Buying a property in Chester involves a series of important steps, with the exchange of contracts and completion being two of the most critical milestones. In this comprehensive guide, we not only delve into the exchange of contracts process but also explore the subsequent steps leading to the completion of your purchase, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the entire process, ensuring that you're well-informed and prepared every step of the way.

Understanding the Exchange of Contracts

The exchange of contracts marks a significant moment in the property buying process. At this stage, both the buyer and the seller commit to the transaction in a legally binding manner. The steps leading up to the exchange, such as property surveys, due diligence, and negotiations, are all aimed at ensuring that both parties are fully aware of the terms and conditions of the purchase. Here's a closer look at the exchange of contracts:

  • Contract Signing: After thorough checks and negotiations, both you and the seller sign identical contracts. These contracts detail the purchase price, completion date, any special conditions, and other essential terms.
  • Exchange of Contracts: The signed contracts are exchanged between the solicitors representing the buyer and the seller. This exchange is typically conducted over the phone. Once the exchange is complete, the deal becomes legally binding, and both parties are committed to the transaction.
  • Deposit Payment: Alongside the exchange of contracts, you are required to make a deposit. This deposit is held by the seller's solicitor in a secure account until completion.

The Path to Completion

While the exchange of contracts solidifies the commitment, the completion stage is when the property officially changes hands, and you become the legal owner. Here's what you need to know about completing your home purchase:

Setting the Completion Date

The completion date is agreed upon during the exchange of contracts. This date is usually a few weeks after the exchange and provides both parties with time to prepare for the final transfer of ownership.

Finalising Mortgage and Funds

If you are using a mortgage to finance the purchase, your mortgage provider will finalise the mortgage details and transfer the funds to your solicitor. You will also need to ensure that you have the necessary funds in place to cover the remaining purchase price, legal fees, and other associated costs.

Building Insurance

From the moment contracts are exchanged, you are legally bound to purchase the property. As such, it's essential to arrange for buildings insurance to cover any unforeseen events between the exchange and completion.

Searches and Checks

Your solicitor will conduct final searches to ensure there are no outstanding issues or changes affecting the property between the exchange and completion. This is a precautionary step to safeguard your interests.

Final Statement

Your solicitor will provide you with a final statement detailing all the financial transactions related to the purchase. This includes the amount due for completion, the funds received from your mortgage lender, and any additional costs.

Completion Day

On the agreed completion date, your solicitor will transfer the remaining funds to the seller's solicitor. Once the funds are received, the seller's solicitor will confirm the completion, and you become the official owner of the property.

Key Considerations and Tips for Completion

Coordinate Movements

If you're moving into the property on completion day, ensure that your arrangements are in place, such as arranging for the removal of your belongings and utilities set-up.

Notify Authorities

Notify relevant authorities of your change of address, including your local council, utility providers, and any other necessary parties.

Transfer of Keys

The transfer of keys usually happens through the estate agent. Coordinate with them to collect the keys to your new property.

Post-Completion Steps

After completion, your solicitor will handle the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if applicable and the registration of the property in your name with the Land Registry.


Navigating the journey from the exchange of contracts to the completion of your home purchase requires diligence, patience, and careful attention to detail. Understanding the significance of these stages, being well-prepared with necessary documents and funds, and collaborating closely with your solicitor and estate agent will contribute to a successful transaction.

With the exchange of contracts and completion behind you, you can finally step into your new property as a proud homeowner, knowing that you've successfully navigated the intricate path of buying property in Chester.