What happens on completion day?
Buying or selling a house can be one of the most stressful experiences most people experience. Which means it can be a huge relief once contracts have been exchanged and the process is finally at an end, but what happens on completion day and how can you make it go more smoothly?
What is the completion day?
When you’re buying or selling a home, completion day normally occurs between 7 and 28 days after contracts have been exchanged. It’s when the new owners pick up the keys for the property, ownership is transferred and the seller must move out.
As the final step in the conveyancing process, it’s when the final funds are transferred. When the payment has been received, completion has legally taken place.
It will need to take place on a working day of the week, as banks and solicitors will need to be open. Although sellers are required to move out, usually by 12pm, a buyer doesn’t have to move in until they’re ready. If the sale is subject to a property chain, then it could mean a series of completions have to occur throughout the day, until a deadline before 4pm when banking systems and conveyancers’ offices close.
What happens on completion day?
As a home buyer or seller the main tasks for you will be picking up or handing over the keys to the property and moving in or out. But your solicitor or conveyancer will be busy ensuring the process is legally completed for you.
- Both conveyancers or solicitors will undertake final checks.
- The conveyancer for the buyer will usually pay the final funds in the morning by same day bank transfer.
- When these funds are received by the conveyancer for the seller, completion has legally taken place.
- The seller’s conveyancer will contact the buyer’s conveyancer to confirm receipt of the funds, and contact the estate agent to authorise the release of keys to the buyer
- Both conveyancers will contact their clients to confirm everything has been completed, and the estate agent will let the buyer know keys can be collected.
- The seller should vacate the property.
Can you exchange and complete on the same day?
It’s possible to exchange and complete on the same day, but it’s not recommended. Some conveyancers will charge more for this service and it means more things could go wrong at the last moment. This is especially true if you’re in a chain, or you need to move in on the completion day.
Exchanging in advance allows you to have more security and make sure everything is in order, including booking removals companies. Sellers may want to move out in advance of the completion date, and buyers may not want to move straight into their new property, but there can still be potential complications at the last minute. So having some time between the exchange and completion allows for final checks on funds and paperwork, to try and ensure everything goes smoothly.
What can go wrong on completion day?
The main things that can go wrong on completion day are financial delays and the knock-on effect in a property chain.
If a buyer or mortgage lender is late in releasing funds to their solicitor, then this can mean completion doesn’t take place on the scheduled date. Especially as banking deadlines mean funds need to be received by 4pm at the latest for the transaction to be finalised.
If you’re buying in cash or without a chain, delays can generally be avoided. But if a series of properties need to complete on a single day for everyone to move houses, then one delay can cause a hold up for everyone else.
Completion day for new build properties
If you’re buying a new build property, a fixed completion date often won’t be possible. Typically, developers will require you to pay a reservation fee and exchange contracts within 28 days. But you’re less likely to be given a scheduled completion day while your house is being built.
You’ll be given an estimate for when construction will be completed, but any delays to the build will obviously push things back. So the period between exchanging contracts and completion day could stretch to months depending on how far your new build is from being finished. When building work has finished on your new build, then the final completion date can be set.
How to avoid problems on completion day
You can’t necessarily escape all unforeseen issues on completion day, especially if you’re part of a lengthy property chain. But you can take some simple steps to minimise complications and ensure you’re not the cause of any delays.
- Preparation: Make sure you know what’s happening and what’s expected of you. As a seller, you’ll need to ensure everything is packed and ready to move and removal services are booked. Confirm timings with the other parties to try and minimise time spent sitting around.
- Make early payments: If you can transfer funds to your conveyancer before the completion date, it removes one potential delay and allows payments for your new property to go ahead as early as possible.
- Be available: Make sure you’re contactable at all times, as your solicitor and estate agents will need to confirm completion with you.
- Organise your paperwork: Have all relevant documents close to hand in case you need to check or confirm anything. You can also put electronic copies on a USB to make them easier to find.
- Be ready: As a seller, the earlier you can move out, the easier it will be for everyone. Having everything ready to go minimises delays and means you can focus on settling into your new property.
Ultimately a completion day should be something to look forward to, as it means enjoying the start of life in a new home. And with a bit of planning and preparation, you can minimise stress and the risk of any delays or problems at the last minute.
Looking to sell your home fast? At National Homebuyers we’ll guide you through our quick house sale process and provide you with a fast cash offer, guaranteed. Contact us today on 08000 443 911 or apply online now and one of our friendly team will be in touch.