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Buying - Exchange of Contracts Stage



Some of the things people ask and problems they have, with our comments and answers.



Signing the Contract

We will have provided you with a Pre-Contract Report with some documents, including the contract, for you to sign.   Merely signing the contract does not legally commit you, but you cannot be committed to buy UNLESS you have signed the contract.


If you are not also selling we will normally require a Deposit from you and we will give you details with our Report about how to pay this.   If you are selling and buying we may be able to use your buyer' s deposit to fund the deposit on your purchase.   There is more explanation about this on the page about Deposits when Selling and Buying Property.

Completion Date

Please also let us know when you would like to complete.   It must be a day between Monday and Friday and not a Bank Holiday.   Any such date has to be agreed with your seller and with the parties in any chain above.  If you are also selling then your buyer and any chain below them will also have to be consulted.

Sometimes Assumptions have been made by others as to their or other people's ability to proceed and a date you might think has been agreed by all turns out not to be possible.  Therefore we will contact your seller's solicitors to check agreement about proposed completion dates.

Generally, if you are getting a mortgage we need 5-10 working days between exchange and completion to obtain the mortgage funds from the lender.  We have to send a Certificate of Title to the lender to request the funds, and there is often some administrative process carried out by the lender once they receive this, and before the funds can released.  Sometimes we can get the funds more quickly but this can never be guaranteed.

The Actual Exchange

Once all the completion dates are agreed up and down any chain and we have a signed contract (and deposit if applicable) we will telephone the seller's solicitors to seek to agree the exchange with them.   There are prescribed procedures and professional undertakings involved.  The solicitors agree to send each other the contract signed by their respective clients and you are committed from that point.

Sometimes there is a delay in exchanging and there is a page on this here. It is worth looking at so you know what might happen!

When the contracts do get exchanged, you are legally committed to complete the purchase (and the Seller is legally committed to complete the sale).   Occasionally, this doesn't happen and you must remember that until it does, there is no legal commitment - so if you give notice to vacate rented accommodation or incur some financial commitment before we have confirmed exchange has happened, you do so at your own risk.

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Copyright: Richard Webster & Co 2010

Richard Webster & Co 30 Leigh Road Eastleigh Hampshire SO50 9DT

The Property Buying Process Explained  - Exchange of Contracts - from Richard Webster & Co, Conveyancing Solicitors for the Southampton area, South Hampshire, and Wiltshire.

Page Last Revised 11/02/11