We’ve previously written a post covering the topic of exchange & completion as a whole. Off the back of this, we saw an uplift in questions around how long you can expect it to take between exchange and completion, so we decided that we would cover this topic in more detail.
Quick Answer: Average Time Exchange To Completion
As an average you can expect it to take 2 weeks between the time when you exchange and when you actually complete.
This is typically down to preferences as it allows adequate times for buyers and sellers to arrange removals, transferring of bills, redirection of mail & any funding required from mortgage applications to be drawn.
Why Does It Take So Long?
As we mentioned above, it mostly takes this long due to the request of the buyers and sellers. There are however a few other reasons for the average time from exchange to completion being two weeks, which includes:
- If the person buying the property is coming from a rented accommodation, they will most likely have to serve notice, which you shouldn’t do until the purchase is legally binding (exchange)
- New builds tend to take longer, bumping up the average, as it may not have been completed by the time you exchange
- Long property chains also mean delays as other parts of the chain may need to catch up
- It can take a while to redeem the mortgage, depending on who you’ve applied with
What Can Cause Delays To Exchange & Completion?
We touched on some of the things that can mean the process takes longer than you would expect from exchange to completion above, any one of these points could take longer than expected and therefore cause a delay to the completion.
The main cause of a delayed completion is primarily to do with the mortgage redemption and the money being transferred. This tends to be one of the many reasons cash buyers can speed up the sale considerably.
Depending on when the solicitor requests the funds from the lender, and when the lender sends the funds it can take a fair amount of time. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through, but essentially if the funds aren’t received by the seller’s solicitors by 3pm then the completion won’t happen on that day, typically speaking.
It’s a busy time for solicitors, so it can be hard to know what stage things are in at any given point during these last few days. If the buyer or seller needs to arrange removals it can be tricky and also cause delays, as you’re unsure when everything is going to line up and completion is going to take place it can be hard to arrange a removal company at such short notice. Not being able to arrange removals is another common reason for delays in completion.
Can You Speed Up The Process?
Two weeks is just the average, it can be a lot quicker than this, you can even technically exchange and complete on the same day although it’s not generally advised. There are a few things you can do though to ensure that there is a speedy exchange to completion time:
- Communication: This is key throughout the duration of any purchase or sale. Keeping in constant communication with everyone involved in the sale or purchase at all times is vital, it allows you to be aware of the progression and when you need to act or arrange removals as an example. It also helps if you need to give an extra push to your buyer or seller to ensure they are moving quickly enough
- Choose a cash buyer: As we’ve touched upon throughout the article, one of the main reasons for the delay between exchange and completion is the time it takes to redeem the funds from a mortgage. If you are able to choose a cash buyer for your property then this can speed up the time taken considerably
- Make arrangements well in advance: Make as many arrangements as you can with good time, tell your estate agent when you will be leaving the keys with them, have a removal company prepared and ready to go & anything else you can possibly line up prior to getting the green light
- Keep all your legal documents organised: There can be times where the solicitor or mortgage company are missing a particular document through it being misplaced.
Choosing A Quiet Day
A big factor that may cause delays in your process is the day that you choose to move home. Most people choose Friday, to give them the weekend to move everything and get settled in. If you choose a day like Friday then it will often mean your solicitor has multiple people who need to complete that day, mortgage companies are likely busier & so are removal companies.
Busy days mean that it’s more likely to fall through. If you choose a day that is midweek or at the beginning of the week your less likely to have issues and generally will have a smoother exchange to completion.
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