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Exchanging Contracts

It is always an exciting time when it comes to exchanging contracts when you are purchasing a property. However it isn’t always straight forward and can be a little complicated and frustrated. So here is the low down on everything you need to know about getting that quick house sale without the hassle. Exchanging contracts on a property is done to make the deal between selling homes legally binding, otherwise either the buyer or seller are able to change their mind, although there may be costs involved. The exchange is normally done through solicitors and both parties will sign the same contract to make the sale official – at which time you can relax as the sale is now sure to go through.

Unfortunately exchanging contracts doesn’t mean you can now move all your things in. It is usually done 1 to 4 weeks before completion, although it is possible to arrange the exchange on completion day. As exchanging contracts is a legally binding commitment, you need to be absolutely certain you want to go ahead and also that you have everything in place beforehand. This includes making sure everything has been agreed between you and the seller, a mortgage is in place, surveys have been completed, and everything else such as searches have been done by your solicitor.

Don’t forget also, that you are legally responsible for the property following the exchange of contracts so you will need to arrange buildings insurance to protect your new home. You will also need to make sure you have your deposit in place or funding for the deposit as this can often be a stumbling block for many people. The completion date should usually be agreed beforehand and be in the contract so everyone knows exactly what is happening. And of course, ensure you understand exactly what you are signing and if you are unsure consult your solicitor for clarification. In many cases your solicitor will exchange contracts on your behalf so you won’t actually need to attend, but check this with your solicitor who should give you all the information you need.

It is possible to exchange contracts on the same day as completion but obviously this can prove very stressful as you will be trying to move and organise removal men whilst waiting for confirmation of the exchange being completed. If either party is part of a chain then it is possible that someone along the chain can cause problems and hold up the exchange so you need to be prepared for this, but in general if it goes smoothly it can speed things up. You will also need to check with your chosen mortgage provider as some may prefer you to wait a minimum amount of time after exchanging contracts before you can complete the sale. It is also a good idea to arrange money to be transferred to the solicitor in advance of the completion date in order to prevent any problems on completion day. As long as everything is planned properly it should not be a problem.

by Cormac Henderson

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