Change of settlement date - is this normal?

We are purchasing a property (PPOR) and both vendor and ourselves want to move the settlement date about three weeks early. It was a long contract for various reasons, but we are both agreed on this earlier date. Should be simple we all thought.

A little background. We are using a conveyancing firm, one we had used on the sale of our last property with good success. So, we went with them again, and the vendors also wanted to use them. The conveyancing firm assured us there would be different people working on both cases so that our interests would be protected. Naively, we agreed to the dual authority. Probably needless to say, we have had a few tense moments.

Anyway, this is the latest thing that has surfaced. The agreement to change the date has this extra sentence added from the vendor's conveyancer:

We reserve our clients rights to settle on the due date under the contract with time to remain of the essence. "

Similar thing has been tacked on to the letter to the vendor.

We understand this to mean that the due date is not secure for us or the vendor. With almost three weeks between the new settlement date and the original contract date, it's quite a long time. Not easy when there is a tenancy to be finalised (we're renting between properties), removalist to be booked plus other utilities such as electricity, phone, etc.

Our conveyancer said it was there to protect us in case settlement was delayed.

Does anyone know if there is any useful reason this reverting to the original contract date should remain?
Has anyone had any experience with this sort of thing?

This is my first post here on this very interesting forum. I have looked through many of the topics to see if there was already something on it. My apologies if I have missed it. Appreciate any help or insight. :)
 
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.... both vendor and ourselves want to move the settlement date about three weeks early. ....Should be simple we all thought.
Changing contracts is never simple, there are all sorts of implications. However, if both sides legal people and banks are ready it should not present too much of a problem.

Naively, we agreed to the dual authority.
With respect, that was really, really .........not good.

Anyway, this is the latest thing that has surfaced. The agreement to change the date has this extra sentence added from the vendor's conveyancer: We reserve our clients rights to settle on the due date under the contract with time to remain of the essence. " We understand this to mean that the due date is not secure for us or the vendor.
The new due date is not guaranteed, no dates really ever are. However, it is just a safety pre-caution. in the event things go pear shaped.

With almost three weeks between the new settlement date and the original contract date, it's quite a long time. Not easy when there is a tenancy to be finalised (we're renting between properties), removalist to be booked plus other utilities such as electricity, phone, etc.
In the overall scheme of things 3 weeks is no big deal. Yes, it would be inconvenient.

Our conveyancer said it was there to protect us in case settlement was delayed.
Your conveyancer is correct. The old (original) due date is what they must stick to as a fall back (worst-case) position. If it is not complied with then the "time of the essence" clause forces things to happen.

Does anyone know if there is any useful reason this reverting to the original contract date should remain?
Yes, it is what you BOTH signed up to in the first instance. But as I said, it is a fall back position. Look, all things being equal, the new settlement date should be fine if both you and the vendor want to stick with the change of date. You obviously do. If the vendor has a change of mind then it will revert back to the original date. You could ask your solicitor/conveyancer what the chances are of the otherside changing their mind. Oh that's right you have both hired the same firm :(

This is my first post here on this very interesting forum.
Welcome and it is good to have you on board.
 
Thanks for the detailed reply, Propertunity

Totally agree that the dual authority was a big mistake. Would never ever do it again.

If settlement had only been brought forward a couple of days with reversion to the original contract date, we wouldn't be too concerned.

Appreciate your reassurance and the kind welcome to Somersoft.:)
 
We sold my mother's house on a 90 day contract as the purchasers wanted to sell their own home first if possible. They had alterate finance in place in case it didn't sell.

As the house was vacant we agreed, but said we were happy to settle sooner if that suited them.

In the end their house sold quickly and they settled about 3 weeks earlier than the contract date. It was simply arranged between the solicitors.

I am sure the earlier settlement will go ahead. The clause inserted simply protects your interests in case something goes wrong at your end at the last minute and you can't complete at the earlier date. Otherwise you would be in breach of contract and possibly up for additional expenses.

This way you have the best of both worlds. All it means is that you agree to the earlier date, but if that falls over for any reason the original date still stands.
Marg
 
Hi Sandie,

Marg has given you some great advice there and I would not let it worry you too much.

An earlier Settlement is never guaranteed but sometimes both parties can let the expectation and needless stress of buying property get the better of them. The whole process should seem simple yet it is not.

Try to take a deep breath....let it happen and enjoy it.

It's Christmas and you are about to receive a fantastic asset! :)

Regards JO
 
Thanks to Marg and JO for your replies and it sounds like it is relatively normal.

We have bought and sold PPOR's on several occasions over the years, but I think this must be the first time we have negotiated an earlier settlement.

Settlement is scheduled around mid January, so will let you know how it goes.

Your re-assurances are much appreciated and wish you all a wonderful Christmas and all the very best for the New Year...:)

Sandie
 
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