How Long Between Exchange and Completion

21/02/2016
The time between exchange and completion can be anything as long it is mutually agreed between all parties in the chain. The chain is the term used for all of the buyers and a sellers; normally starting with a first time buyer and then end is someone selling a home without buying somewhere else.

What is the difference between exchange of contracts and completion?
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. The buyer agrees the day of completion with the seller,  pays 10% of the purchase price to the seller's solicitor (5% in some cases such as Help to Buy) and is responsible for the buildings insurance between exchange and completion. You can read more about - Exchanging contracts and Can your pull out after exchange of contracts?

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?

BulletDon't forget to get your Building Insurance Quote - you need it in place before you can exchange contracts

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Pros and Cons for the time length of time between exchange and completion

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.

 Suitable for cash buyers
 Suitable for buy to let investors
 Faster completions

X Most stressful
X Not suitable if you are getting a mortgage (normally takes 5 days for the bank to send the mortgage)
X Doesn't allow time to organise buildings insurance, removals or packing
X Either party can pull out prior to exchange leaving the other liable to pay any costs incurred (mortgage interest, removals)
Building-Insurance-Quote

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.

 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
 Less stressful
 More likely the chain will agree

X You have to wait 1 to 2 weeks to move in

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

 Suitable for first time buyers who rent
 Time to organise buildings insurance, removals and packing once you know you have exchanged
 Time to draw down mortgage
 Less stressful

X Less likely the chain will agree
X You have to wait 1 to 2 months to move in

Conveyancing Quote

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.

 Suitable for cash buyers
 Time to organise buildings insurance, removals and packing once you know you have exchanged

X Short time to organise your mortgage in time for completion
X You can wait years before the property is completed

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