Fri 12 Mar 2021

How long do you need between exchange and completion of your property transaction?

How long do you need between exchange and completion of your property transaction? - BalgoresOur news

Can you complete in a hurry?

With the deadline ticking for the stamp duty holiday, buyers and sellers will be eager to determine whether they have time to complete before March 31st. Before completion of your property transaction, you’ll need to exchange contracts with the person you’re buying a home from or selling your home to.

It is at this point that your sale or purchase agreement becomes legally binding in England and Wales. But how much time do you need between exchanging the contracts and completing the deal?

What happens at the exchange of contracts?

At the exchange, the buyer and seller legally commit to a firm completion date. The list of the property’s fixtures and fittings will also be included as part of this contract so both parties know exactly what is considered part of the sale or purchase.

During the period between exchange and completion, your conveyancer will tie up various points of admin and liaise with any lender to ensure that the monies are available for transfer on the day of completion.

The terms of a property contract will include financial penalties if you fail to complete on time which is one of the reasons that there is often a gap between your exchange and completion dates.

How long is required between exchange and completion?

Estate agents in Romford state that the typical period between exchange and completion is approximately fourteen days. Although this varies significantly depending on the length of chain and whether a buyer requires a mortgage to purchase their new property. The time between exchange and completion can be extended upwards to a month, perhaps if the buyer is locked into a rental contract in their existing accommodation. Similarly, it can be reduced to a week or even less if there is a need to complete quickly.

As we approach the stamp duty deadline, conveyancers are receiving increased interest in buyers who want shorter times between exchange and completion so as to guarantee that they save up to £15,000 in stamp duty tax. However, this is not always possible.

How long do lenders require?

Typically, mortgage lenders request a minimum of five working days to prepare and release the funds to solicitors to make payment. The mortgage instructions can vary so it is essential that your conveyancer checks these in advance to ensure there is enough time. Many conveyancers will arrange for the money to be transferred to their account on the day before completion. This helps to prevent any hold-ups on the day and is more likely to ensure you complete early on, which makes it easier to obtain the keys and move in within daylight hours.

Can you complete and exchange on the same day?

Although it is technically possible to exchange and complete on the same day, this is rarely possible for the majority of buyers and sellers involved in residential transactions. In this scenario, there would usually be an attended exchange of contracts where both parties meet with their legal representation. In reality, this is usually only suitable for investors and cash buyers.

If you’re hoping to make the stamp duty deadline, there are some ways to speed up the process so that you don’t need to rely too much on reducing the time between exchange and completion. Be sure to action any paperwork as soon as you receive it, so you’re not holding anything up. If you anticipate any enquiries about your property, for example if you have a conservatory extension that may have needed planning approval, then dig out this information in advance of being asked for it.

Another clever idea is to choose a day of the week which isn’t a Friday, which is when removal firms and conveyancers will be most busy. Opt for any day Monday to Thursday and you should have an easier ride. Good luck with your move!

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