Why is exchanging contracts so important?
Exchanging contracts and completing are the final hurdles of selling your property and where things become legally binding. Without exchanging the sale isn’t legally binding, which is why, especially at this point, you must stay in regular contact with your solicitor to keep up with how the process is progressing.
What happens during exchanging contracts?
The seller’s solicitors are responsible for drafting the contracts. The exchange of the contracts usually occurs once the following has been conducted and agreed upon by both parties:
- Preliminary enquiries carried out
- Local search enquires conducted
- Fixture and fittings to be included listed out and agreed
- The buyers have a confirmed mortgage offer
When both the buyer and seller are satisfied with the contract, both sides are required to sign the final copies and send to each other, usually through their solicitors. The agreement to buy and sell is now legally binding, and therefore neither party can pull out without usually having to pay a hefty compensation.
What happens after exchanging contracts?
Once the contract is signed by both the seller and the buyer, a deposit (% of the purchase price) is paid or transferred by the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor who then hold this deposit until the completion of the sale of your property. A completion date can then be agreed upon between the buyers and the sellers.
Exchanging on a property with tenants
Having tenants already occupying the property can add time to the process. Our advice is to speak with your estate agent to ensure you carry out all necessary steps that you are responsible for. Most of these steps need to be carried out before you put your property on the market.
What is completing?
Completion or completing on a house is the final stage of the property sale/purchase transaction. When the seller's solicitor confirms they have received the full purchase monies you have completed. Ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer by dating and transferring title documents.
Prior to the completion date, it is a good idea to contact your solicitor to confirm the necessary steps you need to take and confirm all the costs and payments involved.
What are the steps to completion?
There are just a few last steps to completion!
Residual money needs to be transferred from the buyer’s solicitor to you solicitor. Your solicitor should inform you once this is confirmed and then instruct the estate agents to release the keys. Other important things that happen at this stage:
- The legal documents needed to transfer ownership need to be handed over to the buyers
- You will need to move out of the property (if you haven’t already) and ensure you have left the property in the state agreed to in the contract. This includes the fixtures and fitting set out to be included or removed.
- Once moved out, ensure the estate agent has all the keys to the property to hand over to the buyer.
Congratulations on selling your property
No matter which Howards branch you work with, you can rest assured that the service is of the highest standard, backed up with industry experts at every step. Contact us today to get help selling your property.
Thinking of buying property?
We make it our mission to get you moved. Howard's Buying Process is our useful guide packed full of the steps and responsibilities for a buyer, as well as hints and tips to make the process as stress-free as possible.
Do remember if you are buying or selling with us, our phone lines are open from 8am-10pm, seven days a week to ensure we are there for you every step of the way. If you prefer to speak to someone in person – just find the local branch to you, check their opening hours and pop in to see them – they will be glad to help you.