14 September 2023 by Melanie Carroll

Get Exchange Ready

Complete your sale with the minimum amount of stress and fuss by getting ‘exchange ready’.

A new coalition of legal, government and business groups has been set up to make ‘e-conveyancing’ a reality – and the provision of upfront information is at the very core of this.  Whilst the group appears focused on technology and digitising the process, this hasn’t stopped us from considering how to make transactions proceed more seamlessly and to change the way we work accordingly.

The Temptations tell us to “get ready” so why is it that, when it comes to selling houses, solicitors are “always the last to know” (Del Amitri)?

At Bolt Burdon, we offer all clients the opportunity to get ‘exchange ready’ before they go to market.  We encourage all clients who are contemplating selling to contact us before any other stakeholders for this reason.

Why be ‘exchange ready’?

  • Statistically, the longer a transaction takes, the greater the propensity for a party to change their mind and for the deal to fall through.  As this is not in anyone’s best interests, anything we can do to prevent this must be done.

  • The more comprehensive the paperwork, the fewer questions that will need to be asked during the process – and this will reduce the time it takes to complete.  Swift, smooth, and stress-free sales are what everyone wants in the face of rising pipeline times…

  • If there is ‘bad news’ to deliver about a property, then the earlier this is disclosed, the more likely that it is to be understood, appreciated, and accepted by the buyer – anything ‘last minute’ is generally viewed with suspicion and can be detrimental.

  • If there is a ‘defect’, then this affords an opportunity to remedy it – or at least present a palatable solution to a prospective buyer and their lender that ‘works’.

How to be ‘exchange ready’

Some firms will take on clients who are selling and ask them to complete some forms – but this isn’t the same as scrutinising all the information, working out where the gaps and omissions are, filling in the blanks, collating missing documents and ensuring that a critical review is carried out at this early stage.  We will step into the shoes of the buyer’s solicitor and carry out this review for you!

We will also consider what additional information we can obtain to compliment the contract pack – and get this.

Finally, we will check how long the searches will take to be returned – and, if the return times are long, we will discuss the benefits of applying for a set of searches up front but recovering the cost from the buyer on completion.

Will being ‘exchange ready’ cost more?

The good news is that there is no additional fee for this as we aren’t carrying out extra work. We’re simply carrying out our standard and forensic due diligence, but at an earlier stage, and so there is no premium for clients to worry about.

What you should do

Whether you are selling a “country house” (Blur), a “castle on the hill” (Ed Sheeran) or a three-bed semi in “suburbia” (Pet Shop Boys), the main message is to contact your solicitor as soon as you are thinking about selling to get the legal process underway.

We will be keeping a close eye on what proposals the new coalition proposes, as it won’t be easy to keep all stakeholders happy – and different parties will be focused on different aspects.  It’s clear that the coalition must ensure that it is clear as to who the upfront information is aimed at, what rules will be introduced, and how they will be mandated.  In the meantime, we will press ahead with our approach for the reasons mentioned.

For further information, please speak to our residential real estate experts who will be happy to help.

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