What Happens If I Change My Mind Part-Way Through? Am I Legally Bound?
Whether you are buying or selling a house, flat or bungalow, you can change your mind before the point at which contracts are exchanged. If you have made or accepted an offer, you are not legally bound to follow it through until you and the other party have exchanged contracts.
What Does ‘Exchanging Contracts’ Mean?
Exchanging contracts means exactly that. The conveyancing solicitors for each party (the buyer and the seller) will finalise the contracts and exchange them by telephone.
Once an offer has been accepted, a mortgage has been arranged, searches have been completed, and all other requirements have been carried out – including securing the deposit and agreeing a completion date – each party will sign their respective contract.
The solicitors will then read the contracts to one another during a telephone conversation to ensure they are identical and agree that exchange has taken place at a fixed time.
The contracts are physically exchanged via post and the deposit for the property is paid, finalising the process. You are now legally bound to buy/sell the property on a certain date and failure to do so could result in the loss of the deposit (if you are a buyer), as well as possible court action.
When Do I Pay My Deposit?
Unless you have arranged to exchange and complete on the same day – neither impossible nor rare in this day and age – you will pay your deposit to the seller’s solicitors when the contracts are exchanged.
What Is a Property Chain and What Happens If Someone Breaks It?
A chain occurs when a buyer is purchasing a property from a seller who is also buying a property and wants both transactions to complete on the same day. The completion of one transaction is reliant on the completion of another.
A property chain can break if one party withdraws, for example, due to a survey or legal issue.
How long will it take to buy my new house?
On average it takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks from instructing your solicitor to the date of completion. Things can be slowed down if you are obtaining a mortgage and your new lender has particular requirements or if you are in a chain.
In a chain, the slowest party is controlling the speed of all the other parties. If you are selling a property as well it is likely that you will want to tie your sale and purchase together and this could also slow things down as one is dependent on the other.
How long will it take to sell my house?
On average it takes approximately 8 to 12 weeks from instructing your solicitor to the date of completion. Things can be slowed down if you are in a chain.
In a chain, the slowest party is controlling the speed of all the other parties. If you are buying a property as well it is likely that you will want to tie your sale and purchase together and this could also slow things down as one is dependent on the other.