Exchanging contracts on property and completing

Exchanging contracts

The seller’s solicitors are responsible for drafting the contracts.

The exchange of the contracts usually occurs once the following has been conducted and agreed by both parties:

  1. Preliminary enquiries carried out.
  2. Local search enquires conducted.
  3. Fixture and fittings to be included listed out and agreed.
  4. The buyers have a confirmed mortgage offer.

When both the buyer and seller are satisfied with the contract, both sides are required to sign the final copies and send to each other, usually through their solicitors. The agreement to buy and sell is now legally binding, and therefore neither party can pull out with usually having to pay a hefty compensation.

What happens next?

Once the contract is signed by both the seller and the buyer, a deposit (% of the purchase price) is paid or transferred by the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor who then hold this deposit until the completion of the sale of your property. A completion date can then be agreed upon between the buyers and the sellers.

Prior to this completion date, it is a good idea to contact your solicitor to confirm the necessary steps you need to take and confirm all the costs and payments involved.

Exchanging on a property with tenants

Having tenants already occupying the property can add hassle and time to the process. The most important advice is to speak with your estate agent to ensure you carry out all necessary steps that you are responsible for. Most of these steps need to be carried out BEFORE you put your property on the market.

Need more information on selling a property with a sitting tenant? Read our Landlord’s Guide to Selling.



You are nearly there. There are just a few last steps to completion!

  1. Residual money needs to be transferred from the buyer’s solicitor to you solicitor. Your solicitor should inform you once this is confirmed and then instruct the estate agents to release the keys.
  2. The legal documents needed to transfer ownership need to be handed over to the buyers.
  3. You will need to move out of the property, if you have not done so already, and ensure you have left the property in the state agreed in the contract. This includes the fixtures and fixtures set out in the contract.
  4. Once moved out, ensure the estate agent has all the keys to the property to hand over to the buyer.
  5. That’s it – the property now ready for the buyer.

Congratulations on selling you property. If you are also buying a property, you may find haart’s Buying Process useful – it is packed full of the steps and responsibilities as a buyer as well as hints and tips to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Do remember if you are buying or selling with haart, our phone lines are open from 8am-10pm, seven days a week to ensure we are there for you every step of the way. You can always pop into your local branch if you prefer to speak to someone in person – just find the local branch to you, check their opening hours and pop in to see them – they will be glad to help you.