I have had an offer accepted on a house that I really want to buy. However, does this mean that it is mine subject to contracts being exchanged, or could another buyer still beat me to it?
Either party can withdraw from a transaction up to the point of formal exchange of contracts which only takes place once the buyer’s solicitor is satisfied with the results of searches, their inquiries on title and the buyer has received a satisfactory mortgage offer. Proceeding before any of these issues have been satisfied represents a substantial risk and isn’t possible in any event if a mortgage is involved as the lender will insist on all of these preliminary matters being satisfactory.
Accordingly, either party can withdraw at any time between the date an offer is made and the date when contracts are exchanged. This enables a buyer to withdraw should the result of his enquiries or survey be unsatisfactory or he fails to secure satisfactory mortgage finance, while the seller can also withdraw should he receive a higher offer. This will very often be a question of morals and integrity on the part of the seller.