Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 14th May 18, 2:46 PM
    • 1,304Posts
    • 904Thanks
    dunroving
    The logistics of exchanging contracts
    • #1
    • 14th May 18, 2:46 PM
    The logistics of exchanging contracts 14th May 18 at 2:46 PM
    Being in the middle of selling in Scotland and buying in England, with the benefit of Google and the helpful people on this forum, I thought I understood the basics of how things work. I guess not.

    House purchase in England should be pretty straightforward. Estate of a deceased, son is the executor and seems to be motivated. I am a cash buyer. So, no chain in either direction, no mortgage company, etc. Simples.

    Offer was accepted end of February, contract pack received, read, relevant forms signed and returned to my solicitor, and one or two queries raised.

    A hiccup arose because there is/was an existing, unregistered leasehold noted on the freehold. This was the only remaining query. This was finally sorted via Land Registry last Tuesday.

    Called my solicitor on Thursday and she asked me when I wanted to exchange and whether I wanted to close on the same day. Agreed to exchange last Friday 11th and close next Tuesday 22nd.

    Surprise, surprise, we didn't exchange last Friday and my solicitor couldn't get vendor's solicitor to respond to phone calls or emails. Same thing this morning.

    Via the vendor's estate agent, who has been great at chasing things up the whole way, I learned today that the vendor only received the contract in the mail on Saturday, and signed and mailed it back today (hopefully this morning!)

    Does this sound right? I thought both parties provided signatures much earlier in the process so that when the "Go" button is pressed by seller and buyer, the exchange occurred simultaneously. It feels like we have gone back to the Dark Ages of horse-drawn carriages and runners.

    Here's my question: Is the seller's signature something his solicitor should have obtained a long time ago, or would it have been necessary to wait until the title query was sorted before mailing the contract? The estate agent did say the vendor's solicitor was "old school", but it feels to me like he is just incompetent.
    Last edited by dunroving; 14-05-2018 at 3:03 PM.
    (Nearly) dunroving
Page 1
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 14th May 18, 3:07 PM
    • 8,523 Posts
    • 8,981 Thanks
    davidmcn
    • #2
    • 14th May 18, 3:07 PM
    • #2
    • 14th May 18, 3:07 PM
    Given that the contract is formed of counterparts (i.e. identical copies signed by each party), their contract ought to have been ready to sign at the same time as yours. So I would go with incompetent (or just overstretched).
    Last edited by davidmcn; 14-05-2018 at 5:57 PM.
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 14th May 18, 3:53 PM
    • 1,304 Posts
    • 904 Thanks
    dunroving
    • #3
    • 14th May 18, 3:53 PM
    • #3
    • 14th May 18, 3:53 PM
    Given that the contract is formed of counterparts (i.e. identical copies signed by each party), their contract ought to have been ready to sign at the same as yours. So I would go with incompetent (or just overstretched).
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Yes, that was signed by me end of March.

    Most of us sell and buy houses so infrequently that we rely on solicitors to keep us on track, but in this case it has definitely been a case of the other way around.

    In fact if it weren't for me and the estate agent talking to each other and chasing things, I don't think we would have got anywhere.
    (Nearly) dunroving
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 14th May 18, 5:34 PM
    • 8,524 Posts
    • 9,657 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 5:34 PM
    • #4
    • 14th May 18, 5:34 PM
    House purchase in England should be pretty straightforward. ...
    It feels like we have gone back to the Dark Ages of horse-drawn carriages and runners.
    Originally posted by dunroving
    Compared to Scotland, house sale/purchase in England is far from straightforward and English solicitors seem to be able to get away with practices that would see a Scottish solicitor disbarred.

    (Actually they can get away with it, no Scottish solicitor would accept an instruction to gazump, gazunder, multiple offer etc).

    As for the Dark Ages, English solicitors have this procedure called Formulae for Exchanging Contract By Telephone, Fax or Telex which I think sums things up that they still refer to Telex! Some firms also still refuse to email things and send everything out by post or DX.

