What To Expect From Exchanging, Completing And Moving

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It’s great when your offer on a property has been accepted, but until contracts have been exchanged, nothing is legally binding. 

Before contracts have been legally exchanged, either party can pull out of the transaction. If the seller decides they don’t want to sell to you, perhaps because they have been offered a better deal elsewhere, they can do so, despite the frustration this might cause you. 

You are also free to look elsewhere as if you change your mind about the property you had been considering, you still have time to continue your search before becoming legally bound by a contract. The situation is reversed, of course, if you are the buyer in the transaction.


When deciding to buy a property, your solicitor will draw up a contract that will then be exchanged with the other person in the transaction. You will also receive a contract from the other party.

Before the exchanging of contracts takes place, however, you need to make sure that you…

  1. Have a mortgage offer in writing.
  2. Have funds in place for the mortgage deposit
  3. Have a completion date for the sale of your property. 
  4. Have a completion date from the seller to signify when you can move in.
  5. Are happy with the contract your solicitor has drawn up.
  6. Have the funds for a contract deposit if the seller requires one.

If everything is in place, and you are happy to go ahead with the house buying process, then the lawyers of both parties will commit to final checks and exchange contracts. When contracts have been signed, the agreement between you and the seller becomes legally binding, and while it is still possible to pull out (with major financial penalties), you should both be prepared to move.


The completion date is when you are ready to move into your new home, and it usually takes place a week or so after the exchanging of contracts. If everything has gone smoothly on the property chain, and assuming all money has been transferred between both parties, you will be free to collect the keys from the estate agent and start moving into your new property.


Before moving day arrives, ensure you have done everything you need to do before closing the doors of your old property for good. So, you should…

  1. Start packing plenty of time in advance, perhaps even weeks.
  2. Contact the relevant utility companies etc. to notify them of your change of address.
  3. Arrange for your children and pets to be looked after on moving day.
  4. Check with the sellers on anything you might need do about their property before you move in. For example, you might want to check where such things as the stopcock and utility meters are. 
  5. Book a removal firm.

There are other things you might need to add to your moving checklist, and a quick Google search will tell you all you need to know.

After moving in, be sure to check that everything in the house is in line with the contract, and store away the property paperwork that should have been left for you – the lease, insurance documents, safety certificates, etc.

Then, when you have finally unpacked, and everything is in order, put your feet up. The moving process may have been long, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait!  

Need Advice On Your Mortgage?

If you’re thinking of moving home, it’s important to make sure you have the right mortgage in place for your house move, particularly if you’re a CIS subcontractor. Many brokers and lenders calculate affordability based on your net profit, but at CIS Mortgage Advice, we work with lenders who base affordability on your gross CIS income.

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If you’re reading this as a Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) contractor, then you or your partner are probably struggling to find a mortgage right now. We can help.

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