Step 6 - From offer to completion

How to progress your new home to exchange and completion

In this article you'll learn:
  • What exchange and completion means
  • How to deal with the final steps of your first house purchase

Once you have your mortgage offer in hand, your work is pretty much done and it's over to the solicitors to carry out their due diligence and work towards the exchange and completion of your new home.  This can be a time consuming process that many people find frustrating as they feel in the dark because they do not understand what is being done on their behalf.

This is also a classic case of the chain being only as strong as the weakest link.  An inefficient and slow solicitor can hold the whole chain of buyers and sellers up for weeks.  Having confidence in your solicitor is a must and perfectly illustrates why choosing a cheap solicitor will do you no favours.

Exchange of contracts

From the moment you instruct your solicitors to act on your behalf, they are working towards exchanging contracts with your seller, and arranging a completion date.  Your solicitor will need to be satisfied that their enquires have been answered, you have been made aware of any potential problems, and that you are happy to proceed with the purchase of your new home.  Depending on how many questions your solicitor has, and how quickly the sellers solicitor responds to those questions, this process can take some time.

If your seller is not buying another property and your solicitor does not raise too many enquiries, this can happen in 4-6 weeks.  However, as in nearly all cases, there is a 'chain' of people - all of whom have to be organised and work towards one date where everyone exchanges together.  This can take 8-12 weeks (sometimes A LOT longer), depending on the number of people in the chain, and involves the solicitors and estate agents liaising with one-another to agree a date on which everyone will be ready to move.

Up to this point anyone can 'pull-out' of their sale and the chain collapses.  This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Someone's mortgage gets declined at the last minute
  • Problems picked up by the solicitor that a buyer isn't prepared to proceed with
  • A change in financial circumstances (e.g. a loss of job)
  • A seller (or buyer) pulls out because a deadline has not been reached

Until you exchange contracts you, or anyone else in the chain, can pull out of the sale without incurring any serious costs.  Once you do exchange, you are legally bound to buying the house and if you pull out, you are likely to face some serious costs.

Completion - the house is yours!

As mentioned above - once you have exchanged contracts you are legally bound to buying the property.  Typically, there is at least one week between exchange and completion to allow everyone in the chain the time to arrange for their removal company to book in a firm date and generally get their affairs in order and ready for the move.

...and that's it.  You're in your new house and all the stress you have been through over the last few months has been worth it.  You can now relax, throw a party and enjoy your new home. 

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The 'Essential 6-Step Guide' to buying your first home:
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Step 1 - Know your figures

If you don't know your figures, then you won't know how much you can afford.
Do you sums now and save time later

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Step 2 - Get your credit file

Ensuring your have a clean credit file is a must when your buying your first home.
Get your free file now

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Step 3 - Choose the right mortgage

Finding the right mortgage can be a minefield of options.
How to find your perfect mortgage

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Step 4 -Find a great solicitor

There's a HUGE difference between a good one & a bad one.
How to choose the RIGHT one

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Step 5 - Make an offer

Put yourself in the best buying position & blow the competition out of the water.
How to get your house...Fast

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Step 6 - From offer to completion

Keep control of your home purchase & make sure you're in the know.
Get informed - Take control