How Long to Move House Once Contracts Signed

Moving house can be both exciting and stressful. After searching for the perfect new home, finding a buyer or tenant for your current one, negotiating the sale price or rental terms, and finally signing contracts, you may be wondering how long it will take until you can move into your new place. The answer is not straightforward, as it depends on several factors.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there are two main types of contracts in the UK property market: exchange and completion. Exchange of contracts is the point at which the sale or purchase becomes legally binding. Completion is the date on which the ownership of the property is transferred and the keys are handed over. The time between exchange and completion is called the ‘completion period’ or ‘moving day’.

The length of the completion period is typically agreed upon during the contract negotiations and can range from a few days to several weeks, or even months. This allows both the buyer and seller to prepare for the move, such as arranging for removals, notifying utility providers and council tax offices, and transferring funds between solicitors.

If you’re selling your property, you may be required to vacate it on the completion date, while the buyer may not move in until later that day or even the following day, depending on the timing of the handover. If you’re buying a property, you may need to wait until the completion date to start packing and preparing to move, as there’s a risk that the sale could fall through before then.

Factors that can affect the length of the completion period include:

– Chain length: if you’re part of a long chain of buyers and sellers, it can take longer to coordinate completion dates for everyone involved.

– Mortgage or financing issues: if the buyer is relying on a mortgage or loan to complete the purchase, delays can occur if the lender needs additional documentation or if the application is rejected.

– Legal or contractual issues: if there are disputes or complications regarding the contract terms, the sale could be delayed while these are resolved.

– Property condition or repairs: if there are issues with the property that need to be addressed before completion, such as repairs or inspections, this can delay the moving process.

It’s important to communicate with your solicitor or conveyancer throughout the completion period to ensure that everything is on track and any issues are dealt with promptly. Be prepared to be flexible with your moving dates and have a contingency plan in case of any unexpected delays.

In summary, the length of time it takes to move house once contracts are signed varies depending on the completion period agreed upon, as well as other factors such as chain length, financing issues, legal disputes, and property condition. Communicating effectively with your solicitor and being flexible with your moving dates can help to ensure a smoother transition to your new home.

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