What Is Exchange of Contracts House Sale

As a professional, I know the importance of creating content that is not only informative but also optimized for search engines. In this article, we will discuss the exchange of contracts in a house sale, a crucial process that marks the point of no return for both buyer and seller.

What is the Exchange of Contracts in a House Sale?

The exchange of contracts is the point in the house buying process where the buyer and seller become legally bound to complete the transaction. This means that the buyer must pay the agreed-upon price for the property, and the seller must hand over the keys.

Before the exchange of contracts takes place, both parties can withdraw from the transaction without any penalty. However, once contracts are exchanged, the buyer and seller must complete the sale, or face financial and legal consequences.

What Happens During the Exchange of Contracts?

The exchange of contracts is usually done via a process called “conveyancing.” This involves a solicitor or conveyancer for each party. They will prepare the contract and handle the legal aspects of the transaction.

Once the buyer`s conveyancer is satisfied with the legal aspects of the sale and has received the deposit from the buyer, they will ask the seller`s conveyancer to exchange contracts. The seller`s conveyancer will then check that everything is in order and confirm the exchange.

During the exchange of contracts, the buyer and seller will agree on a completion date, which is the day on which the buyer will take legal possession of the property. The completion date is usually two to four weeks after the exchange of contracts.

What are the Consequences of Exchanging Contracts?

As mentioned earlier, the exchange of contracts is a legally binding agreement that both parties must adhere to. If either party fails to complete the sale on the agreed-upon completion date, they could face financial penalties.

If the buyer fails to complete, they could lose their deposit, and the seller may keep the property and sue the buyer for any losses they suffer as a result of the breach of contract. If the seller fails to complete, they may have to pay compensation to the buyer, and the buyer may have the right to terminate the contract and recover their deposit.


The exchange of contracts is a crucial part of the house buying process, marking the point of no return for both buyer and seller. It is crucial that both parties understand the legal implications of exchanging contracts and are committed to completing the transaction on the agreed-upon completion date. A solicitor or conveyancer can guide you through the legal aspects of the process and ensure a smooth and successful transaction.