If you're about to receive the keys to the home of your dreams, then you may be looking forward to getting to work redecorating, moving all your furniture in and settling down. To the best of your knowledge, all the paperwork is in order and both parties are happy with the terms, so everything looks as if it is on track. However, at the last minute you may have received a request from the seller, who wants to alter the date of settlement by a day or so either way, as this would make it easier for them to handle all of the finer details. Is this something that you should simply agree to informally, or do you need to be far more careful with this type of scenario?
To be as safe as possible you should always formalise any changes to a contract as important as this so that both parties are very clear about the repercussions and so that there are implications in law. On the face of it, their request may seem to be innocuous, but could it have a knock-on effect that is not immediately obvious? Are you sure that your funds will be available on that revised day, especially if you are procuring them from a bank or another lender? Surely, you will need to check all that out first, as there may be a restriction that you are unaware of ,and if so, this could place you in a very difficult position.
Variation to Contract
It's far better in a situation like this to refer any request for alteration to your conveyancing solicitor so that they can draft a variation to contract form. This is a legally binding document that must contain all the details of the requested variation and must bear the signature of both parties if it is to be valid. Typically, there will be a cost associated with a form like this and the seller will need to agree to those terms before you can all go ahead.
You must avoid any type of misunderstanding and ensure that both parties fully understand the gravity of any change to the agreement. If, upon further investigation, everything seems to be okay and their request is fair and reasonable, then you can sign the variation to contract form-- alongside their signature.
There is a lot at stake here and you should never assume that everything is okay without further investigation. Bring your conveyancer into the picture as early as possible to see if you can accept their request.