The exchange of contracts is an important moment, as this marks the point when the sale/purchase becomes legally binding for both parties.
Exchange can only take place once your deposit has cleared your solicitor’s Client Account. Usually, this is 5 or 10% of the purchase price, but you may not need to actually ‘pay’ the deposit if you have proceeds from selling a property. This will be taken into account, minus any outstanding mortgage debt.
No actual paper changes hands at this point – Exchange is usually a phone conversation between the two sets of solicitors, when they agree that they can ‘exchange contracts’. Once it has happened, you will be notified, as will we.
You can’t exchange without a completion date being set and all parties involved have agreed.