My solicitor tells me that we have not yet exchanged contracts on the sale of my property. What could be holding it up?
There are a number of issues that could be stopping your buyer exchanging contracts. The principal causes of delays are:
Your buyer would be waiting for searches, including the local council, drainage and mining searches to return.
Has a survey of your property been commissioned? If so, the buyer will want to check this and follow up any recommendations made by the surveyor.
Unless you have a cash buyer, he/she will have applied for a mortgage and may be awaiting a satisfactory offer. Once an offer has been made, your buyer's solicitor will also have to check that any conditions attached to the mortgage can be met.
Your buyer will have to pay a deposit to his/her solicitor. The deposit is normally 10% of the purchase price. If your buyer has paid by cheque, the solicitor will need to wait for it to clear before the deposit can be paid to your solicitor.
Your buyer's solicitor will have checked the contract and your title deeds. If any queries have been raised, or if any negotiations or amendments are required, these will need to be resolved before exchange can take place. Both you and your buyer will have to sign the contracts before your solicitors can exchange them.
Fixtures and fittings
As the vendor, you will normally have completed a list of fixtures and fittings that would have been sent to your buyer. He/she will want to check this list before committing to the purchase. If there are any fittings for sale, your buyer may want to negotiate a price for these before exchange.
The risk of insuring the property normally passes to the buyer on exchange of contracts and your buyer's solicitor will want to ensure that an adequate policy is in place.