Both exchange and completion are huge milestones in the process of buying or selling a property – but can you exchange and complete on the same day?
It’s common knowledge that buying or selling a house can be a long, drawn-out process and it can be very tempting to speed it up in any way you can. To that end, you might be wondering if you can exchange and complete on the same day instead of waiting the usual 1-2 weeks between them. But, can it be done?
In this guide, we’ll take you through the pros and cons of simultaneous exchange and completion. We’ll discuss whether it is a good idea to exchange and complete on the same day or whether you should be patient and wait.
So, seeing as we’re trying to save time, let’s get started…
Before we discuss whether you should exchange and complete on the same day, let’s make sure we know the difference between the two.
Exchange is when both parties involved in the transaction are in possession of a signed contract. From this stage, both the seller and the buyer are legally bound to complete the transaction on an agreed day.
Completion is the day the buyers get the keys to their new home, and the transaction is completed. Find out more about what happens on completion day
Normally, exchange and completion don’t take place on the same day. So, how long is usually between exchange and completion?
Completion tends to take place around 1-2 weeks after the exchange of contracts, but it can sometimes take up to a few months.
What can delay completion? The time between exchange and completion can be longer if:
The time between exchange and completion allows both buyers and sellers to complete a number of important moving-home tasks, such as:
It’s also important to remember that if you’re in a housing chain, then the time between exchange and completion might not be entirely your choice. This is because everyone involved in the transaction must agree on the date of completion.
So, now to the big question – should you exchange and complete on the same day?
It is possible to exchange and complete on the same day, and for some movers, such as cash buyers who aren’t in a chain, it might be the best option.
However, there are a range of downfalls when it comes to simultaneous exchange and completion. What are the risks of exchanging and completing on the same day?
While there are a number of risks when it comes to exchanging and completing on the same day, there can be some benefits for certain circumstances.
The most common reason for exchanging and completing on the same day is lack of time. This can sometimes occur when one or both parties are on a tight deadline, such as for financial reasons.
Or, it can occur when the property being bought is already empty, such as if it’s a new build or was previously rented. In this circumstance, the seller doesn’t need time to complete all the other house-moving tasks, like removals.
Simultaneous exchange and completion is actually becoming increasingly popular with the emergence of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Rising uncertainties and potential lockdowns have worked to restrict many house moves and encourage people to want to move as quickly as possible.
Whatever your reason for wanting to exchange and complete on the same day, it must be agreed by all parties involved. That’s why simultaneous exchange and completion is quite unlikely if you’re in a chain.
However, if conditions suit, and everyone is in agreement that completing and exchanging on the same day would be best, there is no reason why you can’t do so.
If you’re adamant that exchange and completion must take place on the same day, there are a few things you can do to minimise the chances of something going wrong.
So, we wouldn’t advise exchanging and completing on the same day given all the risks involved. House-moving can be stressful at the best of times, nevermind when you only have single day to organise so many things.
Once you’ve reached this stage of the buying a house process, it’s not worth risking everything going wrong to save a few weeks.
However, if you’re really short on time or your circumstance permits it, then exchanging and completing on the same day might be a good option for you.
Speak to your conveyancing solicitor to determine if simultaneous exchange and completion is for you.
Find out more first time buyers guides here.