Is it wise to agree to a simultaneous exchange and completion date?

Many people find moving house stressful because they fear their sale and/or purchase may not go through. 

In order to give some certainty, there are two distinct stages:

  • Exchange of contracts – this is when the parties buying and selling the property legally commit to the transaction. Binding obligations are placed on both the buyer and seller to complete the sale for the price and on the date specified in the contract.
  • Completion – this is the day when the seller has to move out and pass the keys to the buyer.

Most people choose to have a gap between exchanging contracts and completion to give the opportunity to firm up removals, organise the funding (eg mortgage) etc. Sometimes it is not possible to have this gap or people choose to have a simultaneous exchange and completion, which means exchange of contracts takes place on the same day as completion.

Where the stages are simultaneous, it is worth remembering that there is no obligation on either party to complete the sale until contracts have been exchanged. Therefore both parties will wake up on the day they hope to move with no guarantee their sale and/or purchase will actually happen.

The buyers and sellers may have to book time off work, arrange removals, redirect post, take final meter readings, arrange care for children and pets and incur considerable expense without the reassurance of knowing whether their sale and/or purchase will happen as hoped. If, for any reason, the completion does not take place that day, these costs will not be reimbursed by the other party and there will be no compensation for the stress and emotional turmoil of not moving on the planned date.

Clients who are asked to exchange contracts and complete simultaneously should give careful consideration to the financial and emotional impact if the move does not go ahead on the target completion date.

If you'd like advice on the best options for your house move, please call 0113 264 4414 or email conveyancing@emsleys.co.uk to speak to an expert.

Mark Laird

Written by

Mark Laird

Conveyancing

Mark worked as a paralegal for five years before qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2007. Since then he has specialised in all aspects of residential conveyancing.

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