Traditionally, it was usual to expect a wait of around a month between the exchange of contracts – the point when the conveyancing transaction is formally made binding on both parties – and the completion of the exchange, at which point the property changes hands.
In recent years this period is now typically six or seven days. In fact, a third of buyers (33 per cent) exchange and complete on the same day, and nearly four in five (78 per cent) complete within two weeks of exchange of contracts.
The one main difference between areas is that exchange and completion take just one day to effect in the low activity areas (compared with seven days in high areas) and 48 per cent of cases here complete in the same day. First time buyers also take rather less time to move between exchange and completion (four days) compared to buyers who are selling another property (six days). Buyers of high value property also take rather longer to complete this stage.