Exchanging contracts - what holds uop the process

Exchanging Contracts – What can hold up the process?

Exchanging contracts.

Two words that can bring so much joy, and yet so much frustration.

It’s the moment you’ve spent months waiting for – whether you’re buying or selling a property – the finishing line is in sight. 

So why are you having to wait that little bit longer?


Why does the process of exchanging contracts take time? 

Exchanging contracts is when the buyer and seller’s solicitors swap signed contracts signalling a done deal. That’s right, it’s bottle of bubbly time. 

The buyer now pays the deposit, and unless either side wants to face big penalties, there’s no turning back. 

The fact you are now at the point of no return is one of the main reasons this part of the process can take so long.

On average, it can take anywhere between four weeks and three months – sometimes longer – from when an offer is accepted to exchange of contracts.

One of the common causes of delay is either the buyer or the seller not being fully ready.

This could be down to a house survey taking longer than expected, especially if problems with the property are discovered. Other factors include the size of the property chain, the buyer waiting for their mortgage offer, delays in searches, legal wranglings. 

Maybe the buyer is stalling for some reason. Estate agents are acting on behalf of their clients, so if they’re asked to slow the process, that’s exactly what they’ll do. 

The best thing you can do is make sure all your affairs are in order. Respond to all queries quickly, remain in regular touch with your solicitor, and keep on top of all documentation. 


Will my solicitor delay on purpose?

Your solicitor will not be trying to delay the process on purpose, but they could be a factor in its hold-up.

Professional legal teams will get the ball rolling immediately, organising local authority searches and arranging all the documentation required.

If you feel like your solicitor is drawing out proceedings, find out what the reason is.

It could be that their workload has suddenly increased, searches may be taking longer than expected, or they’re just not very good. 

Choosing a reputable solicitor from the outset could save you a lot of time, not to mention stress. But don’t be scared to look at changing midway through a sale. 

It could also be inadequate representation on the side of the buyer. There isn’t too much you can do in this situation, but regularly contacting the estate agents for updates may help get things moving. 

Solicitors will not commit until all searches are completed, and everything is in order. It isn’t the quickest of processes, and if you’re wanting a fast house sale it can become extremely frustrating.


Bypass slow buyers with our team of experts 

Slow buyers can be tear-your-hair-out frustrating when house-selling. 

It doesn’t matter how on top of things you are, if a buyer wants to dither, delay or derail then in the end there’s nothing much you can do about it. 

Unfortunately, house buyer delaying tactics are part of the game. 

Hull Cash Buyers isn’t interested in tactics or games, all we want to do is buy your house hassle-free.

Compared to selling private or through an estate agent, we provide a rapid sales process that puts you in charge from start to finish. 

No chain worries, no advertising stress, no spending your working week trying to get hold of estate agents or solicitors. 

We cover all legal fees – if you use our recommended solicitor – and our expert team, boasting  years of property experience, will guide you through the entire process.  You’ll be pouring that glass of bubbly before you know it.  


Your FAQs

We’ve collated your most frequent questions around this topic for you too. Get in touch if you have any more. 


Can Covid-19 hold up the process of exchanging contracts?


In theory, it shouldn’t. Buyers and renters can still move home, house viewings can be conducted, and local searches and surveys can still be carried out. However, with surveyors facing new guidelines, which could slow the checking process, and staff shortages (local councils, solicitors, surveyors, estate agents) a real possibility, there could be hold-ups


Can I exchange and complete on the same day? Does this make the process quicker?


Legally, exchange and completion can take place on the same day. The gap between exchange and completion – usually between one week and a month – is so parties can prepare for their move. If you’re wanting to sell your house fast, then cash buyers who aren’t in a chain can ensure the process moves as fast as you want.


What is exchange with delayed completion? 


Exchange with delayed completion means a sale price is agreed with the buyer. The deposit is paid, but a date for completion is set for a few weeks, or even months, in the future. This could be because the sellers have not yet found a new home, or renters may need to give a few weeks’ notice.


Why can a mortgage hold up the exchange process?


A buyer can’t exchange until they have a formal mortgage offer from a provider. If a buyer is awaiting a mortgage offer to come through, then this can hold up the exchange process considerably.   

With Hull Cash Buyers there are no mortgage offers to worry about at our end, so there’s no delay. 


How are contracts exchanged? 


Both solicitors or conveyancers will read out the contracts to each other in a recorded conversation over the phone.

This is to make sure they are identical. If they are, the contracts are then signed by the buyer and the seller, and sent by recorded delivery to each other’s solicitor/conveyancer. The deal is now legally binding. 

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