What happens on completion day

When that all-important day finally arrives, there are a few things that you might want to consider. This guide can help you understand what happens on completion day, so you’re able to keep an eye on every step of the process.

You will only be able to set a completion date once you have exchanged contracts. Completion dates are agreed between the parties in the property chain, depending on how quickly everyone wants to move. However, if everybody in the property chain is in no rush to move, then you may be able to ask for more time.

You may find you have a few weeks between exchanging contracts and completion, which may mean you have more time to devote to making arrangements with a removal company, making any last minute changes to your current property, and de-cluttering your home for the move. It may also be useful to think of arranging for Royal Mail to redirect your post once you’ve moved.

On completion day

On completion day, your solicitor/conveyancer will transfer the funds for the purchase over to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer. The next step for the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer should then be to authorise the release of the keys, either held by themselves or by the estate agent. You are normally notified when this is done and the keys will be ready to pick up from the estate agent, solicitor/conveyancer or seller if you have made other arrangements with them.

Your solicitor/conveyancer will also arrange to pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax (or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland or Land Transaction Tax in Wales) due, Land Registry and estate agent fees and, of course, their own fees. For more information on costs like these, have a look at ‘What else to budget for’.

What can go wrong?

On completion day, money is usually transferred electronically between the respective bank accounts. If you are part of a chain and, for any reason, the money doesn’t go through in time (usually by 3pm) you may have to wait until the next working day until you can move into your new home. So it’s often worth having a contingency plan, especially if you have a removal van organised!

What happens if I fail to pay the balance of funds for the purchase due on completion day?

In the unlikely event that this happens, your seller may not agree to complete the transaction (meaning that you cannot move in) and you may also be liable to pay interest. If you are selling your home in order to move into a new property, and your buyer fails to come up with their payment, they may also be liable to pay interest to you. This will hopefully mean you won’t lose out anywhere.

Completion day is often a fairly straightforward affair if your solicitor or conveyancer and every buyer and seller is organised. After all, it’s in everyone’s interests to work towards a smooth transaction. Hopefully, this brief guide has helped you understand the ins and outs of this important last step.

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The material contained in this article is intended for information purposes only and not as advice.

You should obtain professional legal or other advice if you are unsure about the effect on you of any matter in this article

Published: 26 January 2018