What To Do Between Exchange of Contracts and Completion

Paul Hajek | 15 May 2017

The gap between exchanging contracts and completion has been reducing all my conveyancing life.

When I started in conveyancing over 35 years ago, a month was the norm, now a week is all most clients can expect, sometimes just a few days gap.

And, we know from our statistics that what to do between exchange and completion is a hot conveyancing topic.

Welcome to Chapter 15 of our Series, your Conveyancing Questions Answered All in One Place.

The Good Old Days

Back in the day, we Conveyancing Solicitors happily awaited a mortgage cheque from the Lender which we then “cleared” through our Bank in a gentile four or five day period. We also asked our clients for any balance of monies to be sent in the same way.

Now, the Lenders transmit the Mortgage Funds to us instantly.

A Conveyancing Chain is only complete when the last person in the chain is ready to proceed so once this happens the pressure is on to complete the sale or purchase as soon as possible.

Some parties in the Conveyancing Chain will have been more or less ready for some time others will only know once e.g. their mortgage offer has been received.

Exchange of Contracts Checklist

Our mantra has always been clients ask – we answer.

We thought it would be informative if we created a simple checklist.

We wanted to ensure that you could,  as much as possible, enjoy as stress-free and smooth a Completion Day ( moving in/out day) or as we call it the Big Day

We posted an article a few years ago and then converted that into a visual Slideshare presentation.

And it’s gone viral.

Well, as viral as a legal process could.

To date, it has been viewed over 72,000 times.

It’s called:

How to Get All Your Ducks in a Row Between Exchange and Completion –

How To Get All Your Ducks in A Row Between Exchange and Completion from Clutton Cox, Solicitors

Here is the gist of what we would advise you to do as you’ll know there are things to do, people to see, places to go, so little time.

1. If you’ve never moved before or it’s been a while since you did, don’t allow yourself to be lured into thinking it will be all OK if you exchanged contracts and completed on the same day.

BIG NO-NO: avoid exchanging and completing on the same day. Trust us – you don’t want to go there, however much the temptation.

2. Packing is a pain in the… well, let’s be honest, no matter what room you happen to be in. Get it done as soon as possible after exchanging contracts and try to pack some items, if you can, before exchange of cotracts

3. Pack the least used items first, and remember to leave out the coffee,tea, mugs, etc.

4. You’ve done #location #location #location… so now remember #hydration #hydration #hydration.

5. Line up your removal company before your exchange, but don’t confirm until you get the nod from us…HOLD ON!

Admittedly, this can be difficult especially pre-Christmas, Easter and bank holidays. Just don’t commit, as a lot can happen between “almost” exchanging and “actually” exchanging.

6. If you are arranging your own removals on a DIY basis, take care not to leave too much to pack on completion day. Be realistic.

7. Remember to inform Gas, Electric and Water, Phone, Satellite and Cable Suppliers

8. If you need to pay monies to us make sure it’s ready and in the right account! ( and see out very important footnote below)

9. Get any signed documents back to us as soon as possible. It could delay your moving day if you don’t!

10. Leave a set of keys with your estate agent. Don’t worry, we won’t tell your agent to release them until all the money is safely received into our bank account.

If no estate agent is involved, we’ll ring you to confirm that money has been transferred and it is safe for you to hand over the keys or leave them behind.

Before you leave your property for the last time make sure you clean it – do unto others and all that.

Very Important Footnote: Redirection of Funds Fraud

But, with all this speed and excitement comes a new danger: redirection of funds fraud.

We need to alert you a new scam and threat posed by online fraudsters.

This new scam occurs when the hacker hacks into a client’s computer via malware and monitors their email communications.

The malware lies dormant until certain keywords are used in correspondence.

Keywords can include requests for funds from Conveyancers, a deposit to buy a house, completion monies or a balance required to complete.

Then the scammers make their move.

They hack into the email account and contact the client disguised as the solicitor’s firm.

The scammers inform the client that the Conveyancing firm’s bank account details have changed and give details of the “new” account for the deposit or balancing funds to be sent.

Unknowingly, the client transfers their money to the “new” false account.

Thus, helping the fraudster to run away with the deposit money that can be many thousands of pounds.

So now you’ve done the things to do and people to call so go and enjoy the places to go and people to see.

So, NEVER rely on an email from your Conveyancer about a late change of Bank details.

Phone your Conveyancing Solicitor for the correct Bank details or pop into your Law Firm to manually confirm the correct information.

Don’t Let The Fraudsters Spoil Your Big Day

Use our Exchange and Completion Guide as an aide-memoire to help you get ahead of the game.

If you gear yourself up for the “all systems go” signal from your Conveyancing Solicitor you’ll enjoy a stress-free and enjoyable Completion Day.

As they say forewarned is forearmed!

Take it away and enjoy.

Your Conveyancing Questions Answered – All In One Place


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