When buying property in Sussex, there are several crucial steps to consider, including the exchange of contracts and completion. Our comprehensive guide not only covers the process of exchanging contracts but also explores the subsequent steps leading to the completion of your purchase. Our aim is to provide you with a thorough understanding of the entire process, ensuring that you are well-informed and prepared at every step.

Understanding the Exchange of Contracts

The exchange of contracts is a significant moment in the property buying process. At this stage, both the buyer and the seller commit to the transaction in a legally binding manner. Prior steps, such as property surveys, due diligence, and negotiations, are essential to ensure that both parties have a comprehensive understanding of the purchase's terms and conditions. Let's take a closer look at the exchange of contracts:

  • Contract Signing: After thorough checks and negotiations, both you and the seller will sign identical contracts. These contracts outline critical details, including the purchase price, completion date, any special conditions, and other essential terms.
  • Exchange of Contracts: The signed contracts are exchanged between the solicitors representing the buyer and the seller. Traditionally, this exchange takes place over the phone. Once the exchange is complete, the transaction becomes legally binding, and both parties are fully committed.
  • Deposit Payment: In conjunction with the exchange of contracts, a deposit is required from you. This deposit is held in a secure account by the seller's solicitor until completion.

The Path to Completion

The completion stage signifies the official transfer of property ownership, making you the rightful owner. Familiarise yourself with these key aspects that encompass completing your home purchase:

Setting the Completion Date

During the exchange of contracts, both parties agree on the completion date. Typically occurring a few weeks after the exchange, this timeframe allows all parties involved to prepare for the final transfer of ownership.

Finalising Mortgage and Funds

If you are utilising a mortgage to finance your purchase, your mortgage provider will diligently finalise the mortgage details and seamlessly transfer the funds to your solicitor. It is crucial to ensure that you have secured the necessary funds to cover the remaining purchase price, legal fees, and other associated costs.

Building Insurance

Once the contracts are exchanged, it becomes a legal obligation to obtain buildings insurance. This essential safeguard ensures comprehensive coverage against unforeseen events during the period from exchange to completion.

Searches and Checks

To protect your interests, your solicitor will diligently conduct final searches and checks. This critical step ensures that there are no outstanding issues or changes that may impact the property between the exchange and completion.

Final Statement

Your solicitor will provide you with a comprehensive and detailed final statement that outlines all financial transactions associated with the purchase. This includes the amount due for completion, funds received from your mortgage lender, and any additional costs incurred.

Completion Day

On the agreed-upon completion date, your solicitor will smoothly transfer the remaining funds to the seller's solicitor. Once the funds are successfully received, the seller's solicitor will confirm the completion, solidifying your official ownership of the property.

Important Considerations and Tips for Completion

Coordinating Movements

If you plan to move into the property on completion day, it is essential to ensure that all your arrangements are in place. This includes organising the removal of your belongings and setting up utilities.

Notification to Authorities

Notify the relevant authorities about your change of address, including the local council, utility providers, and any other necessary parties.

Key Transfer

The estate agent is generally responsible for the transfer of keys. Coordinate with them to collect the keys for your new property.

Post-Completion Procedures

After completion, your solicitor will handle the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), if applicable, and register the property in your name with the Land Registry.


Navigating the journey from contract exchange to completion of your home purchase requires diligence, patience, and meticulous attention to detail. Understanding the importance of each stage, being well-prepared with the necessary documents and funds, and closely collaborating with your solicitor and estate agent are all critical factors for a successful transaction.

With contracts exchanged and completion behind you, you can finally step into your new property as a proud homeowner, knowing that you have successfully navigated the intricate process of buying property in Sussex.