Exchange and Completion explained

Last Updated: 25th Jun, 2024

Author: Charlotte Burton

Exchange and Completion explained

As you progress towards the end of your home buying journey, you will hear references to your Exchange and Completion dates. Below we explain what these are and an overview of what will happen on each of them.


🔀 What is exchange & when does it happen?

Exchange is the moment when the buyer and seller swap (“exchange”) signed contracts via their conveyancers. They are then legally committed to the sale and purchase of the property.

Exchange normally happens right near the end of the home buying process. It can happen on the same day as completion (see below), but it's generally about 1-4 weeks before.

Exchange is the point of no return, so make sure you've completed all checks on the property, like searches and a survey, and are certain you want to buy the property before you think about exchange!

Learn what else you need to have done before Exchange in "How to agree Exchange & Completion dates".


✅ What is completion & when does it happen?

Completion is the day when the sale is completed, and you now own the property! You can pick up the keys from the estate agent and move in. 🗝️

Completion generally takes place 1-4 weeks after Exchange. It can take place on the same day as Exchange if the mortgage lenders of everyone in the chain allow it.

If you are buying an “off-plan” New Build home that is still under construction, completion may take place months after you exchange.

Learn how to pick a date for completion in "How to agree Exchange & Completion dates".

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