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Can you Exchange and Complete on the Same Day?

Nicola Ryan

Written by

9th May 2023 (Last updated on 9th May 2023) 6 minute read

It is possible to exchange and complete on the same day under certain circumstances. These are the final steps of the conveyancing process.

When you’ve reached this stage, trying to speed up completion and begin your move can seem appealing. However, it’s important to note that it is not recommended for most scenarios as it lessens preparation time.

In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about a same-day exchange and completion.

  1. Exchange of Contracts Explained
  2. Completion Explained
  3. What Has to Happen Before Exchange of Contracts?
  4. When Can I Exchange and Complete on the Same Day?
  5. Downfalls of Exchanging and Completing on Same Day
  6. How Long Between Exchange and Completion Normally?
  7. How to Speed Up the Process?
  8. Finding a Conveyancer or Solicitor

Exchange of Contracts Explained

The exchange of contracts is when the property transaction becomes legally binding. If the buyer or seller wishes to pull out of the sale following this point, they are legally breaching the contract and can be taken to court.

In Scotland, this is known as an exchange of missives. Missives are letters that are exchanged between solicitors to negotiate the terms of the contract. The end of this process is the “conclusion of missives” which is when the transaction becomes legally binding.

At this stage, the contracts will be signed, and the buyer will pay the deposit.

Usually, the solicitors will then agree on a planned day for the sale to complete. However, this is different from a simultaneous exchange and completion as this will happen on the same day.

Completion Explained

Completion day marks the end of the conveyancing process. The buyer will pay the remaining purchase money and the seller will hand the keys to the estate agent. The seller must vacate the property on this day and the buyer receives the keys and can move in.

The agreed completion date is usually a Friday, so buyers can move in over the weekend. However, you may find that your exchange and completion occur earlier in the week. This means that if there are any issues, you don't have to wait a whole weekend before it is resolved.

Both the buyer and seller will have to pay any remaining legal fees for completion to take place.

Read our Completion Day Checklist

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What Has to Happen Before Exchange of Contracts?

Before exchanging the signed contracts, the buyer and seller will have to work through the negotiations. The buyer’s solicitor will also have to carry out conveyancing searches. These detect any environmental issues that may negatively impact the value of the property.

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the buyer will have to hire a surveyor to inspect the property. A RICS-regulated surveyor can highlight problems found in the property.

In Scotland, it is the seller’s responsibility to hire a surveyor to conduct a Home Report. This is then available to all potential buyers.

When Can I Exchange and Complete on the Same Day?

In order to exchange and complete on the same day, the buyer and the seller must agree on the property price. They must inform all parties in the property chain of the informal agreement. The solicitors will then negotiate a 'release' time and date when the signed transfer is complete.

Simultaneous exchange and completion is suitable for the following scenarios:

Chain-free Buyers

Chain-free buyers are buyers who are in a position to move within a minimum timeframe. This includes first-time buyers and cash buyers. First-time buyers may be eager to move into their new house and are not tied to a housing chain.

Cash buyers do not have to worry about taking out a mortgage. Therefore, they may be able to exchange and complete on the same day. Most mortgage lenders require a minimum period between the exchange date and completion. This can cause delays for buyers who need to take out a mortgage.

Read more about What Happens Between Exchange and Completion

Investment Properties

Investors, such as landlords, who purchase a property without plans to use it as a residence do not need to worry about arranging removals. When buying a property with tenants in situ, they can complete quickly if they allow the tenants to carry on living in the property.

Seller Has Already Moved

If the seller has already moved, the buyer will be able to move into the empty property with no delay. The seller may be in a position where they want to receive their completion funds and are happy to return their keys once contracts are exchanged.

This can also include those looking for a renovation project to increase the current property value.

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Downfalls of Exchanging and Completing on Same Day

Here are some of the disadvantages to bear in mind:

Lack of Preparation

The buyer and seller won’t have enough time to prepare for quick house moves. The seller must vacate the property on completion and return their keys. This can be a major problem if the seller has not made arrangements at this point.

Transaction May Fall Through

Plans to exchange and complete on the same day come with a high risk of the transaction failing. This is because the sale is not legally binding until the contracts are exchanged. If either party gets cold feet and decides to withdraw, they can do so without facing any legal ramifications.

If the buyer pulls out of the transaction after the exchange, the seller will be entitled to keep the deposit funds. This offers financial security for the seller and is a major reason why sellers are reluctant to have an exchange and completion on the same day.

Mortgage Lenders

If you are buying a property with a mortgage, you may struggle to find a lender that allows you to exchange and complete on the same day. This can cause delays and problems as you will need all remaining funds in order to complete.

Read more about What Can Stop You From Getting a Mortgage

How Long Between Exchange and Completion Normally?

Completion typically takes place between 7 and 14 days after exchanging contracts. However, it can take even longer if there are delays with mortgage lenders. This period gives the seller and the buyer time to properly prepare for their move and ensure that everything is in order.

Exchanging and completing on the same day is an uncommon occurrence and must also be arranged in advance. This can be done via a verbal agreement between the solicitors.

Read more about How Long Does Conveyancing Take

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How to Speed Up the Process?

If you are determined to exchange and complete on the same day, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of things going wrong. It is ideal that both parties hire a solicitor who can guide them through the legal process and ensure that the transaction is as smooth as possible.

There are final arrangements that buyers and sellers will have to carry out as well as jobs that all parties must observe on moving day. Here are some to be aware of:

Both Parties

  • Be contactable throughout the agreed date
  • Ensure all signed paperwork is submitted on time
  • Book removals to assist with their respective moves
  • Take final meter readings and arrange mail redirection with Royal Mail
  • Arrange utilities and broadband for moving
  • If dealing with leasehold property, both parties must inform the freeholder


  • Have all finances in place including the exchange deposit, mortgage deposit, and another buyer's costs
  • Liaise with their mortgage broker to receive mortgage funds in time
  • Ensure all searches and surveys have been conducted
  • Take out contents insurance and buildings insurance policy from the agreed day
  • Those living in rented accommodation must pay for their allotted notice period


  • Return their keys in advance
  • Fully vacate the property in time
  • Transfer the title deeds over to their solicitor

Finding a Conveyancer or Solicitor

Compare My Move has a partner network of conveyancers who can assist you throughout the process. All our conveyancing partners are regulated by a respected body such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). They also adhere to our strict code of conduct.

Fill out the conveyancing comparison form to compare quotes from up to 6 licensed conveyancers and save money on your fees.

Nicola Ryan

Written by Nicola Ryan

Nicola focusses on all things moving house at Compare My Move where she writes articles for the advice centre, guiding users through everything they need to know about moving house.

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