Completion Day: A Buyer’s Guide

When you reach completion on a house sale or purchase, it’s an incredibly exciting time. But it can also be nerve-wracking.

From making sure everything has gone according to plan, to picking up the keys and starting your big move, there’s a lot to think about.

Our guide will walk you through the process, so you’ll know what to expect at the end of your home purchase.

What happens on completion day?

Completion day is the final stage when buying your new home. From this day on, the house belongs to you.

Your house purchase will likely complete between 7 and 28 days of exchanging contracts – and it will always happen on a weekday.

On the day, your mortgage funds will be transferred to your solicitor, then onto the seller’s solicitor. The moment the seller receives these funds, completion has officially taken place.

You might want to keep in touch with your conveyancer or solicitor throughout the day to make sure you know where things stand at each point.

After the seller’s solicitor has received the money, they will tell their estate agent to release the keys to the property. They’ll then call your solicitor, who will contact you to let you know the purchase has completed and you’re free to collect the keys.

Finally, your conveyancer or solicitor will register you as the new owner of the home with the Land Registry and you should receive documentation soon after. Your legal team will also pay any Stamp Duty, if necessary.

Can I exchange and complete on the same day?

The difference between completion and the exchange of contracts is that a seller or buyer can still pull out at any time after exchanging contracts. So while there’s nothing stopping you exchanging on your completion day, it’s not usually recommended due to the risk involved.

In a worst case scenario, the seller could drop out at the very last minute as you’re getting your things ready to move. This can be a huge blow to buyers, especially considering the time and planning that goes into moving house.

You’ll also need to consider the mortgage implications if you’re thinking of exchanging on your completion date. This is because most mortgage providers insist on a five day notice period – usually from the date contracts are exchanged – before they send over the funds for completion.

This means that if the house completion doesn’t go ahead as planned, the money will need to be returned to your lender. There will be transfer fees applied for this, and you’ll be responsible for paying interest on the loan from the day the funds were released.

What documents should I receive after completion?

If you’re in the process of buying a house, you’ll likely be aware of the amount of paperwork that’s involved. This is no different after completing on a property. But your conveyancer or solicitor should make sure you receive all the documents you need. This will include:

  • A copy of your lease (if you’ve bought a leasehold property)
  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Proof of Stamp Duty being paid
  • Property information form (containing practical information on the property)
  • Transfer of ownership (TR1) form

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and these documents will not apply to every property purchase. But your solicitor will keep you up to date with all the paperwork that’s relevant to you, so there will be no danger of you missing anything important.

What can go wrong between exchange and completion?

If you’re involved in a property chain, there is always the risk of one party pulling out before your completion day. This will usually have a knock-on effect for everyone involved in the chain, and will often cause delays.

On the completion day itself, there can sometimes be issues with the transferring of funds. This will typically occur when you’re waiting for your mortgage provider to send money to your solicitor, to then be passed on to the seller’s solicitor.

If the lender cannot send the funds before 3pm, you’ll need to wait until the next day to complete on the purchase. To avoid this situation, most conveyancers and solicitors will do all they can to have the purchase funds processed the day before the scheduled completion date.

Our solicitors are experienced in this area, and will communicate with the relevant parties on your behalf. So there will be less stress for you on completion day, and more time for you to get excited about your move.

To find out how we can match you with your ideal conveyancing solicitor, get in touch or start your enquiry online.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


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