Q. I’m about to exchange contracts on my first property and my solicitor has asked for a suitable completion date? I understand the norm is about 2 weeks but a friend of mine recently did a simultaneous exchange and completion, what’s best?

A. Correct, most buyers and sellers prefer a 2 week break between exchange and completion just to give them the time to carryout the numerous tasks associated with moving home. Arranging removal companies, speaking to the various utilities companies regarding change of address – none of these things can be done until after exchange has taken place making the sale/purchase legally binding. Also if the purchase is being financed with a mortgage the solicitor will require enough time to draw down the funds from the Lender who usually requires 5-7 days notice. He also needs to organise a completion statement which again can take some time as all this needs to be in place prior to completion taking place. A simultaneous exchange and completion means that both exchange and completion take place on the same day, this is less common but can be very useful in some cases, perhaps where exchange of contracts has been delayed and both parties are keen not to have completion delayed any further. In general solicitors are happy to do it as long they are given plenty of notice in advance to enable them to get things ready in time. The main priority really is finding middle ground between both the buyer and the seller to agree on a date that suits all parties so that everyone is happy.