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  1. Blog
  2. Can you exchange and complete on the same day?
Conveyancing help and guides
21 June 2024

Can you exchange and complete on the same day?

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
Can you exchange and complete on the same day?

Table of contents

  1. 1. Exchange and completion explained
  2. 2. Can you exchange and complete on the same day?
  3. 3. Is exchanging and completing on the same day worth it?
  4. 4. When can't you exchange and complete on the same day?
  5. 5. Problems with exchanging and completing on the same day
  6. 6. Preparing for simultaneous exchange and completion

A question we're often asked is 'can you exchange and complete on the same day?'

The answer is yes - but it demands coordination and readiness. In this article, we explore how to align all the moving parts for a successful transaction.

Exchange and completion explained

Exchange of contracts and completion are two of the biggest milestones in the journey to property ownership.

When you exchange contracts, you cement your legal commitment to purchase. Completion, on the other hand, is a celebratory day when the keys finally land in your hands, and the property is unequivocally yours.

The process of exchange and completion requires attention to detail, from ensuring the property’s conditions are met to aligning on the date when you step across the threshold of your new home.

Can you exchange and complete on the same day?

Can these two big milestones really happen on the same day?

Under the right conditions, yes they can.

Imagine a scenario where the seller has vacated, the timelines are tight, or it’s a private transaction – such circumstances can allow for simultaneous exchange and completion.

But this approach isn't for the unorganised. You and your solicitor (and the other party) need to be fast on your feet coordinating, with the readiness to steer through risks.

Cash buyers often find themselves in a favourable position to embrace this challenge due to the absence of last minute mortgage issues that can derail the process.

Is exchanging and completing on the same day worth it?

Simultaneous exchange and completion does have its benefits. The process condenses the conveyancing timeline (arguably the longest part of a property transaction), curtails the risks that can threaten a sale, and ushers you into your new home with remarkable speed.

But what actually are these benefits, and how can they give you the upper hand?

1. Streamlined transactions

With property sales, time is of the essence. By combining exchange and completion, you get to the end of the transaction faster, bypassing the pitfalls and stumbling blocks that could introduce complications or even opportunities for gazumping.

By setting an agreed completion date, both parties can ensure a smooth and efficient transaction.

It's not unheard of for the entire process to be wrapped up before lunchtime – contracts exchanged by mid-morning and keys in hand by the time the clock strikes two.

Such efficiency is not just attractive - it completely subverts the things you expect from 'urgent transactions'.

2. Minimised risks

The gap between exchanging contracts and completion can leave a lot of room for potential deal-breakers. By aiming for simultaneous exchange and completion, you:

  • Reduce waiting time
  • Eliminate risks
  • Secure the sale
  • Create a sense of certainty for both parties involved.

It's here that the role of an experienced conveyancing solicitor is valuable - their expertise will help protect your transaction against unforeseen issues, ensuring it remains intact.

3. Immediate property access

Imagine the delight of a cash buyer, unchained by the complexities of a mortgage application, who makes the move from contracts to keys within the span of an hour.

This is the promise of immediate property access - something only simultaneous exchange and completion guarantees.

When can't you exchange and complete on the same day?

While simultaneous exchange and completion can be appealing, they aren't always practical. The tight timeframe and immediate need to vacate can create undue stress and complications. In such cases, a more measured approach is necessary, recognising when risks outweigh benefits.

If you don't have enough money

Not everyone can manage same-day exchange and completion. Cash buyers are among the few who might handle such fast-paced transactions.

If a new build is involved

New build properties present unique challenges. Their readiness and finalisation often require more time than a single day allows. Additionally, mortgage offers have expiration dates, necessitating timely completion to avoid issues with funding.

Significant financial resources are needed to successfully execute a simultaneous exchange and completion.

If the transactions are complex

Transactions involving property chains are particularly complex. Coordinating multiple parties makes same-day exchanges and completions risky and difficult. Many prefer to include a buffer between exchange and completion to mitigate these risks.

Problems with exchanging and completing on the same day

Last minute mortgage issues

Last-minute mortgage issues loom large, even within simultaneous exchange and completion.

Lenders may require a notice period that outstrips the immediacy of a simultaneous exchange and completion. Some may demand a gap of a few months between exchange and completion. Others, in rare instances, may show flexibility.

Moving day logistics

The timing of removals, property vacancies, and the seller’s duty to clear out all belongings are all big responsibilities on moving day, and easy to muck up. You need to confirm timings with the removal company and the other party, ensuring they’re ready for completion day.

Dealing with delays

Delays can derail even the most well-prepared plans. Negotiations can stretch on, schedules can clash, and bank transfers can lag, each a potential stumbling block on the road to completion.

Seasoned conveyancers prove super valuable here. Should the transfer of funds hit a snag, legal buffers like a Notice to Complete can offer a safety net, providing grace periods and, if necessary, compensation for any resulting losses.

Preparing for simultaneous exchange and completion

So if you're thinking of exchanging and completing at the same time, how can you prepare for the big day?

1. Coordination

Successful simultaneous exchange and completions are examples of solid coordination and teamwork.

Choose your solicitors and estate agents wisely

All participants - buyers, sellers, conveyancers, lenders, and estate agents - must be prepared to perform their roles in harmony. A good conveyancer will work hard to prevent the worst from happening, while an experienced estate agent will communicate between the parties, carrying information up and down the chain to ease worries and smooth over tensions.

Be prepared to compromise

It also goes without saying that you should approach simultaneous exchange and completion with a degree of compromise. Both parties have needs that must be met - but no one can walk away from this type of deal without some things being put aside for the necessity of a speedy transaction.

Vacate early or rent accommodation

It's worth noting that exchange and completion on the same day is only usually possible if the property is vacated already. If you're a buyer, the risk of completion falling through is reduced if you don’t have to physically move on the day of completion. You could, for example, stay in rented accommodation until the sale is complete.

2. Availability of funds

For simultaneous exchange and completion, funds must be instantly available. Mortgage lenders need to release mortgage funds promptly, and buyers must have their deposit ready. This timing is critical, as mortgage offers can expire if there's too much delay.

To avoid last-minute issues, ensure all mortgage conditions are met well before completion day.

3. Signed paperwork and legalities

All legal aspects of a property transaction must be addressed before exchange and completion can happen. Sellers must address any repairs or conditions from the property survey to avoid last-minute issues arising.

The compressed timeline of same-day exchange and completion requires a smooth conveyancing process. That means any solicitor you pick needs to be skilled and quick in handling any emerging issues.

If you're on the lookout for a good solicitor, be sure to check their reviews and online feedback for indications of happy customers. It's worth noting that, typically, the more you pay for a solicitor, the better they are.

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