    My Scottish solicitor could do a conveyance from start to finish in three weeks and a day, did everything by email, responded to enquiries same day, and charged under about 600 for the whole job.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • victoriavictorious
    • By victoriavictorious 14th May 18, 5:54 PM
    • 349 Posts
    • 529 Thanks
    victoriavictorious
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 5:54 PM
    • #5
    • 14th May 18, 5:54 PM
    To try and answer your question, dunroving, yes that sounds par for the course!
    The entire system in E & W is a shambolic Medieval nightmare, based on only moving at the progress of the very slowest and shunning modern technology whenever possible, in case there's any danger of speeding things up (imo a swifter process would make it more difficult to justify their charges.)
    'Who does what and when' can vary according to what both sets of solicitors feel like doing (or not) at any given time. It's pretty much pot luck as to whether you get someone competent - and even if you do, the other side's conveyancer is likely to proceed at snail's pace.
    At least you've got someone (ie the selling agent) on your side to put rockets up a - - -s ; a good agent is often instrumental in saving the purchase (or sale.)
    Last edited by victoriavictorious; 14-05-2018 at 5:57 PM.
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 14th May 18, 6:01 PM
    • 1,304 Posts
    • 904 Thanks
    dunroving
    • #6
    • 14th May 18, 6:01 PM
    • #6
    • 14th May 18, 6:01 PM
    To try and nswer your question, dunroving, yes that sounds par for the course!
    The entire system in E & W is a shambolic Medieval nightmare, based on only moving at the progress of the very slowest and shunning modern technology whenever possible, in case there's any danger of speeding things up (imo making it more difficult to justify their chsrges.)
    'Who does what and when' can vary according to what both sets of solicitors feel like doing (or not) at any given time. It's pretty much pot luck as to whether you get someone competent - and even if you do, the other side's conveyancer is likely to proceed at snail's pace.
    At least you've got someone (ie the selling agent) on your side to put rockets up a - - -s ; a good agent is often instrumental in saving the purchase (or sale.)
    Originally posted by victoriavictorious
    I would say that in all of this, the estate agent has been by far the most pro-active and professional of the lot. She has chased me up (though I have invariably already done what she was enquiring about), as well as the vendor and his solicitor. Ironically, the vendor's solicitor has been really arsey with her when she has contacted him for updates.

    Even my own solicitors (who have a reputation for being very efficient) have not especially impressed me (though as per David McN's comment, I think they are probably overstretched rather than incompetent).

    It makes a nice change to be able to give a glowing report of an estate agent, as they typically get ripped on most forums. This is a relatively small agency, with local ties to the community (all grew up in and live in the area they cover, etc.) Of everyone involved, I know who will be getting the nice box of chocolates when the dust settles.
    (Nearly) dunroving
    • victoriavictorious
    • By victoriavictorious 14th May 18, 6:18 PM
    • 349 Posts
    • 529 Thanks
    victoriavictorious
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 6:18 PM
    • #7
    • 14th May 18, 6:18 PM
    I would say that in all of this, the estate agent has been by far the most pro-active and professional of the lot. She has chased me up (though I have invariably already done what she was enquiring about), as well as the vendor and his solicitor. Ironically, the vendor's solicitor has been really arsey with her when she has contacted him for updates.

    Even my own solicitors (who have a reputation for being very efficient) have not especially impressed me (though as per David McN's comment, I think they are probably overstretched rather than incompetent).

