot of checks that must be carried out before you buy a home, such as checking the lease (if applicable), performing local authority searches, risk assessments, mortgage company surveys, structural surveys and obtaining a plethora of information from the seller.

Conveyancing doesn’t have to be complicated, and when you have an expert on side, it can even be a lot less stressful. Get in touch with the Bowsers team to learn more.

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