How Long Between Exchange and Completion

11/09/2018
How long between exchange and completion can be any time which is mutually agreed between all parties in the chain, (although 2 weeks is the most frequent time period).

A Property Chain is the term used for all of the buyers and sellers connected via various sale and purchase conveyancing transactions; it most often has a first time buyer at one end and someone selling a home without buying one somewhere else at the other.

What do you need to do before Completion? Prepare yourself with our Completion Day Checklist

You'll have plenty of things to do in order to prepare yourself for completion after exchange...and you'll only be able to start those things AFTER exchange because that's when both sides are committed.

Now you know you'll have to pack and coordinate removals but in the run-up to completion, there are other critical matters to consider. Click below to receive our Completion Day Checklist (either PDF or editable Word doc format) and use it to 'stay on top of things'.


It is important to note that although some of the parties in a chain may opt for a completion date 2 weeks after exchange, there's no 'one-size-fits-all' as some in the chain maybe looking for a month - especially if the first time buyer at the bottom of the chain is in a rental with a 2 month notice.

Click to read the Pros and Cons for different times between exchange and completion



What is the best and worst day to complete?

You can choose to complete on any day that both the seller and the buyer agree to. Most people choose Friday as their completion day so they can tie in moving in with the weekend; maximising the time to unpack and get their life in order. However, with Friday being in such high demand, you can find the cost of removals are a lot more than any other day of the week. If you have the capacity to do so, choosing a Monday or a Tuesday to complete can save on removal costs and your solicitor is less likely to be busy.

Another issue of completing on a Friday is that if you do fail to complete, you have to wait until Monday before you can complete which means the breaching party is covering the other party's costs over the weekend. You can read more about the costs of failing to complete here.



Download your FREE Pre-Exchange Checklist

From organising your buildings insurance to signing off on the seller's protocol forms, our checklist has everything covered so you don't miss anything.

Reduce the chance of missing something by downloading your FREE Pre-Exchange Checklist - Created by Solicitors



    1
    Same day / simultaneous exchange and completion
You can exchange contracts and complete on the same day, however due to the delays in sending mortgage money, the buyer normally needs to be a cash buyer. The exception to this is if the solicitor is able to draw down the mortgage money in anticipation for exchange, however you'll be liable for the mortgage interest from the day the mortgage is released.

Pros

  • Suitable for cash buyers - with no mortgage to draw down you aren't affected by mortgage lender delays.
  • Suitable for buy to let investors - as they aren't moving into the property on the day of completion and may also be taking on an existing tenant.
  • Faster completions

Cons

  • Very stressful - juggling exchange, completion and getting removals organised is not advisable and often dangerous as something could get missed.
  • Not suitable if you are getting a mortgage - normally takes 5 days for the bank to send the mortgage
  • Either party can pull out prior to exchange - if this did happen you could be potentially liable to pay unrecoverable third party costs such as mortgage interest and removals
  • No time to hand in rental notice - first time buyers in particular may be affected by this, may make this choice unfeasible (not too mention very expensive for them)

Fixed Fee, No Sale No Fee with a 5 out of 5 rating

 
    2
    1 to 2 weeks between exchange and completion
This is the ideal time between exchange and completion, giving both seller and buyer to organise themselves once they know they are legally bound to complete after exchanging contracts. Remember, prior to exchanging there are no guarantees either party will complete.

Pros

  • Suitable for first time buyers, repeat movers and cash buyers
  • Time to organise - buildings insurance, removals and packing once you know you have exchanged
  • Time to draw down mortgage - with a 3 to 5 day lead time to draw down a mortgage this is an ample amount of time to draw down the mortgage in time for completion.
  • Less stressful - More time to organise always means less time to stress especially as the exchange of contracts has legally bound both the seller and the buyer.
  • More likely the chain will agree - with so many other parties involved in the chain a 1 to 2 week time should suit everyone. Find out how a property chain works by clicking here.

Cons

  • You have to wait 1 to 2 weeks to move in - there are little downsides to a 1 to 2 week period between exchange and completion as it is the most common time frame to complete after exchange of contracts.

What's the difference between exchange and completion?

What is exchange?

Exchange of contracts is the point in the conveyancing process where the buyer and the seller become legally bound to complete the transfer of the title between each other. You can read more about - Exchanging contracts and Can your pull out after exchange of contracts?

What is completion?

Completion is the day when the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller's solicitor, keys/access is provided to the buyer and the ownership transfers from the seller to the buyer. You can read more about - What happens on the day of completion?


    3
    1 to 2 months between exchange and completion
This length of time is predominantly requested by first time buyers looking to tie in their rental notice period with their exchange. The formal notice period for assured tenancy rentals is 2 months. If you are tempted to hand in your rental notice before exchanging contracts then read this - Made Homeless After Handing Notice to Landlord

Pros

  • Suitable for first time buyers who rent with a 2 month notice - you can limit the time you have paying for rent and also paying your mortgage (it is always good to have a week between completion and moving out of your rental so you can make good any reapirs the rental needs to protect the repayment of your rental deposit.
  • Time to organise - buildings insurance, removals and packing once you know you have exchanged
  • Time to draw down mortgage
  • Less stressful

Cons

  • Less likely the chain will agree - the majority of people in a chain want to have a 1 to 2 week period between exchange and completion so you may struggle to get the chain to agree to a 1 to 2 month period.
  • You have to wait 1 to 2 months to move in

    4
    Exchange with a future notice to complete
When you buy a new build property you have to exchange contracts within 28 days after reserving the property. You are given an estimated time when the property will be built. The final build date can be delayed, however once the property has been signed off as completed by building control, the developers serves notice on you and you'll need to complete within 2 weeks.

Pros

  • Suitable for cash buyers - with no mortgage there is no concern over arranging mortgage funds in time for a future completion date.
  • Time to organise - buildings insurance, removals and packing once you know you have exchanged

Cons

  • Short time to organise your mortgage in time for completion - you'll need to have a mortgage offer in place before you can exchange contracts, however most mortgage offers expire after 6 months. This could leave you exposed to not being able to get a mortgage when completion is served.
  • You have no control over when the property is built - new build properties often over run and it can be frustrating waiting for the property to be built.

Download your FREE Pre-Exchange Checklist

From organising your buildings insurance to signing off on the seller's protocol forms, our checklist has everything covered so you don't miss anything.

Reduce the chance of missing something by downloading your FREE Pre-Exchange Checklist - Created by Solicitors



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Related News Articles

 
Can I pull out after exchange of contracts?
14/09/2018
What happens on completion day?
02/05/2018
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