    It makes a nice change to be able to give a glowing report of an estate agent, as they typically get ripped on most forums. This is a relatively small agency, with local ties to the community (all grew up in and live in the area they cover, etc.) Of everyone involved, I know who will be getting the nice box of chocolates when the dust settles.
    Originally posted by dunroving
    Yes, there are some real gems of estate agents out there amongst the dross and I'm very glad that you've found one! You can easily feel that even those you are employing (and paying handsomely) don't seem to be on your side or offer much support in what is one of the most stressful procedures you could ever go through.
    I can empathise completely about your solicitor! Ours is fairly efficient I suppose, but seems to only work part-time and isn't very pro-active. On the rare occasion I ask a question, I get a load of condescending attitude which pees me off somewhat as they are not cheap, although they are local.
    Your sellng agent is worth her weight in (Terrys All) Gold - does that still exist?
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 14th May 18, 6:36 PM
    • 59,807 Posts
    • 53,152 Thanks
    Thrugelmir
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 6:36 PM
    • #8
    • 14th May 18, 6:36 PM
    When was probate granted?
    Financial disasters happen when the last person who can remember what went wrong last time has left the building.
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 14th May 18, 7:28 PM
    • 1,304 Posts
    • 904 Thanks
    dunroving
    • #9
    • 14th May 18, 7:28 PM
    • #9
    • 14th May 18, 7:28 PM
    I'm not sure when probate was granted. The father passed last year and son was acting as executor early this year.
    (Nearly) dunroving
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 16th May 18, 1:05 PM
    • 1,304 Posts
    • 904 Thanks
    dunroving
    OK, so now we're at Wednesday and still no exchange. Latest excuses were that the seller's solicitor is seeking confirmation from his client that 22nd is acceptable for completion (we've already had this discussion, and the solicitor has known this is the target completion date for a week now).

    Latest missive this morning from the estate agent (names removed): "Deep breath but [partner in seller's solicitor firm and responsible solicitor for the seller] is on a training course today [<<sigh>>, you couldn't make it up] however, I did get [owner of the estate agent firm] on the phone to both the solicitors office and [vendor]. [Vendor] has given his solicitor instructions for completion 22nd with exchange as soon as possible and we are waiting a call back from 'someone' at the solicitors to let us know everything is in place"

    So, back to my original question: What are the precise logistics of exchanging contracts? Seeing as the contract details have been ironed out for 6-8 weeks now, both solicitors have their client's signature, deposit money has been with buyer's solicitor for several weeks, how complicated is the procedure of exchange in this electronic age?
    (Nearly) dunroving
    • hb2
    • By hb2 16th May 18, 1:23 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 79 Thanks
    hb2
    Dunroving, you have my sympathy!

    We moved to this flat in April of last year, having waited the best part of 6 months for the vendors to find a property to buy. We (thought we) were all set to exchange contracts just before Easter - and then discovered that the vendors had not even signed theirs (and were not answering their phones).

    We eventually got in on the very last day of our buyers mortgage offer (they had already extended it once) and still had to wait for someone to bring our keys to us as the vendors hadn't handed them over and were not answering their phones!

    I really hope that the next time we move will be in a box, and that will be someone else's problem
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 16th May 18, 1:45 PM
    • 1,304 Posts
    • 904 Thanks
    dunroving
    Dunroving, you have my sympathy!

    We moved to this flat in April of last year, having waited the best part of 6 months for the vendors to find a property to buy. We (thought we) were all set to exchange contracts just before Easter - and then discovered that the vendors had not even signed theirs (and were not answering their phones).

    We eventually got in on the very last day of our buyers mortgage offer (they had already extended it once) and still had to wait for someone to bring our keys to us as the vendors hadn't handed them over and were not answering their phones!

    I really hope that the next time we move will be in a box, and that will be someone else's problem
    Originally posted by hb2
    Thanks, I realise my delay is small beans compared to some of the complicated situations people on here seem to find themselves.

    I'm just confused as to how complicated the actual "exchange process can be if both vendor and buyer are saying "Go", and everything is in place and has been agreed by both parties for a while. Do they send the contracts by carrier pigeon or something?
    (Nearly) dunroving
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

401Posts Today

5,561Users online

Martin's Twitter