In a recent repeat episode of Channel 4’s home buying show Location, Location, Location, presenter Kirsty Allsop suggested that a couple featured on the show request an “attended exchange” when making offer on a property.
This was somewhat surprising as it is a course of action rarely used in conveyancing.
What is an attended exchange?
This is an option available if you need to exchange contracts and complete a property deal in a short amount of time.
The buyer, seller, and their respective solicitors would usually meet to review all of the relevant paperwork and terms of the deal on the same day. This way of doing things can be good if you have cleared funds, and want to secure a desirable property quickly. It demonstrates to the seller that you are serious. It can also remove many of the time consuming discussions that can occur over relatively unimportant issues.
However an attended exchange is risky. Unless you have done your homework on the property, there is no opportunity to carry out searches and research anything that may adversely affect you. The only information likely to be available is that provided by the seller’s solicitor, so you must be confident that information is reliable, and understand all of the practical, legal, and financial implications if anything goes wrong once the property is yours.
Why are attended exchanges not used more often?
Most of the time, there is no need to rush through an exchange. It is usually more important for buyers that the deal is done with care and attention to details, rather than quickly. A solicitor or conveyancer is likely to charge more for attended exchanges due to the time and resources they would need to devote to the single case, and due to the increased risk.
If you do need to move quickly on a purchase and understand the risks, an attended exchange can be a good tool.