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22 Nov

Time-frame For The Exchange Of Contracts

Property Clinic - Irish Times (Thursday 22nd November 2012)

Q We are first-time buyers and put a deposit on a house a couple of weeks ago. We have been advised by our solicitor that we should receive contracts in about three weeks time. He also mentioned that sometimes the exchange of contracts can drag on a bit. We are getting a little worried as the end of the year approaches that we may miss the deadline to avail of the mortgage interest relief, particularly as we get closer to Christmas. Is there anything we can do to speed the process up? 

 A As a purchaser, there is a limited amount you can do to speed up the sale. Some buyers make a conditional offer whereby the sale must be completed within a certain period but this is more likely to be a condition that a vendor insists on.

In the first instance, once you agree terms and pay a deposit, the vendor’s agent will instruct their solicitors to prepare and issue contracts and this normally takes about three weeks.

During this period your solicitor can do very little but it is worth explaining that you are trying to complete in a very short time period and asking that they give the matter their immediate attention once contracts are received.

During this period you could also undertake a survey, have the boundaries checked and undertake a planning search.

This can be undertaken by a professional such as a chartered building surveyor or engineer.

If you are borrowing money, you should put your bank on notice that you have found a property and provide them with the details.

You might also inform them that you are seeking to complete the sale prior to Christmas and ask that they give this matter their immediate attention.

The bank will also appoint a valuer to undertake a valuation of the property.

Once contracts are received, the respective solicitors will exchange correspondence on pre-contract enquiries and the replies to these can frequently take some time.

If all is in order, once contracts are signed the closing date is normally four weeks thereafter.

In my experience, a six-week completion is quite fast and so my advice would be to discuss the situation with your solicitor to ensure that realistic timeframes are in place.

Gerard O’Toole is vice chair of the western region of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, 

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