Conveyancing Behind the Scenes: Between Exchange and Completion

Thu 14th Mar 2024
Conveyancing Behind the Scenes: Between Exchange and Completion

We understand that buying or selling a property can be stressful. As part of National Conveyancing Week we’re spotlighting all the hard work undertaken during the conveyancing process.

You are buying a house, and your Conveyancer has said it’s time to exchange, is that the legal work done? That is actually just a small part of the conveyancing process. There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes to get your transaction ready for completion. The Conveyancing process involves lots of steps that first time buyers, and even seasoned buyers, might not be aware of.

Our Residential Property team talk home buyers through the remaining steps…

Before Contract Exchange

Just before contracts are exchanged, assuming the property is registered at HM Land Registry, we’ll have carried out a priority and a bankruptcy search. If you’re buying with a mortgage, the latter is mandatory. 

A priority search is something carried out at HM Land Registry during conveyancing. It’s time-limited, so we’ll do it as close to exchange as possible to benefit from the maximum priority period after exchange. This ensures the seller hasn’t made amendments to their title since their solicitor sent us the title documents.

This could include taking out finance which is secured against the property which we’d want to know about before exchange. This is to secure an undertaking from the seller’s solicitor to remove the charge on completion so you can take free of it.

Once we have our priority search in, nobody else can amend the title for the duration of the “priority period”. This is the length of time the search is valid for. In doing so, you (and your lender, if you’re using one) are as protected as possible. No adverse interests can be registered on the title until we are able to apply for registration in your name.

The bankruptcy search is pretty much what it says on the tin. We search against your name(s) to ensure you are not currently, nor are about to be made, bankrupt. This is important as, if you have been made bankrupt, the transaction could be set aside (like it never happened). This would not be viewed favourably by your lender as they have loaned funds to allow you to purchase the property but could not then secure their charge against it. They also want to ensure they are lending to someone who is creditworthy.


The exchange itself is an exciting part of the conveyancing process. This is most commonly done on the phone between the Conveyancers for you and the sellers. They will read the provisions of the contract aloud to make sure they each hold identical versions. The contract will be dated with time of exchange noted, at which point exchange becomes legally binding on both parties.

Preparing your file for completion

We then go about preparing your file for completion. If you are purchasing with a mortgage, we will send up our certificate of title to your lender. Essentially, this is our request for funds and confirmation that we think the property is good security for their loan. At this time, we advise the lender of the completion date.

Where possible we will ask for the mortgage advance to be sent to us one working day before completion. This avoids delays on the day of completion as we are not waiting on the mortgage advance to come in.

If you are using a Help to Buy ISA, we’ll have asked you to supply a signed first-time buyer’s declaration and your closing statement. We will then lodge these with the Help to Buy ISA Conveyancer’s portal. At the same time, we will supply them with information about your purchase so they can ensure you qualify for the bonus.

We will let them know the completion date and request payment of the bonus. This comes directly to us, usually one or two days before completion. Similar steps will be taken by your Conveyancer if you are using a Lifetime ISA.

Preparing your bill and completion statement

At this stage, Conveyancers will prepare the bill and completion statement. The completion statement will be comprehensive. They take account of any payments you have made to us during the course of the transaction. This also includes payments we have made or will make, on your behalf. This could be for searches, our fees, land registry fees, stamp duty and, of course, the purchase price. 

There are additional steps if you are buying a property on a development where there is a management company and service charge or ground rent payable. We will ask the seller’s solicitor to supply apportioned figures of the ground rent and/or service charge. It will be calculated to the completion date to ensure your contribution is paid from the time your period of ownership starts.

We will try and get your completion statement to you as soon after exchange as possible. This will allow you to arrange to get funds to us in time for completion. However, where we await apportionments from the seller, we will need these before we can finalise your statement. We’ll ask for any balance due from you to be paid to us no later than the end of the last working day before completion. Again, this is to minimise delays on the day of completion itself.

We make sure our Accounts team are aware that your completion is taking place on the agreed date and sending up payments in and out forms. This is so they know to expect funds coming in, and in what amount, and setting up payments out in advance. This helps to ensure all goes smoothly on the day.

Our Accounts team are the unsung heroes of the transaction—a lot of work goes into checking and setting up our payment requests. They deal with hundreds of files and payments a day. They have to ensure payments are coming and going into the correct files, on the correct days, and in the correct amounts. We couldn’t operate without them.

TA13 Completion Information and Undertakings

At this point in the conveyancing process, we will send the seller’s solicitor a form called a TA13 Completion Information and Undertakings. The seller’s responses to the questions on this form include information you or we will need to know on completion. This includes arrangements for collection of keys or the documents the seller has agreed to supply on completion. Most crucially, this will also be a list of mortgages currently secured against the property and the solicitor’s undertaking to repay these on completion, so you take free of them.

It also contains the seller’s solicitor’s bank details and the sum due to them on completion allowing us to set up payment. Cybercrime is a hot topic and, because it contains bank details, we will only accept replies to TA13 by post or fax. This is due to the risk of emails being intercepted and details changed. As a double check, we also carry out a “Lawyer Checker” which is a secure online search against the bank details supplied. This check confirms whether or not the details match those of a recognised and genuine law firm. This way, we are as sure as we can be that your funds will not go astray.

The day before completion, we will check your file to ensure all of the above has been actioned. We will also ensure everything is set up and we are in receipt of all funds needed to ensure a smooth completion the next day.

Coodes Solicitors

In summary, the work does not stop for your Conveyancer once exchange has happened. There is a lot of further work taking place in a short period of time. This aims to make the completion day as smooth as possible for you and the other parties involved.

If you would like an instant quote for conveyancing costs from our experienced Property team, use our free, instant quote service. This will include legal costs, disbursements, and costs such as Stamp Duty.

For information or advice, please contact Coodes’ Residential Property team using our online form or by calling 0800 328 3282.

Thu 14th Mar 2024

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Search News & Events



Changes to Paternity Leave in April 2024: What do you need to know?

As of 6th April 2024, paternity leave will be changing to reflect a shifting attitude…

Read more


Suspecting a Power of Attorney of financial abuse: what can you do?

What steps should you take if you suspect someone is committing financial abuse as a…

Read more

Portfolio Builder

Select the legal expertise that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

    Download    Add to portfolio   

    Remove All


    Click here to share this shortlist.
    (It will expire after 30 days.)