Exchanging Contracts

What Happens Next?

Conveyancer having a telephone conservation with the vendorAs soon as you accept an offer you can instruct your conveyancer and begin the sale process. Your conveyancer will exchange contact details with your buyer’s legal team and specify the details of the sale as well as getting hold of your property’s title deeds which they will need to check. A property information form which lists all details to be included in the contract must be drawn up and checked by both parties and your conveyancer must send a reply to all the buyer’s enquiries which should outline all information about items to be included, tenure and property details.

You, your conveyancer and the buyer will draw up a draft contract to decide on important factors relating to the sale. This contract will not initially be set in stone and may be altered considerably before a final draft is drawn up. The two parts of the contract are: The Particulars of Sale which outline the details of the property and included items and The Conditions of Sale which proposes a completion date and outlines the required deposit when contracts are finally exchanged. As soon as the contract is approved, the final draft is drawn up and is signed by both parties. As soon as contracts are exchanged, your sale becomes legally binding. This means that you are committed to the sale and should you for any reason attempt to pull out, you may be sued.

Contracts are generally exchanged between a week and a month before final completion although it is possible to exchange and complete simultaneously. This practice has become more common as it means that no deposit is necessary however there are risks involved with taking this route and it can be extremely stressful. In practice, exchange and completion on the same day makes it extremely difficult to organise removal services in advance and requires your furniture to be packed and ready to go while still waiting for final completion. This practice is best suited to those dealing with cash buyers and those who are not in a housing chain to limit the potential for interference to the process.

If you have exchanged contracts before final completion, you will receive the deposit followed by the buyer’s money for the purchase which will be received by electronic transfer by your solicitors. The deeds will then be transferred which ends your ownership of the property and your conveyancer will inform the Land Registry about the change of ownership.

You can move out of your property at any time up to the day of completion, so it is worth considering moving out before this date in order to reduce the stress. You must ensure that you leave your property with everything in place as agreed in the contract, with all fixtures and fittings that you have said will be included as part of the sale intact. It is likely that the buyer and the estate agent will visit the property at some point after you move out and before completion in order to check that everything is in order.