The next major conveyancing milestone is ‘exchanging’, where contracts between the seller and buyer are exchanged, resulting in a legally binding contract.
The time it takes to reach exchange may vary and is likely to be longer if there is a chain (a series of linked sales and purchases).
Land Registry searches will be undertaken by your solicitor in order to protect the financial interests of both yourself and your lender
You’ll also need to transfer your deposit (10% of property’s value or 5% if the property is Help to Buy) to your solicitor who will hold it until the exchange date.
Contracts are exchanged by your solicitor. Once exchange has happened, the seller is legally obliged to sell and you are legally obliged to buy. If you do exchange contracts but fail to complete the purchase on the agreed date, you may lose your deposit and/or incur costs.
Once the contracts have been signed and exchanged, if your house is built, you may have a completion date (move in date) however it is more likely that completion will be on notice. This means that once the property is built you will be required to complete within 10 working days. Your solicitor will explain this to you in detail.
Before you exchange, you’ll need to get buildings insurance as you’ll be responsible for your home once you’ve signed on the dotted line, however if you are purchasing a new build property you will not need to do this until completion.
Once you have exchanged your solicitor will send you an engrossed (official final copy) transfer or lease which you should sign and return. This is the document which will transfer the ownership of the property to you.