When buying a property words like exchange and completion fly around but what exactly is the difference between them? The answer is that each represents a different stage in the process.
Exchange denotes the exchanging of contracts. These essentially signify the rules governing the sale and purchase of the property. In particular they set out the purchase price, the deposit price and the obligations bestowed on both parties before completion. These contracts legally bind the parties to honour the terms of the contract and complete the transaction. The paying of a deposit often represents this. However this is not refunded where the purchaser breaches the requirements of the contract.
Completion signifies the conclusion of all obligations set out in the contract of exchange and the funds being transferred to the relevant parties. Once this has taken place ownership will be transferred to the buyer. This means that the previous owners will no longer have any entitlement to the property.
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