Exchange of contracts

Once all parties are agreed there will be ‘Exchange of Contracts’ meaning that both parties are legally bound to the sale.

In England and Wales, Exchange of Contracts is the last stage of the legal process after which you cannot pull out (without losing your deposit and any legal costs you may have incurred).

Between exchange and completion, you will be sent a statement showing the costs, the solicitor’s charges and the mortgage monies that are being repaid. If you are making an onward purchase at the same time, you may need to send a balancing payment.

The last thing to do is to sign the Transfer of deed which will transfer the ownership of the property on completion.

For more information on exchanging contracts, take a look at our buying advice section here.

Completion

On completion, your solicitor will receive the funds from the buyer and pay off any mortgages and other expenses and send the title deeds and signed transfer to your buyer’s solicitor.

At this point, the ownership will be transferred and you will need to have moved out and handed over the keys to the buyer, or new owner of the property.

Selling in Scotland

In Scotland, the legal process is slightly different and buyers are committed at an earlier stage.

Here, the seller usually sets a guide price and interested buyers put in bids and suggested completion dates. Once the seller accepts their preferred bid, there is a compensation penalty to be paid if one of the parties changes their minds. For this reason, buyers need to have arranged a mortgage before they put in a bid.

Unlike in England and Wales, many conveyancing solicitors in Scotland also have an estate agency part to their business.

For more information on completing a property purchase, take a look at this section on our buying a property guide.